Quranic requirements for knowledge acquisition

3 min read

The Holy Quran emphasises the importance of knowledge acquisition. Surah 96:1-5, which Muslims believe to be the first revelation received by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), attests to the importance of knowledge in the Islamic world from the beginning. It begins with the words: “Read — for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One who has taught (man) the use of the pen — taught insan what he did not know!”


When one learn the Quran will know how Islam gives importance to seeking knowladge whether its worldly or spiritually as the Prophet (pbuh) is described in the Quran as a knowledge imparter (Surah 2:151). “Allah grant me knowledge of the ultimate nature of things,” he famously prayed.


The Quran rhetorically asks in Surah 39:9, “Can they who know and they who do not know be deemed equal?” and exhorts believers to pray for knowledge advancement. Furthermore, the Quran warns believers not to pursue what they do not understand because God will hold them accountable for actions that reflect a lack of understanding.


The Quran says of those who have knowledge, “God will exalt by (many) degrees those of you who have attained to faith…” (Surah 58: 11).


According to the Quran, knowledge is required for the creation of a just world in which genuine peace can reign. Even during and in the midst of war, the Quran emphasises the importance of learning. “With all of this, it is not desirable that all believers take the pitch (in times of war).”  Some shall refrain from going to war from among their midst, and shall devote themselves (instead) to acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Faith, and (thus) be able to teach their home-coming brethren, so that these (too) may guard themselves against evil” (Quran 9: 122, which states).


Some well-known ahadith embody the spirit of the Quran: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim” (Baihaqi, Mishkat); “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim male and Muslim female” (Ibn Majah). The fact that after the Battle of Badr (624 AD), he employed several captives from the Quraish tribe to teach Muslim boys reading and writing — this service counted as their ransom — reveals Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) attitude towards acquiring knowledge. In the words of Semaan: “… Muhammad (pbuh) instituted learning as an incumbent duty upon his people and this established a definite educational policy for Islam” .


Rosenthal testifies that the obligation to acquire knowledge was “a concept that possessed religious urgency and was ready to play a prominent role in a new religious movement.” Gulick believes that ahadith that “have been widely accepted as authentic and…have exerted a wide and salutary influence…must undoubtedly have stimulated and encouraged the great thinkers of the golden age of Islamic civilisation.”

You May Also Like

More From Author