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Islam lays a great deal of emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge. Right from the beginning, as stated in the Qur'an, man was given a special status just for the sake of knowledge. In fact, for knowledge, Allah made man vicegerent, when angels argued about the vicegerent of man then Allah taught Adam the names of all things and then Adam told them and hence proved his ability to become a vicegerent on earth.


When the revelation of the Qur'an started, the very first verses revealed to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were all about knowledge and reading. Allah revealed to him:


ﭻ  ﭼ  ﭽ  ﭾ  ﭿ  ﮀ  ﮁ  ﮂ  ﮃ  ﮄ  ﮅ  ﮆ  ﮇ   ﮈ  ﮉ  ﮊ  ﮋ  ﮌ      ﮍ  ﮎ  ﮏ  ﮐ  ﮑ   ﮒ   


Translated as: "Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot of blood. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who taught man that which he knew not." (Al-'Alaq: 1-5)


The Qur'an has encouraged seeking for knowledge in so many verses of its chapters. However, after the emphatic encouragement it went further to two levels.


In the first level it stated the status of the knowledgeable. Explicitly,  it stated that they are of the highest being on earth in ranking. This clearly means that with knowledge a people will surely succeed and rule the world or others who are less knowledgeable. Allah even rated their witness with His and the angels in same level. He says:

ﰈ  ﰉ  ﰊ  ﰋ   ﰌ  ﰍ  ﰎ  ﰏ    ﰐ  

Translated to mean: "Allah wil extalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge." (Al-Mujadalah: 11)

Also did He say elsewhere:

  ﯳ  ﯴ  ﯵ  ﯶ  ﯷ  ﯸ   ﯹ   ﯺ  ﯼ    ﯽ       ﯾ  ﯿ  ﰀ 

Translated as: "Say: 'Are those who know equal to those who know not?'" (Az-Zumar: 9)

He also said:

ﭤ   ﭥ  ﭦ     ﭧ   ﭨ   ﭩ     ﭪ  ﭫ  ﭬ  ﭭ  ﭮ  ﭯ   ﭱ   ﭲ   ﭳ    ﭴ  ﭵ  ﭶ  ﭷ 

Translated as: "Allah bears witness that none is worthy of worship but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness)." (Al-Imran: 18)


The second level is that, after the elevation, He stated that the main goal and objective in being knowledgeable is nothing but to know Him better and thus become the most God fearing as compared to every other less knowledgeable ones. He said:

ﯖ  ﯗ  ﯘ  ﯙ   ﯚ  ﯛ  ﯜ  ﯞ  ﯟ  ﯠ  ﯡ  ﯢ  ﯣ   ﯥ  ﯦ  ﯧ   ﯨ    

Translated to mean:"And likewise of men and [moving (living) creatures, beasts], and cattle, are various colours. It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that (actually) fear Allah." (Fatir: 28)


This made the solid foundation upon which the war against racism and such other differences initiated by man based on colours and languages or nationalities were thrown out of Islam. Allah created every being and designed them as He wished into different colours and languages. He then made it clear that such handiwork of His is nothing but part of His numerous signs to show His Greatness to the highest level of beings, the knowledgeable ones. To this end He said:

ﮟ  ﮠ  ﮡ   ﮢ  ﮣ  ﮤ  ﮥ  ﮦ  ﮨ   ﮩ  ﮪ  ﮫ  ﮬ  ﮭ 

Translated as: "And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge." (Ar-Rum: 22)


The Glorious Qur'an is the fountain head of wisdom, from which all other sources of knowledge derive their authority. It consist of the very words of Allah, revealed on to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in twenty three years, first in Makkah and completed in Madinah. Allah says:

ﭻ  ﭼ  ﭽ  ﭾ  ﭿ   ﮀ  ﮁ  ﮂ  ﮃ  ﮄ  ﮅ

Translated to mean: "This day have I perfected for you, your religion and completed My favor on your, and chosen for you Islam as a religion." (Al-Maidah: 3)


On the other hand, the hadith and teachings of the prophet (PBUH) never relegated in calling firmly to knowledge and seeking it. The prophet categorically stated this in so many ahadith. Some of these ahadith are:

  • "Seeking for knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim."
  • "He who leaves home in search of knowledge walks in the path of Allah." 
  • "The one who takes to a path seeking knowledge through it , Allah will make easy for him with that a path to Paradise."

After the numerous words from the noble prophet (PBUH) calling for attaining knowledge, he also in many other statements stipulated certain major rules for seeking this knowledge. For instance he said: "Anyone who seeks of knowledge aiming to achieve with it the pleasure of this world will not smell the fragrance of Paradise."


Islamic education system from all its sources comprises of certain basic principles some of which are:

1. Belief in the oneness, immateriality, absolute power, mercy and supreme compassionateness of the Creator from Whom all knowledge come.

2. Knowledge is not a property to be hidden and kept away, but should lead to charity and brotherhood among mankind.

3. Accountability of human actions in the hereafter which gives the self accountability in one's knowledge.

4. Developing a sense of social consciousness i.e. enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong with the help of this knowledge.



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