In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Topic: THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION IN ISLAM
THE CREATION OF NABI ADAM (A.S)
When Hazrat Adam (A.S.) was created, Allah S.W.T. said to the angels to bow down. Everybody bowed down except Iblis. The reason Iblis refused to bow down was because he said that Nabi Adam (A.S.) was made of clay and he was made from fire. How can fire bow down to clay? The angels looked at it in a different way. They looked at the inside of Nabi Adam (A.S.) because Allah S.W.T. gave knowledge to Nabi Adam (A.S.)
In the Holy Quran, Allah S.W.T. says in Sura 2, verses 31-34:
"And he taught Adam all the names, then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those if you are right. They said: Glory be to thee! We have no knowledge but that which Thou hast taught us; surely Thou art the knowing, the wise. He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names. Then when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not say to you that I surely know what is ghaib in the heavens and the earth and (that) I know what you manifest and what you hide? And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud and he was one of the unbelievers."
THE DUTY AND COMPULSION OF ATTAINING OF KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge is the most important thing in ones life. There are two kinds of knowledge: Religious knowledge and Secular knowledge..
These two kinds of knowledges are very important for a human being. Secular for this 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 Hadith means: "Attainment of knowledge is a must for every Muslim."
Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) has said: "Acquire knowledge of religious jurisprudence. Any one among you who does not become efficient in religious jurisprudence is a rustic."
Allah S.W.T. says in the Quran in Sura 9, Verse 121:
"..........let them devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish their comrades when they return to them so that they may guard themselves against evil."
Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) has said in this same subject: "I would rather like my companions to be flogged on their heads so that they may (be compelled to) acquire religious knowledge."
Allah S.W.T. says in the Holy Quran in Sura 107, Verse 1-7:
"Didnt you see the one who denies religion (din)? Such is the one who repulses the orphan and does not encourage the feeding of the poor. So woe to the worshippers, who are neglectful to their prayers; those who (want but) to be seen (of men) but refuse (to supply even) the neighborly needs."
THE ACADEMY FOUNDED BY IMAM JAFFER AS-SADIQ (A.S.)
If we talk about knowledge, we can not forget Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.). Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) was born on 17 Rabul-ul-awwal 83 A.H. Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) has the same birth date as that of our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). The Imam became the Imam of the time when he was 31 years old. Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) has three titles; they are As-Sadiq, Al-Fadil and At-Tahir.
It was during the time of our sixth Imam (A.S.) that the Khalifah transferred from the Ummayids to the Abbasids. It was because of this transfer and the fights that took place, that Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) had plenty of time to spread Islam. Many foreigners, other than Arabs, came to visit Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) and Islam spread further.
Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.)s knowledge of all branches attracted many students from far places until his students numbered four thousand. Apart from fiqh, hadith, tafsir, etc. Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) also taught science, and other arts e.g. mathematics, and chemistry. One of the famous students of Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) was Jabir Ibn Hayyan who was a mathematician and a chemist. Jabir benefited so much from the Imams knowledge and guidance that he was able to write 400 books on different subjects. Wasil IbnAta - founder of the Mutazlites, Abu Hanifah, the founder of the Hanafi sect and Malik Ibn Anas, the founder of the Maliki sect were all students of Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.).
KNOWLEDGE OF THE IMAMS
We believe that the Imam, like the Prophet, must be the best among mankind and that he must excel in all human qualities, such as bravery, generosity, chasteness, truthfulness, justice, prudence, reason, wisdom, and morality. The reason for this is the same as that of which we gave for the Prophets superiority. He derives his education, the Divine commandments and all his knowledge from the Prophet or from the previous Imam. When a new question arises, he knows the answer from the divine inspiration through the pure mind that Allah has given him. If he gives attention to some matter in order to know it, he will obtain a perfect understanding with no error, for the Imams do not derive their knowledge from the methodological reasoning or from the teachings of men of knowledge although it is possible for their knowledge to be increased and strengthened. For the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) has said:
"O Lord, increase my knowledge!"
It has been narrated that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S) was passing along with his companions and saw a group of people waiting for a Christian priest who was to come out from a cave after his meditation of one whole year. Imam Baqir (A.S.) also waited with other people; as soon as the priest came out he addressed everybody present there and addressed the Imam you are not among these people; the priest then asked Are you among the educated or illiterate? The Imam replied I am not amongst the illiterate. The Imam was the treasure of knowledge (Bakir al-Uloom). The Imam was carrying the same torch from Imam Ali (A.S.) of (Salooni) ASK ME? I HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF SKIES MORE THAN KNOWLEDGE OF EARTH. We as the followers of the Ahlul-Bait should acquire knowledge and part with knowledge whatever we can.
LEARNED MEN ARE OF MANY KINDS
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) is quoted to have said:
"He who learns for the sake of haughtiness, dies ignorant. He who learns only to talk, rather than to act, dies a hyprocite. He who learns for the mere sake of debating, dies irreligious. He who learns only to accumulate wealth, dies an atheist. And he who learns for the sake of action, dies a mystic."
Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) has said about acting with knowledge:
"Accept not deed without knowledge, and there is not knowledge except with action. So, whoever knows, his knowledge leads him to action, and whoever acts not has no knowledge."
DEATH OF A RELIGIOUS SCHOLAR
Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S.) has said: "When a believer dies, the angels weep over him and so do the portions of the earth on which he used to worship Allah and also the doors of heaven through which his good deeds ascended. His death causes such a void in Islam that nothing can fill up because the learned believers are fortresses of Islam like the protecting wall built around the city."
The above hadith is trying to tell us that if we have knowledge we will succeed in the hereafter and if you have knowledge, dont be proud of it. All the Imams and the Prophets were never proud of their knowledge and we should follow our Imams and the Prophets.
To end this essay, I will caught the Prophet: "O Lord, increase my knowledge!"
This above saying is trying to tell us that knowledge can never end, you can increase knowledge everyday.
Written by: Shahid Juma
The Concept of Knowledge in Islam and its Implications for Education in a Developing Country. by Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud
The Faith of Shia Islam by Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar
Ahlul-Bait, The Prophets Household by Al-Baligh Foundation
Status of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) Man and Faith by Morteza Mutahhari
Islamic Religious Education, Book Five
Al-Kaafi, Selections Vol.1