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.

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17 thoughts on “Knowledge in Islam – Your Role

  1. maashÁllah, inspiring article. jazakÁllah khair.

    I esp. liked the point about how NOT to discipline. so many times i’ve seen parents take the tough stance – thinking their child will work harder or understand things better – yet they question themselves when the child is older – as to why he/she didn’t gain more education or get a better job.  in the long run, these parents are hurting their children more then they think.  having lots of knowledge does not mean that that person will have a better job – emotional contribution – is a must – if the child cannot socialise and is emotionally unstable things may be very difficult.

    Also – liked the fact that we have to teach our children (and i think adults should have similar experiences) of seeing how things are in all places on earth – i.e. different cultures, backgrounds, and diff. religions.  Not only does it reinforce our own beliefs it helps us to become better people.

  2. There is always best articles here to improve my life, but then a week goes and I am downgrading to where I was. And forget it unless if I read it again…

    Help with that?

    1. Well, I think it is important that you try to stay in contact with like minded people who would encourage you and support you in your pursuit of excellence inshallah. You need those who can help you replenish your enthusiasm and your motivation.

      Also, read biographies for successful and accomplished people in business, science, arts etc. These biographies will open your eyes to discovering your own potential and learning how to be successful. 

      Subscribe to blogs and groups where you interact with like minded people, motivate others and let others motivate you.  

  3. Thanks a lot dear Ahmed for your article. I agree with your opinion. Would you kindly focus on why muslims are poor and unlettered? If one is a  really a good muslim ,he or she must be literate with an excellant life. Allah(SWT) promised that if you are on HIS term , he will protect you in every respect. Do you muslims are not in terms with Allah’s(SWT) direction or Prophets(SAW) sunnah. I see muslims are far away from knowledge, the knowledge Allah has created for the mankind

    1. Well, Irshad, there are so many reasons behind poverty and lack of pursuit of knowledge in Muslim and non Muslim societies. I think we all have to work to change this reality. We all should try to influence those around us and motivate them to pursuit of knowledge, science and excellence. We all should strive to help Muslims understand that pursuit of science and knowledge is a cardinal Islamic value. All the problems that Muslims suffer from are somehow related to the fact that  we didn’t follow the 1st word in the Quran which is Iqra (it means read and it symbolises pursuit of science and knowledge). I think it was Malcolm X who said: “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”.  

  4. Jazak Allahukhair for this article. Very important message.

    Can you share some books that you’ve benefited from? (Top 10, maybe?) Jazak Allahukhair

    1. Salam Hiba
      I read in every field, I don’t limit myself to religious books as all kinds of science and knowledge are from God. God orders us in the Quran to investigate nature, to watch his creation etc. Quran encourages us to explore all areas of science and intellect. I try to read and learn all the time. I download ebooks, audiobooks and documentaries in my phone so that while driving, walking or even eating, I can still be learning. I think we should all do that as you can imagine the amount of time that we waste sitting idly in traffic or waiting for the bus etc. This is time that God will hold us accountable for. It should not be wasted. It should be used to the max. We live in the information age. Ignorance is a crime. And knowledge is cheap. There are so many wonderful sources for knowledge around us. These are some useful websites You can watch useful and enlightening documentaries for free here I like documentaries by John Pilger and John Perkins.  You can get free ebooks and books in many languages for Muslims, Non Muslims and New Muslims here You can get free audio books here 

      Online library here 

      Plenty of free ebooks in Arabic mainly but there are also English and French here I guess 

      1. Asalamu ahlaykum;)

        Jazzakah lahukheir for this article and all these sites you just provided. I don’t even want to look at the TV anymore. This is exactly what i needed. Alhamdillah. Thank you;)

  5. “Read” was the first word to be revealed from the Qur’an. This tells you to gain knowledge. Knowledge = Islamic Knowledge + Worldly Knowledge.Knowledge is in hierarchy. For Muslims; Islamic knowledge is first and then worldly knowledge that will let you help the world.

    Through Islamic Knowledge; we built our character, prepare ourself for Hereafter and for this dunya and help the world; worldly knowledge facilitates that goal.

    #1 most important thing for our children is character development.  Prophet PBUH said, “a person can reach a high status in the hereafter by his good character though he may be weak in matters of worship, and he can also go down to the lowest part of hell by his wicked character. (Abu Dawood) 

    #2 Give them worldly knowledge as the articles explains. 

    We all know desire to do good doesn’t necessarily lead to good; our mind can easily trick us into doing bad by convincing us its good. We need set of rules that can guide our behavior; a systematic way of thinking; These rules will have to be applicable in every situation; weave out bad decisions; and universally apply to all situation. These rules and guidelines come from Qur’an and Sunnah. We use rules in Qur’an to develop pious character. It is important for us to realize Islam is not just about ibadah, it’s a very practical religion. One who can study Islam and learn to apply its teaching in real life situation will be successful. 

    Once these children have their character solid; stopping their success is inevitable; they will come out to be very successful human beings; they will excel in science; math; marriage; community; dunya and the hereafter.

    Jazakullah Khair, Nabeel Noor, Chicago, IL

  6. It is of important to note that the first five verses that initiated the revelation of Glorious Book of Islam، Holy Qur’an، is squarely emphasizing the inestimable importance of education and also explaining different faculty of knowledge to mankind in general and muslims in particular. So that the knowledge would not be taken with frivolity.

  7. Bismillah,ir-Rahman,ir-Rahim.
    Ashahadu An Laa illaaha illal llahu
    Wa Ash Hadu Anna Muhammadan Abdu Hu Wa Rasooluhu
    ”I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah
    who is without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is the Rasool.”
    “O Allah, Shower Your Peace upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have brought peace to Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. O Allah, Shower your blessing upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious”.
    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, As-Salaam Alaikum!
    My Name is Khalid U.Ibrahim. I am in need of your (Du’a) Prayers for ALLAH’s Help and Protection.Ya ALLAH! enable Me to be Grateful for the Favors that You have bestowed on Me!Ya ALLAH clean and purify our Hearts and Souls in this Life.O Allah! I seek Protection with You from the Evil of what You have Created. O Allah, I seek Protection with You from the Evil of sins and from being in debt)(Ya ALLAH!) O ALLAH! I Beg of you to Bestow on us (the Believing Muslims) a Home, a Home of Safety, Security and Peace in this World Life, Out of the Reach of Your Enemies and Out of the reach of my and also Grant us a Home of Safety,Security and Peace in the Life Hereafter,Out of the Reach of the Fires of Hell!.(Ya ALLAH!) O ALLAH! I Beg of you to Increase our Faith and Devotion, and to Bless us with Peace in our Hearts and Souls.(Ya ALLAH!) Please Forgive All The Believing Muslims,(Ya ALLAH!) Please grant All the Believing Muslims the Best in this world Life and the Best in Hereafter, and(Ya ALLAH!) Please Protect us(the Believing Muslims) from own Nafs, and(Ya ALLAH!) Please Protect All the Believing Muslims from the Evils of this world{O ALLAH No One in this World cares! No one in this world!O ALLAH No One in this world cares!} (Ya ALLAH!) OALLAH! I Beg of you for the means to do good, and to avoid evil, and Bless us to Love the poor, and I beseech you forgive us(the Believing Muslims whom Believe in You O ALLAH and the last Day) and have mercy on us. And When you subject the people of the World to trial,O ALLAH have Mercy on us! O ALLAH have Mercy on us, Protect us from being affected by it.(Ya ALLAH!) O ALLAH! I Beg of you, your Love and Protection,and the Love of those who Love you, and Grant us the Love of all such actions that will bring us closer to you, with our Love and Devotion to you.(Ya ALLAH!)“O ALLAH, please bring us out of this darkness of illusions and honour us with the(Nur) light of understanding and comprehension, O ALLAH open to us the doors of your mercy! and bestow upon us the treasure of your knowledge and wisdom by your mercy O the most merciful of thoes who show mercy.”(Ya -Ar hamar Rahemeen!”Ya -Ar hamar Rahemeen!Ya -Ar hamar Rahemeen!)

  8. Assalamualaikum! This is so important because the Muslim lectures on Youtube they almost denounce studying science! They make it seem like studying science is a waste of time and that we should drop our science degrees and get Islamic degrees instead!

  9. assalamu alaikum! this is so important to me and other Muslim brothers and Sisthers will be say may allah reward your abounders

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