Importance of seeking Knowledge in Islam
It is of the great importance to reveal some of the hindrances and obstacles’ that negatively affect the intellectual brain of the indigenous young Malawi Muslims who are cunningly forced to attain the Islamic knowledge while distancing themselves from the secular education.
It is an obligatory to every Muslim to seek knowledge. This is well stipulated in the holy Qur’an and also in the teachings of the Noble Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. No single Muslim can deny the fact that education is over emphasized in the Qur’anic texts and that the first revelation to the Noble prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was about the importance of education; it reads in Quran chapter 96 verses 1-5 that “Read in the name of your Lord Allah the creator, the one who created”.
Regarding these verses, the Noble prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said in his beautiful tradition in which he emphasized the importance of seeking knowledge; he said “seeking knowledge is an obligation to every Muslim”
Extrapolating from the above main Islamic sources, education is a key to human success in his environment. This means that human beings will know their creator better when they have knowledge about him. At the same time they will know how to live on this earthly life when one obtains the best knowledge that would help them to have a better life. It should be made clear that there is no categorization of education which the Quran and the prophetic traditions emphasized. Every education is Godly, therefore there is no need to mention of religious or secular education.
Muslim Scholars refrain from using the term “secular” education because the word secular denotes ‘education that has nothing to do with God’. Hence, the word will interchangeably be used by ‘Western education’ referring to the former. This is because in Islam everything that a Muslim does should be within the limits of God. It is Ibadat (something that brings one closer to his/her creator).
It is very sad to learn that today we have some sectors of the people in this country who push their children to attend only religious or western education thereby completely neglecting the other. There are also some Islamic institutions which obstruct students from attending western education.
On one hand there are reports highlighting that in some institutions students are only taught two school subjects namely English and Mathematics. On the other hand, they are taught to memorize the Holy Quran which is a very good thing but at the same time killing the intellectual brain of the children by denying him his right for education. One can memorize the holy Qur’an while at the same time one is learning other subjects in school curricular.
One would therefore argue that those operating and or funding such institutions do not understand the true teachings of both Qur’an and the prophetic traditions. Because if they do then they could not indulge their business in this manner; because they walk a different way far from what the Qur’an teaches them in many verses about the importance of education.
Furthermore, one would also argue that such Institutions don’t understand the history of the old Muslim juries such as Al-Ghazal (known as Algazel to the Western medieval world), ibn Sina (known in the Western world as Avicenna) whose famous works are the ‘canon of Medicine’ and ‘The Book of Healing’ and Al-farabi who contributed a lot to the existing various faculties of education such as Medicine, History, Physics, Science as well as philosophy and logic.
Let us imagine that if they sat back and abandoned such intellectual knowledge what would have been the result to Medicine and other faculties of different fields? They were Muslim scholars who also memorized the Qur’an very well and understood its exegesis more than us. So why should such people kill our children’s brain in the name of encouraging them to memorize the Holy Qur’an while shunning them from western education?
It is also very sad to note that many Malawi Muslims do not send their children to Madrassahs where they can acquire Islamic education that may help them in this worldly life and hereafter. Such parents/ guardians feel that western education alone can help their children; forgetting that attending Madrassah helps children to understand their religion well. In Madrassahs children are taught how to recite the Holy Qur’an which one uses when observing the obligated Salat. How would one know the stages of Salat, how to make Uhdu (ablution), and other essential things in Islam if he/she doesn’t go to Madrassah?
It is crystal clear that good children are those who make great supplications for their parents. There are a lot of supplications which are needed for every step of life that is why a good Muslim is an educated citizen.