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Islamic Knowledge Culture

Updated on December 9, 2011

Islamic Knowledge Culture


Islamic knowledge culture has dual
purpose,
e.g., spiritual aspect and
worldly aspect. Spiritual aspect of
knowledge reveals Allah's greatness and
His countless creations meant to be
useful to mankind once their secrets are
unlocked. And the worldly aspect of
knowledge is that its acquisition is
mandatory upon mankind as well as its
dissemination.

A Fully committed adoption and practice of a knowledge culture is one of the major contributions to the rapid development and progress of a nation. The more the culture is practiced, the more developed a nation becomes. Knowledge is therefore one of the bedrocks of ancient, modern and future civilizations. The 21st century has in fact seen the growing importance of the knowledge economy.

In the current world scenario, the success of a nation as a world trader and an economic powerhouse depends to a large extent on the practice of the knowledge culture.

An Islamic knowledge culture is very wide in scope and wider still it its applications and implications. First of all, the culture is much applicable to worldly as it is to spiritual knowledge. This dual purpose of an Islamic knowledge culture is of great significance. Knowledge of the spiritual aspects of Islam reveals Allah's greatness and His countless creations meant to be useful to mankind once their secrets are unlocked. Spiritual knowledge therefore leads Muslims to scientific, technological and other forms of knowledge meant to provide worldly comforts to mankind. The discovery or unlocking the mysteries of the earth and universe leads Muslims closer to Allah which therefore strengthen their faith and devotion to Him. Allah urges:

'Men who celebrate the praise of Allah, standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of)

creations in the heaven and the earth, (with the thought) Our Lord! not for naught. Hast thou created all this. (Al Imran : 191)

The Prophet stated

'To ponder for an hour on the obvious greatness of Allah and His creations is better than praying the whole night' (Ibn Abbas)

The Prophet's statement is not meant to make a Muslims spiritual obligations towards Allah less important. It is meant to show that pondering on the many creations of Allah, and in doing so strengthening man's faith in Allah, is part of the means of getting closer to Allah. This point is further strengthened by the prophet's statement- 'Whoever wishes for the world, he must have knowledge. Whoever wishes for the Hereafter, he must have knowledge, whoever wishes for both, he must have knowledge.

knowledge is so important in Islam that a good Muslim should not only be judged by his spiritual piety towards Allah but also on his knowledge. The Prophet said:

Don't look at a Muslim's prayer and fasting only, but look at his honesty and knowledge also. (Umar Ibn Khattab)

The knowledge contained in the Quran is as large as the knowledge contained in the universe. Both are creations of Allah and one very closely interrelated.

The second aspect of an Islamic knowledge culture is that its acquisition is made mandatory upon mankind. The Prophet said :

'Whoever leaves his house to seek knowledge, he is on the righteous path of Allah until he returns. (Al Tirmizi)

A Muslim is encouraged by the Prophet (pbuh) to even to go to China, a country at the remotest corner of the world during the Prophet's time, to seek knowledge. A Muslim is only relieved of the obligations to seek knowledge when he dies. The Prophet said :

There are only two types of men, those who have knowledge and those who (study to acquire knowledge) and there is no good deed except for these two.

Third major aspect of Islamic knowledge is not only the acquisition of beneficial knowledge mandatory in Islam. its dissemination is also mandatory. It is based on the principle that knowledge is the right of all Muslims irrespective of whether they are poor or rich, of low or high status.

The Prophet said:

'The best donation is to teach a Muslim a knowledge, and for the Muslims to teach the knowledge to his other friends. (Ibn Majah)

Islam's concept of knowledge also covers the use of acquired knowledge. The Prophet said that anyone who has acquired knowledge but is not utilizing such knowledge for the betterment of mankind will not be closer to Allah. In fact, he will be further away from Him.

In knowledge, philosophy holds a greatest position. Islam is not a departmental affair: It is neither mere thought, nor mere feeling, nor more action; it is an expression of the whole man. In the evolution of Religion, philosophy must recognize the central position of knowledge. And the greatest philosophical teaching of Islam is Tawheed or unity. It combined all in one thread. Tawheed represents universal brotherhood. Unity of mankind. It also represents the uniformity of nature. This unity leads towards democracy, peace and helps us to be optimist in our life.

During the last five hundred years religious thought, practicing knowledge in Islam has been practically stationary. There was a time when European thought received inspiration from the world of Islam.

But remember! Intellectual faculty is a special gift divinely bestowed upon man. Islam has laid special stress on this aspect of man. The Quran says 'Allah gave Adam the knowledge of names, all of them' (2:3 1) Dr. Iqbal says, knowledge is conceptual and it is with the weapon of this conceptual knowledge that man approaches the observable aspect of reality.

In stress upon the importance of empirical knowledge, which yields wonderful results of science and philosophy,' He gives Hikmat into whom he wills, and he who is given the Hikmat has truly been given abundant good. But none remember except man of understanding. (2:269)

Islam also laid emphasize on knowledge because of value judgment. Exercise of own intelligence have a more importance in deciding between good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice.

Practicing knowledge leads to the moral responsibility and liberty of Human thought and conscience which led to self- dependence and self-confidence in creating human destiny.

Now, what should be the aim and the ethos of our education in Islamic scene.

Before I answer it, I must tell you what education connotes. Education implies a process ofharmonious growth of development towards a sense of complete realization of all the facultiesand powers inherent in the 'self of an individual. What are the components of &s 'self? It consists of body, the sense organs, the heart, the brain and the natural cavironmentinto which this 'self is born. So the ultimate aim of education is one and one.It is to charter the pathway of the progress of man through the shore-less ocean of realityfrom animality to humanity and from humanity to divinity.

N=D}-. I can say the knowledge culture in Islam is of the individual in the community, by the individual in the community and for the individual in the community.

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