Rasulullah(saw) On Education

Prophet Muhammad(saw) is the last prophet sent to mankind. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to understand that his sunnah, sum of all of his behaviors, attitudes, actions and mental faculties are based on principles which are universal. In such context, his attitude towards education highlights the importance and the value of “knowledge” in Islam.

Since knowledge doesn’t grow on trees and apart from certain situations where some “Sufi” individuals might be esteemed by divine grace and reach knowledge without much hassle and struggle, every Muslim is under the obligation to learn and teach whatever they know, especially about their own knowledge on Islam.

The very basic task of Prophet Muhammad(saw) was to teach the humanity. It was his divine order to share what he has been learning from Allah(j.j) A hadith in Ibn-i Mace’s Muqaddimah indicated that Prophet Muhammad(saw) said “I was sent as a teacher.”

However, his perception of education was based solely on pragmatic reasons, meaning that he insisted that one should benefit in his daily life from the education he receives.

This is really important today since “education” can mean a lot of irrelevant things in different contexts. What Rasulullah(saw) understood from education was the kind of set of skills and mental formation that is beneficial to the owner not in this life but also in afterlife. Therefore, it is revealed that he prayed to seek refugee in Allah(j.j) from useless “ilm”, which would mean the kind of knowledge that will never help someone to become a better person.

According to another hadith in Ibn-i Mace’s Muqadddimah, he prayed to “reap the benefits of what Allah(j.j) has thought him”. In other words, it was essential for him to utilize knowledge in daily life.

Another great example would be about the fate of the prisoners in battle of Badr. In today’s Islamophobic climate, battles that occurred in the history of Islam is often portrayed to shed some “negative” light to Islam. However, it is rarely mentioned that each of the prisoners of war from the pagans’ side were released without any charges only if they thought how to read and write to 10 Muslims.

There can hardly be such a conditional example for the exchange of pows in the history of wars other than battle of Badr. Just this condition for prisoners of war, to teach how to read and write for Muslims, emphasizes the importance Prophet Muhammad(saw) gives to education.

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