Forbidding Education And Calling People To Illiteracy

 

by

 

Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Mualla Luwayhiq

 

 

 

Taken from Religious Extremism in the Lives of Contemporary Muslims, pp. 488-506

 

 

One of the fundamental principles that is stressed and encouraged by Islam is the seeking of knowledge. In fact, the rust set of verses that was revealed of the Quran was a call to read:

 

"Read in the name of your Lord Who created" (al-Alaq 1).

 

Then Allah reminded mankind of His blessing upon them of teaching them how to write:

 

"Who has taught (the writing] by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not" (al-Alaq 3-4).

 

In explaining the words, "taught by the pen."

 

Al-Qurtubi stated,

 

"That is, by writing. He taught humans how to write with the pen... Qataadah stated, 'The pen is a great blessing from Allah. If it were not for it, the religion would not be established and the worldly life would not be sound.' He points to His perfect nobility by the fact that He taught humans that which they did not know. He took them from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. He alludes to the virtue of the knowledge of writing due to the great benefits that are not achieved except through it." [1]

 

Beneficial knowledge-regardless of its field-is a basic value from among the greater values of Islam.

 

Allah says,

             

"And say: 0 Lord, increase me in knowledge" (Taha 114).

 

 

The Islamic sciences are the supreme sciences for which there are texts of praise and honor upon its scholars. The worldly sciences, though, are sciences of service and use such that the needs of the body and material world are met via them.

 

Therefore, knowledge and the sciences are of two categories:

 

The first category is the beneficial knowledge and sciences that help in purifying the soul, reforming one's manners and correcting one's beliefs. The acts based on this knowledge are sound and virtuous, producing good. These are the Shareeah sciences.

 

The second category is the knowledge by which is not intended reform of character or correction of one's deeds or beliefs. They are intended for the sake of worldly benefits only. The rulings concerning these differ depending upon the intention of the learner.

 

If he intends good, built upon faith and piety, the worldly sciences become praiseworthy from a religious point of view. However, if he has no religious intent, the knowledge becomes purely worldly with no noble purpose to it. Instead, its purpose is only a lowly, deficient one. [2]

 

Human knowledge is built upon practical experience in the creation as well as perception and pondering over the divine laws that rule this creation. This is something that the Quran calls people to in numerous verses.

 

For example, Allah says,

 

"Then let man look at his food, (and how We provide it): For that We pour forth water in abundance. And We split the earth in fragments. And produce therein grain, and grapes and nutritious plants, and olives and dates, and enclosed gardens, dense with lofty trees, and fruits and fodder, for use and convenience to you and your cattle" (Abasa 24-32).

 

 

Allah also says,

 

"Say: Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation"  (al-Ankaboot 20).

 

Allah also says,          

 

"See you not that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and leads it through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow, therewith, produce of various colors: then it withers; you will see it grow yellow; then He makes it dry up and crumble away. Truly, in this, is a message of remembrance for men of understanding" (al-Zumar 21).

 

 

This creation moves according to divine laws. Knowledge of those laws makes it easier to benefit from what this creation contains. This is the human knowledge. Medicine, for example, is the result of the experience of humans in curing diseases that they are afflicted with. In view of the creation's need for these sciences, the scholars have declared them a communal obligation.

 

 

Al-Ghazaali said,

  

"That which is a communal obligation is the knowledge that the worldly matters cannot do without, such as medicine. Medicine is a necessity for the continuation of the bodies.

 

Accounting is a necessity for transactions, division of wealth and estates and so forth. These are the sciences that are such that if a land is void of anyone who knows them, the people will suffer. If one [or a sufficient number] gains this knowledge, it will suffice and the obligation will be dropped from the others." [3]

 

 

These sciences that humans are in need of for their worldly lives are not blameworthy. Indeed, they are praiseworthy and sought from the people so that they may fulfill what they need of them. They are blameworthy only if they are used to harm people or if people deviate with respect to the intention behind them. This is with respect to two facets:

 

First is wherein these sciences are a cause for worldly misery and destruction. This type is being witnessed today as the harms from some sciences are manifest in recent inventions and weapons of mass destruction that have brought about a great deal of evil for themselves and for others.

 

Second is wherein the people who attain that knowledge become arrogant, haughty and marveled by it. They make it [their specialty] the ultimate purpose of everything and they belittle everything else. They become hostile to the knowledge passed on by the messengers, which is, in fact, the beneficial knowledge. They refuse it and become arrogant towards it, being pleased with their knowledge that distinguishes them from the rest of humanity. The following words of Allah are applicable to them,

 

"For when their Messengers came to them with clear signs, they exulted in such knowledge as they had; but that very (wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in" (Ghaafir 83). [4]

  

Human sciences and knowledge were not well-known to the Arabs before the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Shareeah came and confirmed what was correct of it and added to it what it added. It also declared false what was false of it. It also showed what was beneficial of it and what was harmful. An example of that nature deals with the knowledge of al-nujoom (astronomy/astrology). The Shareeah came warning about the forbidden astrology.

 

 

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

 

 

"Whoever acquires knowledge of al-nujoom (astrology) has acquired a branch of sorcery, increasing it as he increases." [5]

 

 

However, the knowledge of al-nujoom (astronomy) that is related to getting directions on the land and sea, differences of time and season, knowing the setting and places of the stars and so forth, is approved in the Quran:

 

 "It is He Who makes the stars (as beacons) for you, that you may guide yourselves, with their help, through the dark spaces of land and sea" (al-Anaam 97).

 

 

Allah also says,

 

 

"By the stars (men) guide themselves" (al-Nahl 16).

 

 

Another example is that of medicine. The Arabs had some knowledge that they took from the experiences of other nations.

 

The Shareeah came affirming some of the remedies and declaring others void, such as the use of forbidden objects as remedies or the use of incantations that contained aspects of association of partners with Allah. [6]

 

The Shareeah and the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came with what proves the Shareeah sanction for learning the worldly sciences. Note the following:

 

1) Zaid ibn Thaabi [7] was ordered by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to learn the writing of the Jews [Hebrew]. He said,

 

 

"I would then write for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and read for him what they wrote whenever they wrote to him." [8]

 

This indicates the sanctioning of learning such knowledge to the extent that it is needed and sufficient for the Muslims and so they will not have to rely upon others.

 

 

(2) Abu Humaid al-Saaid [9] said,

 

 

"The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) employed a man from the Tribe of Asad, called ibn al-Lutbiyyah [10], to administer the zakat and when he came, he would go over the account with him." [11]

 

 

This hadith indicates the Prophet's knowledge of "calculating" which is one of the human sciences. Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent with the laws of inheritance which contain a great deal of calculations. [12]

 

 

(3) The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also employed scribes. In fact, he had some forty-two scribes, including the rightly guided caliphs. [13]

 

(4) Ibn Abbaas said,

 

"Some of the prisoners after Badr had no ransom. The Messenger of Allah  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) therefore set their ransom at teaching ten of the children of the Ansaar how to read and write." [14]

 

Imam al-Shabi said,

 

 

"The people of Makkah would know how to write while the people of Madinah did not write. Therefore, whoever could not make a ransom payment was sent ten young boys from Madinah for them to teach. When they became proficient, they were their ransom payment. And Zaid ibn Thaabit was from those who were taught." [15]

 

 

The teaching of the children of the Muslims proves the legality of learning how to read and write. If it were not legal, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would not have made the teaching of reading and writing to the Muslim children a ransom payment.

 

(5) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) borrowed some of the knowledge related to warfare from other nations. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard that the clans were gathering against him, he gathered the people and informed them of what the enemy was doing. He consulted with them and Salmaan al-Faarisi suggested digging the trench. He said,

  

"O Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we were in the land of the Persians and when we feared the horsemen, we would build a trench around us."

 

In other words, that was the strategy of the Persians. They were pleased with that suggestion and so they built the trench around Madinah. [16]

 

In the siege of Taif, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) bombarded the people of Taif with catapults. [17] The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself was the first to launch one in Islam. [18] The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not forbid such knowledge even though some of it was taken from the Persians and Romans. Human sciences are based on experiences and nations can benefit from the others in this matter.

 

As for the means and places in which such knowledge is passed on, they differ from era to era. Although the learning and teaching during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was in the mosque, that does not mean that it is forbidden or not sanctioned to have it outside of the mosque. These kinds of means and places differ depending on the time, place and custom.

 

After this clarification of some points related to knowledge, I may conclude the following:

 

(1) Forbidding the learning of the human sciences is forbidding something that Allah has made permissible. Hence, it is a type of extremism in the religion.

 

(2) Forbidding attaining knowledge via newly introduced means, such as in colleges and other places, is also forbidding something while there is no evidence for that prohibition. Hence, it is also a form of extremism. Some people nowadays have gone to this extreme. In describing the jamaah of the last days, Shukri Mustafa stated, "The jamaah of the truth of the end of time will be the second coming of the best nation raised for mankind, with all of its distinguishing features. It will be an illiterate nation because it will fall under the Prophet's words,

 

'We are an illiterate nation.' [19]

 

It will also fall under the words of Allah,

 

'As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: and He is Exalted in Might, Wise' (al-Jumuah 3)." [20]

 

In his book, al-Khilaafah, he wrote,

 

Whoever thinks that this concentration of efforts, sciences and inventions that are filling the earth now have been done for the worship of Allah or that one may join together both sacrificing one's life in building up this radiant civilization and pompous world along with the worship of Allah by fasting, praying, supplicating, remembering, making the pilgrimage, conveying the message, making jihad for the sake of Allah as is His right, reciting the Quran in the proper fashion, remembering Allah day and night... I say to whoever thinks that the responsibilities of building a modern day civilization do not contradict with the responsibilities of worship and to those who say that the scholars of the West can build a civilization while worshipping Allah at the same time... Whoever thinks that can testify against himself that he has very little modesty and is completely brazen-after that, he may do whatever he wishes. [21]

 

One researcher on this topic noted,

 

In sum, the stance of Shukri forbidding his followers from attending the schools and scientific institutes is well-known for anyone who had even the slightest contact with this group. Most of the people who left the group admitted to this fact... It must be pointed out that forbidding studies was not restricted to medicine, engineering or foreign language studies. It extended to the universities and Islamic institutions in which non-Islamic subjects are not studied. This is because they are institutions of the taghoot and they are included under the realm of mosques by which evil is intended. Their teachers are all hypocrites. In fact, they are apostates because they do not believe that there exists the greater kufr that takes one out of the fold of the religion. As for the sanctioned knowledge, it cannot be achieved but in the classrooms that follow the jamaah. Indeed, it is not acceptable to approve of any curriculum save that which was laid down in detail by the leader of this jamaah. [22]

 

 

Their evidence for their position is exemplified by the following:

 

 

(1) The evidence that describes this Nation as being ummi, including:

 

 

(a) Allah has said,

 

 

"It is He Who has sent amongst the unlettered a messenger from among      themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in the Book and the Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error" (al-jumuah 2).

 

 

After stating this verse, Shukri Mustafa wrote,

 

"This is an unlettered Nation. It is not just those who the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was first sent to who were unlettered... but [the following verse states,} 'As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: and He is Exalted in Might, Wise' (al-jumuah 3). And these are the people who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgment, those who follow along the same path [as they did}." [23]

 

 

(b) The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

 

"We are an illiterate nation. We neither write nor do we calculate. The month is like this," and he mentioned twenty-nine [once] and thirty once. [24]

 

Shukri Mustafa stated about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),

 

"His entire nation is illiterate, they do not write or calculate... What he meant by illiterate nation is the majority and general rule of this nation. This does not deny that some readers and writers may exist in this nation but they exist only to the extent that they are needed." [25]

 

(c) The illiteracy of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [is another proof].

 

Shukri Mustafa said,

 

"The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not read while it was in his ability to read and calculate." [26]

 

(2) [They also cite] the hadith of cross-pollinating the date palm trees. Anas ibn Maalik narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by some people who were cross-pollinating and he said,

 

"If they were not to do so, it may be good."

 

The product then was of very poor quality and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by them and said,

 

"What is with your date palms?"

 

They replied, "You said such and such."

 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then told them,

 

"You have more knowledge of your worldly matter." [27]

 

(3) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never taught his Companions anything except the Quran. Shukri Mustafa said,

 

"The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) spent thirteen years in Makkah and he never taught the Muslims save the Book and the Wisdom. He himself did not learn anything other than that." [28]

 

(4) There are also verses that censure being deceived by knowledge.

 

Allah says,

 

"For when their Messengers came to them with clear signs, they exulted in such knowledge as they had; but that very (wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in" (Ghaafir 83).

 

A Critique of Their Proofs:

 

First, there are the Quranic verses that revolve around the concept of the "illiteracy" of the Muslim nation. The word ummiyyah ("illiterate") has been mentioned in six places in the Quran.

 

In Soorah al-Baqarah, Allah states about the Tribe of Israel,

 

"And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture" (al-Baqarah 78).

 

In soorah ali-Imraan, Allah says,

 

"And say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned, 'Do you (also) submit yourselves?' If they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, your duty is to convey the Message; and in Allah's sight are (all) His servants" (ali-Imraan 20).

 

In the same soorah, Allah says about the Tribe of Israel,

 

"Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back. [And there are] others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stood demanding, because, they say, 'There is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (ummiyyeen)'" (ali-Imraan 75).

 

In soorah al-Araaf, Allah says,

 

"Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures)-in the Taurah and the GospeL." (al-Araaf 157).

 

In the following verse, Allah also says,

 

"So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet" (al-Araaf 158).

 

And in soorah al-jumuah, Allah says,

 

"It is He Who has sent among the unscriptured a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in the Book and the Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error" (al-Jumuah 2).

 

Upon study of these verses and the statements of the scholars, it is clear that the word ummiyyah is used in two ways:

 

(a) Inability to read or write: In this usage, Allah describes some of the People of the Book as ummiyyoon (illiterate):

 

"And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture" (al-Baqarah 78).

 

Ibn Jareer stated,

 

"The meaning of ummiyyeen are those who neither write nor read." [29]

 

(b) The second usage is in reference to a people who had not received a revealed book from Allah. This is found in the verses,

 

"And say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned, 'Do you (also) submit yourselves?' If they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, your duty is to convey the Message; and in Allah's sight are (all) His servants" (ali-Imraan 20), and,

 

"It is He Who has sent amongst the unscriptured a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in the Book and the Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error" (al-Jumuah 2).

 

Ibn Abbaas said,

 

"The ummiyyoon were the Arabs, all of them, those who could write and those who could not write. This is because they were not a People of a Book." [30]

 

Al-Tabari said,

 

"The ummiyyoon are those who did not have a [revealed] book among the polytheistic Arabs." [31]

 

In the light of this classification of the meaning found in the verses, the following is clarified:

 

(1) Before the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Arabs had combined two characteristics.

 

They were ummiyyoon in the sense that they were not a people of a [revealed] Book. And they were also ummiyyoon in the sense that most of them did not know how to read or write. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent to them, they no longer had the first characteristic of not reading a book that was revealed for them.

 

"In fact, they became people of a Book and knowledge. They became the most knowledgeable of the creation and the most excellent in beneficial knowledge. The blameworthy, negative attribute of not having the knowledge and the revealed book was removed from them." [32]

 

(2) Being ummiyyah in the meaning of not being able to read or write is something blameworthy. That is why Allah has said,

 

"And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture" (al-Baqarah 78).

 

However, the illiteracy of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself was something praiseworthy as he was turned away from the knowledge of reading and writing so that the miraculous nature [of the revelation] would be affirmed and so that his argument would be made even stronger. [33]

 

This fact is indicated by Allah's statement,

 

"And you were not (able) to recite a book before this (Book came), nor were you (able) to transcribe it with your right hand. In that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted" (al-Ankaboot 48).

 

Imam al-Qurtubi said,

 

"That is, you, Muhammad, were not able to read before this and you would not go to meet with the People of the Book. Instead, We revealed to you in the greatest form of a miracle, including in it aspects of the unseen [such as the stories of the past prophets] and more. Had you been from those who read books or written letters, the people who talk-of the People of the Book-would have spread doubts and their doubts would have been pertinent." [34]

 

"His illiteracy was not with respect to knowledge as he had knowledge and reciting from memorization in his heart. In fact, he is the Imam in that matter. It was simply from the point of view of not writing or reading something written... His illiteracy became something specific for him as a type of perfection in the sense that he was not in need of something [otherwise] more virtuous and complete than it. However, for others, it is a deficiency as they will lose many qualities that cannot be achieved without literacy." [35]

 

(3) The verses that mention ummiyyah are in the form of a statement of fact and are not requesting that act. There is no text requesting the continuance of the characteristic of illiteracy. At the most, there is a demand for a continuance of some of the rulings characteristic of that quality, as shall be discussed shortly when the hadith, "We are an illiterate nation," is discussed.

 

(4) Allah's statement,

 

"As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: and He is Exalted in Might, Wise" (al-Jumuah 3), does not indicate any virtue of ummiyyah for the following reasons:

 

(a) The meaning of ummiyyeen [in the verse previous to this one] is the Arabs who had not had a prophet sent to them before Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and who had not received a Book. The meaning is not those who know not how to read or write.

 

(b) Their use of the word [in the verse] "others" as a proof is not valid. This is because it is not allowed for the word "others" to be in conjunction with "ummiyyeen," because "others" requires that it mean some other people than those mentioned. Hence, it must refer to someone other than the Arabs, that is, other than the ummiyyeen. It is in conjunction with the pronoun in, "to them," in the words, "rehearse to them"; in other words, it means that the verses will be read to others [in the future]. Or, "others" is another actor along with the preceding referent. In other words, "Recite to the ummiyeen our signs, purify them and teach them the Book and the Wisdom," and do the same for others as well.

 

This is made clear by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explaining by a partial commentary in which he gave an example of the "others" as being the Persians. Abu Hurairah said, "We were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and soorah al-jumuah was revealed. He recited it. When he reached the words, 'As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them)' a man asked him, 'Who are they?' He did not answer him until he had asked the question three times. Salmaan al-Faarisi was among us and he put his hand on Salmaan and said,

 

'Even if the faith were at the highest star, men from these [people] would achieve it. "' [36]

 

Therefore, the meaning is not as Shukri Mustafa understood it,

 

"As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them," meaning those who cannot read or write.

 

Second, they quote the hadith,

 

"We are an illiterate nation. We neither write nor do we calculate." [37]

 

This is also not a proof that learning and knowledge are forbidden.

 

This is true for the following reasons:

 

(1) The Prophet's statement, "We are an illiterate nation," was a statement of fact and not a directive or command from him. They were truly an illiterate people before the coming of the Shareeah. However, afterwards, they were not ordered to remain in that state for all matters. They were simply ordered to remain in that state regarding specific matters. [38]

 

(2) His statement,

 

"We neither write nor do we calculate," was specifically related to the question of determining the beginnings of the months. [39]

 

Otherwise, there were some Companions who wrote and would make well-known computations and arithmetic.

 

Therefore, this is a statement of fact comprising a prohibition. He is stating that the Nation to which he was sent, which is the moderate nation, is a Nation that does not record or calculate. Instead, they know the beginnings of the months by sighting [the new moon], [40]

 

Therefore, the attribute of ummiyyah in the hadith concerning fasting is a praiseworthy attribute for the following reasons:

 

First, recording and calculations are done away with by something much clearer and more manifest, which is the sighting.

 

Second, recording and calculations are often mistaken while sighting is not so.

 

Third, getting involved in recording and calculations preoccupies one from better things and exhausts a person, while the opposite is true for the sighting. [41]

 

(3) The meaning of the hadith is that there are some Shareeah rulings that remain upon the status of ummiyyah. To understand the Shareeah and its laws, one is not in need of astronomy and mathematics. The wisdom behind this is:

 

(a) Those who learned directly from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were ummiyyoon still upon their natural disposition.

 

(b) If the laws were not ummiyyah, as it spread to all of mankind, Arabs and non-Arabs, it would have been difficult for the masses of people to implement the orders and prohibitions that would be in need of scientific methods to, first, understand them, and then, second, to apply them. This is the meaning that one can derive from the Prophet's words,

 

"We are an illiterate nation. We neither write nor do we calculate." [42]

 

(4) The meaning of the hadith is not to prohibit reading and writing. We have already mentioned what indicates their legitimacy.

 

The recording and calculating that were forbidden were only those used in calculating the beginnings of the months.

 

Third, they quote the evidence showing that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was illiterate. We have already mentioned that the Prophet's illiteracy is to be reckoned as a miracle of his prophethood. Therefore, it is not a shortcoming with respect to him; indeed, it was a type of excellence. However, with respect to others it is a shortcoming because they wi11lose some virtues that are only achieved through reading and writing.

 

Fourth, they quote the hadith concerning the cross-pollination of the date palm trees. This hadith does not contain any evidence that knowledge is forbidden. The fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was unaware of some worldly matter and he approved of their knowledge is evidence that learning the aspects of this world is permissible and not forbidden, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) affirmed their knowledge.

 

Fifth, they say that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) only taught his Companions the Quran and Sunnah. This was because the responsibility of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was to teach them those matters.

 

He did not object to them learning worldly matters. In fact, he ordered the learning of some topics, as was discussed earlier.

 

Sixth, they quote some texts censuring being deceived by knowledge, such as Allah's statement,

 

"For when their Messengers came to them with clear signs, they exulted in such knowledge as they had; but that very (wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in" (Ghaafir 83).

 

This verse only shows that the blameworthy aspect of human knowledge is when the person becomes deceived by it and rejects what has come via inspiration, relying instead only upon his limited knowledge.

 

Seventh, the building of a modern civilization is not in contradiction with the fulfillment of the worship of Allah. This is because maintaining and adding to this world is part of the worship of Allah. The concept of worship of Allah is more comprehensive than simply the rituals. What is forbidden concerning the maintaining of this world is forgetting about Allah and not giving thanks to Him. Allah says, in quoting a righteous person from the people of Qaaroon,

 

"But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, nor forget your portion in this world. But do goodness, as Allah has been good to you. And seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief' (al-Qasas 77).

 

  

 

 

 

1) Al-Qurtubi, al-Jaami li-Ahkaam al-Quraan, vol. 2, p. 120.

2) Cf., Abdul Rahmaan al-Saadi, al-Fataawa al-Saadiyyah, pp. 104-105.

3) Ihyaa Uloom al-Deen, vol. 1, p. 16.

4) Cf., Abdul Rahmaan al-Saadi, al-Fataawa al-Saadiyyah, p. 105.

5) Recorded by Abu Dawood, ibn Maajah, Ahmad, al-Tabaraani, al-Baihaqi and ibn Abdul Barr in Jaami Bayaan al-Ilm from the hadith narrated by ibn Abbaas. Al-Nawawi declared it sahih in Riyaadh al-Saaliheen (hadith #1679) as did al-Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihyaa (vol. 4, p. 117). Al-Munaawi (Fath al-Qadeer, vol. 6, p. 80) quotes al-Dhahabi as declaring it sahih in al-Kabaair but I did not find it therein.

6) Cf., al-Shaatibi, al-Muwaafaqaat, vol. 2, pp. 71-72. He mentions a number of sciences that were known to the Arabs and approved by the Shareeah.

7) He was Abu Khaarijah Zaid ibn Thaabit ibn al-Dhahaak al-Ansaari, one of the elder Companions. He used to record the revelation. He was also a scribe for Umar and then for Uthmaan. He was a leader in being a judge and giving religious verdicts. Umar would leave him in charge of Madinah. 92 hadith have been narrated on his authority. Cf., Siyar Alaam al-Nubalaa, vol. 2, p. 426; al-Isaabah, vol. 4, p. 41; ai-Ala am, vol. 3, p. 57.

8) Recorded by al-Bukhari without its complete chain. Al-Bukhari records its complete chain in his Tareekh, as ibn Hajar noted (Fath, vol. 13, p. 161).

Ahmad and al-Haakim record that Zaid ibn Thaabit said, "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered me to learn Syriac."

9) He was Abdul Rahmaan-some say al-Mundhir-ibn Saad ibn alMundhir. There is a difference of opinion concerning his name as well as his grandfather's name. He was a Companion from the Ansar. He participated at Uhud and the following battles. A number of Companions and Followers narrated from him. He died either at the end of Muaawiyyah's caliphate or at the beginning ofYazeed's. Cf., Siyar Alaam al-Nubalaa, vol. 2, p. 481; al-Isaabah, vol. 11, p. 89; Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb, vol.12, p. 80.

10) He was Abdullah ibn al-Lutbiyyah ibn Thalabah al-Azdi. His [first] name is not mentioned in the hadith in the two Sahihs but a number of scholars mentioned it. Cf., al-Isaabah, vol. 6, p. 202.

11) Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

12) Cf., ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fataawa, vol. 25, p. 166.

13) Cf., Abdul Raoof al-Munaawi, al-Ujaalah al-Saniyyah Sharh Alfiyyah al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 244; ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fataawa, vol. 25, p. 166.

14) Recorded by Ahmad. [According to Ahmad Shaakir, the chain of this report is sahih. Cf., Ahmad Shaakir, footnotes to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad (Cairo: Daar al-Hadeeth, 1995), vol. 3, p. 20.-]Z]

15) From Imam al-Saalihi, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rishaad, vol. 4, p. 104.

16) Cf., Ali Burhaan al-Deen aI-HaIabi, al-Seerah al-Halabiyyah, vol. 2, p. 631.

17) Cf., ibn Hishaam, al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 4, p. 148-149.

18) Ibid.

19) This hadith will be discussed in more detail shortly.

20) Al-Tuwasimaat, p. 16.

21) Kitaab al-Khilaafah, quoted from Muhammad Suroor Zain al-Abideen, al-Hukum bi Ghair ma Anzalallaah, p. 237.

22) Muhammad Suroor Zain al-Abideen, al-Hukum hi Chair ma Anzalallaah, p.238.

23) Al-Tuwasimaat, p. 16.

24) Recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa'ee and Ahmad.

25) Al-Tuwasimaat, p. 16.

26) AI-Tuwasimaat, p. 16.

27) Recorded by Muslim.

28) Al-Tuwasimaat, p. 16.

29) Jaami al-Bayaan, vol. 1, p. 373; cf., al-Qurtubi, al-jaami li-Ahkaam al-Quraan, vol. 2, p. 5, and ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari, vol. 4, p. 127.

30) Al-Qurtubi, al-jaami li-Ahkaam al-Quraan, vol. 18, p. 92.

31) Al-Tabari, jaami al-Bayaan, vol. 13, p. 314. Cf., al-Qurtubi, al-Jaami Ii.

Ahkaam al-Quraan, vol. 4, p. 45.

32) Ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fataawa, vol. 25, pp. 168-169.

33) Cf., al-Qurtubi, al-jaami li-Ahkaam al-Quraan, vol. 20, p. 121.

34) Al-Qurtubi, al-jaami li-Ahkaam al-Quraan, vol. 13, p. 251; cf., al-Tabari, jaami al-Bayaan, vol. 21, p. 3.

35) Ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fataawa, vol. 25, p. 172.

36) Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

37) Recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa' ee and Ahmad.

38) Cf., ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fataawa, vol. 25, p. 166. The last point is explained in the next paragraph.

39) They would use recordings and calculations to know the beginnings of the months. Ibn Taimiyyah noted that some people would record the movements of the sun and moon with alphabetical letters and so forth and they would calculate how much time had passed and when the last night of the month would occur. See ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fataawa, vol. 25, p. 173.

40) Cf.. ibn Taimiyyah. al-Fataawa. vol. 25, p. 165.

41) Cf.. ibn Taimiyyah. al-Fataawa. vol. 25. p. 174.

42) Cf.. Shaikh Abdullah Draaz's footnotes to al-Shaatibi. al-Muwaafaqaat, vol., p. 69.

 

 

 

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