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The Importance Of Education
For Muslims

As we know, madrasahs are one of Islamic societies' oldest education-teaching institutions. Before madrasahs, education and teaching activities in the Islamic world were carried out in places of such varying names and characters as masjids, mosques, scholars' homes, palaces and bookshops. Since mosques and masjids in particular were used for instruction in the essentials of religion, they were also employed for education and teaching purposes.

According to Islamic history, following the first revelation to our Prophet (saas), the first Muslims who converted to Islam secretly assembled in the house of al-Arqam, one of the companions of the Prophet, where they were instructed and taught by our Prophet (saas). It is said that this is how the school and madrasah were born in Islam. The Dar-al-Arqam (House of Arqam), known as the first madrasah in Islam, is still preserved in memory of those days. With the founding of the Islamic State in Medina by our Prophet (saas) following the Hegira, the Masjid Nabawi constructed there became a centre of Islamic education and teaching. Muslims would gather there, study the Qur'an and Islam and improve themselves. The gradual increase in need caused our Prophet (saas) to found other education centres in different parts of the city. Madrasah education continued in the same way during the period of the four caliphs.

Not only religious knowledge was taught in the madrasahs; sciences of the time, such as astronomy, mathematics, geometry and medicine were also given an important place. Later still, courses in Western languages, Persian, history, geography, astronomy, mechanics, trigonometry, chemistry, painting, physical training, hygiene, social sciences, philosophy, economics and finance were added to the curriculum. These institutions continued to be known as "medreses" during the time of the Turks.

The Nizamiyah madrasahs opened by Sultan Alparslan's vizier Nizam al-Mulk during the Great Seljuk Empire and named after him are very well known. Following this new line adopted by the Seljuk Empire, there was a rush to open madrasahs just about everywhere in the Islamic world.

In the 13th and 14th centuries, centres such as Cairo, Damascus, Basra and Bukhara, and particularly the Transoxania region, became the most important powers in the development of Ottoman institutions of learning under the influence of the madrasahs they possessed. Their instruction was very definitely one of the major factors in the success of the Ottoman Empire, one of the greatest empires in the world and which survived for six centuries.

Recite: In the Name of your Lord Who created; created man from clots of blood. Recite: And your Lord is the Most Generous, He Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know.
(Qur'an, 96:1-5)

A Muslim needs to know the Qur'an in order to correctly understand and interpret the world, human beings, natural events and everything in the universe. Knowing for what purpose Allah created the universe, human beings and all other living things is of the greatest importance from the point of view of appreciating Him properly. Engaging in activities based solely on artificial knowledge, without a knowledge of the Qur'an and without considering the hidden aspects of events, cannot lead to productive results. In the Qur'an, Allah summons humanity to investigate and reflect upon the heavens, the earth, mountains, stars, plants, seeds, animals, the alternation of the night and the day, the creation of man, the rain and many other created things. Examining these, man comes to recognize the artistry of Allah's creation in the world around him, and ultimately, to know our Creator, Who created the entire universe and everything in it from nothing.

"Science" offers a method by which the universe, and all the beings therein, may be examined to discover the artistry in Allah's creation, thereby communicating it to mankind. Religion, therefore, encourages science, adopting it as a tool by which to study the subtleties of Allah's creation.

Religion not only encourages scientific study, but also permits that, supported by the truths revealed through religion, scientific research be conclusive and expeditious. The reason being, that religion is the only source to provide accurate and definitive answers as to how life and the universe came into being. As such, if initiated upon a proper foundation, research will reveal the truths regarding the origin of the universe and the organization of life, in the shortest time, and with minimum effort and energy. Science can only achieve true results if it adopts the aim of studying the infinite might of Allah and the proofs of creation in the universe, and if it pursues its activities solely in that light. Only if science is properly directed, if it is kept on a correct course in other words, can it become a vehicle whereby mankind achieves useful information and progress. As stated by Albert Einstein, considered one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, "science without religion is lame", which is to say, that science, unguided by religion, cannot proceed correctly, but rather, wastes much time in achieving certain results, and worse, is often inconclusive.

In the event that the purpose behind the creation of man, the transitory nature of this world, the fact that what matters is the life of the hereafter, death, the certain existence of destiny and the hereafter, the fact that every individual will have to account for his deeds, and the existence of heaven and hell are all fully known, then this will shape the individual's way of looking at events, his way of living and his reactions to the events he encounters. If these truths are not known, then even if a person receives the very best education in the very best schools and/or participates in academic studies at the very highest level, that education will still not be enough. That is because the important thing is for the individual to have a lifestyle and moral values which are pleasing to Allah.

This world is very transitory and is created as a place of testing. The individual is tested here, and will receive a recompense in the hereafter based on the moral values and behaviour he displayed in the life of this world. This is an unavoidable fact for all people. For that reason, as well as receiving a modern scientific education the individual should also be immersed in religious matters. That is because someone who has adopted the moral values of the Qur'an and comprehended the religion will use this knowledge and technology he has learnt in the manner most pleasing to Allah, and thus for the benefit of mankind.

This world is very transitory and is created as a place of testing. The individual is tested here, and will receive a recompense in the hereafter based on the moral values and behaviour he displayed in the life of this world. This is an unavoidable fact for all people. For that reason, as well as receiving a modern scientific education the individual should also be immersed in religious matters. That is because someone who has adopted the moral values of the Qur'an and comprehended the religion will use this knowledge and technology he has learnt in the manner most pleasing to Allah, and thus for the benefit of mankind.

Only those of His servants with knowledge have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving. (Qur'an, 35:28)

 

Religious instruction imparted from an early age will enable that individual to have a strong character and to have pleasing moral values and a healthy way of looking at the world.

 

 

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