The educational failure and the failed Muslims
Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal
Staying ignorant: the gravest sin
Acquiring the right kind of knowledge plays the most crucial role in transforming man’s fate: both here and in the hereafter. And ignorance (jahiliyyah) works as the most devastating predicament; its consequence is most awful. It takes people to hellfire. In Islam, true knowledge has a special connotation and identifying marker. Fire is known by its flame. Similarly, true knowledge of a man is known by his fear of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. It is not only writing, reading and arithmetic skills but also the Qur’anic literacy. The acquired knowledge must give insight, generate fear of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala and show the right path called siratul mustaqeem towards paradise. Otherwise, it can’t be labelled as true knowledge. Whereas, ignorance is the darkness of the mind. It is the lack of ability to see the right from the wrong. Hence, its consequences are disastrous –both here and in the hereafter.
Because of ignorance, people deny Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala and His prophets and get deviated from the right path. They engage in major sins and ultimately reach hellfire. Thus, ignorance nullifies the whole purpose of life. Men of ignorance live only to add more agonies in the hellfire. This is why ignorance (jahiliyyah) is called the mother of all sins. Therefore, the most precious good deed is to free people from ignorance. This is why delivering the Qur’anic knowledge to anyone is better than donating billions of dollars. Because billions of dollars doesn’t save one from the eternal hellfire but the Qur’anic knowledge does. This is why Islam didn’t start its mission by prayers or fasting, but by removing ignorance (jahiliyyah). Hence iqra (read) –the key to access knowledge is the first revelation from Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. Moreover, like five times prayer and month-long fasting in Ramadan, seeking knowledge was made obligatory on every man and woman.
The pre-Islamic jahiliyyah (ignorance) in Arabia ended about 1,450 years ago, but modern men’s jahiliyyah thrives even today amidst all scientific knowledge and material progress. Because of ignorance, idolatry, gambling, alcoholism, obscenity, homosexuality, pornography, torture, infanticide, mass-murdering, ethnic cleansing, economic exploitation and other vile acts survive with the ancient level of barbarity. Modern men’s ignorance is not in scientific invention, but in discovering the Truth from various brands of falsehood. Skills in knowing the Truth come only through Divine knowledge. And delivering such knowledge is the exclusive domain of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. Therefore Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala proclaims, “Showing the right path is my task” – (Surah Layil, verse 12). Also revealed, “Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala is the friend of the believing men and women and takes them from darkness to the light. (And Shaitan does otherwise). Shaitan is the friend of the non-believers and takes them from the light to the darkness.”– (Surah Baqarah, verse 257). The Holy Qur’an was revealed to show the enlightened right path. Without the Qur’anic knowledge, the greatest Truth remains undiscovered and the objective of education remains unfulfilled.
The crimes of secular education
Education is not a mere professional need, rather the most basic human, religious and civilizational need. Otherwise, a student fails to become a Truth-seeking honest human. As a result, he fails to participate in raising a sane civilization. Hence, the role of education is crucial. Its real success is not measured by the number of colleges, universities, degree holders, professionals and per capita income, but by the number of people saved from hellfire. The real markers of educational success are many. These are the enlightened insights and foresights, the intellectual capacity to identify the Truth from lies, and the purification of thoughts, behaviour and character. Even dogs or monkeys, if trained, can do miracles. Trained men and women can do many miracles too. The success of modern-day’s universities’ in adding such skills is undeniable. But its failure in saving people from hellfire is awful. By preaching atheism, secularism, materialism, capitalism, Marxism, hedonism, and Darwinism, these secular universities have opened a lot of highways to hellfire. Colonialism, imperialism, racism, supremacism, enthnic cleansing, wars of occupation, World Wars and use of chemical bombs and nuclear bombs are not the only crimes of secular education, taking billions of people to the eternal hellfire through conceptual corruption are its most catastrophic crimes.
Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala loves His greatest creation –the humans. He wants their ultimate success –both here and in the hereafter. But such a success of humans is entirely pre-conditional. Men and women must long for it and also must work for it. It doesn’t come through mere good wish, supplication, religious rituals, economic success or scientific inventions. It can be attained only by following the Divine path (siratul mustaqeem). Only the Qur’anic path leads to paradise. It is also crucial that no segment of the path should be left uncovered. It is indeed the most important issue in human life. Thousands of prophets were commissioned by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala to show the right path. They didn’t come to teach science or technology but made Allah’s greatest gift – the true path to paradise known to mankind. Man’s ignorance cum educational failure is not measured by inability to build a pyramid, spacecraft, or a computer, rather by inability to discover the greatest Divine gift revealed in the Holy Qur’an. Such inability takes humans definitely to the eternal hellfire. Death 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. Such a regret will torment a disbeliever endlessly in the endless life in hellfire.
Men and women’s Muslimness is crucial. The ultimate success in life depends on it. So, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala 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 Sub’hana wa Ta’ala sets the priority. It is not attaining success in professions, politics, or business; nor becoming a proud Arab, Afghani, Turkish, Iranian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi, but to be a committed and Allah-fearing Muslim. For that, it does not require birth in a Muslim family but needs to grow up with Qur’anic knowledge. Fear of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala is the harbinger cum catalyst for such change. And fear of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala comes only through Qur’anic knowledge. In this regard, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala reveals, “Of all His servants, only those who are endowed with the knowledge (of Qur’an) fear Allah.–(Surah Fatir, Verse 28). Hence, the prime objective of education is to generate such fear of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala through Islamic knowledge. But if education promotes atheism, secularism, materialism, nationalism, Darwinism, Marxism, then it adds only deviation and takes people to the hellfire. Such education then becomes the most harmful criminal act on the earth. It is committed because of secular education. It doesn’t remove ignorance on religion. Hence, even in the name of religion, faith, and religious culture a lot of vile acts are done. As a result, ancient ignorance like worshipping man, animals, idols, and deities still survives in many people’s lives –as seen in India. Then, teaching falsehood and adding deviation towards hellfire gets public acceptance as modern education. As a result, billions of people march on the path towards hellfire.
First thing first
The first thing must be done first. Otherwise, a range of other good things stand undone. 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 five times salah, fasting, hajj, zakat, or jihad, but it was “iqra” –which means “do read”. Reading and understanding the Holy Qur’an serve as the greatest means to access Divine knowledge. In fact, the Divine guidance can be attained only through it. Acquiring such knowledge is the most important act of ibadah; other forms of ibadah get the added value if done with a deeper understanding.
With a void of understanding of the Holy Qur’an, ibadah becomes mere lifeless rituals. It fails to bring any paradigm shift in mind; nor does it bring any qualitative change in behavior and deeds. Prayers are the means of deep remembrance (zikr) that purifies the soul. It is revealed in the Holy Qur’an that five time prayers keep people away from evil deeds. For that, prayer needs to be proper. It requires full concentration and understanding of the verses that are recited in the prayer. If prayers are done without concentration and understanding indeed does the opposite. Instead of bringing blessings, it earns the curse of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala. It is revealed: “So woe to those who pray but are heedless of their prayer.” – (Surah Al-Ma’un, verse 4-5). It is also commanded, “O you who have believed, don’t approach prayer while you are intoxicated and until you don’t understand what you are reciting in the prayer.”- (Surah Nisa, verse 43).
If prayers become tools of earning Divine curse, it opens the door for evil deeds. Such prayers can’t prevent people from evil deeds. The people with such lifeless rituals may even overtake the non-believers in vice. Bangladesh with its 91 percent Muslim population is a perfect example of that. Very few countries have such a huge number of mosques and mosque-goers –as found in Bangladesh. More than 2 million people assemble in the annual ijtema of Tablighi Jama’at. Despite all this religiosity, in the earlier years of the current century, Bangladesh stood first five times in the list of most corrupt countries in the world. It tells a lot about the failure of this country. It is not agricultural or industrial failure, rather an educational, cultural, and moral failure. Thousands of its schools, colleges and universities couldn’t show the path revealed in the Holy Qur’an, nor could add any higher understandings of Islam to its Muslim citizens. Instead, showed paths of devilish deviations. As a results, in Bangladesh, the followers of secularism, nationalism, fascism, opportunism, liberalism and many other anti-Islamic ideologies are much more than the true followers of Islam. Therefore, the anti-Islamists could easily defeat the Islamists in political and intellectual wars. So, the state and its civil and military institutions now lie under their full occupation. The situation in other major Muslim countries like Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan, and Nigeria are no less dismal either. It is a pity that those who claim to be Muslim utterly fail to learn and practice the basics of Islam and differ so badly from the early Muslims.
Fate of a people always gets decided in schools. Seeking knowledge is so crucial for being a Muslim that even a short engagement in learning is superior to spending the whole night in non-obligatory (nafl) prayer –as narrated by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). In the days of the Prophet (peace be upon him) even the war criminals could be freed on the condition of transferring writing, reading, and numeracy skills to the Muslims -as done with the kafir captives of the battle of Badar. The most distinctive attribute of the early Muslims was the spectacular success in fulfilling this first Islamic obligation like seeking knowledge. They excelled not only as practitioners of religious rituals but also as the torch bearers of knowledge in jurisprudence, politics, philosophy, geography, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, human and social development, and military science. The Holy Qur’an was the first book in the Arabic language; but in a very short span of time, they developed the richest treasure of knowledge in the contemporary world. Their success was so great that within a few decades, the ignorant people of Arabia became the most educated and the most civilized people on the earth. As a result, the Muslims could become the number one global power by defeating both the Roman and the Persian empires.
The failure of the west
The western civilization added enormous values to metals, minerals, agricultural goods, and other stuff, but hardly added any moral and spiritual values to humans. In fact, the western educational development is very asymmetrical. In its one-dimensional materialist milieu, it deliberately ignored moral and spiritual development. The toxic ideologies like nationalism, racism, racial supremacism, fascism, colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, slavery, exploitation, and other dehumanizing instincts got their birth in Europe and received a global expansion by the western colonialists. Because of scientific discoveries, the greediest and wildest predators of the west gained the most devastating tools in their hands. As a result, the western colonialists and imperialists could cross all old records of savageries of history. They killed more than 75 million people in only two World Wars. The Red Indians in North America, the Ancas in South America, the Aborigines in Australia, and the Maoris in New Zealand were almost ethnically cleansed by them. They didn’t bother to drop even nuclear bombs on the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Millions of people are put to death in Congo, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia and Africa. They also used chemical weapons. Their killing machines are still all-time active. The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Palestine are the recent victims. All wild beasts of all ages and of all parts of the world couldn’t inflict even 1 percent of 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 it has done in the last one hundred years. But it is also true that such huge and terrible atrocities never happened in any segment of human history either -as happened in modern times. That too happened at the hands of the flagship countries of European civilization like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and Italy. The worst crimes like military occupations, colonization, genocides, ethnic cleansings, multinational capitalism, and global exploitation are their original inventions. Here too, the Europeans’ failure owes to its educational failure. The secularisation of knowledge has robbed people of their moral and spiritual compass. So, the people fail to distinguish the right from the wrong. Because of that, the vilest criminalities like genocide, ethnic cleansing, dropping nuclear bombs and drone attacks get their moral, political and legal approval. Such failure can only lead to a civilizational failure and cause havoc with a global expanse.
Islam’s past success
Islam’s main focus is to ensure humans’ ultimate success -both here and in the hereafter. For such success, moral and spiritual development is crucial. Hence, it is the main agenda of Islam. Islam identifies it as the number one issue in humans’ life. No amount of economic and scientific progress will benefit them unless they develop morally and spiritually. This is the prerequisite of any sound humane civilizational development. Only such developments ensure Allah’s blessing –indispensable for any real success. The Holy Qur’an reveals, “Certainly Allah does not change the affairs of a people unless they change themselves.” –(Surah Ar-Ra’d, verse 11). And education is the real change-maker. A man adds value to his own attribute through it. Hence, from day one of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an, educating self and others has been the number one obligation in Muslims’ life. Whoever denies or ignores it, ignores Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s wisdom and agenda. Only through education, Islam could add the highest possible values to the early Muslims.
In those golden days of Islam, Muslims did not have any college or university. They turned every mosque and every household into an effective learning institution. Then, the Holy Qur’an –the only Divine book with 100 percent purity worked as the textbook. Because of educational inputs, Muslims became living angels on the earth. History gives testimony to it. In any part of history, did any ruler of a vast country travel five hundred miles only with a servant and a camel? Did any ruler share the ride on his camel with the servant? Did any ruler pull the rope of the camel while the servant stayed seated on its back? The second Caliph Omar bin Khattab (ra) did it while he had to travel from Medina to Jerusalem. Caliph Omar (ra) was not the only man with such moral highness, there were hundreds like him. In those golden days, Muslims did not build any pyramid, any great wall, any palace or spacecraft, but could build men and women with the highest moral qualities. As a result, Muslims could raise the finest civilization in history.
In the early days of Islam, the dynamics of Muslim economy, culture, and civilization were not dependent on added values on metals or materials, rather on added values on humans. In no other part of history, humans received such a huge uplift in their morality, values, deed and dignity. Even thousand years after the emergence of Islam, the equality of man and woman, the right of inheritance for daughters, the liberation of the oppressed, the equal justice for all humans, and the freedom of slaves were not even on the menu of social reformations in other faiths and civilizations. But Islam put those things into practice about 1,450 years ago. The occupation of the foreign lands, the enslavement of the weak, and ethnic cleansing of the occupied lands was the rule of the Greek and the Roman civilization. The western people are proud of their Greco-Roman legacy. The same western legacy was practiced by the western colonialists and imperialists all over the world. The Persian capital Persepolis was burnt down by Alexander –one of the founding fathers of European civilization. But his heinous crime was forgotten and his occupation of the foreign lands by swords was eulogized as a great success. And he was labelled as the Great.
Islam brought not only a change in faith but also brought a moral, political, cultural, and civilizational change. Still, it remains unsurpassed in history. Without progress in understanding the Divine Truth, such advancement was unthinkable. Whatever glorious achievements Muslims achieved in the fields of tafseer, hadees (Prophet (peace be upon him)’s traditions), fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy, and moral science, are the works of the early Muslims. They studied and translated a huge number of books written by non-Muslims. Even the works of the Greek scholars reached the west through their works.
The failed education
Today, Muslims fail not in industry, agriculture, or business, but in education. Whereas in Islam, education was made obligatory before all other religious obligations. Educational failure has proven to be the mother of all failures. Such failure has caused them to forget even the main purpose of their creation. As a result, they fail to carry out even the most fundamental duty as Muslims.
The most important task of educational institutions is to generate deep awareness of the responsibility as Allah Subhana wa Ta’s viceroy. But in almost all Muslim countries, the education system has failed awfully to discharge such duty. Even the religious madrasas have failed badly. It is indeed the greatest educational catastrophe. This is why today’s Islam –as being practiced by most Muslims looks so dissimilar to the early Islam. And Muslims proved to be the failed people on the earth.
A large number of Muslims have returned back to the old jahiliyyah –the ignorance of the pre-Islamic Arab. Due to such retreat, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s sharia law has been replaced by the kufr law in most Muslim countries. Surprisingly, to implement such falsehood in Muslim lands, the enemies of Islam did not need to launch any war. The so-called Muslims did the job themselves. Like any physical disease, jahiliyyah –a moral disease has also its own symptoms. Instead of pan-Islamic brotherhood, the culture of tribal feuds, wars, disunity, disintegration, and rebellion against Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s laws have thrived in almost all Muslim countries. Islam survives only as religious rituals. The rules of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala remain only in the Holy Qur’an and books of hadith and fiqh.
For spiritual growth, learning the Divine truth and distancing from Shaitanic falsehood must go hand in hand and should happen every day. Muslims need a constant renewal of their connection with Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. Otherwise, the death of true belief and spirituality is inevitable. Five times prayers, month-long fasting in Ramadan, zakat, hajj, regular study of Qur’an, and giving charity are the Islamic curriculum to ensure such rejuvenation of iman. But Shaitan has his own institutions and tools too. To disconnect people from Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala, tools like sports, music, prostitution, gambling, wine, pornography, and so-called cultural shows are not the only weapons. The secular educational institutions indeed work as the main weapons.
With the increasing number of secular institutions, the de-Islamization project of the enemies has attended a high momentum all over the Muslim World. So, in most Muslim countries, jahiliyyah is gaining more strength and rapidly inundating the Muslim minds. As a result, Muslims stay more disconnected from the Almighty Lord and get deviated from siratul mustaqeem. The outcome of such de-Islamization is so revealing that most Muslims have already de-learned the Qur’anic Truth –although they are the only people who are appointed by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala as His viceroy (khalifa). What could be the worst betrayal than dishonoring such a graceful Divine appointment? It amounts to dishonoring Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala’s great wish. Can a true Muslim ever think of that?
The failed Muslims and the failed mankind
The fate of Muslims decides the fate of the whole mankind. If Muslims fail, all humans also fail. No more prophet will come to the earth. Now Muslims are expected to do the job on behalf of the Divine prophets. They are the only link between Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala and mankind. And the Holy Qur’an works as the only connecting rope with the All-Powerful Creator; and that is in the Muslims’ hand. So the Muslims’ responsibility is huge. Every Muslim must understand their role and job description. None should stay illiterate on that. Like a soldier of an army, every Muslim must have the adequate training on the mission. Apart from eating and drinking, nothing is more important than education for a Muslim. Educating every Muslim is the greatest responsibility of the education system of every Muslim country. If the education system fails, Muslims also fail.
The word “Muslim” carries a very missionery and revolutionary connotation. It doesn’t mean merely to be a believer in Islam, rather a very committed revolutionary activist –acting in the same way as shown by the Prophet (peace be upon him) about 1,450 years ago. It is indeed the most important legacy of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The revolution must start from every believer and spread to others. Failing to act in that prophetic way means a disastrous deviation from siratul mustaqeem. Such a deviation leads to the most disgraceful failure both here and in the hereafter. Such failure takes one straight to the hellfire. Since Muslims have been assigned with the responsibility to work as viceroys cum messengers, the failure of Muslims means failure of the whole mankind. Then, all men and women on the earth would stay deprived of the Qur’anic roadmap -the greatest gift of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la and the only roadmap of success. As a result, the whole planet would become a habitat of failed people. 1st edition 24/10/2021; 2nd edition 24.03.2022.