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Knowledge for Harmony


Q A Ahmad

"All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifies Allah, the Sovereign Supreme, the Holy One, the Almighty, the Wise.

He it is who has sent unto the unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves, who conveys unto them His messages, causes them to grow in purity and imparts unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom - whereas before that they were indeed lost in manifest error.

And (He has sent the Messenger also to) others among them who have not yet joined them for He is the Almighty, the Wise.

Such is Allah's bounty He grants it to anyone who is willing (to receive it), and Allah is the owner of great bounty."

(Quran, 62:1-4)

Every Surah (chapter) of the Quran has a theme comprised of sub-themes. Most of the chapters start with some particular names of Allah out of His ninety nine names. There is coherence and purpose in this selection. The names selected and the particular description of Allah as an introduction of a Surah bear a deep relevance to the theme of the chapter or to the sub-theme that immediately follows.

The theme of this surah, Al Juma'ah, is similar to Surah as-Saff (the preceding one), (with difference in logic and style), as both form a pair. The whole Quran is composed of surah-pairs. In this surah, Bani Ismail has been directed to respect and value the 'Great Bounty' of Allah manifested as the prophethood of Muhammad (s). They are warned not to be deprived of this benevolence being the victim of the jealous conspiracies of the Jews. This surah has the following four sub-themes:

  1. Verses 2-4: The Prophet (s) amongst you is the outcome of the prayer of your ancestor - Prophet Ibrahim (a) This is a great bounty of Allah bestowed upon you to bring you out of the darkness of 'Ignorance', realise its full worth, by comprehending fully the role, task and mission of the prophet (s).
  2. Refutation of the claim of the Jews to be the 'Chosen People' of Allah. They boasted that no other community is assigned to have the honour of prophethood. Their follies are pointed out that deprived them from the guidance of Allah.
  3. Impeachment of the believers on the negligence of a group of Muslims in relation to the Friday prayers and the Friday sermon of the Prophet. This admonition is to make the Muslims (the believers) realise that whoever enters the fold of Islam, he/she barters his/her life and assets to Allah in exchange for the forgiveness of Allah and eternal abode in Paradise. A believer should never prefer the love of worldly prosperity over that of Allah and His Prophet. This is the tradition of the Jews on Saturday for which they were punished.
  4. In the first introductory sentence, four attributes of Allah have been mentioned which are related with the sub-theme of the verses 2-4. These are related to the information about and the direction to accept the non-Israeli prophet.

The attribute of Allah mentioned first is His Supreme Sovereignty. No power can restrict His authority and powers. It is not for the Jews to decide whom he should appoint His Messenger for the guidance of Jews and others. His Sovereignty decided to send His non-Israelite Messenger to His subjects to inform about his orders and directives. Thus the first task of the Prophet is to convey the Words of Allah.

The second attribute of Allah mentioned here is the Holy One. He is highest exalted and utmost glorified that His judgment is always correct. Human judgment may have mistakes but His decrees are preferred. Due to His Holiness, He decided to purify the human beings through the Prophet (s) and His message, i.e. to remove the filth of disbelief and polytheism. This is the second task of the Prophet (s).

The third attribute Allah is, the Almighty. He has the coercive power to implement His orders. None can fight Him and win. He has sent the Messenger who is imparting the knowledge of the Quran, Islamic laws and Islamic jurisprudence. If human beings make efforts to establish Islamic laws and Islamic jurisprudence, Shariah, Allah has all the Power to get it established.

The fourth attribute of Allah is, the Wise. He has sent the Prophet (s) who not only educates the Islamic laws and codes of conduct, but also demonstrates it - an example to follow. The Prophet (s) the direction of Allah uses wisdom and strategy for the success of the implementation of the Divine Order in the world. There is full conformity between Allah and His Prophet (s). Whatever He and the Prophet do, it is always the very demand of wisdom. His plans and designs, implemented by the Prophet (s), are so well-planned that none in the world can hinder and frustrate them.

Every education is Islamic education to impart knowledge provided it is organised under the proper approach. There are two sources of knowledge, one that Allah Himself has revealed, His Words, the Quran, now in the form of a book. The other is the whole cosmos including human beings as well. The knowledge revealed in the Quran by Allah is the Absolute knowledge - God-given knowledge and the knowledge attained by human beings by observation, induction, deduction - man's attained knowledge. Divine knowledge is the absolute one while man-attained knowledge is the relative one. Both knowledge are essential for the nice, harmonious and peaceful life of man. All man-attained knowledge must be utilised under the shade of God-given knowledge and implemented for global peace.

Fundamental Islamic education is the attainment of the Absolute knowledge and its application in our worldly affairs. The verses above give us the basic principles of Islamic education.

Comprehension of the Words of Allah and the sayings of the Prophet. Conveying the Message of Allah. The teacher conveys and the student comprehends just as the Prophet was the teacher and the Companions (r) the students. Training of the students to purify their heart and mind from wrong and revolting notions of disbelief and polytheism. The Prophet (s) fulfilled this assignment of purification as a teacher very successfully. No education is fruitful and beneficial without having pure heart and mind. The application of the Absolute knowledge for the interpretation of man-made knowledge and overall actions for living in this world. The strategy and methodology for the action plan should be based on the Wisdom of Allah imparted and demonstrated by the Prophet (s).

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