01-08-2007, 03:43 PM
Peace be Upon you all,
The final Prophet of God, Mohammed peace be upon him was illiterate, he could neither write nor read. Yet the teachings sent through him changed the face of the world for all times to come. From the small desert city of Mecca, hardly the size of a modern day neighborhood, came this man and taught the Arabs right from wrong. To him was given a book called the Quran, God final revelation to humanity for all times to come, it was revealed with the words, "Read, Read, Read in the name of your Lord who created you from a clot of blood"
Soon after the death of Mohammed peace be upon him, Islam spread like wildfire all over Arabia, Asia and some parts of Europe. Its spread was immediately slandered to be 'by the sword' but in fact the reality was far from it. In a time where Kings and Queens were seen as 'incontestable' and the women were oppressed widely and freedom of speech was not even heard of, Islam was bringing these teachings to humanity. Black, white, men, women were given honor and held as equals, given the right to speak openly and not be second to any man or woman whether by birth right or by skin color. People of different religions were given rights as well and were protected under the Islamic state and the law protected their places of worship against desecration. These teachings were welcomed by all who embraced Islam, and in turn toppling their governments and so Islam spread very fast.
The Islamic Empire was so huge that it spanned parts of three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. From Spain to India Islam liberated people and enlightened them. The progress made in these times is a testament to the beauty of Islamic teachings. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Chinese and Pagan scientists all sat together with no fear of being persecuted, and discussed science and experimented freely. The progress made was so fast that historians record that in the middle ages a Church in Europe was lucky to have 4 or 5 books made of parchment, while common Muslim households under the Islamic empire had dozens of books printed on paper.
Knowledge was shared and propagated to all those who wished to gain it. There were countless libraries with books ranging from Archeology to Zoology. These were the golden ages of the Islamic Empire, liberated, and enlightened. Education was the key to it all. The prophet had instructed all Muslims to seek education and made it compulsory upon all men and women to be educated. And so it was, majority of Muslims were able to read and write and so were enlightened.
Then came the days to pass where it was time for the Islamic empire to crumble by the will of Allah. As all things must die, so did the Islamic Caliphate and it became divided and fragmented. The great libraries and houses of learning were lost and education eventually become a whisper in the air. The majority once enlightened, over the centuries, became the ignorant.
Once a companion of the Prophet had said, "The man of learning lives even after his death: the ignorant man is dead, while still alive" (Ali ra). And so it came to pass, the majority Muslims became the living dead on this very Earth. Indulging in practices which were against the teachings of Islam. Learning cultural and nationalistic identities over the teachings of Allah. This was the true beginning of the dark ages for the Muslims, a stage when the lamp of knowledge dwindled in the winds of ignorance, the darkness of illiteracy dimming out the light which the lamp once gave.
Currently as the position stands, more than 70% of all the population of the Muslims is illiterate! In Pakistan alone illiteracy is over 90% and this is the only nuclear power of the Muslims! So just imagine how bad it must be in other states? Our world has become small and restricted not because we are invaded, but because we are illiterate. We are failing to see properly and appreciate the greatness of Allah's creation and learn from it and advance ourselves with these lessons. Another companion of the Prophet once said, "The educated man sees with both heart and mind: the ignoramus sees only with his eyes" (Abu Bakr ra). And so it has come to pass that this is what our state has unfortunately become.
How many illiterate people do you know? I personally know many from my very neighborhood alone. Yet do we do anything to help educate? The prophet sacrificed his entire life to bring us the gift of the Quran, a very revelation beginning with words of instructions, telling people to read. When the Prophet was first told to read, he replied, "But I cannot read". Are our brothers and sisters in the same position? When we tell others to read the Quran, can they really read? Or should we help them gain this ability so they can fulfill the instruction in the first revelation: READ.
Let us take on the struggle of educating our brothers and sisters, a simple task, let us contribute to educate someone to learn to read and write. Let us be the bearer of good tidings for the nation of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, that when the light of enlightenment was threatened to be extinguished, we did not sit and do nothing, but we stood up for the moment and fought to keep it kindled and burning brighter than ever. Let us make this resolve and start God willing and may the help of Allah be with us on this mission. Ameen.
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