Dr Firoz Mahboob Kamal
(Consultant physician, columnist and writer)
First thing first
For any success, the first thing must be done first. But what is the first thing that needs to be done first? It is none but education. It is indeed the greatest Sunnah of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’la (SWT) that He did the first thing first to help humans to attain the greatest success both here and in the hereafter. This is why “iqra” (read) –becomes the first word in the Holy Qur’an. The decree for five-time prayers, month-long fasting, zakat, haj and running the judiciary on sharia came much later. The Holy Qur’an -revealed piece by piece as the teaching materials, worked as the textbook in the educational curriculums. The result was excellent and unprecedented. The people who were produced in those early years of Islam proved to be the best in the whole human history. Allah SWT wants to create such a class of people with the highest mortality in all ages through the same Qur’anic textbook and through the same methodology.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions also gave the highest emphasis on education. The prophet (peace be upon him) declared education as the life-long obligation for every man and woman. He also said, “Seek education from the cradle to the grave”. In this life-long process of education, each day should be used to earn new knowledge and a new skill. The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Woe to him who had consecutive two days but his treasure of knowledge remained the same and didn’t increase”. In the war of Badr, the Muslims could capture some war criminals. They could be killed or used as hostages to get huge ransoms. But the prophet (peace be upon him) decided otherwise; he preferred education to money. He promised them freedom if could teach the illiterates how to read and write. The outcome of such a policy was phenomenal. The Holy Qur’an was the first book in Arabic. Within a short period of time, Muslims could build the largest treasure of knowledge in the whole contemporary world.
Education decides the destiny
The quality of education decides the destiny -not only of a human but also of a nation. Allah SWT revealed in the Holy Qur’an, “Those who know and those who don’t know are not equal”. So, the qualitative difference between humans is not based on skin colour, language, ethnicity or other physical attributes, but on educational dissimilarities. This is why the educational depravity of today’s Muslims make them so low and utterly dissimilar to the early Muslims. Allah SWT has His Own principle of societal change. The principle is revealed in the Holy Qur’an as follows: “Certainly, Allah doesn’t change the state of a people unless they change their own state themselves”. Hence in making qualitative changes in humans, the decisive role is not played by foods or drinks, nor by the climate. It occurs through education. Therefore to have a proper estimate on the moral and intellectual state of a people, it doesn’t require a door to door survey on individuals. The education curriculum and the methodology of education reveal the real situation with precise accuracy. This is why, those who want to build a nation, must start with education. On the other hand, those who want to destroy a nation need not engage in a genocidal war. Turning off or corrupting the education system does the job perfectly. In fact, the external and the internal enemies of Islam did that in the Muslim World for centuries to precipitate the current downfall. This is why when the European colonialists occupied the Muslim countries, they didn’t destroy the agricultural lands; rather dismantled the educational institutions. In India, they disbanded Farsi –the language of Muslims’ education and closed thousands of madrasas. As a result, Muslims quickly become illiterate.
Education for the sake of education also proves disastrous. It must have a higher moral objective. In all ages, the educational institutions were built as human factories for mass-scale production of people with intended job specifications, skills, and training. The evil rulers didn’t recruit their foot soldiers from jungles. For that, they used the educational institutions as the breeding and recruitment premises. Because of such institutions, the evil ideologies like colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, fascism, racism could get a huge number of foot soldiers and could run ethnic cleansing with catastrophic dimensions. Because of such evil education, the most calamitous disasters in history need not be caused by earthquakes, cyclones, epidemics or tsunamis. These were caused by the evil humans –products of these evil institutions. More than 75 million people are killed only in two World Wars. Millions are killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; and the killing process still continues. It is an irony that those who ran these genocidal killings are not illiterate; rather claim to be educated.
The British colonialists established their own educational institutions in the occupied countries to get obedient mercenaries in the civil and military establishments to run brutal and exploitive hegemony. Because of them, the British colonialists could prolong their rule for 190 years in South Asia. The most prominent military icons of the Muslim countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, and many others are indeed the people who started their career as the most obedient mercenary of the occupying forces. After completion of their servile career in the colonial army, they turned against their own people. They appeared as brutal autocrats and worked as a huge bulwark against the practice of basic human rights in the newly independent Muslim countries. Because of the secularisation of education, the colonists could recruit more than 200 thousand Indian Muslims and more than a million Arab Muslims in the First World War to kill Muslims and dismantle the Khilafah. Even today, the secular educational factories operate in the Muslim countries to feed the multinational projects of the imperialists –the modern version of East India Company, with the incessant supply of the white-collar mercenaries. So the education system has become the part of the pipeline to drain out brains from the Muslim World –as they are draining out oil and gas.
The Muslims’ role & the educational need
The Muslims’ assigned role is altogether different from others. Hence, their educational need is also different. Therefore, fixing the educational objective that can help fulfill the Divine role is crucial. In fact, for the Muslims, nothing is more important than setting the right educational objective and staying constantly focussed on that. Otherwise, schools, colleges, and universities in Muslim countries will be used by the evil forces to produce mercenaries to serve their wicked intentions. Thus, the Muslims will be producing their own enemies by investing their own resources. “Frying fish in its own oil” is the old strategy of the imperialists; hence use not only the Muslim men but also hundreds of billions of their petrodollars to kill the Muslims and occupy their lands. The US-led war in the Arab countries gives ample testimonies to that.
The objective of education depends on the objective of survival. Billions of people live on the same planet, but they do not survive for the same purpose. Most of the people live to maximize their worldly affluence and comfort. But the Muslims need to live with a different purpose. And the purpose must match with their religious belief and role. They need to plan not only for the worldly success but also for the success in the eternal hereafter. They must plan to get saved from the hellfire. Hence, their educational need must be different from that of a non-believer.
For a Muslim, acquiring skills in reading and writing and specializing in medicine, economics, science, technology, and others must not be the only educational objectives. He must know the purpose of his own creation and his own role in this world. Knowing the Vision of his Creator and how to fully align with that are also the most important educational priorities. These are the most crucial issues that each and every educational institution of the Muslim countries must address. Otherwise, education will lead to catastrophic failures; the students may excel as professionals but will cease to survive as true Muslims. Then they will sleepwalk to turn perfect mercenaries to serve the known enemies. Education thus works as a tool to earn the wrath of Allah SWT and leads only to the hellfire.
The number of educational institutions in the Muslims World is huge. But the failure of the students to grow up as true Muslims is also huge. As a result, the Muslims stand divided, defeated and de-Islamised. Such failure doesn’t owe to climate, geography or topography of the Muslim countries, but to the failure of the educational institutions. Awfully, the Muslims are interested only to open new educational institutions; but show little concern to have the correct aim and objective of the education. This is indeed the root cause of all educational failures. And such failures breed more failures.
The failed value-adding process
Agricultural or mineral goods get added values in the industries. The humans get added values in the educational institutions. And the highest degree of value is added to the moral premise of the man and the woman. Because of such a value-adding process in educational institutions, even a common man or woman may become an angel –as happened in the early days of Islam. As a result, the ruler of the first Islamic state -about 10 times larger than Pakistan, could draw the rope of the camel with the servant sitting on its back. Because of the people with such a moral highness, the early Muslims could raise the finest civilization on earth and emerge as the number one World Power. They didn’t need oil, gas or huge manpower to attain such global esteem. But today, the Muslims reveal another story. Instead of a value-adding process, the education system in the Muslim countries indeed works as a highly corruptive process. Those who pass through its process, turn morally corrupt and de-valued. Many of them become maliciously devil. Because of that, the scale of corruption runs high in so-called educated people in the government and non-government offices. No amount of oil, gas or material affluence could cover up such moral failures.
The Holy Qur’an receives little space or attention in these so-called educational institutions. Whereas the Holy Qur’an is the Divine key to add higher value to humans. But rote reading or memorization of the Qur’an can’t do the job. It needs the linguistic and intellectual skills to seek lessons from this greatest gift of Allah SWT -the only roadmap for the paradise. And it is the task of the educational institutions to generate such skills among the students. Only this way the education system can add higher values to the students –as happened in the golden days of Islam.
A human quickly succumbs to the physical death if the body’s immune system fails to fight against millions of bugs present all the time on the body surfaces. The HIV virus causes such deaths in AIDS. Similarly, the moral death of an individual is unavoidable if he or she is deprived of moral immunity. And the moral immunity doesn’t grow from good food, good house or wealth; but from the Qur’anic knowledge. It comes from the constant fear of accountability in the court of Allah SWT. Hence, deprivation of the Qur’anic knowledge -as caused by the secularisation of education system, could cause the total collapse of moral immunity. As a result, moral death in the Muslim World could get such an epidemic proportion. So, the flood gates of corruption stand wide open in almost all Muslim countries.
The best deed and the worst crime
As per Islamic faith, every Muslim is required to serve the assigned purpose in life. He or she must work as the viceroy of Allah SWT –the sole purpose of his or her existence here on earth. As the viceroy Allah SWT, he or she must take “enjoining the right and eradicating the evil” as a life-long mission –as prescribed in the Holy Qur’an. Therefore, a true Muslim eats, drinks and survives not for the sake of mere survival; but to serve such a solemn mission. The professional successes will bear the fruit in the hereafter only if his or her professional role fully aligns with his or her Divine role as the true viceroy of Allah SWT. Any non-alignment with the role only takes to the hellfire. Education must promote such alignment in students’ life and save from the deviation.
Living life in this world has its own holy connotation. It must add to the journey towards paradise. For that, one must lead the life fully adherent to siratul mustaqeem –the roadmap shown in the Holy Qur’an. Any deviation from it takes only to the hellfire. And to avoid the deviation, one must learn to understand the signals of “no go areas” –as mentioned in the Qur’an. For that, one must know how to take lessons from the Holy Qur’an. Hence, acquiring Qur’anic knowledge is not an option but an obligation. And it is the prime responsibility of the education system to help students to know siratul mustaqeem. It is indeed the most critical issue in life. This is why “ih’dinas siratul mustaqeem” is the most important supplication. The real success in life comes only with full adherence to the Qur’anic roadmap. Only such success takes one to paradise.
Hence, the best deed in life is to show the Qur’anic roadmap to a man or a woman. All the prophets were sent to do this job. In fact, this must be the job of every teacher for his or her students. Every Muslim needs to engage in such a job, too. Indeed, such a deed is much better than donating millions of dollars to anyone. Millions of dollars can’t save one from hellfire but can be saved by true guidance. And the worst crime on earth is to deviate a man or woman from siratul mustaqeem. Such a crime takes one to the hellfire. It is indeed the crime of a devil. But awfully, such a worst crime is being committed nowhere else but in schools, colleges and universities in the Muslim World in the name of education. The Muslim ummah can only be saved in this world and in the hereafter if they are saved from this ongoing crime. 22.01.2020