Questioner: Is it in line with the Sharee’ah for a believer to learn western education and attend Universities, Polytechnics, and other citadels of learning?
Dr Sharof: Very well, it is in line (with the Sharee’ah). We are not Boko Haroom. What is the harm in learning a beneficial knowledge which suffices you in this World, and does not affect your Hereafter? Islaam does not go against this. However, if the knowledge constitutes disbelief or contradicts aspects of Islaam, it is not permissible even if you are taught with Arabic language. For this reason, if you have the privilege of gaining admission into a tertiary school; learn something beneficial. Do not learn philosophy or something which will make a lecturer stand in front of you saying there is no Allaah. Do not learn in such departments; learn in beneficial departments and if any of your lecturers say anything which contradicts the Sharee’ah, discard it.
If you fail to learn and I fail to learn, what should we be doing? Should we be ignoramuses?! The first revelation to the Prophet was ‘Read’. The Prophet said, ‘I do not know how to read’. The angel pressed him thrice and asked him to repeat it. That is it, we must seek knowledge. However, as we seek the knowledge of this world we must not forgot the knowledge of Islaam. This is because majority of the people cherish the knowledge of this world and belittle the knowledge of Islaam. That is why they become the enemies of Islaam after having learnt western education.
As we learn about the knowledge of this world, we should learn about our religion too. We have to take this serious. We must seek knowledge! We must seek knowledge!! The Jews used to write letters to the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in their language and the Prophet would need a person to translate it to him. Zayd Ibn Thaabit (rodiyaLloohu ‘anhu) was sent to learn the language in few days. He was able to write, read, and interpret correctly. If it is wrong to seek knowledge, will the Prophet ask him to do such thing? That is it, we have to seek knowledge.
There may be a person who seeks admission and he is not privileged and as such he may start belittling and sabotaging the knowledge. Ask people like this to take the pain to seek admission and after gaining it they should throw it in the well.
[SOURCE: “Question and Answer on the Harms of Takfeer”; VENUE: EDE]
Translated by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey