OF EDUCATION IN RELIGION
my studies of the Holy Qur’an in its heavenly diction
and the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), I did not
find any bifurcation between worldly education and religious
education. Similarly there is no room for priest-hood
in the entire system as established by the Last Messenger.
The topic has been debated for more than a century. In
fact the terms Secular Education and Religious Education
were not in vogue in ancient times. In present times I
do feel such division in the school educational system
must be avoided.
speaking subjects like science, geography, physics, accountancy
are not and cannot be taught on the base of religion.
Is there any Islamic, Jewish, Christian or Hindu science
or geography? Knowledge knows no boundaries and is a common
human heritage and it must be transmitted. I fail to see
any logic behind terming a particular banking system as
Islamic banking. Of course it is usury which is strongly
prohibited in the Qur’an because it exploits a needy
person which is indeed a crime, not the modern banking
system as a whole. But undue interference by the clergy
from all the religions in such matters impedes the natural
development of human institutions.
importance of ‘worldly education’, as the
clergy scornfully calls it, can be understood by one narration
from the traditions of Prophet Mohammed quoted in Musnad
Ahmed Bin Hunbal. The English translation follows:
of Makkah attacked Madinah, the city of the Prophet and
Almighty God provided victory to the defending army of
the Prophet and there were captives of the war. The Prophet
ordered for those infidel captives who knew reading or
writing to teach it at least ten Muslims and they will
be set free.”
first educational system ever adopted by the Prophet clearly
indicates that education is not essentially related to
religion. In one of his well known Hadis stressing the
importance of education, he said, “Seek
knowledge even if one had to go to China”.
Remember that China was and still remains a developed
country. It has never been an Islamic country.
my opinion, modern education, blended with noble human
values, should be taught in school education. If someone
wants to be a cleric, he can study theology of his own
religion at a later stage. It should never be mixed with
school education. In my view the quality and reputation
of any institution can be judged by the presence of number
of students from different faiths other than the group
who manages the institution. In my country, no Madarsa
has a single non-Muslim student, though millions of students
are studying there. So as far as my knowledge is concerned,
even in the US, Jews and Muslim educational institutions
have a very negligible number of students from other religion.
Any education if diluted with a particular religion will
only produce narrow-minded citizens who would not be willing
to work in the larger interest of humanity. On the contrary,
due to isolation, it might churn out hot-headed fundamentalists
every family or religious community should provide religious
education to their children in their free hours. There
must be no interference in school educational pattern.
The west advanced rapidly in the field of science, technology
and other branch of human knowledge when they came out
of the clutches of the Church and states became secular.
instances can be quoted to show the importance of education
in earlier Islamic days. I would only like to quote from
the Final Testament and a narration from the traditions
of Prophet Mohammed which states that imparting education
is not only essential but also a religious obligation
as important as all other obligations of the religion.
It is from the verse 282 of chapter 2:
Muslims, whenever you make transactions in credit, so
pen it down ….”
Holy Qur'an 2/282)
to pen down such dealings is mandatory, and for it knowledge
of writing and documentation seems compulsory. Finally,
I wish to say that our educational system must be trustworthy.
Here I want to emphasize that the trust be prevailed by
others, like non Muslims joining Madarsas in large numbers
as Muslims are today seeking education in secular and
western institutes of knowledge.