Dr. SHEEBA KHALIDEducationist, Sociologist, Author. Editor-In-Chief MSB-IJIR3 article

The Islamic conception of knowledge

  • Published on September 15, 2014

The Islamic conception of knowledge: According to the Quran: knowledge is the most important thing in one’s life; there are two kinds of knowledge: Religious knowledge and Secular knowledge.

These two kinds of knowledge are very important for a human being, Secular for day-to-day dwelling and religious for his smooth life on earth and hereafter.

The Holy Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) has said: “Atta libul ilm faridhatol kuli Muslim.” this means: “Attainment of knowledge is a must for every Muslim.”

The first guidance given to mankind in the Qur’an was “Iqra” i.e. to read, recite or proclaim.

Surah Iqra and Surah Alaq Chapter 96, Verse 1-5.
“Read! Recite! Proclaim! in the name of thy Lord and cherisher who created – created the human, out of a congealed clot of blood (a leach-like substance). Read and thy Lord is Most Bountiful. He who taught (the use of) the Pen- taught man that which he knew not (96 : 1-5).

There are four gates of knowledge, Perception, Intellect, Intuition, and Revelation. Perception deals with the five senses and enhances material research. It provides us with information on the matter and its properties of matter. Scientists use this method. Philosophers, Logicians, and Jurists use intellect to solve problems. The mystics and poets are endowed with the boon of intuition. The Prophets have been given the special and chosen duty of reformation through the gift of revelation. Islam ordains to use all these methods for the benefit of humankind. The antonym of “ Ilm” (knowledge) is “ Jehl” (ignorance). The Quran as a place says that turn your back on the ignorant. It means that we should not strike our heads with the stony walls of illiteracy and ignorance rather we should educate the uneducated lot. An eminent Muslim political thinker Al-Mauwardi in his book entitled “ The leadership and Politics” writes that four characteristics are essential for a Muslim ruler or leader, Knowledge, Piety, Justice, and Administration. Eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell in his book entitled “ Education and Social Order” writes that tolerance is the first step towards learning. Real knowledge makes us tolerant, civilized, and rational. In Islamic jurisprudence, no one can become Faqih (Jurist) without sound intellectual background. Whether someone is a scientist, a ruler, a leader, or a jurist, knowledge is the basic requirement for these positions. The Islamic conception of education teaches us to be the master of matter and mind to serve humankind.

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