The Educational Failure of the Muslims
The worst sin
Knowledge works as the most powerful and the most decisive tool in transforming humans’ belief, behavior, character, culture, and fate. It decides the fate of humans’ destiny not only on the earth but also in the hereafter. On the other hand, ignorance works as the most unsurmountable barrier against peace, truth, justice, values and higher civilization. But knowledge has its own connotation and dimensions. To get the real benefit of knowledge, one must know its true depth and dimensions. In fact, the benefit of knowledge can be severely curtailed by restricting its focus and application. In the making of full humans and human civilization, knowledge must go beyond any restrictions; it must encompass the understanding of the Visible and the Invisibles. Both the material and the metaphysical domains of knowledge must be parts of it. Those who built pyramids in ancient Egypt were not illiterate or ignorant; their awe-inspiring talents in civil engineering and architecture still survives as one of the few ancient wonders. But, their ignorance vis-à-vis Divine Truth was awful. Like the ancient ignorant cave dwellers, they too worshipped tyrant Pharaoh as a god. It owes to their knowledge that had highly restricted focus and was de-linked from other highly critical mass of information. As a result, they failed to show their wisdom to appreciate the historical Truth. In fact, they proved extremely foolish and incompetent to understand even the simple message of Prophet Musa (peace be upon him). In comparison, the illiterate Arab –though didn’t build any pyramid, showed better wisdom. They could raise the foundation of the finest civilization on earth in the whole human history. Because, their knowledge incorporated the knowledge not only of the visible world but also of the invisible world –as revealed through the Holy Qur’an. Because of similar restrictive focus and incomplete knowledge, many Indians with the highest university degrees worship cows as god and drink cow urine as a holy drink!
The secularisation of knowledge may add material prosperity to humans but can’t take them to any moral height. Neither can it show the path for success in the endless life in the hereafter. Knowledge gives light, and ignorance brings darkness. People deny Allah, His guidance and His prophets and get deviated from the right path due to ignorance. Ignorant men engage in major sins and ultimately reach the hellfire. Thus it nullifies the whole purpose of human survival. Such man lives only to add failures in the hereafter. In fact, human’s greatest sin –as well as the mother of all sins is ignorance (jahiliyah). The pre-Islamic ignorance in Arabia ended more than 1400 years ago, but modern man’s ignorance thrives amidst all advancement of science and technology. The idolatry, gambling, alcoholism, obscenity, homosexuality, pornography, torture, mass-murdering, ethnic cleansing, economic exploitation, and other vile acts still survive with the same toxicity of ancient ignorance and arrogance. Therefore, in India, people are being lynched to death for eating beef. And in Europe, women are tormented in public and not allowed to enter universities for wearing a headscarf.
Modern man’s ignorance cum incompetence is not in scientific invention, but in discovering the Divine Truth. Skills in knowing the Divine Truth comes only through Divine knowledge. And delivering such knowledge is the exclusive domain of the Allah SWT. Therefore Allah SWT proclaims, “Showing the right path is My task”–(Sura Layil, verse 12). Also revealed, “Allah SWT is the friend of the believing man and woman and takes them from darkness to the light. (And Satan does the otherwise); Satan is the friend of the non-believer and takes them from light to the darkness”–(Sura Baqara, verse 257). The holy Qur’an was revealed to show this right path. Hence, without the Qur’anic knowledge, the greatest Truth in life remains undiscovered, and the task of educating people remains awfully incomplete. So in Islam, education is not a mere academic and professional need, rather the most basic intellectual, religious and civilizational need. Otherwise, man fails to become a Truth-seeking honest human, thereby fails to raise a sane civilization. So the role of education is extremely crucial. Its success is measured not by the number of educational institutions, teachers and students, and nor by per capita income; rather by the number of people saved from hellfire. The ability of those who have gone through the education to know the Divine Truth is the real marker of its success. Even dogs or monkeys, if trained, can do miracles. Man can do, too. The success of modern-day universities’ in adding such skills is undeniable. But its failure in saving people from hellfire is catastrophic. By preaching atheism, secularism, nationalism, racism, fascism, supremacism, materialism, Marxism, hedonism and Darwinism, these universities have opened a huge number of highways to the hellfire.
Allah SWT loves His greatest creation – mankind. He wants their ultimate success – the success here and in the hereafter. But such success is pre-conditional. It does not come through economic growth or scientific invention; rather following the Divine path (siratul mustaqeem). Only this path leads to the heavens. Thousands of prophets were commissioned by Allah SWT to show that path. They did not teach science or technology but made Allah’s greatest gift – the true path, known to mankind. Man’s ugliest ignorance and failure are not assessed by the inability to build a pyramid, spacecraft or atomic weapon, rather by his inability to discover and adhere to this greatest Divine gift. This very inability drives him to the hellfire. Departure from this world without knowing and following this Qur’anic Truth will cause the greatest regret in the hereafter. Of all ignorance, this is indeed the most devastating one; and will torment endlessly in the endless life in hellfire.
Mis-education: the worst criminality
The man’s muslimness is crucial. The ultimate success in life depends on it. So, Allah SWT warns, “O you who believe! Fear Allah with all fearfulness – as deemed appropriate for Him; and do not allow death to overtake you unless you are a (true) Muslim”–(Surah Al-Imran, verse 102). So for the believers, Allah SWT sets the priority. It is not attaining great success in professions, politics or business; nor becoming a proud Arab, Afghani, Turkish, Iranian or Bengali, but to be a committed Muslim. For that, it does not require birth in a Muslim family but needs a qualitative change in belief and deeds. Fear of Allah is the essence of such change. And such change comes only through true knowledge –the true understanding of Divine guidance. Allah SWT reveals, “Of all His servants, only those who are endowed with knowledge fear Allah”–(Surah Fatir, Verse 28). The prime objective of the education is to generate such fear of Allah SWT through Islamic knowledge. But if education promotes atheism, secularism, materialism, nationalism, Darwinism, Marxism only adds deviation. Thus, education helps people to go to hellfire. Such education then becomes the worst harmful criminal acts on earth. In the name religion, a lot of vile acts are still done. Ancient ignorance like worshipping man, animals, idols and deities still survive in the life of billions. Likewise, awful criminal acts are done in the name of education. More awfully, teaching falsehood and promoting deviation towards the hellfire –even in Muslim lands, enjoys huge public funds and acceptance as the modern education.
The first thing must be done first. Otherwise, many other crucially important issues stand unattainable. Seeking Islamic knowledge is such a first obligation. Without fulfilling it, becoming a true Muslim remains inconceivable. Hence, the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an was not on salah, fasting, haj, zakat or jihad, but it was “iqra” –which means “do read”. Reading with the understanding of the Holy Qur’an serves as the greatest source of the Divine knowledge. Indeed, Divine guidance comes only through it. Acquiring such knowledge is acknowledged as the most important act of ibadah; other ibadah indeed get added values if it is done with a deeper understanding of the Qur’an. With a void of understanding, ibadah turns to mere lifeless rituals. It fails to bring any qualitative change in man’s behavior and deeds. Such prayers do not prevent people from corruptions; rather people with such lifeless rituals may even overtake the non-believers in such vice. Bangladesh is a perfect example. Very few countries have such a huge number of mosques and mosque-goers; 90% of its people are Muslim. But Bangladesh stood first in corruption 5 times in the world. It is not an economic failure, rather an educational failure. Bangladesh has tens of universities and thousands of colleges and religious madrasas, but those institutions couldn’t add any higher moral values to the students. Rather brought worldwide disgrace. People have failed badly to learn and practice the basic lessons of Islam.
Seeking knowledge is so crucial that even a short engagement in its pursuit is superior to the whole night’s non-obligatory (nafl) prayer –as narrated by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Even the war criminals could be freed if they had delivered writing, reading and numeracy skills to the Muslims -as done with the kafir captives of the battle of Badar. The most distinctive feature of the early Muslims was their spectacular success in realizing and fulfilling this first Islamic obligation of seeking Qur’anic knowledge. They excelled not only as practitioners of religious rituals but also as torchbearers of knowledge in Islamic jurisprudence, politics, philosophy, geography, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, human and social development and military science. Their success was so great that within the shortest possible time, those ignorant people of Arabia became the most educated and civilized people on earth. As a result, the Muslims could become the number one global power and could subdue both the Roman and the Persian empires.
The failure of the West & the lesson
Western civilization added enormous values to stones, metals, minerals, agricultural goods, and other materials. It has added enormous skills and scientific knowledge to humans, too. But it has added little moral and cultural values. Western education is very asymmetrical; it runs only on one dimension. It is focussed only to attain material progress and gave little or no attention to humans’ spiritual development. Its scientific advancement has given the most devastating tools in the hands of the most greedy, brutal and immoral people. In savagery and brutality, they stand hardly better than the Mongol thugs of Halaku and Chengis Khans. In fact, colonialism, imperialism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, slavery, exploitation and other dehumanizing instincts attained more virulence and global expansion by them. They killed more than 75 million people in only two world wars. The Red Indians in the USA, the Aborigines in Australia, and the Maoris in New Zealand were almost ethnically cleansed by them. They didn’t bother to drop atomic bombs on the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Millions of peoples are put to death in Vietnam and other parts of Asia and Africa. Their killing machines are still all-time active. The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine are their recent victims. All worst beasts in all ages could not inflict such deaths and devastations on humans as were inflicted by these torchbearers of this western civilization.
No doubt, science never advanced with such a tremendous speed in the past –as did in recent times. But it is also true, such huge atrocities never happened in any previous segment of human history either. That too happened by the hands of the flagship countries of western civilization like the USA, UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Military occupation, colonization, multinational capitalism, and global exploitation are their original inventions. Here too, the west’s failure owes entirely to its educational failure. The secularisation of knowledge has robbed people of their moral and spiritual compass. So, the so-called educated people terribly fail in distinguishing the right from the wrong and the civilians from the military targets. Therefore, crimes like genocide, ethnic cleansing and drone attacks get their moral, political and legal approval. Such moral failure could only lead to civilizational failure.