Quarterly: Issue No 60
ISLAMIC EDUCATION - SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL MUSLIMS
Qur’anic injunctions and authentic Ahâdîth that inspire and enjoin every Muslim to seek knowledge for the pleasure of Allâh (Subhânahu Wa Ta’âlâ) indicate the need for Islamic Education based purely on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Everyone in the Muslim society needs to play an active role in establishing schools, colleges and universities or at least learning centres and institutions where everyone (male or female, young or old) can learn authentic Islamic knowledge. This is imperative as Allâh’s Messenger (SallAllâhu Alayhi Wasallam), the world’s Great Teacher and Educator, has made the seeking of knowledge an obligation on each and every Muslim (male and female). Anas Ibn Mâlik (Radiyallâhu Anhu) reported that Allâh’s Messenger (SallAllâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The Seeking of knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim (male and female)…” (Ibn Majah 1/224 and Tirmidhi 218)
Islâm stands as the most rational and precise religion that Allâh has given to the all of mankind. It gives importance to the acquisition of knowledge. In fact, the first revelation that Allâh revealed to His Messenger Muhammad (SallAllâhu Alayhi Wasallam) for the guidance of mankind pertains to reading. Allâh the Most High commands:
Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), 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 [the first person to write in this world was Prophet Idrees (Enoch). (Surah Al-Alaq: Chapter 96: Verses 1-4)
Muslim educators and educational policy makers need to understand the importance of education in truly shaping every student’s personality development towards a well-balanced quality of life. It is the quality of life that guides one who sincerely believes and does righteous deeds in Islam to attain success, especially supreme success in the eternal life to come. They need to make the curriculum relevant to the needs of mankind by teaching the real Islam -- one that is based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah and authentic Ahâdîth of the world’s Great Educator, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). This is an obligatory duty that needs to be fulfilled because as leaders in the field of education, they are accountable to provide the students the necessary knowledge in fulfilling their very purpose in life -- to worship Allâh throughout their lives until death. They need to remember that Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) enjoined us to fulfill our accountabilities or duties to those who are under our care and responsibilities:
Abdullah ibn Umar (Radiyallâhu Anhumâ) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) saying: “Beware. Each one of you is a shepherd and each one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shall be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, each one of you is a guardian and each one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” (Bukhari: Book 9: Volume 89: Hadith 252) and (Muslim: Book 20: Hadith 4496)
Muslim educators and policy makers must fulfil their obligation to make education more relevant and responsive to the needs of the Muslim masses. They need to take admonition from the following Hadith in which the Prophet (SAW) warned those who are entrusted with the affairs of the Muslims but do not do their duty to uplift the (material and spiritual) well-being of the Muslim masses. In the life hereafter, they will be denied entrance to Paradise. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Malih that Ubaidullah ibn Ziyâd visited Ma’qil ibn Yasâr in his illness. Ma’qil said to him: I heard the Messenger of Allâh saying: “Any man whom Allâh has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise.” (Bukhari: Book 9: Volume 89: Hadith 264)
Narrated Ma’qil: The Messenger of Allâh said: “If any ruler having the authority to rule Muslim subjects dies while he is deceiving them, Allâh will forbid Paradise for him.” (Bukhari: Book 9: Volume 89: Hadith 264)
Verily, the best service that a ruler can offer to his people is Islamic education based on the Qur‘ân and the Sunnah. Likewise, educators and educational policymakers can best fulfil their obligations if they design Islamic curriculum based on authentic knowledge of Islam.
Establishment of Islamic education - that is based on the Qur‘ân and the Sunnah - is not only the responsibility of the educators and policymakers. It is the responsibility of all Muslims. Everyone in the society, i.e. parents, teachers, students, the government officials and its people must unite, pull together their resources (including physical, intellectual and social resources) to come up with educational schools, institutions and universities that teach Islamic education relevant to the goal that Allâh the Almighty has set for all humankind. Everyone needs to make a contribution towards Islam as Allâh promises great rewards to anyone who supports in establishing the Truth:
And he (Muhammad SAW) who has brought the truth (this Qur'ân) and (those who) believed therein (i.e. the true believers of Islâmic Monotheism), those are the Muttaqűn (righteous people). They shall have all that they will desire with their Lord. That is the reward of Muhsinűn (good-doers): So that Allâh may remit from them the evil of what they did and give them the reward, according to the best of what they used to do. (Surah Al-Zumar: Chapter 39: Verses 33-35)
O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allâh, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.
(Surah Muhammad: Chapter 47: Verse 7)
Khuraym Bin Fâtik (RA) narrated that Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) said: “If anyone makes a contribution towards Allâh’s path, seven hundred times as much will be recorded to his credit.” (Tirmidhi: 1059 and Nasa’i)
Schools, colleges and universities offering authentic knowledge of Islam (especially in Muslim countries) need to open their services to other Muslims and non-Muslims who are interested to learn authentic knowledge of Islam. Here below are some suggestions:
1) give more scholarships to poor but deserving students from other countries, especially those who do not have access to Islamic education, to study in their universities;
2) establish branches in other countries so that the students do not have to travel;
3) establish links with other world universities to share with their Islamic curriculum and other educational resources;
4) offer Islamic Studies in the English language so that non-Arab speaking students can easily understand and learn Islam;
5) reach out worldwide using the Internet to offer online courses or establish open Islamic schools, colleges and universities - both in the English and Arabic language - at affordable or minimal costs in order to accommodate many poor but deserving students from various countries;
6) work seriously to Islamize subjects outside the Qur‘an and Sunnah courses, which are useful in developing the Muslim student’s knowledge and skills for a well-balanced (material and spiritual) life; and
Muslim educators and policy makers from various countries - offering the right Islamic curriculum - need to seriously consider organizing themselves into one body that scrutinizes or reviews the curriculum of interested institutions to be members of the International Islamic Accrediting Organization. The said organization will only recognize or give accreditation to institutions upon appropriate review (i.e., make revisions, corrections suggestions) of the curriculum based on the Noble Qur’ân and the Authentic Sunnah. The very proof of this idea is the fact that the Noble Qur’ân is called the Criterion (Surah Al-Baqarah: Chapter 2: Verse 185 and (Surah Ale-Imraan: Chapter 3: Verse: 4). In fact, Al-Furqân which means the Criterion is another name for the Noble Qur’ân. It means “that which distinguishes truth from falsehood and right from wrong.” Chapter 25 of the Qur’ân is called Surah Al-Furqân. It starts with the following verse:
Blessed be He Who sent down the criterion (of right and wrong, i.e. this Qur'ân) to His servant (Muhammad SAW) that he may be a warner to the 'Alamîn (mankind and jinns). (Surah Al-Furqaan: Chapter 25: Verse 1)
By implementing such an International Accrediting Organization of Islamic institutions and universities, Muslims who truly want to adhere to the Noble Qur‘ân and the Sunnah will be guided to the right Islamic institutions. They will be protected from taking Islamic Studies in such universities in the west and other non-Islamic countries that offer Islamic Studies and its associated subjects that are not actually based on authentic knowledge of Islam.
To impart more beneficial and relevant education for all Muslims - and non-Muslims - who want to learn the Truth and attain success, Muslims need to:
1) strengthen their Faith (Imaan) by learning Islam in its purest form;
2) apply the knowledge in their day to day lives;
3) unite and help one another to share this authentic knowledge of Islam to others (Muslims and non-Muslims); and
4) be patient and consistent whilst in the path of learning authentic Islam, applying it; and whilst organizing or uniting together to be able to share authentic Islamic knowledge to others and the rest of mankind. In this way Muslims, by the Grace of Allâh, will become assets to their respective societies in promoting a well-balanced life i.e. development in this material world and supreme success in the Eternal world. This is a divine guidance that Allâh the Exalted gives us when He says:
By Al-'Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'rűf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh's Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd, etc.). (Surah Al-Asr: Chapter 103: Verses 1-3)
Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari (RA) narrated that Allâh's Messenger (SAW) said: “…One who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer.” (Muslim: Book 20: Hadith: 4665)
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allâh's Messenger (SAW) said: “He who called (people) to righteousness, there would be reward (assured) for him like the rewards of those who adhered to it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who called (people) to error, he shall have to carry (the burden) of its sin, like those who committed it, without their sins being diminished in any respect.” (Muslim: Book 34: Hadith 6470)
Time has come that we Muslims must be conscious of our duty to Allâh (Subhânahu Wa Ta’âlâ); to worship Him sincerely according to the Qur‘an and the Sunnah by working together to implement Islamic Education in its purest form. In this way, we attain success both in this world and in the eternal life hereafter.
May Allâh, the Almighty, guide us all. Ameen!
O Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in Your Mercy than in my own deeds.
Requesting your humble duas!
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Kyalami Glen, Gauteng
Johannesburg, South Africa