Knowledge: Qur'anic emphasis not restricted to religion only

Q318 :Many people argue that modern scientific education is not the right one for Muslims because a Muslim should concentrate only on the Qur'an and Hadith. If we were to take this view, Muslims will certainly be at a disadvantage in this world. Since there is repeated emphasis in the Qur'an on knowledge, could you please explain whether it refers to knowledge of the Qur'an and Hadith only or to other branches of knowledge as well.

A318 : It is not true that the proper education is that which concentrates on the Qur'an and the Hadith. There are important branches of knowledge and it is essential that individuals in every Muslim community should specialize in them and attain a standard of excellence in these disciplines. To suggest, however, that religious are the only disciplines of knowledge required of Muslims is wrong. To start with, we cannot achieve any degree of excellence in these branches of knowledge unless we also acquire a standard of excellence in other fields and, indeed, in all branches of knowledge. The Qur'an invites people to look around them in the universe and to try to fathom its secrets. How can they do that unless they acquire appropriate knowledge? Moreover, Allah has made everything in the universe subservient to us. He wants us to use these in order to build human life. This is the task required of mankind. How could they build human life, or build the earth, without knowledge? Moreover, Allah calls on people to reflect on his signs all over the horizon. For them to appreciate these signs requires good knowledge of the universe around them. That again requires an in-depth study of the world and everything relevant to it. If we were to abandon all branches of knowledge under the pretext that we should concentrate only on the Qur'an and the Hadith, then we shrink into a little shell and that is exactly what the enemies of Islam want us to do. An ignorant person can cause only harm to himself and to his community. If the community is composed of ignorant people, then they have no hope of a good future. The task of the Muslim community is to provide a model of everything good in life. That can only be achieved through excellence in all fields of knowledge. This was how the early Muslim generations understood their task. They were able, as a result, to build a civilization which was unique in the history of mankind. Those who want us to concentrate only on the Qur'an and the Hadith do not themselves know what the Qur'an requires of us. They do not know what they are talking about. I should say that Islam opens all the horizons of knowledge for its followers to excel in them, be they men or women. [ In your keenness towards pursuit for "other horizons of knowledge" you must not neglect your basic obligation towards knowledge of Qur'an and the Hadith, through which you realize the need for such a pursuit.]

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )