Explanation of Ethics – Ethic of Education and Research

What are ethics?

Earlier: Explanation of Ethics – Social Conscience of Islam

Ethic of education and research

The very first revelation to the Prophet is a command to read. Learning ennobles and is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman, the Prophet is reported to have said. “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, and seek for it even unto China” said the Prophet.

— AKDN An ethical Framework (IIS London)

“Study in order to acquire learning, and to adorn yourself with it; cultivate dignity and goodwill; treat with respect those who teach you, and those whom you teach. Do not make your learning oppressive to anyone, and do not permit your vanity to destroy the effects of what is really good in you.”

— Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq
Heinz Halm, The Fatimids and their Traditions of Learning
(London: I.B. Taurus & Co., 1997)

“In Islam, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers himself by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation.”

— Mawlana Hazar Imam, Acceptance of the Charter of Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
March 16, 1983

“Education has been important to my family for a long time. My forefathers founded Al-Azhar University in Cairo some 1000 years ago, at the time of the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt. Discovery of knowledge was seen by those founders as an embodiment of religious faith, and faith as reinforced by knowledge of the Creator’s physical world. The form of universities has changed over those 1000 years but that reciprocity between faith and knowledge remains a source of strength.”

— Mawlana Hazar Imam, Commencement Speech, M.I.T., Boston, USA, May 27, 1994

Learning, according to Qadi al-Numan, is all too often motivated by ambition, by the desire to surpass others and have reason to boast in front of others. Rivalry with friends and colleagues plays an important part in this respect. The major aim of the ambitious man is to attain high status. Such ambition is not, however, necessarily harmful. Indeed as an initial driving force, a first impulse, it is even useful; but that should not be all, for not until the learner delves into the spirit of his activity is his learning really crowned with success.

Heinz Halm, The Fatimids and their Traditions of Learning (London: I.B. Taurus & Co., 1997)

“When I say education, I mean more than acquisition of knowledge, more than mere facts, figures and book work. Education is a life-long experience in which qualities such as integrity, mental discipline, humility and honesty should be formed, particularly during the early years.”

— Speech by Mawlana Hazar Imam at the Annual General Meeting of the East Africa Muslim Welfare Society, Mombasa, Kenya, November 16, 1957

Kindle the candle of intellect in your heart

and hasten with it to the world of brightness;

If you want to light a candle in your heart,

make knowledge and goodness its wick and oil.

— Nasir-i Khusraw
Shimmering Light

Next: Explanation of Ethics – Ethic of Education and Research continues

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