Islam is a religion based on knowledge.
What our Ummah absorbed from the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, early ethic was that learning was the fundamental building block.
And learning is what liberates the mind. And that’s why Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
“… Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?”…” (39:9)
What this means for us today is that each and every single one of us has to be on a critical journey of learning that must become the fundamental building block that we turn to when trying to engage our day to day journeys.
This is what the Prophet, peace be upon him, did and this is what the Ummah absorbed from the person of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
We built these wonderful institutions, such as Al-Azhar and Qarawiyyin and Zaytuna, and otherwise that became the beacons of light for the intellectual civilization.
When Islam was at its prime, and when it truly became engendered in the hearts and minds of its followers, it produced the likes of Imam Al-Ghazali, the likes of Imam Al-Razi.
These were the polymaths of their time, who really were able to begin to deal with the particular challenges of their time.
What is one of our fundamental struggles today?
It’s our inability, or lack of capability to engage our society.
A lot of times, (you hear) “Islam is under critical threat.” “Islam is irrelevant.” “Religion is irrelevant.” “God is irrelevant.”
“These things are useless.” “What we need is sophistication. We need technology.”
“We need philosophies that will liberate the mind.”
“We need to move away from this dogma, this simplistic dogma of religion.”
This is what I know a lot of us are dealing with on campus.
The power of an intellectual ethic that is rooted in Islam is its capability of elevating us beyond the simplistic discourse that has come to be what many religious circles have.
Don’t miss this interesting three minutes segment recorded in Boston on knowledge and its importance in Islam by Sheikh Yasir Fahmy.