Malcolm X once said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Striving to acquire knowledge will only bring about a positive change for humanity. Those who are truly knowledgeable are humble and aware of their surroundings; they eliminate ignorance, arrogance and hatred. Those are ones who exude confidence. That confidence produces hope and that hope produces peace. One of the most important purposes of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Seeking knowledge and getting an education is highly recommended in the Islamic faith. The first word that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was “READ.” We can divide knowledge in Islam into two broad categories: (1) the knowledge concerning religion and (2) the knowledge concerning life in this world. Through Islam the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) emphasized the importance of seeking knowledge in different ways, such as mentioning time, place, gender and source.
With time, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” Through these words we can understand that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged seeking knowledge and being students of knowledge from the time we enter this world till we depart it. With place, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Seek knowledge even if it is as far as China.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is informing us that acquiring knowledge may require us to travel and experience different places with different people. In other words, do not restrict yourself to your regular environment. With gender, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Seeking knowledge is a duty on every Muslim.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) here is informing us we cannot make any excuses. We all, men and women have to make an effort to acquire knowledge; knowledge that will benefit us both in this world and the next.
Lastly with source, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer, he should take it even if he finds it in the mouth of a mushrik (polytheist).” Here the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is telling us to take beneficial knowledge from anyone and everyone, because it is not about who is saying it, it’s about what is being said.
Looking at the world today, it is disappointing to see that education is not looked at for everyone. It is for the rich and the elite. This ideology is incorrect completely from any way you look at it. Everyone has the right to a quality education to aid them in the journey of life. Without an education how do we expect of a person to survive. How will a man or woman work without having a degree or a skill? How will a woman raise her child without knowledge? How will a poor man inquire a job? It is essential that we educate ourselves and open the path of education for others so we can bring about a positive and much needed change in the world. Through the grace of Allah, the Exalted and generous donors like you, Zakat Foundation of America was able to take part in bringing education to thousands of children around the world. Be among those who support education and help needy students around the globe get a proper education.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The body is purified by water, your nafs (ego) by tears; one’s intellect is purified by knowledge and the soul is purified with love.” May Allah (swt) make us among those who purify our bodies, egos, intellect, and soul and open a path for those less fortunate.