Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,
Let us heighten our sense of takwa towards Allah s.w.t. wherever we are; carrying out the commands Allah has prescribed upon us and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us. May Allah s.w.t. place us among those who are filled with takwa.
Islam highly emphasises education and the pursuit of knowledge. Knowledge is the light that enables one to distinguish between Truth and falsehood (or Haq and Batil). Knowledge allows humankind to learn about “Al-Khaliq”, The Creator. Knowledge will lift the status of humankind and allow him to attain nobility. And it is also through knowledge that a person remains humble, because the person is fully aware that Allah s.w.t. is the source of all knowledge.
Allah s.w.t. teaches humankind of how the angels attest to this fact, proven by the fact that Prophet Adam a.s. has knowledge of Allah’s creations beyond what the angels knew. Allah says in surah Al-Baqarah verses 31-32:
Which means: “And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: "Tell me the names of these if ye are right. They said: "Glory to Thee, of knowledge We have none, save what Thou Hast taught us: In truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom.”
One of the hadith that talks about the importance of education is the hadith narrated by Al-Bazzar, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said, which means: “Be a person of knowledge (alim) or a person seeking knowledge or a person who listens (to the teachings) and you should not be the fifth which makes you perish”. [Hadith narrated by Al-Bazzar]
In this hadith Rasulullah s.a.w. praised the four groups of people who are linked or connected to knowledge. However, the fifth category of people are those who display hatred towards ulama’ (scholars and jurists) and belittle the ulama, and are not interested in seeking knowledge. Thus, it is clear that only when we have truly learned and understood the teachings of Islam, then we would become a noble ummah.
Knowledge helps us to appreciate our deeds, whether they are acts of worship (ibadah) or daily actions. It is feared that a Muslim who does not have enough knowledge of his religion may become easily influenced and taken by all sorts of information that he comes across, from questionable sources.
Through our understanding of Islam, we can develop individuals who are able to make the right considerations when they are faced with challenging life choices, and also able to make the best and most accurate decisions affecting their religious life. For example, today we see how the Internet and the easy access of information have exposed the young to various religious opinions that may at times not be in line with the opinion of the majority of scholars. There are many irresponsible rulings or fatwa that are flying around over the Internet. How do we ensure that those under our care and responsibility continue to be rightly guided by Allah, and are not easily influenced and affected by this challenge? It is only possible through an accurate, deep and comprehensive understanding of Islam.
Thus, as parents we must ensure that we and our family members receive proper Islamic knowledge and teachings that are true and accurate. We must be aware of activities that are questionable. We must aim to seek knowledge from accredited asatizah at the mosques or at Islamic education centres, conducted in an open manner.
Knowledge will help us to contribute to the prosperity of the Singapore community. This will ensure that the development of our religious life is taken care of and further improved; our economy flourishes and our prosperity maintained. In fact, it is knowledge that can help us to move forward in developing civilisation.
This is in line with the azan, the call to prayer, which we hear five times a day, where the words: are called out to us loud and clear. It means: “Let us strive to success” or “Rush to success”. We know that Islamic teachings encourage every believer (mukmin) to work hard to achieve success, both in this world and the hereafter.
Let us continue in our efforts to develop our community, by contributing diligently. Do not forget that every bit of knowledge that we learn is part of our effort to expand our contributions to the ummah, in developing humankind and the society.
Let us cultivate the spirit and the desire to regain the excellence of the Muslim community and the glory of Islam. We should not just be at the receiving end; instead, we should be key players globally, contributing to the world community. We should live as individuals who truly understand the value of time and appreciate the goals in life. We should develop a family with a clear vision. We should become seekers of knowledge who are diligent and will excel, and then contribute to the development of humanity.
Hopefully, Allah will accept our sincere efforts in continuing and appreciating this tradition of knowledge, as well as our resolve to place much emphasis on our children’s education. May Allah ease all our affairs insyallah. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 11 April 2014 / 11 Jamadilakhir 1435