Importance of Education & Knowledge in Islam
The Importance of Education
To seek knowledge is a sacred duty; it is obligatory on every Muslim, male and female. The first word revealed of the Qur’an was "Iqra" READ! Seek knowledge! Educate yourselves! Be educated.
Religious and Secular (not religious) Knowledge
There are two kinds of knowledge which are very important for a human being. Secular knowledge (non-religious knowledge) is for day to day problem-solving and religious knowledge is "for a smooth life on earth and hereafter." Religious knowledge included knowledge of the Qur'an and the laws of Islam which was the basis for the Muslim way of life. The Prophet Muhammad said: "Attainment of knowledge is a must for every Muslim." Respect for Knowledge
The text of the Qur'an is filled with verses inviting man to use his intellect (mind, intelligence), to ponder (think deeply), to think and to know. To Muslims, "the goal of human life is to discover the Truth which is none other than worshiping God in His Oneness." The Hadith literature is also full of references to the importance of knowledge. "Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave", and "Verily (truly) the men of knowledge are the inheritors of the prophets", and "Seek knowledge, even as far as China". These ideas have echoed throughout the history of Islam and encouraged Muslims to seek knowledge wherever it might be found. During most of its history, Islamic civilization has been witness to a true celebration of knowledge. That is why every traditional Islamic city possessed public and private libraries, and some cities like Cordoba and Baghdad boasted of libraries with over 400,000 books. Scholars have always been held in the highest esteem (respect) in Islamic society."
Libraries in Islamic Cities and in European Cities
1. Islamic culture valued literacy. In the ninth century, the library of the monastery of St. Gall was the largest in Europe. It boasted 36 volumes. At the same time, that of Cordoba contained 500,000.
2. It took much more than paper to create an intellectual and scientific culture like that of Islamic Spain. Islam, with its tolerance and encouragement of both secular and religious learning, created the necessary climate for the exchange of ideas. It has been estimated that today there are 250,000 Arabic manuscripts in Western and Eastern libraries, including private collections. Yet in the 10th century private libraries existed which contained as many as 500,000 books.
The importance of education is quite clear. Education is the knowledge of putting one's potentials to maximum use. One can safely say that a human being is not in the proper sense till he is educated. This importance of education is basically for two reasons. The first is that the training of a human mind is not complete without education. Education makes man a right thinker. It tells man how to think and how to make decision.
The second reason for the importance of education is that only through the attainment of education, man is enabled to receive information from the external world; to acquaint himself with past history and receive all necessary information regarding the present. Without education, man is as though in a closed room and with education he finds himself in a room with all its windows open towards outside world.
This is why Islam attaches such great importance to knowledge and education. When the Qur'an began to be revealed, the first word of its first verse was 'Iqra' that is, read. Education is thus the starting point of every human activity.
A scholar (alim) is accorded great respect in the hadith. According to a hadith the ink of the pen of a scholar is more precious than the blood of a martyr. The reason being that a martyr is engaged in defense work while an alim (scholar) builds individuals and nations along positive lines. In this way...