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Book Review: Legality of modern education in Islam

The Holy Quran has glorified the acquisition of knowledge: “…Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those…

The Holy Quran has glorified the acquisition of knowledge: “…Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endowed with understanding that receive admonition.’” (Quran, 39:9). Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave” and that “The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim.”
Based on the above, Islamic jurists have, long before the advent of the Boko Haram sect and subsequent killing of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, made concerted efforts toward conscientising the ummah against illiteracy and distancing the religion of Allah from ignorance. They have also in recent times had cause to redouble effort in, not only preaching against but explaining to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike how the protagonists and sponsors of the Boko Haram were not giving a true representation of the Islamic faith.  
The book, Karanta Boko Kalal ne da Sunan Allah (Legality of Modern Education in Islam), is taking those efforts a step further as it presents a package that disects and compiles litterature on the Boko Haram socio-political issue in three languages – Hausa, English, Yoruba and Ajami (Hausa written in Arabic lettering).
Karatun Boko or modern education, as the author preferred to call it, had found great resistance in the greater part of Northern Nigeria where Islam was the dominant religion amd the Islamic system of education, system of culture and civilisation, ways of life and very organised Islamic system of leadership was in place. They met in existence in Northern Nigeria  a well-organised political and Islamic system of government following the Islamic revivalist movement by Sheikh Usman ibn Fodio.
Because of these, modern education was vehemently resisted and those who were the first set of students of Western schools were called all sorts of names in northern Nigeria.
The word ‘Boko’ has therefore been a very sensitive and controversial one. It had been derived by analogy by a prominent jurist, Professor Dahiru Yahaya from the Bayero University Kano. It is a by-product of Western colonialism that was introduced into Nigeria via the instrumentality of colonialism as far back as the 1860s or thereabouts.
The book devotes a large number of pages to the English section with the title, “Legality of Modern Education in Islam.”  It presents Boko Haram  as a term coined by enemies of Islam to enable them fight Islam and Muslims especially by discouraging them from the search for knowledge, especially science and tech.
But long before, the call on Muslims to strive to acquire knowlegde, even if they have to go to faraway China, had taken root and after a long period of time and with the end of the colonial period, western education gained a little popularity and many western schools were established including in northern Nigeria.
In the contemporary times, Nigeria has not only been a leading country in Western Africa and the African continent, but is a prominent country globally in modern education. There are many professors, many scientists, in the field of science, technology, medicine and all fields of human endeavour. It has recorded enormous successes in all fields of human endeavour and Muslims have played a very significant role in this drive.

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