Question: What is the position of “education” in the perspective from the Holy Quran?
The Qur’an, in order to show the extraordinary position of “education”, has introduced the world as a university whose whole creations have been created for the knowledge of more and more human beings, and its purpose is to think in the mysteries of phenomena and to become acquainted with the knowledge and power of God. Both the purpose of the creation of the world and the purpose of the prophets (PBUH) was the advancement in knowledge.
In Surah An-Nahl, Allah states a general rule, which is to “ask the knowledgeable if you do not know”; Because science is, in fact, the product of the thinking and experience that predecessors have acquired and pass on to future generations.
A brief look at the verses of the Qur’an shows the extraordinary concern of Islam for this important matter; In Surah Talaq, God introduces the world as a university where all its creatures were created for the purpose of knowledge and awareness of as many human beings as possible, and the purpose was to ponder the secrets of these phenomena and become acquainted with the knowledge and power of God; In other words, the purpose of the whole world of creation has been science and knowledge, and he says:
«اللَّهُ الَّذِی خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْاَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ یَتَنَزَّلُ الْاَمْرُ بَیْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا اَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى کُلِّ شَیْءٍ قَدِیرٌ وَاَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ اَحَاطَ بِکُلِّ شَیْءٍ عِلْمًا»
Allah is the One Who created seven heavens ˹in layers˺, and likewise for the earth. The ˹divine˺ command descends between them so you may know that Allah is Most Capable of everything and that Allah certainly encompasses all things in ˹His˺ knowledge.
This verse clarifies the fact that one of the goals of creation is to make people aware of the knowledge and power of God and the knowledge of his essence and attributes.
In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah also refers to the issue of the purpose of the resurrection of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and considers it as education in the shadow of reciting the divine verses and says:
كَما اَرْسَلْنا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِنْكُمْ يَتْلُوا عَلَيْكُمْ آياتِنا وَ يُزَكِّيكُم وَ يُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتابَ وَ الْحِكْمَةَ وَ يُعَلِّمُكُمْ ما لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ
“We have sent among you to recite Our revelations to you, and to purify you, and to teach you the Book and Wisdom, and to teach you what you did not know.”
Here, we do not rely only on teaching the book and wisdom as the goal of the resurrection of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him); Rather, it refers to the teaching of those things which could not have been achieved without the revelation.
يُعَلِّمُكُمْ مَا لَم تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ
Thus, both the purpose of the creation of the world was the advancement of science and knowledge, and the purpose of the resurrection of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) was to spread science and wisdom, and to nurture the population.
Verse 129 of Surah Al-Baqarah is well used that this great and sublime goal, that is, education and training of wisdom, is mentioned in the prayer of Prophet Ibrahim Khalil (PBUH) for this ummah; Where he asks God and says:
«رَبَّنا وَ ابْعَثْ فِيهِم رَسُولاً مِنْهُمْ يَتْلُوا عَلَيْهِم آياتِكَ وَ يُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتابَ وَ الْحِكْمَةَ وَ يُزَكِّيهِمْ اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
(O Lord! Raise up among them a messenger from among themselves, that he may recite to you Your revelations, and teach them the Book and Wisdom, and purify them, for You are the Mighty, the Wise. This work is able]);
This shows that these two goals were also known goals among the previous nations. It is noteworthy that in this verse and some other verses that have been included in this field, both the teaching of the book and purification of the soul, as well as the teaching of wisdom are mentioned.
Now the question arises that What is the meaning of “wisdom” here? Various interpretations have been mentioned.
First, it means religious knowledge and familiarity with its rules; And the other is that it means the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him); Because in addition to the Book of God, some have said that it refers to the signs and symbols that separate truth from falsehood, and sometimes it is said that “wisdom” means similar verses that the Prophet must teach especially.
But according to the spiritual root of wisdom, which means the factor that prevents ignorance and error, and placing everything in its proper subject; It seems that the meaning of wisdom here is knowledge of the secrets, as well as the secrets of the creation of the world and man, and his destiny and ultimately his deeds.
Allah also refers to a general rule in Surah An-Nahl, , and says:
فَاسْئَلُوا اَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
(Ask the knowledgeable if you do not know);
It is to be noted here that the issue of education is the main basis of any human progress and development in the spiritual and material dimension.
Here is a quote from Imam Ghazali that clarifies the matter. Someone asked him: Where did you find this scientific coverage of the principles and sub-principles of Islam ?! He recited this verse
: «فَاسْئَلُوا اَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Ask the experts ,if you don’t want to be ignorant.
In several narrations that have been narrated through the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUH), “Ahl al-Dhikr” has been interpreted to mean the Imams of the Infallibles (PBUH) . A similar meaning can be seen in the interpretation of many verses of the Qur’an.
Additionally, in Surah Tawbah, God divides Muslims into two groups:
«معلّمان و متعلّمان»
And indeed, every Muslim must be part of one of these two groups, Teacher and learner or be a teacher or a student, so he says:
)؛ «وَ مَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُوا كَافَّةً فَلَوْ لَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَ لِيُنذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ
It is not possible for the believers to go forth (from their homes learning for religious learning) all together. Then, why should not a party from every section of them go forth, that they may (learn and) become well-versed in religion, and may warn their people when they return (home) to them, so that they too may guard against (unislamic ways of life).
Many scholars throughout history have cited this noble verse to emphasize the necessity of learning Islamic sciences in order to communicate to others as a sufficient obligation, in addition to considering learning for action as an objective obligation for all.
فَلَوْ لَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طائِفَةٌ»
In today’s world, in many countries, the acquisition of knowledge is mandatory for everyone and according to the law, every child must study; And if he does not study, his guardian will be held accountable, but he has no legal obligation to teach anywhere; Rather, anyone can succeed or not in the position of educator!
وَ لِيُنذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ
(And warn them when they return to their people) She considers it obligatory to teach, and of course all these verses are a prelude to performing the divine duties mentioned in the sentence “(feminine)
(And warn them when they return to their people) He considers it obligatory to teach, and of course all these verses are a prelude to performing the divine duties mentioned in the sentence “(masculine)
On this basis, sometimes some Islamic scholars traveled for days in a row to get from one city to another to learn a hadith! It is written, for example, that “Jabir” went to Egypt from Medina to hear and learn a hadith , which was with one of the scholars; And therefore it is said that no one reaches the stage of perfection; Unless he travels and contacts scientists from different countries to benefit from their knowledge and experience, and no one reaches his destination unless he emigrates.
In the story of Prophet Khidr(A.S) and Prophet Moses (pbuh) mentioned in Surah Al-Kahf (A.S), we read that this great prophet (Moses) went a long and difficult way to learn some sciences, so that He came to the divine man (Khidr (A.S)) and learned some sciences from him.
In Surah Al-Baqarah, we come across another important interpretation about learning science and knowledge; Allah says:
)؛ «يُؤتِى الْحِكْمَةَ مَنْ يَشاءُ وَ مَنْ يُؤتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ اُوتِىَ خَيْراً كَثِيراً وَ مَا يَذَّكَّرُ اِلَّا اُولُوا الاَلْبَابِ
“He gives knowledge and wisdom to whomever He wills مَن يَشاءُ, and to whomsoever knowledge is given, much good has been given. );”
In another verse of Surah Al-Baqarah, God refers to another dimension of this issue, and that is the strong condemnation of “concealing knowledge and knowledge”; He says:
«اِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا اَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ البَيِّنَاتِ وَ الْهُدَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَنّاهُ لِلنّاسِ فِى الْكِتَابِ اُولئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللهُ وَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ»
“Those who hide the clear proofs and guidance that We have revealed—after We made it clear for humanity in the Book—will be condemned by Allah and ˹all˺ those who condemn.”
The interpretation of God’s “curse” (God’s rejection of His mercy and the curse of all cursers) is one of the most severe interpretations of the sin in the Qur’an. And this shows; To what extent is the “concealment” of science and knowledge ugly and reprehensible, especially the sciences and knowledge that guide people?
In the verse that appears immediately after this verse in Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah mentions the only way to repent of this great sin after repenting and returning to God, correcting and “explaining the hidden issues”, and this also shows well Shows that there is no other way to compensate for the “concealment of knowledge” than to explain it: “
: «اِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَ اَصْلَحُوا وَ بَيَّنُوا فَاُولئِكَ اَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَ اَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ».
Although this verse was revealed about the People of the Book (who concealed the signs of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) that they had seen in their books), but obviously, the meaning of the verse is wide and the concealment of any science. Which guides the people includes; The narrations narrated from the infallibles also show that science pays attention to its absolute meaning; The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says according to a hadeeth
: «مَنْ سُئِلَ عَنْ عِلْمٍ يَعْلَمُهُ، فَكَتَمَهُ اُلْجِمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِلِجامٍ مِنْ نار
(Whoever asks a person about the knowledge and the other person knows and conceals them, on the Day of Resurrection he will stab him in the mouth with fire!).
In another hadith from The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we come across a clearer interpretation of this which says:
مَنْ كَتَمَ عِلْماً نافِعاً عِنْدَهُ، اَلْجَمَهُ اللهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيامَةِ بِلِجامٍ مِنْ نارٍ
(Whoever conceals the useful knowledge that he has, God will strike him in the mouth with fire on the Day of Resurrection!). It is clear that this interpretation includes all the sciences that are useful and beneficial for human beings in any field.
Yet in another hadith of The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), this meaning is explicitly quoted as he said
: «مَنْ عَلِمَ شَيْئاً فَلَايَكْتُمهُ
(Anyone who has knowledge of something should not hide
Islam placed a high value on education, and, as the faith spread among diverse peoples, education became an important channel through which to create a universal and cohesive social order.
KEYWORDS: Role of Education, Quran, Hellfire, Muslim, Science, Teaching, Advancement, Hadees, Prophet Muhammad, Obligatory