Knowledge and Blessings!
By Mahmood Hassan Quraishi
In the present scenario of our country, many things appear to be disappointing, making a person hopeless about the future of this country. There is corruption, warlords, terrorists, security problems, economic instability and many more. Against these grave and disappointing factors, there is present one factor standing all alone that uplifts my hope and makes me absolutely hopeful and optimistic about the bright future of this country and that is the scene that I witness on the roads of Kabul throughout the day. Right from early morning till late in evenings, I see students of different ages going to or coming back from their schools, colleges, universities or institutes of technical education. In government schools of Kabul, there are three shifts of studies so students can be seen very early in the morning and in the evenings. Then there are universities that are equipping our students with the tool of knowledge till 8 or 9 in the evenings.
Significance of education is evident for all and any kind of knowledge is equally beneficial; be it scientific or religious or moral. Muhammad Fethullah Gulen, a world-renowned Turkish scholar and thinker gave a unique idea about education. He resembles a ‘Momin’ or ‘A perfect Muslim’ to a bird that has two wings. One wing is the scientific knowledge and other wing is the Islamic or moral teachings. If any of these wings was not present or was not strong enough, a ‘Momin’ might never reach to his destiny. The destiny has been defined in two senses. Destiny of a true Muslim is the success in both this world and the life of hereafter. As Islam is said to be a perfect religion, so its follower or ‘Momin’ has to be perfect in both this world and the hereafter. Some people argue about the need of scientific knowledge to a Muslim as this world is not for Muslims and real life is that of the hereafter. No doubt, a Muslim has to think and be more considerate about the life of the hereafter, but if he is a perfect Muslim, his present life also needs to be perfect. Because of the lack of attention towards scientific knowledge, we see that Muslims are suffering in all the fields of life. There is a famous prayer in which we ask for the success of both this world and that of the hereafter. So a true and perfect Muslim needs to be showing equal importance to the scientific knowledge as well.
Then there comes the religious education, which is obligatory to be attained for a Muslim. But Islam is not a set of religious sermons, prayers and worships; rather it is a complete set of rules and guidelines for a Muslim to be successful in the life of the hereafter and also to be happy and prosperous in this world. That is why it has always been stressed that we should ponder on and understand our religion and not make it a kind of thing limited to some prayers and worships. Same views are given about the Quran that we need to fully understand and comprehend the wisdom and guidelines present in it.
Regarding Islamic or religious education, Fethullah Gulen gives us another unique idea. According to him, Islamic teachings are more than learning and talking and they are directly related with the implementation of these teachings in one’s practical life. Especially, while teaching the others the teachings of Islam, we need to act rather than talking. This is a point that needs much sensitivity when we are dealing with the youngsters or youth, who take more inspiration from a practical exhibition of a teaching, rather than sermons or lectures. For instance, if we want that our children should not tell lies, it is necessary that we should never tell any lie to them and then they will practically learn the truthfulness. Similarly, if we want to teach the importance of being polite with others, we need to be polite with them and they will also learn and adopt it. Another important teaching in this regard is being kind and generous. Fethullah Gulen advises the teachers to be models of kindness and generosity and our students and children will never come to learn anything else.
Lucky are those who got the chance to get education and take their share from this blessed wealth. But acquiring knowledge or ‘Ilm’ is not enough. With this comes a huge responsibility on the shoulders of a person. First responsibility is to transmit this knowledge to others. It is not necessary that one should open a grand school or institute to transmit this knowledge. If one knows a single good thing, it becomes his responsibility to make the others aware of it so that they should also get benefitted from it.
Another responsibility that accompanies a knowledge or education is the following of this knowledge or teaching. Suppose a person who does not know how to do a work in the best possible manner and if he makes any mistake while doing this work, then he might not be held responsible for it, but if a person has learnt how to do a specific work in a best possible manner and then if he fails to do so, he would definitely be held responsible for his laziness and heedlessness. For example, you learnt that what are the good habits of eating and what are foods which are good for your health and which things you should avoid in your meals, and then it becomes obligatory for you to follow these tips for the sake of your good health. It does not mean that if you did not follow them, somebody would punish you, but then it would be very disappointing that you did not get the benefits that your knowledge had to offer to you. It is just like that you earned money to buy some fruit and after you earned the money and bought the fruit and brought it home, you left and forgot it and it got rotten and all your efforts were wasted. If we have extended our efforts to learn something and we are also sure that this knowledge is going to benefit our body or soul but then we didn’t take any benefit from it, then it can be termed to be very disappointing and unlucky.
The impacts and benefits of a knowledge or education need to be having effects on both our internal and external personality. Internally, it should make one more polite and be more considerate and concerned about the feelings of others. It must make one a kind of person who is having sound relations with people in his surroundings. Your thinking should be broadened and you should learn how to draw happiness with your thinking approaches. No doubt, our education makes us a better skilled person to be successful financially, but it is useless until and unless it does not address and facilitates every portion of our life.
When we talk of the external impacts of knowledge, it should benefit us how to talk, how to walk and how to get into better interaction with the others. It should teach us how to be polite in the society. It should even guide us how to dress in the best possible manner.
In the end, we should pray that we should be bestowed with a beneficial or fruitful knowledge or education. This knowledge should not only benefit us but also the people in our vicinity and then we would be witnessing the practical blessings of a true knowledge.
Mahmood Hassan Quraishi is a permanent writer of the Daily Afghanistan Express.