The commandment to seek and preserve knowledge is embedded in the word iqra’, both the first word of the divine revelation that came down on the heart of the messenger of Allahﷺ, as well as the name of our school in Rockford; as such, the commandment is not to be taken lightly. If one were to say that the paramount objective of Islam was to spread knowledge, this statement would not be easily refuted, as the knowledge of la ilaha illa-Allah is the cornerstone of all understanding, in as much as it is a refutation of falsehood followed by an affirmation of universal truth.
The concept of knowledge in Islam is likewise universal; we have no concept of secular knowledge and religious knowledge. There is just knowledge. Allah says in surat al-Mulk,
… you shall see not in the creation of the Most Merciful any gap…,
and indeed knowledge is more seamless than God’s creation, as knowledge is one of the holy attributes of the divine essence Himself, Mighty and Majestic is He.
This being the case, it is imperative for Muslims who wish to impart an Islam which is more than just identity-politics, that from a young age this seamless conception of knowledge and its practical application is conveyed to them, so they can be mentally, intellectually, socially, and in other manners whole, rather than living dual lives with split personalities. In surat al-Najm, Allah warns us:
So turn away the one who has forsaken Our remembrance and seeks naught but the life of this base world, for that is the limit of their knowledge.
Classically, the scholars of our tradition took this as a warning against seeking knowledge from those who don’t know Allah and His messengerﷺ until and unless it was a necessity as an exception rather than a rule. This places the responsibility of education our children squarely upon our own shoulders as a community.
It is for these reasons I consider our Iqra School to be an institution of the greatest importance and urge the teachers, students, and community at large to lend it every support it can, and accord it the honor and respect it deserves.