One of the wisdom and purposes of Islam is to teach people the paths that lead to the right and truth and remove ignorance. People of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds need education, training, decent manners, and a moral code. This is because people can only make sense of revelation through knowledge and education. They render their world prosperous through knowledge and education. They illuminate their hearts, souls, and consciences through knowledge. They figure out the reason for their existence through knowledge. They equip themselves with morals and manners through knowledge.
The source of knowledge (‘ilm) is Allah the Almighty (SWT). He (SWT) is al-Alim, the All-Knowing. He (SWT) is Who taught man that he knew not and Who taught by the pen. Knowledge is thus beneficial since it draws one closer to Allah (SWT) and faith. Otherwise, knowledge-related activities that seek to gain worldly benefits while driving individuals into darkness and people into strife are worthless in the eyes of Allah (SWT). Such a quest is futile as the Qur’anic verse clearly states: “[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.”[i]
It is stated in the Holy Qur’an as follows, “Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving.”[ii] Right, knowledge is a tool that allows us to come to know our Lord Almighty more thoroughly and to feel love and reverence for Him (SWT) in our hearts at all times. Moreover, any knowledge or practice that benefits humanity is valued. However, worldly peace and happiness in the Hereafter may be obtained only via knowledge that is put into practice. This is so critical that our beloved Prophet (saw) sought shelter in Allah (SWT) from the knowledge which does not benefit.[iii]
[i] Kahf, 18/104.
[ii] Fatir 35/28.
[iii] Nasa‘i, Isti‘adha, 13.