All praise is due to Allaah. May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, his household and companions.
Fellow Muslims! I Implore you and myself to fear Allaah, for whoever fears Allaah, He will provide for him light, knowledge and His pleasure and fill his mind with confidence, peace and faith:
“O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allaah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong) and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you, and Allaah is the owner of the Great Bounty.” (Al-Anfaal 8: 29)
“O you who believe! Fear Allaah and believe in His Messenger, He will give you a double portion of His Mercy and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight) and He will forgive you. And Allaah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hadeed 57: 28)
Respect the limits of Allaah and keep to His commandments for you have a pursuer from Allaah and He has invigilators and reckoners over you. Learn lessons from those who were before you, before you become lessons for others and send forth good deeds for yourselves, you will find them with Allaah.
Brothers in Islaam! Every human civilisation has its period; it grows, blossoms and then vanishes. The Islaamic civilisation, however, is an everlasting civilisation; it does not degenerate not does it wane because it possesses an inner power by the permission of Allaah. It derives its power of existence from the perfect and favoured religion of Allaah. Allaah (s.w.t.) subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and chosen Islaam for you as your religion.” (Al-Maa’idah 5: 3)
As long as this ummah holds fast to its Islaam and helps its cause, its civilisation will continue growing and progressing and it will not know any weakness nor degeneration no matter how circumstances are:
“So do not become weak against your enemies nor be sad and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers.” (Aal-‘Imraan 3: 139)
Equally, there is for every nation a civilisation in matters of its belief, religious rites, customs and social relations. Every respected nation forms for itself principles of education that guarantee a safe climate where it can prepare its young generations for its beliefs and concepts and create in them enthusiasm for them and the will to defend them.
Brothers in Islaam! The talk about vitality, steadiness and progress in human civilisations attests to the fact that knowledge and its systems have their vigour, essence and impacts. This spirit is the reality of this knowledge and its deep effects. The knowledge that Islaam established bears within it the spirit of belief in Allaah and of fear in Him, belief in the unseen and belief in the Last Day. It is also full of noble characters and virtues. On the contrary, the system of knowledge that was laid down by paganistic nations such as the Greeks, Romans and others contain only the spirit of the period of ignorance and polytheism. The same can also be said of educational systems that are based on heresy, atheism, materialism and utter disregard for all that cannot be physically felt or bring forth any quick and mundane benefit. This spirit is inherent in their consciences, educational systems, ideologies, philosophies, poetry, narrations and literature. Educational systems of atheist nations and civilisations cannot be like the systems of a believing nation; it can never be suitable for it nor can it be compatible with it.
Fellow Muslims! When this is so, what does the knowledge, education and awareness mean to a community which does not have a dignifying personality, a message, a creed in which it believes, fundamentals which it has affinity to spiritually and physically or a message that it adopts and calls others to?
O Muslims! O educators! Every right-thinking Muslim who loves his religion, his ummah and his country will take an assessing look at the condition of education in many Muslim countries in the light of profits and losses that are being made by these educational policies which these Muslim countries use in their schools, institutions and universities. What is the proportion of the progress achieved to the spent efforts and money? What have our children and the youths gained there from? What is the horrible ideological anarchy, contradictory views and ideas, doubting in matter of religion, indifference towards obligatory acts, revolting against all morals and blind imitation of non-Muslims which are noticed in most of our youths? Why are many of them blind and in spiritual darkness? Why do they denounce themselves and believe in others? The reason for this is that Islaam has become dead in their hearts, they are carried away by other people’s products, they talk gibberish and walk in an effeminate manner. Education did not impress self-confidence in their hearts nor did it tell them of their position or strengthen their aspirations. It did not create in them any sense of responsibility. They are killed without war and their hearts and minds are preoccupied with the thoughts of materials and fashionable dress.
Brothers in faith! Now is the time to take a serious stance and examine ourselves sincerely. We must admit the failure of the foreign educational systems. They have woefully failed to positively educate the individuals and the community. These imported educational systems actually carried out either of these two things: promoted atheism or separated between religion and worldly matters. These are the fundamentals upon which their studies and theories are based hence taking care of only worldly matters and alienating religion from education.
O educationists! It should be clear to all that sciences, arts, systems and educational theories that appeared – and still are appearing – in the West, East or any other place in the world are merely human experiments in which their authors may be sometimes wrong or right. The useful aspects of those sciences may be taken after making sure that they are free from elements of atheism, corruption and scorning for virtues; one should then give them the touch of eeman before one uses them.
“(Our religion is the religion of Allaah) and which religion can be better than Allaah’s” (Al-Baqarah 1: 138)
It is illogical and unwise for this ummah to adopt these foreign sciences and theories wholly with all their elements of corruption that they contain. Rather, they should lead to increased eeman, piety and God-consciousness.
“It is only those who have knowledge among his slaves that fear Allaah.” (35: 28)
Allaah also says when describing some qualities of men of understanding:
“… and think deeply about the creation of the heaven and the earth saying, ‘Our Rabb! You have not created (all) this without purpose. Glory be to You. Give us salvation from the torment of the fire.” (Aal-‘Imraan 3: 191)
Brothers in faith! The issue of education is one of the major issues in Islaamic countries. It is an issue in its own right because the nation of Islaam is a special one in its nature, policy and goals. It is a nation that possesses a concept, creed, message and Jihaad; hence, education and learning should be subjected to its concepts, its creed and message and all types of education or learning that do not carry these meanings are regarded as betrayal to this ummah.
In Islaam, education does not leave room for sheer human efforts and imported concepts and ideologies to control Muslims and divided them into progressive, reactionaries, socialists, capitalists or whatever.
Education, dear brothers, should not be a commodity to be exported. It is rather a system that reflects the reality of a community and its features. Education should be a system that embodies the aims of the community. It should embody its firm belief, its language, its exemplary way of life and its history.
Muslims therefore need an educational system and policy that suits their nature and is compatible with their noble values in their belief, law, and spirit of jihad in order to regain their glory.
It should be an education system upon which the life of the Muslim can be built and that can include all the classes of the Muslim society that will remain part of his life.
Islaamic education system is the one that caters for all stages of one’s learning life from kindergarten to the highest degree and causes great change in society through reform, uprightness and regaining of the lost glory. Islaamic education reforms the hearts and purifies the mind. It recognises talents and human differences.
Education in the Islaamic view means creating real men, refining their intellect, safeguarding manners and actualising the goal of all fields of knowledge in order that man may be able to live his life in this world according to his noble goals and sublime objectives.
Education is an undertaking by a Muslim to reform himself in matters of his belief, worship and conduct. It is an effort that one puts in order to achieve happiness in this world and the next.
O educators! Whatever people say about happiness and its meaning, it is a sure fact that education in Islaam means to preserve those values upon which Islaam is built, to fight in that cause and transfer it sincerely to the coming generations.
We Muslims know that there is a clear difference between disbelief and belief; religion and atheism; abiding by Islaamic injunctions and slackening in upholding them; the lawful and forbidden. We have lines of demarcation for all that. As for others, their creeds are unclear. Allaah (s.w.t.) says,
“You (true believers in Islaamic monotheism) are the best of people ever raised up for mankind all that is good and forbid all that is evil.” (Aal-Imaraan 3: 110)
Fellow Muslims! Fellow educators! Now is the time to formulate an education system and policy in all Muslim countries that will be purely Islaamic in all its aspects. Knowledge should be recorded and books authored in the spirit of Islaam and in such a way that nothing thereof will be contradictory to it. (We need to organize) a system of education that will create eeaman and certainty. If the Muslim ummah can do that it will be creating generations that will think Islaamically. This is in fact a huge responsibility but with energy and above that the permission of Allaah, it will be easy to carry out. Committees and commissions must be set up under the shade of Islaamic governments and their support to carry out these duties and it will be easy insha Allaah with sincerity and determination. Allaah (s.w.t.) says,
“And say (O Muhammad) ‘Do deeds! Allaah will see your deeds and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do.” (At-Tawbah 9: 105)
It is through the Islaamic education that a Muslim can become a productive member of his society and carry out the duty of succession he is assigned to perfectly; then, Allaah will increase him in power and grant him good enjoyment. Allaah (s.w.t.) says,
“And seek the forgiveness of your Rabb (Cherisher and SUstainer) and turn to Him that He may grant you good enjoyment for a term appointed and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace.” (Hood 11: 2)
He also says,
“Ask forgiveness of your Rabb and then repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain and add strength to your strength.” (Hood 11: 52)
Islaamic education is rich in great concepts that encourage piety, mercy, altruism, forgiveness, brotherhood and strength. It recognises the rights of Allaah, rights of parents and that of the old and weak people and gives each his due right. Islaamic education promotes morals and ethics like manners of greeting, seeking permission to enter other people’s homes, talking, eating, seeking for knowledge, and visiting the sick.
Islaamic education encourages setting good examples, mutual admonition, sincere acts of worship, seeking the truth, academic research and serious learning. It also protects from arrogance, hatred, jealousy, hypocrisy, self-delusion, love of this worldly life, following the desires, stinginess, etc.
The path of education in Islaam is the straight path, the path of those on whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace of the Prophets, the Siddiqoon (those followers of the Prophets who were first to believe in them like Abu Bakr), the martyrs and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are. It is far from the path of those who have earned Allaah’s wrath and of those who have gone astray.
The Glorious Qur’aan and the pure sunnah are the foundation of Islaamic education in all its stages and the first and foremost model is our Prophet Muhammad –(Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him. It is through him that Allaah taught us that knowledge should proceed sayings and deeds where He says,
“So know that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah, and ask forgiveness for your sins and also for the sins of believing men and women.” (Muhammad 47: 19)
May Allaah provide for the Muslims, their leaders, educators and scholars the light of knowledge, pure conscience, honesty in sayings and deeds and adherence to the straight path of Allaah.
By Sheikh Saalih bin Humayd, PhD
Khutbah (Friday Sermon) in Makkah Al Mukkaramah
Jumaaddal-Aakhirah 12, 1422 (August 31, 2001)