Prof. Mohd. Suleman Siddiqi for Hyderabad Youth Mirror #
The purpose of this article is to point out the emphasis the Qur’an places upon the acquisition of knowledge. The Qur’an says: “Are the wise and the ignorant equal ? Truly, none will take head but men of understanding” (39:9)
The Qur’an further says: “Lord increase my knowledge” (20:114) Apart from these two verses there are a large number of verses in the Qur’an which deal with the acquisition of knowledge. For instance 2:31- 33, 60, 102; 3:66, 190-191; 5:91; 10:93; 11:31; 14:38; 17:12; 18:5; 19:43, 65; 29:8; 32:17; 41:47; 45:9, 17, 24; 55: 2 & 4; 76: 2 & 3; 96: 1-5 etc.
I would like to mention two very important sayings of the noble Prophet (PBUH) which relate to the acquisition of knowledge. Prophet Mohammed made the acquisition of knowledge compulsory upon Muslim men and women.
The Noble Prophet further said: “Only those will inherit the legacy of the Prophet who acquire knowledge”. The Qur’an condemns superstition and encourages scientific thinking to appreciate the existence of God, Who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Creator and Sustainer.
The Qur’an repeatedly invokes the power of observation, the capacity of man to think, reflect and rationalize the existence of God. The Muslims realize the existing of God without any iota of doubt regarding the Oneness of God and the Prophet hood of Muhammad, through worship, fast, pilgrimage and charity.
We can also observe the existence of God in the flow of air, rivers, change in seasons, flight of the birds, and by observing the plant and animal kingdom. We do these because man has been blessed by intellect unlike the animals. We are therefore the best of this creation and are called Ashraf al-Makhluqat. We are required to apply our mind, intellect and rationality.
It is God who directed us to acquire knowledge, educate & empower ourselves, and explore this world. Therefore, God says: “What all I have placed on this earth is for us to explore”. The final word is Islam being a rational religion, the key to success is the knowledge of this world and the hereafter.
The Qur’an upholds that knowledge which leads to comprehension, investigation and invention – a quality by which the ignorant are made wise. For the Muslim Ummah the progress, the regulation of life is indispensable, but regulation cannot come without reason, which is synonyms with knowledge.
The Abbasid Age is known as the Golden Era of Islam. I am looking forward to that golden era. The future of Islam and Muslims is in your hands.
[The author is the Former Vice Chancellor of Osmania University (OU), Hyderabad. He also served OU as the Dean of Dept. of Islamic Studies.]