Author: Engr. Abubakar Abdullahi Fari
Publisher: Ahmadu Bello University Press, Zaria
Reviewer: Abbas Jimoh
The Rediscovering Qur’an Book 8 on ‘Knowledge from the Islamic Perspective’ is the latest in the series of the exegesis by the Katsina-born Muslim scholar and certified engineer, Abubakar Abdullahi Fari.
The book, he said, was dedicated to Malam Ummarun Dallaje, a former Amirul Muminin of Katsina, who he is also related to as a fourth grandson from the paternal side.
The previous titles of the Rediscovering the Qur’an’ series which was first released in October 2007 were Rediscovering the Qur’an; the rights of women, children, orphans and the poor in Islam (2009); remembrance of Allah (2010); the implication of time in Islam (2011); understanding the root and essence of unity in Islam (2013); arrogance, its characteristics and consequences (2014); and terrorism, the Islamic perspective (2016).
Engr Fari, in this book charged Muslim parents to ensure that they prioritize Islamic knowledge and formal education of their children to be able to face the multifaceted challenges of the world.
On the need for understanding the Qur’an, the author said that since the Qur’an revelations are in Arabic and are divine in nature, understanding them even in Arabic requires the knowledge of authentic Arabic grammar.
On grasping the Arabic language, Engr. Fari said there is a body of literature and subjects on speech in the Arabic language.
He said that since the Qur’an was revealed in the Arabic language, it is necessary to learn Arabic literature to help understand the language properly.
He noted that some none Muslim scientific scholars were motivated to learn Arabic because of the verses of the Qur’an that revealed scientific phenomena that they took ages to understand but which were simplified in short and clear verses.
He also said in the ten-chapter book that this can only be possible if the family, which is the foundation of child upbringing, is stable.
The author also tried to establish that there is Islamic education and formal education as against the so-called Western education.
“There is nothing Western but an imperialistic strategy to dominate other people. All knowledge and therefore its formalization are from Allah,” Engr. Fari said.
He also posited that the scientific, which the West made progress (from), were obtained through Islam and Muslims and through the conquest of Roman and Persia.
According to him, Muslim scientists led the way up to 1600 century in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, optics, astrology, astronomy, military strategy and economics.
The book also said that Muslims established universities in Iraq in the 10th century before Oxford and Cambridge surfaced in 14th century.
The book stated that the western educated elites after the colonial rules in Muslim lands developed inferiority complex, which made them loose sight of the advances made by Muslims in scientific knowledge, research and experiments that were superior to that of the West.
In one of the lessons therein, the book said that history recorded that no one is immune to death and that no matter how high or mighty, the inevitable death took its toll.
The author quoted the renown Imam al-Ghazali, who says that knowledge is the attainment of actual description or representation in the heart.
He also quoted a hadith reported in Imam Malik’s book Muwatta’ on the importance of knowledge and the learned people which says thus: “Yahya related to me from Malik that he heard that Luqman al-Hakim made his will and counselled his son, saying, “My son! Sit with the learned men and keep close to them. Allah gives life to the heart with the light of wisdom…”
The author also quoted Al-Jurjani who defined knowledge as “attaining the description of something in mind.”
Also, in Husul Suratu Shay’ Fil Aqli, knowledge is furthermore supported by Ibn Sina.
Ibn Sina speaks of knowledge as “the understanding or discernment of something Idraakush Shay’ which is actually the reality reflecting or representing itself in the intelligent al Mudrik which has been constantly observing what it is. In principle, the reality itself is actually external from the intelligent.”
He said that in other words, saying the right things, the right way, the right place and the right time is part of being knowledgeable.
The author emphasized that since the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic to guide the believers learn wisdom, to this end, understanding the Arabic language has become logical and desirable.
He said that this wisdom is to help man to find the best way to worship Allah the Lord of all wholeheartedly, apart from it guiding man to discover the sense of responsibility to learn and propagate the truth to mankind.
He also said that many Hindus and Christians know more about their religion from Dr. Zakir Naik than they could remember.
The author said that the use of computers, refrigerators and the clean as well as hygienic working environments and scholarly atmosphere to make learning conducive are basic.
He, however, said that the spread of the nude culture and socially engineered moral decay of the West should be rejected for a Sharia compliant atmosphere.
He said that the consumption of alcohol and animist and the polytheists’ culture of cultism should by all means be confronted and stamped out any time it surfaces.
He said in the book that immorality should not be a license for the acquisition of knowledge as it obtains under the so-called western education and that it is important and desirable to avoid such.
Despite the importance of this book, one tends to feel it may have been reduced in size for ease of reading by the youths, who may not have much times to devote to the book like others.