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Education: The Key to Breaking Free from the Shackles of Ignorance

Education and critical thinking are crucial in any society and can help individuals to break free from the chains of misinformation and misunderstanding

By Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon

In a world where knowledge is power, the pursuit of education has never been more crucial. For Muslims, this pursuit is not just a duty, but a divine commandment, as Allama Iqbal reminds us: “‘Iqra’ was the first word of the Divine Revelation. It is not just a command to read but a declaration of the Muslim’s duty to pursue knowledge and learning.” Despite this call to seek knowledge and enlightenment, some individuals choose to remain ignorant, refusing to break free from the chains of intellectual blindness and misinformation. In this article, we will explore the importance of education in the Muslim community and the obstacles that prevent some from embracing this vital pursuit. Education: The Key to Breaking Free from the Shackles of Ignorance

It is unfortunate to see that some individuals, regardless of their colour, creed,  religion, or social background, choose to remain ignorant and refuse to educate themselves. However, it is also important to recognize that not all Muslims fall into this category and many actively seek to understand and live by the teachings and commandments of the holy Qur’an.

Education and critical thinking are crucial in any society and can help individuals break free from the chains of misinformation and misunderstanding. It is through learning and seeking knowledge that individuals can make informed decisions and contribute positively to society.

This is true in Central Asia, particularly the Muslim community have fallen prey to the traps of ignorance and misinformation.

The first word revealed to the Holy Prophet as a revelation of the Holy Qur’an was “Iqra,” which translates to “read or recite.” This was a call to the believers or the Muslims, to seek knowledge and remove darkness from their lives and the lives of their fellow human beings. Yet, as history has shown, not all Muslims responded positively to this divine call.

Hairat hain ki taileem wa tarakee mai hain peechay, jis kaum ka agaaz he iqra se huwa tha “Alama Iqbal”

“Allama Iqbal, the famous revolutionary poet, used his poetry to inspire Muslims towards education. In one of his poems, he expressed surprise at the lack of progress in education and civilization among the Muslim community, despite the fact that their journey towards knowledge and enlightenment began with the word ‘Iqra’ (Read!). He was trying to encourage Muslims to rediscover their love for learning and to strive towards greater educational, intellectual and cultural achievements.”

Education: The Key to Breaking Free from the Shackles of Ignorance

Given below are some of the famous quotes of Alama Iqbal extracted from his poems, that emphasize the importance of pursuing knowledge and learning for Muslims:

“Talib-e-ilm kaafir-e-be-niyazi se behtar hai” (A seeker of knowledge is better than a faithless and indolent person)

“Iqra ki rasm hai duniya ki tamaddun ki bunyad, Bina taalim ke insaan kisi halakat ka shikar” (The tradition of ‘Iqra’ is the foundation of human civilization; without education, humans are prone to destruction)

“Har ek momin ki zindagi mein, talim ki roshni honi chahiye, Ta ke bana sakey wo bhi insaan, jaisa baney khuda ne irada” (In the life of every believer, there should be the light of education, so that they can become human as Allah has intended them to be)

“Talim-e-insaaniat se bhara hai meri tan mein, Mera zameer hai shaheen, meri nazar qaatil-e-nafs” (My body is filled with the education of humanity, my conscience is noble, and my sight is the slayer of ego.)

“Khudi ko kar buland itna, ke har taqdeer se pehle, Khuda bande se khud poochhe, bata teri raza kya hai” (Elevate yourself so much that you excel your destiny, God Himself should ask  you, ‘tell me, what is your will?’)

“Talim uloom ki shama se hoti hai roshan, Insan ke qad-o-qamat ka imtiyaz hai ye” (Education illuminates with the light of knowledge, it is a privilege of human dignity and stature.)

These quotes from Allama Iqbal emphasize the importance of education in the life of a Muslim and they teach him how he can break free from ignorance and darkness. They encourage Muslims to seek knowledge, reflect on the teachings of the holy Qur’an, and contribute positively to society.

The problem of ignorance is not limited to the Muslim community alone. It is a global issue and it affects all societies. However, the Muslim community is particularly susceptible to the problem because of the influence of certain individuals who spread misinformation and promote ignorance. These individuals, who may hold high degrees, have not used their education to critically examine the narratives and counter-narratives presented to them. Instead, they spread their ignorance, acting as drivers of the juggernaut of age-old “Jahalat” among Muslims.

The effects of ignorance and misinformation can be devastating. It can lead to misunderstanding, conflict, and even violence. It is therefore crucial that individuals in the Muslim community and beyond break free from the shackles of ignorance and seek knowledge. Education is the key to achieving this goal. By reading, studying, and researching, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and make informed decisions.

Education, however, is not just about obtaining degrees and certificates. It is about a lifelong commitment to learning, self-reflection, and critical examination of all sources of information. It is about seeking the truth and striving for a better understanding of the world. This can only be achieved through a strong commitment to education and a determination to break free from the chains of ignorance.

In conclusion, breaking free from the shackles of ignorance is a crucial task for all individuals. Education is the key to unlocking the doors of ignorance and freeing oneself from the traps of misinformation. The Muslim community, in particular, must make a concerted effort to seek knowledge and escape the influences of ignorance and misinformation.  By doing so, they can not only improve their own lives but also contribute positively to society as a whole.

“Learn from history or you will repeat it, to be great again Muslims must pursue knowledge with zeal, sincerity and grit.” – Allama Iqbal

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