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In the Pursuit of Knowledge

Q A Ahmad

"And Allah brought you out of your mother's wombs devoid of all knowledge, but He has endowed you with hearing, and sights, and minds-hearts, so that you may be grateful."

(Quran, 16:78)

"And never concern yourself with anything of which you have no knowledge: Surely (your) hearing and sight and mind-heart, all of them, will be called to account for it (on Judgement Day)!"

(Quran, 17:36)

"O Men! Pay heed to the messages of Allah, for it is He who had endowed you with hearing, and sight, and minds-hearts: (Yet) how seldom are you grateful."

(Quran, 23:78)

"(The Mighty One, the Merciful is) He who makes most excellent everything that He Creates. Thus He begins the creation of man out of clay; then He causes him to be begotten out of the essence of a humble fluid and then He forms him in accordance with what he is meant to be, and breathes into him of His spirit and (thus O men!) He endows you with hearing and sight, and minds-hearts; (yet) how seldom are you grateful."

(Quran, 32:9)

"Say: '(Allah is) He who has brought you (all) into being, and has endowed you with hearing, and sight and minds-hearts: (yet) how seldom are you grateful'."

(Quran, 67:23)

In all the above verses three words Sama', Basar and Fu'ad are used for the three faculties of hearing, seeing and thinking. Hearing is through the ears, seeing is through the eyes and thinking is through heart and mind.

The Arabic word Af'idah or fu'ad is used for the combination of the tasks done both by heart and mind. Fu'ad is a metonym in classical Arabia for both feelings and minds. It refers to the faculty of feeling as well as of rational thinking. It is also used as knowledgeable heart having intellect and feeling.

The leadership for establishing and running a world order is, from the very beginning, associated with knowledge. The vicegerency of the earth bestowed upon human beings by Allah from the very existence of Adam (a) is because of knowledge. Allah has bestowed upon every human being three faculties pertaining to knowledge - Sama' (hearing), Basar (seeing), Fu'ad (thinking and analysing). The nature of the faculties given to other species is of an intuitive type while to human beings it is of a comprehensive type much advanced in comparison to the ones given to other species. This is the reason that man has gained the control of nature and other species.

Now, the country, group or nation which excels others in the pursuits of knowledge, will automatically become the leader of humanity.

In the Quran these three words Sama', Basar and Fu'ad are not used just in the sense of mere hearing, seeing and thinking. These are used with much deep meaning.

Sam'a means to procure the information and knowledge acquired by others

Basar means to acquire information and knowledge oneself through observation

Fu'ad means to extract results by compiling, analysing and interpreting the information and knowledge procured by Sama' and acquired by Basar.

All these three processes, counted together, provide knowledge (ilm) which a man uses for his living in this world. It will be observed that all human beings are utilising these three faculties and because of this, every person is a vicegerent, having control on the creations in this world. Then we see two groups of human beings. One is of those who utilise these faculties individually without taking much care and interest. These are subdued and they live in this world as followers. The second, contrary to the first, are those who utilise these three faculties collectively with much enthusiasm and vigour. They are dominant and they emerge in this world as leaders. The world leadership is in their hands.

Let us go in detail about the usage of these faculties bestowed upon human beings.

A group attains the position of leadership among human beings by attaining the following process:

  1. It collects massive information and knowledge of what has been acquired by man in the present in different ways
  2. On the other hand this group is also continuously engaged in acquiring more and more information and knowledge by its own experiments and observations
  3. This group compiles both the information and knowledge and extracts results out of the information by induction and deduction
  4. This group then corrects the mistakes and also overcomes the deficiencies of the present and past which it finds out from the results obtained.
  5. This group utilises the new findings in the most appropriate manner for the living of humanity.

When the above endeavour is carried out by the group most efficiently and successfully, this group maintains the position of world leadership.

Those who are inferior in these pursuits undergo the Sunnah of Allah to surrender and follow the above group necessarily or willingly.

At the time of decline of this leader-group, it undergoes the following conduct:

  1. It gets contented and then, feeling tired, leaves the practice of information and knowledge by using the faculty of 'Sabr'
  2. It also leaves the practice of extracting results and conclusions by using the faculty of 'fua'd'

Thus the group is now confined to the portion of knowledge that is now acquired only by one faculty of sam'a (hearing). The two faculties Basar (seeing) and fu'ad (uniting) are not utilised now onward.

Now in the stepping down position, acquiring knowledge means to know about the past findings and their results. This group becomes prey to the misunderstanding that the knowledge attained is sufficient enough. There is no need to enhance knowledge. There is no need of any reform and change. There is no deficiency to be met with. The building is complete and there is no need for renovation anywhere.

Hence at this stage the group itself leaves the position of leadership. In case it does not leave the place, it is removed from leadership by force. Then another group that comes forward and takes full interest in utilising all the three faculties of 'sam'a' 'Basar' and 'fu'ad' with full vigour and enthusiasm, attains the world leadership. Thus the leaders and followers exchange roles. The previous scholars are despatched to intellectual museums to carry on useless research about the past knowledge.


Leadership, whether taking the humanity towards the abyss of fire or towards paradise, is attained by only that group which utilises all the three faculties of sam'a, Basar and fu'ad at the best out of all human groups. It is a firm God-given maxim not undergoing any change. Whichever group, god-less or God-conscious, to fulfil this axiom, shall attain the leadership of the world and whichever will or could not fulfil, shall be the follower even to the extent of subjugation in some circumstances. The precept that removed the Muslim Ummah from the position of leadership and established the god-less West as leaders of the world is this very maxim - Sunnatullah.

Since a long time, 'Basar' and fu'ad were exterminated from the pursuit of knowledge among the Muslim Ummah. Even the usage of sam'a was limited to the extent to collect the information of the past. Contrary to this, the godless Europe came forward in the field of knowledge. It utilised the faculty of 'sam'a' much more than the Muslim Ummah and utilised the faculties of Basar and fu'ad singularly (with out the involvement of any other group) for the last three centuries. The essential consequence was that Europe became the leader and the Muslim Ummah became the follower.

The centuries of Islamic education are still undergoing the same mistake that has brought the Muslim Ummah to this stage of submission. In these centres knowledge is confined to the past sciences of knowledge. Some institutions, specially the newly founded Islamic Universities like at Islamabad and Kuala Lumpur, have made some reforms. These reforms are only to the extent of the boundary of 'sam'a' to include the present knowledge in some fields. Still 'Basar' and fu'ad are defunct.

At the most what these reforms can achieve is that the Muslim Ummah becomes followers of a better quality, replacing the inferior one of the past. Anyhow leadership can not be attained. All the reforms, at present in pipeline, lead towards preparing for becoming better followers of the West. No strategy has yet been devised to become world leader.

The stark reality is that the Muslim Ummah, being the only God-conscious community, bears the responsibility and the obligation that cannot be fulfilled unless and until it snatches away this world-leadership from the hands of god-less people. And for this there is no way other than to forgo the idea of contentment just on the knowledge attained by sam'a and to utilise the best of all the three faculties of sam'a, Basar and fu'ad in such a way that the Muslim Ummah surpasses all the groups of the world.

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