Knowledge is power, as the famous saying goes. In Islam acquiring knowledge is required of every Muslim whether male or female. In fact, acquiring knowledge is so important in Islam that the first instruction from Allah to Prophet Mohammad (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was to read:
“Recite in the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clinging substance. Recite and your Lord is Most Generous, who taught by pen. Taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5)
In the above verses, Allah tells Prophet Mohammad (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) to recite in the name of his Lord. Allah also tells Prophet Muhammad (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) that knowledge flows from the Creator to the creation.
All the knowledge that we have can be divided into two types: The knowledge that we gain by our own senses and experience, which tells us about the world around us, and the knowledge that is revealed by Allah to the Prophets, which tells us how to live as good human beings. Some people are misled because they think that they are self-sufficient and don’t need guidance from Allah. They do not feel that they need anything beyond worldly knowledge gained from their own senses. Allah says about such people,
“They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but of the hereafter they are unaware.” (30:7)
The world is full of many attractive things that can lead a person away from Allah’s straight path. If people don’t have strong faith, they are lost in this life and in the hereafter. And if they don’t have the worldly education, they will be deprived of the great material benefits that this knowledge brings. It is obvious that to succeed, human beings need both kinds of knowledge.
It is greatly beneficial for a Muslim to acquire worldly knowledge, but at the same time he or she must remember to keep their faith strong as well, and the way to gain this faith is to follow the revealed knowledge. Proper attention to these two aspects of life will enable a person to succeed in this world and the next.