Islam and education are synonymous with each other. That learning is central to Islam is clear from the very first revelation Iqra, meaning ‘read’.
There are many Hadiths (Prophetic traditions) which encourage Muslims to seek knowledge even if they have to travel all the way to China.
Wisdom, the Prophet said, is the lost property of the believer and he should take it wherever he finds it.
No wonder early Muslims acted on these commands in letter and spirit and made tremendous contributions to the advancement of science, social sciences and other disciplines.
How come the later day Muslims fell back and regressed intellectually? And thereby hangs a tale.
Some Western scholars refuse to acknowledge the ‘golden age’ of Muslim intellectualism. They have misgivings about how the Muslims influenced the world in general and the West in particular with their knowledge and wisdom.
Answers to all these questions can be found in the book – The First Command. Its author, Jamal Haider, unveils the secret behind the success of Muslim scholars and the source of their knowledge, Quran.
Through painstaking research and analysis, he tells in detail how and why Muslims remained the best of scholars and scientist for nearly a thousand years.
Not just this, Mr Haider seeks to correct the prejudice against Muslim scholars in a rational way. Hats off to Mr Haider for writing a gem of a book. Such a book was long overdue.
Moreover, it is the need of the hour to show to the world how Muslim scholars developed knowledge in various disciplines – science, social science, theology, philosophy, literature and other areas of learning which later got transferred to Europe.
The book, divided into three sections clearly explains the high value placed on education by Islam.
Mr Haider adopts a historical approach and explains how the world was at the advent of Islam. Then he goes on to discuss the growth of education during the Prophetic period, Rashidun Caliphate, Umayyad dynasty, Abbasid dynasty, the quest for science, influence of Muslim scholars, scientists, philosophers and the influence of Muslim literature and culture.
The author also talks in detail about female scholars and how they were no less passionate than men in the acquisition of knowledge.
All in all The First Command is the last word on Muslim education. It is an eye opener to many of those who are unaware or harbor prejudice against Islamic views on education.
Mr Haider’s lucid writing makes for a good read.
‘The First Command – Iqra: its impact on global intellectualism and Renaissance’
Jamal Haider is a Geologist, It (ECM) Specialist and Writer. He completed his Masters in Nottingham University UK after graduating in Dhaka University of Bangladesh. He worked there as a Deputy Director in a government research organisation. He has written and published a number of papers and reports. In Australia he completed a graduate diploma in University of New South Wales and worked as an Enterprise Content Management Specialist in a government organisation. Now he is a full-time writer
His previous book, “In the Name of the Lord” has received critical acclaim. It is the history of knowledge, religion and civilisation from the Islamic perspective. It is divided into three parts – the Ancient Civilisations, The Islamic Age and the Modern Age. His present book “The First Command” is about Muslim intellectualism and its history.
The author comes from an elite family of Kolkata, India. His grandfather is Nawab Badruddin Haider, and father Nawabzada Kamruddin Haider (MLC, Bengal legislative Council of British India). Both were assiduously devoted to the social welfare of Muslims and promoted their education and emancipation.