“Read, in the name of thy Lord who created, human from a clot. Read, for your Lord is most Generous, who teaches by means of the pen, teaches human what they know not,” (al-’Alaq: 1-5).
The Qur’an, as the source of true knowledge and guidance is the most widely read, recited and memorised book in the world. The Qur’an encourages every human to read and reminds every one of them about the existence of the True God, the Only One God who has created human from a clot. As reading comes naturally to humans; in this particular verses, Allah the Almighty wants to guide this nature into the right path. Therefore, through reading, human will attain the true knowledge and recognize Him as the True God. Hence, in the point view of Islamic revivalist, reading, thinking and everything done must be with the purpose of seeking the truth. In this regard, Assoc. Prof. Muhammad Mumtaz Ali said:
From the Islamic revivalist point of view, critical thinking must be with the purpose of seeking the truth in each and every matter, and from the very beginning it must be based on the Divine guidance provided in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (2008, p 17).
As reading is considered as a mean of knowledge, parents including Muslim parents emphasize so much on teaching their children how to read. They teach their children to read and encourage them to want to read. Obviously, very young children cannot read themselves, so reading to them each day is such an important first step that has been done by parents.
Unfortunately, most of books read for these innocent children are Secular and Western books. Many do not realize that the moment their children begin to accept the contents of the books, the Secular inherent currents and influences set to work in the children’s mind, and mould slowly and imperceptibly in their whole mental and attitude. Sayyid Qutb in his book ‘Social Justice in Islam’ has clearly warned the Muslims about this matter as he said:
But how can we possibly induce Islamic theory by a culture, educational methods, and modes of thought that are essentially Western and essentially inimical to the Islamic philosophy itself; first, because they stand on materialistic basis, which is contrary to the Islamic theory of life; and second, because opposition to Islam is a fundamental part of their nature, no matter whether such opposition is manifest or concealed in various form. As we have already maintained, we shall proclaim our defeat in the first round whenever we adopt a Western theory of life as the means of reviving our Islamic theory. So, primarily, we must rid ourselves of the ways of Western thought and choose the ways of native Islamic thought in order to ensure pure results, rather than hybrid (2000, p285-286).
Muhammad Asad in his book ‘Islam at the Crossroads’ has also warned the Muslims about the danger of accepting Western books and education. In this regard, he said:
If Muslims were negligent, in the past, of scientific research, they cannot hope to repair that mistake today by an unrestricted acceptance of Western learning. All our scientific backwardness and our poverty stand no comparison whatever with the deadly effect which our blind following of the Western educational structure would have on the religious possibilities of the Muslim world. If we wish to preserve the reality of Islam as a cultural factor, we must guard against the intellectual atmosphere of Western civilisation which is about to conquer our society and our inclinations. By imitating the manners and the mode of life of the West, the Muslims are being gradually forced to adopt the Western outlook: for the imitation of outward appearance leads, by degrees, to a corresponding assimilation of the worldview responsible for that appearance (n.d., p51).
I also would like to quote what has been said by Syed Muhammad al-Naquib al-Attas about the vast destructive impacts of Western knowledge in his book ‘Islam and Secularism’:
Many challenges have arisen in the midst of man’s confusion throughout the ages, but none perhaps more serious and destructive to man than today’s challenge posed by Western civilization. I venture to maintain that the greatest challenge that has surreptitiously arisen in our age is the challenge of knowledge, indeed, not against ignorance; but knowledge as conceived and disseminated throughout the world by Western civilization; knowledge whose nature has become problematic because it has lost it true purpose due to being unjustly conceived, and has thus brought about chaos in man’s life instead of, and rather than, peace and justice; knowledge which pretends to be real but which is productive of confusion and scepticism, which has elevated doubt and conjecture to the ‘scientific’ rank in methodology and which regards doubt as an eminently valid epistemological tool in the pursuit of truth; knowledge which has, for the first time in the history, brought chaos to the Three Kingdoms of Nature; the animal, vegetal and mineral. It seems to me important to emphasize that knowledge is not neutral, and can indeed be infused with a nature and content which masquerades as knowledge (1978, p127).
Assoc. Prof. Muhammad Mumtaz Ali also has made clear about the handicap nature of Western science which emphasizes only on the material side. He said in his book ‘The Philosophy of Science’:
It is a fact that modern Western science is Western because of its emphasis on a material and secular point of view (2009, p ix).
Regrettably, most Muslim parents accept Secular Western books -which are highly available in bookshops all over the world- for their children, unaware of that they are actually secularizing their children’s minds and spirits; from the true nature of Islam into a secular and false nature. The Prophet -p.b.u.h- has warned the parents about their massive impacts in educating the children, as he said:
There is none born but is created to his true nature (Islam). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Therefore, Islamization of knowledge is an agenda of every one of us as a Muslim. Indeed, it is the agenda of the Ummah and for the Ummah as well as for all humans regardless of their religions, in order to achieve better and comprehensive development here and hereafter. In this regard, I would like to quote what has been written by Assoc. Prof. Muhammad Mumtaz Ali in his book ‘The History and Philosophy of Islamization of Knowledge’, he said:
The current work in your hands demonstrates that the movement of the Islamization of Knowledge is intellectually sound and practically relevant to all Muslim communities, whether they are in Muslim countries or living as minorities. It is, in reality, the most promising and basic strategy for the development of the Islamic ummah. This book also illustrates that this movement of the Islamization of Knowledge is not confined to any particular organization or group of scholars; rather it is the agenda of the ummah as a whole and not someone’s hidden agenda (2010, p11).
Let us Islamize our children's book!