Let us now see the concept of knowledge in the light of the first five verses of Surah Al -Alaq of the Holy Qur’an. It was 17 of Ramadan. The sacred seclusion of Mount Hira cave was perfumed with the holy presence of Allah’s Beloved when it glowed with the brightening arrival of the angel Gabriel. Allah Most Gracious addressed His most exalted of men and His Final Messenger (ﷺ) sent towards mankind in the following divine words through revelation.
“(O Beloved!) Read (commencing) with the name of Allah who has created (everything); He created man from a mass suspended like a leech (in the mother’s womb). Read and your Lord is Most Generous; He Who taught man (reading and writing) by the pen. He who (besides that) taught man (all that) which he did not know.”
These are the five verses that contain the note of knowledge. The man knew nothing but now he was blessed with knowledge. He started knowing (the reality of the things). He was brought to light from the dark and deep ditch of ignorance. It was light of awareness that was conferred upon him. Knowledge is, in truth, a journey towards light and awareness. Through the mediation of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) Allah Almighty connected man to the system of education and exploration of knowledge revealed in these five verses and kindled the human mind with countless lights of consciousness and cognition. This was the first center of enlightenment in Islam that came about under the divine guidance in the holy seclusion of Mount Hira cave; the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) was its first disciple and the Creator of the universe his Guide, the Teacher and the Trainer. If we ponder over various aspects of the above-mentioned verses and prepare its synopsis the following three scientific and doctrinal features to stand out.
The Concept of Creation
The Grandeur of Allah
But as these topics do not r elate to the inquiry of this treatise and we are to talk only about the concept of knowledge we, therefore, confine our work only to exploring the following six features of the concept of knowledge concealed in these verses.
Six aspects of the concept of knowledge
We would see what knowledge is? And what is its nature?
- The objective of knowledge:
Why should we attain and venture for knowledge? And what is its purpose?
- 3. Syllabus:
What is the syllabus of the Islamic concept of knowledge and on what aspects of it Islam sheds light?
- The outcome of knowledge:
What would be the possible result or outcome after acquiring knowledge?
- Means of knowledge:
What should be the means of knowledge? What is the identification of its origins?
- The scope of knowledge:
What should be its scope?
Removal of a common misconception
This discussion takes us to the inference that Islam does not confine knowledge-seeking ventures only to the Qur’an, Exegeses, Prophetic Traditions, Jurisprudence, and Sufism. It also includes all the modern sciences and technologies in the quest for knowledge. The word Alaq and its implications are proof that sciences are prescribed subjects of learning. Alaq means suspended mass resembling a leech and it is a biological doctrine to study relating to the creative process. So, we can conclude that the Islamic concept of knowledge neither recognizes any cognitive boundaries nor suggests any limited course outlines. It opens the door of knowledge to the entire universe.