By Sheikh Moussa Drammeh
First: There is no Western, Eastern, Northern or Southern education in our religion. In Islam, seeking knowledge is mandatory on both men and women, even if one has to travel to a different country or continent to get it. There is no geographic limitation when pursuing knowledge in Islam. And if knowledge was confined within Islamic knowledge only, our prophet wouldn’t ask us to travel to China to seek knowledge, when Chinese scholars were neither Muslims nor Islam was being taught there then.
The following traditions of the Prophet supplement the foregoing teachings of the Qur’an in the following way:
- Seek knowledge “even though it be in China.”
- “The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female.”
- “The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.”
- “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
- “God has revealed to me, ‘Whoever walks in the pursuit of knowledge I facilitate for him the way to heaven.’
- “The best form of worship is the pursuit of knowledge.”
- “Scholars should endeavor to spread knowledge and provide education to people who have been deprived of it. For, where knowledge is hidden it disappears.”
“Acquire knowledge: it enables its possessor to distinguish right from the wrong, it lights the way to heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our companion when friendless – it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is an ornament among friends and an armor against enemies.” –
Second: Denying women their rights to seek knowledge is anti-Islam, violates equality, and renders them to dependency that leads to abuse, control and mistreatment.
“For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise,- for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward. (Holy Quran, 33:35)”
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (Holy Quran, 49:13)”
Third: The so called Western Education has thankfully produced more than ninety (90) percent of the useful modern tools we all enjoy today. The Muslim world holds less than ten (10) percent of all issued Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and other Intellectual Properties. Even the tools and equipment these fundamentalist criminals use to terrorize the world are not their inventions. According Holy Quran, one’s status here and hereafter is determines by the level education. As a result, the more knowledge one has the higher his/her societal status can be.
Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition. 39:9.
Fourth: Islam prohibits forcing people to accept our beliefs against their will. Conversion by sword, which is falsely attributed to Islam, is utterly anti Islam. If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! (Holy Quran 10:99).
Fifth: Muslims must learn to compete not complain and blame. Nobody is responsible for the deplorable condition of the majority of Muslim world. Islam is a religion whose first commandment was to READ! And the difference between East and West is about READING. We can continue to rile against the successful Western nations, and falsely blame them for all our self-inflected wounds, but at the end of the day, all comes down to READING. ..Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition (Holy Quran 13:11)
Finally, if Boko Haram wants to defeat Western domination, it must start spending all its energy, resources, anger and commitment to building schools for boys and girls to make Nigeria an outsourcing heaven for hungry Western companies looking for qualified yet less expensive work force. Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: And whoever recommends and helps an evil cause, shares in its burden: And Allah hath power over all things. (Holy Quran 4:85)