Someone forwarded me a video on Facebook today and it was heart-breaking to look at this video. It shows a team going into various public schools of Karachi’s lower income areas such as Lyari and asking the children various questions. The children didn’t manage to answer the questions and couldn’t even write “I am a Pakistani” in Urdu (Mein Pakistani Hoon)!
Education is a fundamental part of Islam and in fact the first revelation that was sent to Muhammad (SAW) was:
Read! In the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clot. Read! And thy Lord is the Most Generous. He Who taught by the pen; taught man that which he knew not." (Quran, 96:1-5)
and the Prophet (SAW) said:
"The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female."
(On a side note the often quoted “Seek knowledge even if it be in China” is not an authentic hadith and should not be used).
If one was to look through the Quran and the hadith (sayings of the Prophet (SAW)), we would find numerous references to knowledge. This knowledge is both the knowledge of your religion as well as the knowledge of worldly affairs.