‘Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who Created-‘
(Surah Al Alaq, versi 1, the 1st Revelation)
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.
I needed to be reminded again about the obligation to seek knowledge so I’ve placed the first revealed ayah, Surah Al Alaq, verse 1, at the top of my posts from now onwards.
Alhamdulillah, my interest in seeking knowledge was instilled at a very young age by my mother. As a child, I would always write ‘Reading’ as my hobby but it was really more than a hobby. I wasn’t just reading- I was learning, exploring, enquiring, understanding. My thoughts weren’t just one-track wondering what the ending would be like. I was thinking, ‘But why did she do that? How did the ship end up that way? Where were the others when it happened?’
Over the years, the range of books I’ve read have varied and expanded. Books of philosophy now sit side by side with childcare and psychology books. My Agatha Christie’s are snuggled in between Muhammad Asad and Edward de Bono. With Adam and Daniel, I made a clear decision about the books they will read when they were still babies. We stayed clear of Disney cartoon character books (You know, the Mouse…) so instead the boys were given books of knowledge rather than fairy tales and comics. Alhamdulillah, now their interest is mainly in current news and science.
But the number one book in my life that I cannot live without must definitely be Al Quran. I have the Book all over my house; in the living room, in my bedroom, in the study and even in my car. And as I read more of Al Quran, I’ve come to realise that it’s the only book I’ll ever need to develop further as a human and as a khalifah.
In the Book, there is everything. (‘Everything? Everything.’ – script from Cat in the Hat movie) History? Check. Social studies? Check. Geography? Check. Biology? Check? Astronomy? Check. Theology? Check. Archaeology? (surprisingly) Check. Dietary? Check. Oceanography? Check. The list goes on…
But, most importantly, the Book holds the key to human development. There has to be a sense of urgency in all of us to study and understand the Words of God in Al Quran to halt the degeneration of our community and the state of the world we live in today. Allah Almighty said in the Quran, Surah Al Baqarah, verse 121,
” Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied; they are the one that believe therein”
Knowledge is nothing if not understood and applied on a daily basis. In Al Quran, Allah Almighty has clearly defined the criterias of human behavior and at a larger extent, human development, be it physically, spiritually, emotionally or mentally. It is ALL explained by the One Who Created us and He is the best one to explain about His creation. Allah Almighty said in Surah Al Inshiqaq, verse 19,
“ Ye shall surely travel from stage to stage”
This ayah tells us that our development will go through a shaping process. It will take time to move from one stage to the other. So, how do we progress from one stage to the other? Through knowledge. It takes us from where we were before to where we need to be next. Knowing and understanding what it involves, what we need to proceed, how we avoid obstacles is the way to reaching a higher state of human development.
The obligation to seek knowledge comes from both Allah subhana wa ta’la and the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. who said, “For him who embarks on the path of seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the way to paradise.” [Muslim]
It is enough to know that in both Al Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., the command to seek knowledge had been given. Knowledge separates Man from the rest of creation. In Al Quran, Surah Al Zumar, verse 9,
” Say: Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those endued with understanding that receive admonition.”
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said,” “Allah, His angels and all those in the heavens and in the earth, even ants in their holes and the fish in their water, call down blessings on those who instruct people in beneficent knowledge.” [Tirmidhi]
May Allah subhana wa ta’ala accept my effort. Ameen.