Islamic Thought

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I have just started reading a book which I purchased at the end of last year, called ‘Islamic Thought (In the rise and supremacy of Islamic technological culture: Water resources and energy). The preface of the book discusses some very unconventional aspects with regards to the Islamic education system. As South African Muslims, our Islamic education has been restricted to Islamic family laws, the laws of marriage, salaah etc. and has excluded the teachings of Islamic Science, technology and Economics. These sciences should have also been given high regard, but unfortunately there is a group of people who believe that such knowledge is ‘inferior’ and is of no benefit to us.There are books on Hadith/Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) like ‘Kitab-al Kharaj’ (Book of Taxation) and ‘Kitaab-al-Amwaal’ (Book of Economics) which deal with the major subject areas dealt with in the Quran. There have been 21 such books which were written, and there are only 3 in existence today.

There are other branches of law, such as Islamic constitutional law, Islamic water and agricultural laws, Islamic environmental laws etc which form an important part of our lives. We should endeavor to include such subjects in our education systems. How can we keep up with the development of the world if we are not willing to educate ourselves about these matters?A few years back I came across an Islamic book in which the author condemns females from getting secular education. His justification is that for example, if a woman is taught Geography, the knowledge will aid her in running away from home. If such knowledge is kept from her, she won’t know about direction and therefore cannot attempt such a task. Personally, I feel that such this is ignorant thinking and both Muslim males and females should be awarded the opportunity to study secular education. Here is another example of the ignorance that still exists in the present day. I was having a discussion with a madressah teacher and she happened to mention to me that one of her female students would like to study and get a degree when she completes school. The teacher’s response was that when we die, Allah will not ask us what degree we have in order for us to attain Jannah, He will base it on our good deeds. I don’t see any objection for women in particular, studying for degrees or making an attempt to further their education. This does not mean that we give up our beliefs or that we cannot be good Muslims. There are many women who while studying, make an attempt to do good deeds and strive to become better Muslims.

For us to progress, we need to change our thinking and be more open-minded about various aspects in our life. We need to break out of our moulds and realise that a positive change is required in order for us to succeed.