Knowledge in Islam – Your Role

“Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not” [Qur’an, 96: 1-5]

“Read” was the first word to be revealed from the Qur’an. The verses above demonstrate the importance that Islam dedicates to science and knowledge.

It is also very obvious that the decline of the Ummah is a direct result of our failure to fulfill our Islamic duty to pursue science, knowledge and progress. All the calamities that our Ummah suffers from illegal invasions, occupation, poverty, terrorism, civil war could have been prevented if we, as Muslims, did everything we possibly could to improve our output as an Ummah in scientific research, entrepreneurship, industry and intellect.

Allaah says (what means): “and say: `My Lord! Increase me in knowledge” [Qur’an, 20:114]

He said: “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allaah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” (Al-Bukhaari) [Click here to tweet this]

Not only is it our duty to pursue science and knowledge as Muslims, it is also our duty to excel in everything we do as the Islamic core value of Ihsan (excellence) dictates.

Some Muslims don’t pay enough attention to worldly knowledge as they think that religious knowledge is all that matters.
This view is against Islamic perspective of knowledge.

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah stresses the significance of worldly knowledge and its salience in Islam in his article here.

He says: “There are around 750 verses in the Qur’ân that encourage us to think about the universe that surrounds us and all that has been created within it and placed at our disposal”.

This indisputably shows that Qur’an emphasizes and promotes the study of the universe.

Freedom of research in Islam is also highlighted in this article that shows examples from the Prophet’s life demonstrating this value.

Thus pursuing knowledge in a particular field of science that would help alleviate the pains of humanity and advance human progress is highly applauded and appreciated in Islam. It is our duty as Muslims to excel in all fields of life; science, knowledge, business, industry, charity and political activism. It is our duty to serve justice and humanity. It is our duty as Muslims to develop this world and make it a better place for everyone.

Action Points:

  1.  Read at least one book each month. Do you know that scientific research showed that people with higher than average intelligence usually read a significant number of books a year? Research also shows that there is a clear relationship between reading and the development of our mental abilities. It goes without saying that you need to choose the best possible books and research to read.
  2. Pursue high academic qualifications that could benefit you, your family, the Ummah and the whole world. Be a role model for others. Achieve and inspire.
  3. Teach children in your mosque or community centre – if you have the right credentials. Help them improve their educational standards.
  4. Always implant the seeds of ambition, persistence, hard work, excellence and success as core values of Islam in your children. Parents have a very important role in empowering their children. If you are a parent, you should let your children explore their own full potential. Give them the freedom and the sufficient resources to pursue their dreams. Learn from successful parents and share your success.
  5. Don’t ever insult or hit your children. This is very harmful to their self esteem and self confidence. Always make them feel appreciated and loved. There are plenty of methods that you can use to discipline your child without using violence, shouting, screaming, yelling and bad language.
  6. Have an open mind; a questioning and curious spirit. Don’t limit your thoughts by being dogmatic or intolerant of others’ ideas. On the contrary, the Qur’an always asks us to think, to wonder, to question, to learn and to seek knowledge. Similarly, encourage your children to think and be free. That’s a core Islamic value. Have open discussions with your kids. Let them research and learn to seek knowledge independently.
  7. Have useful and educational toys and books in the house. Read for yourself and read for your children. Guide them to enjoy reading and learning as this will reflect on their educational performance. In a biography of a very successful doctor, he pointed out that one of the most important factors that led to his professional and academic excellence was that his mother habituated him to read books everyday and write what he learnt for her.

Discuss various topics with your child, explore his/her perceptions, and respectfully correct any misconceptions. Try to brainstorm with your child and induce his imagination. You can always plant very important values and ethics in your child’s mind through a simple discussion surrounding a story that you read for him. Choose carefully the best books and educational materials to give to your child.

If we as Muslims are serious about political activism, community cohesion, social integration, success and excellence in every field, we need to raise our children in a way that will allow them to achieve their full potential as prescribed by Islam. We shouldn’t let our children be raised in isolation. Let your children interact with others. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) didn’t live in isolation. He interacted with all kinds of people – pagans, Christians, Jews etc. We should raise our children to follow the example of tolerance and good manners of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Further Reading

About the Author

Ahmed Hadhoud is a lecturer at a college in the UK, with a background in engineering and business. The writer is also working towards a Masters degree in Education.