Dying to Learn…Malala’s Cause and Afghanistan: A Fard Kifaya for the Ummah – Part 2
[Part 2 of a two-part series on the rights of the group intellect that includes women and girls…]
“We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape.”
The Noble Qur’an, Sura Al-Hijr, Ayat 26
“The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim…Whoever has a daughter, tutors her on good morals, educates her well and feeds her properly; she will be a protection for him from hell fire.”
—Prophet Muhammed (SAW)
“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”
—Malala Yousafzai on confronting the Taliban
(Continued from Part 1)… Muslims must be diligent in the pursuit of knowledge irrespective of its origin or realm. Origin refers to knowledge originating from different peoples and realm refers to secular or spiritual knowledge.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Adopt knowledge from wherever it comes. Seek knowledge even unto China. No poverty is worse than ignorance; no wealth is better than intelligence. Whoso pursues the road of knowledge, God will direct him to the road of Paradise; and verily the angels spread their arms to receive him who seeks after knowledge; and everything in heaven and earth will ask grace for him…
Verily the superiority of a learned man over a mere worshipper is like that of the full moon over all the stars. Acquire knowledge for it enables the possessor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our companion when friendless; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is an ornament among friends and an armor against enemies.”
The above words from the Prophet (s) convey to the individual and society that one must be driven to learn; that government must devote resources and arrange priorities such that the individual is enabled and encouraged to meet the personal responsibility of education.
Valuation and Protection
The final responsibility for cultivating a climate of educational excellence is to preserve or safeguard that which has been learned and to preserve the process that leads to discovery and improvement. The first level of this responsibility is valuation and it means having the requisite respect for intellectual leadership.
Valuation occurs when the group recognizes that its strength and viability are dependent upon the intellectual development of all its members. The successful group will place a premium upon and devote resources for the protection and utilization of its intelligentsia.
The global history of our religion certainly reflects a deep respect for scholars and teachers and for the leaders who supported them. We do not need to go too far back to see what happens when intellectual leadership is stifled. Perhaps the best contemporary example of what can happen to a people when it loses its best minds is seen in the tragic annihilation of Cambodia’s intellectual resources (human and material) by the late dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge.
From our own ethnic experience, the great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, placed a premium upon intellectual valuation. Du Bois’ proposition of the “Talented Tenth” was an assertion that a progressive African-American community is inexorably linked to the development of an African-American intellectual leadership.’
I am not sure whether the percentage is one tenth, a fourth or a third, but all people need a critical mass of competent and sincere leadership or as Brown states, a “truth brigade” that understands the importance of intellectual valuation and protection. But you can’t sustain a truth brigade or a talented tenth until less you expand educational opportunity to the masses.
After valuation, the second level of responsibility is protection and advancement of knowledge through the written word. Next time, the power of the pen. (To be continued).
Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.
Sincerely & respectfully,
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