MUBASHIR IQBAL KITABA
Islam, the religion of peace, has given great importance to education. Islam insists every believer to start his journey of life with knowledge and light. The high place and respect which Almighty Allah gave to Adam over all the other creatures existing in this universe is (was) because of knowledge and wisdom. The Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran that I (Allah) taught Adam, the names of all the things. Allah endowed Adam with certain fundamental attributes and philosophies of life which made Adam superior over all other creatures created by Almighty Allah and gain the title of Ashraful Makhluqat (supreme creation). This also signifies the truth that man without knowledge was not perfect and it was by virtue of this knowledge and wisdom, transmitted to him by his creator, that he earned this dignified status of a human being.
The glorious history of Islam is witness to the fact that when Almighty sent down His first Quranic revelation to His beloved Prophet (SAW) in the cave of Hira through Angle Gabriel was Iqra: “Read in the name of your Lord who has created (all that exists) and who has taught writing by the pen and He taught man what he knew not”. This, among other things, signifies the role and importance of education in Islam.
All the other religions consider education as one of the simple needs but Islam considers it as a basic and important necessity for both men and women. The Chinese at the time of Holy Prophet (SAW) had excelled themselves in the field of science and culture. Our Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “seek knowledge even you are compelled to go to china”. On another occasion, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “ seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. So, to gain knowledge is the responsibility of every Muslim so that people will come to you to acquire knowledge from all directions, teach them good morals.
The Holy Prophet (SAW) enlightened his companions on the importance and role of learning and teaching. The Holy Quran has differentiated the person who has knowledge and the person who is devoid of it, by saying: “can those who know be equaled with those who know not”.
Hazrat Abdullah (RA) narrates that once Holy Prophet (SAW) said, that when the Almighty Allah intends to do favor of a person, gives him clear understanding of Deen and inspires him through guidance and wisdom. The fear of Almighty Allah in ones heart is the biggest blessing of Allah, but only those can enjoy those that who are knowledgeable. Almighty Allah makes path in the paradise for those who travel to seek education. They are considered to be in the path of Allah until they came back.
The aim of education in Islam is to purify the soul and to enlighten the vision and understanding of a person so that he can differentiate between right and wrong. This is the reason that , in Islamic history, we found, moral education with practical training has always been an integral part. Islam prevented its followers from getting the education for the sake of one’s selfish interests and worldly fame. Education should be to enlighten ones heart and soul and to serve humanity.
Our Holy Prophet (SAW) was equally concerned for the education of women. Islam grants equal educational rights to women but with certain restrictions. Once, our Holy Prophet (SAW) said that “whoever brings up three girls, teaches them culture and good manners, marries them and treats them well, for him is paradise”.
The main purpose of education in Islam is to transform a follower into a virtuous pious and instill in him the traits of good manners , love, respect, affection and obedience so that he( or she) is always ready to help his fellow beings irrespective of cast, creed, region and religion. This is the reason that Almighty Allah ordered his Beloved Messenger (SAW) to seek enhancement of knowledge.
The author is a PhD Research scholar. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org