By Ridwan Jamiu
The Prophets and Messengers of Allah are at the frontline. What distinguished the Egyptian, Roman and Persian civilisations if not wisdom, intelligence and skill? Look at what scientists have accomplished to make life better for us.
Look at those who lead the world today in civilisation and might. The nation that reads is the nation that leads. As for us, we largely do not read to learn, we only read to pass or get promotion. It has been rightly said that, ‘if you want to hide something from the blacks put it in a book.
Knowledge is power. Knowledge is honour. Knowledge is our passport to the future. Success is a vehicle; its fuel is knowledge. The more knowledgeable you are the more fulfilled and successful you can become as long as the knowledge is useful. Knowledge is success if it is beneficial. But always make a difference between education and indoctrination. And remember that ‘Education without values will only make man a cleverer devil.’
Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“There was a man from among a nation before you who killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the most learned person on the earth. He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the negative and the man killed him also completing one hundred.
He then asked about the most learned man in the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the affirmative and asked, ‘Who stands between you and repentance? Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of Allah, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.’
Angels of mercy
So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, ‘This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,’ and the angels of punishment argued, ‘He never did a virtuous deed in his life.’ Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them.
He said, `Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.’ They measured and found him closer to the land (land of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul”. [Al Bukhari and Muslim]
What killed the monk? It was ignorance. So does ignorance destroy and cause failure. So does ignorance widow women and orphan children. Had the man never found the learned man he would continue his evils and the society would know no peace. Ignorance is a cancer. It is a weapon of self-destruction. So will ignorance take some people to Jahannam hereafter.
There has always been a correlation between ignorance and poverty and disease. The most impoverished and most diseased population in Nigeria for example is where book (boko) has been made haram. That is the North-east.
What saved the life of the learned man? It is Knowledge. So does knowledge save. What led the hero of the story to Allah’s forgiveness and mercy? It is Knowledge. So does knowledge bring salvation and deliverance. So will many people enter Jannah hereafter because of their knowledge. You want to succeed here and hereafter without knowledge about your Lord and your religion! Your fate is in your hand. Do not be the architect of your own failure. You must know why you are doing what you are doing, and you must learn how to do what you must do. People who practice ‘copy and paste Islam’ are not always firm in faith. Easily can the tide toss them about. That is because they do not know Islam and what it means to be a Muslim.