A. ARGUMENTS RELATED TO THE CURRICULUM CONTENTS.
Alhamdulillah, I have been privileged to witness the efforts of successive governments, non-governmental organizations and several other bodies and individuals at ensuring the penetration, acceptance and adoption of conventional education by Nigerian Muslims for their own individual and societal development. Despite these efforts however, many arguments have been raised in the past and contemporary arguments keep springing up against conventional, secular or “Western” education. These arguments are used to discourage or prohibit the people, largely Muslims, from going to school or adopting Western education. This has sadly continued to date, in spite of the efforts that several Muslims and Islamic organizations have made to make the conventional educational system more accommodating of Islamic sensibilities.
Challenges to Islam and Muslims posed by the conventional educational system have been identified by Muslims, and a lot has been done by Muslim leaders, administrators, academics and educationists to ensure that conventional education is compatible with Islam, that it no longer has the original colonial Christianizing effect, and that it is accommodating of the teachings of Islam and Muslim sensitivities. In pursuit of this ideal, some Muslims have, in addition to reforming the educational system in ways that are more respectful of Islam, also established private Islamic schools and institutions. Likewise, organizations such as National Association of Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies (NATAIS), International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria, Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Islamic Education Trust (IET), Association of Model Islamic Schools (AMIS); and a host of other organizations have continued to work towards better holistic education for Muslims.
Nonetheless, many old and new arguments have unfortunately continued to circulate at the grassroots which are commonly used to discourage or prohibit lay Muslims from accepting the conventional “Western” education. These arguments are also sometimes used to justify the superiority of the traditional Almajiri system of education. This intentional neglect of conventional education has led to undeniable backwardness among Nigerian Muslims with regards to access to education and the quality of education that would meet the needs of contemporary Muslims. The cumulative effect of all these has been the sustained existence of so-called faith-based arguments that continue to impede the socio-economic and religious progress of Muslims.
Medically, there is low level of hygiene, high rate of malnutrition, low response rate to health interventions such as immunization, high rate of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity as well as higher incidences of common diseases due to ignorance about balanced diet, hygiene and other simple preventive measures. The pervasive illiteracy also increases poverty level due to lower levels of industrialization as well as resistance to new technologies that would have led to spending less time and energy on tasks cum higher efficiency. Socially, many people have lower levels of awareness of national and global events and can hardly compete with counterparts from other regions on many scales. The high level of illiteracy also leads to religious backwardness, as people who fall prey to these arguments usually become blind followers of some self-acclaimed ‘Islamic clerics’, leading to various premeditated and accidental misinterpretation of some Islamic teachings.
It is in response to this dire situation that this book has been put together in order to dispel such arguments and the various misconceptions that arise from them; as well as to encourage the mass adoption of the our ‘refined’ conventional, “secular” or “Western” education by Nigeria Muslims specifically, and every agent of communal progress in general.
I am fully convinced that most of the problems facing Muslims in Nigeria, are in no small measure, tied to the personal greed, selfishness and quest for followership among some politicians and so-called clerics; who take advantage of the ignorance of many among the public to push their selfish and shameless agendas, which lack God-consciousness and any sense of accountability. Therefore, the importance of educational pursuit, Islamic and conventional, cannot be over-emphasized.
It is my prayer that this material would be widely read, translated and circulated through the nooks and crannies of the Muslim society; and motivate more of our scholars to actively encourage Muslims to take conventional education more assiduously and to the highest level; not just as a desirable recommendation but as a religious obligation that is a critical success factor in the uplift of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria and beyond.
Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Lemu, OFR
Islamic Education Trust, Minna.
Islam has, from its inception, placed a high premium on education and enjoyed a long and rich intellectual tradition. Knowledge (‘ilm) occupies a significant position within Islam, and Allah is the source of all knowledge and communication skills, and all praise and credit for it goes to Him – “who taught by the pen, and taught mankind what he knew not” (Qur’an 96:4-5); He “created man and taught him speech (to communicate with)” (Qur’an 55:3-4); and “To every community we have sent down laws and ways” (Qur’an 5:48).
Thus, all knowledge is part of the accumulated human heritage from previous civilizations and cultures – Greek, Indian, Roman, Islamic – and no one can take credit or claim ownership of it all; as every invention is built on earlier knowledge received from others and ultimately from Allah.
During the golden age of the Islamic empire (usually defined as a period between the tenth and thirteenth centuries), at a time when Western Europe was intellectually backward and stagnant; it is historically acknowledged that Islamic scholarship flourished with an impressive openness to the rational sciences, art, and even literature. It was during this period that the Islamic world made most of its contributions to the scientific and artistic world. Ironically, Islamic scholars preserved much of the knowledge of the Greeks that had been prohibited by the Christian world. Other outstanding contributions were made in areas of chemistry, botany, physics, mineralogy, mathematics, and astronomy, etc., as many Muslim thinkers regarded scientific truths as tools for accessing religious truth.
The so-called “conventional”, “secular” or “Western education” is simply what has been re-packaged by the “West” after adding to what was received from the heritage of humanity throughout history in various parts of the globe, including that of the Islamic world. It is therefore not American, British or European education, but a culmination of knowledge and legacies from ancient times till date, which can in reality be termed “global education”.
The value of knowledge (or education) in Islam is not dependent on its geographical or cultural origins but on the basis of its usefulness and whether it contradicts the clear texts of the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah or not. Based on this and the purposes to which the knowledge will be put, its acquisition could be an obligation (fard or wajib), recommended (mustahab), merely permissible (mubah), discouraged (makruh) or forbidden (haram). Some knowledge which is critical for the survival needs of a just society is essential (darurah) and its acquisition is a collective religious obligation (fard kifayah) on Muslims.
Disciplines such as Medicine, Agriculture, Commerce, Security, Education, Engineering, Administration, etc. are essential for the public benefit (maslahah) and general survival or absolute necessities (i.e. daruriyyat) of a good and just society. These are not merely considered as Islamically permissible (halal), but a societal or collective obligation (Fard Kifayah) that must be studied. To neglect these aspects of life is a harmful evil (mafsadah), which the community (or its leaders) will be held accountable for by Allah.
Muslim jurists and scholars maintain that what is a pre-requisite for the performance or realization of an obligation (fard) itself becomes regarded as an obligation (fard). Since the study and practice of fields such as Agriculture and Medicine are Fard Kifayah (collective societal obligations), then their prerequisite subjects such as chemistry, biology, geography, mathematics, physics, language, etc. become regarded as obligatory (Fard Kifayah) as well. This is because, without these basic subjects, these professions and many others would cease to fulfill their functions in the effective preservation and promotion of the higher objectives of Islam (Maqasid al-Shari’ah) – faith, life, security, intellect, enlightenment, social justice, family, wealth, and peaceful coexistence – in contemporary society.
This reasoning is based on one of the major legal maxims in Islamic jurisprudence, which states that: “Whatever is a prerequisite or necessity for the fulfillment of an obligation (wajib) is itself regarded as an obligation (wajib).” (Ma la yatim al-wajib illa bihi fahuwa wajib).
This book therefore highlights thirty-five (35) arguments that have been used to counter the adoption of conventional education. It goes further to debunk these arguments through well-grounded evidences from the Qur’an, Hadith and statements of scholars – past and contemporary – showing that the argument that ‘boko’, Western education, is ‘haram’, forbidden, is not only baseless and unfounded but cannot also be substantiated. It also acknowledges the need for continuous reform of conventional education generally and the learning environment in particular to further accommodate Islam and Muslim sensibilities, such as allowing female Muslims to wear the divinely prescribed hijab as part of their school uniforms. Similarly, it stresses that pursuing conventional education and the consequent professions related to them are essential for societal advancement, as well as the progress of Islam and Muslims; and therefore can no longer be ignored. Lastly, this book concludes that the pursuit of certain fields of endeavour, such as Medicine and Engineering are collective obligations (fard kifayah) and the fact that we currently do not have sufficient experts in these disciplines capable of discharging the necessary responsibilities makes their pursuit an individual obligation (fard ayn) and a responsibility on every concerned Muslim.
Three main systems of education have been dominant in Nigeria over the years, namely indigenous education, Islamic education and Western education. Indigenous education, also called traditional education, refers to the type of education offered in the pre-literate era, within the community, by parents, relatives and community members who possessed specialized skills or abilities in various fields of human endeavour. It was a comprehensive educational system that provided training in physical, moral, intellectual, social and vocational development.
With the advent of Islam in Nigeria, the Islamic educational system was established and by the end of the 11th century, Islamic learning had been well established in the North, and the religion and education had spread to some parts of the South. Aside incorporating Arabic syntax and morphology, Arabic lexicography, Tafsir (commentary and interpretation of the Qur’an) and Tajweed (correct recitation of the Qur’an), the Islamic educational curriculum also covered other areas of study in economics, social sciences, medicine, pure science, arts and so on. It also extended access to women, and Nana Asmau Dan Fodio is regarded as one of the pioneers of women education in Nigeria.
The Western education, also called secular or conventional education was introduced with the arrival of the Wesleyan Christian Missionaries at Badagry in 1842. The main aim of the missionaries was evangelism and the early mission schools were established in church premises. Thus, education was used as a means of converting Nigerians into various denominations of Christianity. The curriculum content of these mission schools were Religion (Christian Religion), Arithmetic, Reading and Writing, (all in English Language). Other subsidiaries included agriculture, nature study, as well as arts and craft. The main text of reference was the Holy Bible and other related commentaries. There was no separation between the church and the school; and the school teachers and their wives were also the church agents.
The introduction of Western education to the North was met with stiff resistance due to the skepticism of the people, who were predominantly Muslims, about the perceived Christianization of Northern Nigeria by the missionaries through their schools. Thus, Western education developed faster in the South than in the North due to geographical, political and religious reasons.
Geographically, Western education came to Nigeria through the coastal areas, thus those nearest to the coast, the Southerners, were the first to benefit from it. The missionaries, who brought the education, therefore settled first within the southern zone before venturing into the North. Politically, there was a well-structured political system in the North, under the authority of the Sultan of Sokoto, which made the people to be united and resist any move to distort their culture. Religiously, and most importantly, the Islamic religion and culture was well grounded in the North; and this they could not afford to compromise, for whatever benefit.
The word ‘Boko’ in Hausa language is popularly used to refer to the formal public or private educational system in Nigeria, also referred to as Western secular education. It is also used to refer to Western education in all its ramifications along with anything associated with it. ‘Haram’ is a Hausa word borrowed from Arabic language, meaning Islamically unacceptable, forbidden or prohibited. While “Boko Haram” may therefore be interpreted as meaning that the ‘Western’ secular education is islamically prohibited, it could also be interpreted to mean that evangelism, deceptively camouflaged, as Western education is Islamically unacceptable.
The Muslim leaders in the North successfully resisted the intrusion of Western culture and education for a long time, until through military and administrative efforts of the colonial rulers; conventional education was allowed in Northern Nigeria with the condition that their religion would not be interfered with. However, despite the efforts of successive governments in the country as well as the obvious benefits that can be derived from conventional education, there are still pockets of suburbs in Northern Nigeria today, where there is no appreciation for conventional education, usually referred to as ‘Boko’. The critics of secular education, hinging most, if not all of them, on the premises of Islam, have put various arguments forth. This has led to educational backwardness of Northern Nigerians, particularly Muslims, in an era where conventional education is indispensable for individual and communal development. It also serves as a potential for extremist behaviours where those that have adopted conventional education are seen as heretics.
This book is the outcome of a survey conducted by the Da’wah Institute of Nigeria, to identify the commonest arguments that are raised against conventional education and consequently provide responses to them. Parts A and B focus on the major arguments which are the commonest and most important arguments used to defend ‘boko’ being ‘haram’ – forbidden. The last part of the material covers the minor arguments which are less common but which are nonetheless believed by some, justifying their importance, and hence, their inclusion in the book.
Being the first edition, we assume that there are more arguments that are yet unidentified, and perhaps better responses to the already identified. Hence, we implore our esteemed readers to furnish us with more arguments on this theme as well as better responses in order to improve this material.
This section focuses on the major arguments used to counter the adoption of formal conventional education. The first part considers arguments related to the curriculum contents while the second part considers those related to the learning environment.
Some Muslims quote Shaikh Bakr Abu Zaid and a fatwa of the Permanent Fatwa Council of Saudi (Lajnah al-Da’imah) as teaching against attending modern conventional education. What is the correct position of this (or these) scholar(s) on modern education?
“…We invite the Muslim Ummah in line with what the council of senior scholars have said; that they should not enroll their children in the missionary schools…. O you Muslims! Contribute to building hospitals, orphanage homes and schools for receiving your brothers, children and the needy among you…”
See Bakr bin Abdullah Abu Zaid, Al-Madaris al-‘Alamiyyah, Dar Ibn Hazm, Cairo, 2006, p.60
 Bakr bin Abdullah Abu Zaid, Al-Madaris al-Alamiyyah, Dar Ibn Hazm, Cairo, 2006, p.66
 See Bakr bin Abdullah Abu Zaid, Al-Madaris al-‘Alamiyyah, Dar Ibn Hazm, Cairo, 2006, p.58
 Ibn Qayim al-Jawziyyah, I’lam al-Muwaqi’in ‘an Rabbi al-‘Alamin, Dar Ibn Jawzi, Dammam, 1423AH, v.4, p.337.
 This explanation of fatwah has been drawn for the most part from the following sources: Koutoub Moustapha Sano, Mu‘jam Mustalahāt Usūl al-Fiqh, ‘Arabī-Inkilīzī (Concordance of Jurisprudence Fundamentals Terminology), Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 2000; Qalaji, Muhammad Rawwas, et. al., Mu‘jam Lughah al-Fuqahā’, English-French-Arabic, Beirut: Dār al-Nafā’is, 1996; and Deeb al-Khudrawi, A Dictionary of Islamic Terms, Arabic-English, Damascus-Beirut: Dār al-Yamāmah, 1995.
 According to Kamali, “Ijtihad is the most important source of Islamic law next to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The main difference between ijtihad and the revealed sources of the Shari’ah lies in the fact that ijtihad is a continuous process of development whereas divine revelation and prophetic legislation discontinued upon the demise of the Prophet. In this sense, ijtihad continues to be the main instrument of interpreting the divine message and relating it to the changing conditions of the Muslim community in its aspirations to attain justice, salvation and truth.” Muhammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, the Islamic Text Society, Cambridge, 2003, p.468.
 Jasser Auda, Maqasid al-Shariah as Philosophy of Islamic Law, IIIT, Herndon, 2008, p.77.
 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in ‘an Rabbi al-‘Alamin, Dar Ibn Jawzi, Dammam, 1423AH, v.6, p.205; Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Responding from the Tradition, Fons Vitae, 2011, p. 22; ‘Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Islam and the Cultural Imperative, A Nawawi Foundation Paper, 2004, p.4-6.
 Sherman A. Jackson, Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihab al-Din al-Qarafi, E.J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1996, p.145.
 Scholars, such as Imam Malik, are reported to not like answering questions related to mu’amalat from distant lands, and would often ask the questioner to “ask your own scholars”. See similar views by An-Nawawi, Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Ibn Qayyim, Al-Albani, Ibn Uthaimeen, and others regarding the importance of knowledge of the local context and ‘Urf before a mufti delivers any fatwah, discussed in Sa’ad bin Abdullah al-Bariq, Fatawa al-Fadhaiyyat, Rabita al-Alam al-Islamiy, Jeddah, p.40-43.
 “(pbuh)” stands for “peace be upon him” when used for any of God’s Prophets.
Safiy al-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum (Sealed Nectar), Dar-us-Salam Publications, Riyadh, 1996, p.140
 Safiy al-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Al-Rahiq Al-Makhtum (Sealed Nectar), Dar-us-Salam Publications, Riyadh, 1996, p.105
Sahih al-Bukhari. See also Shaikh ‘Attiya Saqr, Fatwahs Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyya, no. 328, May 1997.
Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.3, hadith no.464, in Alim 6.0
Muhammad bin Ali al-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, Idarah al-Taba’a al-Muniriya, Damascus, vol.9, p.85
 Sahih Muslim, cited in Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Miftah Dar al-Sa‘adah, p. 620; also see Zad al-Mi‘ad, vol. 4 p. 26
 Sunan Abu Dawud,3877
 In Sahih Muslim, Sunan Ibn Majah, Sahih Ibn Hibban, Musnad Ahmad and other sources, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: “I am only a human: if I command you to do something in your religion, then take it; but if I tell you to do something based on personal opinion, then [realize] that I am only human,” and in another narration, “Yet if I inform you of something from Allah, then do it, for indeed I will never convey an untruth on behalf of Allah Mighty and Majestic,” and in yet another narration, “You know better of your worldly affairs.”
 Al-Shatibi, Al-Muwafaqat, 2:213; Abu Zahra, Malik, 374-375 – cited in Umar F. Abd-Allah Waymann-Langraf, Malik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period, Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2013, p.137-138.
Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, no. 2687
 Cited in Riyadh us-Salihin, 245
Sunan Abu-Dawud, Hadith no.1631
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 422
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 74
Sahih Muslim. See also Qur’an 20:114
Muhammad al-Amin al-Shinqity, Adwaul Bayan, Dar al-Fikr, Labenon, 1995, vol.3, p.505
Some schools do not even teach Islamic Studies at all. Is it permissible for Muslims to attend such schools that appear to have no regard for religious instructions?
Allah says “Save yourselves and your families from the Fire!” (Qur’an 66:6)
Some medications contain derivatives of pork and alcohol, which are prohibited for Muslims to consume. Is it permissible for Muslims to learn Medicine or Pharmacy from institutions where the use of these products are taught and regarded as permissible?
“He has forbidden you only dead animals, and blood, and the flesh of swine… But if one is compelled by necessity (darurah), neither craving (it) nor transgressing, there is no sin on him indeed, Allah is forgiving, merciful.”(Qur’an 2:173)
As most people who would need medication that contains pork or alcohol are facing a darurah situation, it is therefore permissible for them to use these products if there are no alternatives.
 This was adopted by the 9th Fiqh-Medical Seminar (June 1997) of the International Organisation for Medical Sciences (IOMS), which held that “additive compounds extracted from prohibited animals, or defiled substances that have undergone istihalah are clean and permissible for consumption or medicine.” – http: www.islamset.org/bioethics/9thfiqh.html#1. According to Ibn Hazm, on the subject of Istihala (substance transformation), “The changing of the ruling is by the changing of the name, while the changing of the name is by the changing of it features or properties” (Ibn Hazm, Al-Muhalla, Vol.1, p. 167.)
Fatwa of Mujamma’ al-Fiqh al Islami on leaning medicine, cited in Dr. Muhammad Husain al-Jizani, Fiqh al-Nawazil, Dar ibn al-Jawzi, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2005, vol.4, p.178
Consumption or ingestion of blood or human flesh is forbidden in Islam. Blood transfusion and organ transplantation is regarded as permissible in modern medicine. This is similar to their ingestion or consumption which is prohibited (haram). Is it permissible for Muslims to learn Medicine from institutions where these procedures are taught and regarded as permissible?
Journal of Islamic Medical Association of North America, JIMA: Volume 37, 2005 – Page 38
The Prophet (pbuh), in an authentic hadith describes Allah as being the only One Who knows “what is in the wombs”. Modern ultrasound scanning of babies in the womb reveals information for doctors to also know “what is in the wombs”. These procedures and technologies therefore challenge the authority of the Prophet (pbuh) and the unique knowledge of Allah. Is it permissible for Muslims to learn Medicine from institutions where these procedures are taught and regarded as permissible?
Sahih al-Bukhari, 4778
 Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaimin, Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Fadeelat al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Maktabah al-Shamillah, version 3.13, vol. 1, p.68-70.
Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaimin, Majmu’ al-Fatwahs, al-Maktaba al-Shamillah, vol.5, p.198
Medical procedures such as “In Vitro Fertilization” (IVF) or “Test-tube babies” and abortion are taught in Medical schools. These are prohibited in Islam because they compete with Allah in “giving life and death” (Qur’an 2:258). Is it permissible for Muslims to learn Medicine from institutions where these procedures are taught and regarded as permissible?
Dr. Muhammad bin Husain al-Jizani, Fiqhal-Nawazil, Dar Ibn Jawzi, 2005, vol.4, p.68-74
What is Islam’s position regarding the Darwinian Theory of Evolution of life? This theory teaches that human being originated from ape-like beings and not from Adam and Eve as the Qur’an teaches. Is the fact that this theory is taught in schools not enough a reason to regard the educational system as prohibited? And is it not prohibited for Muslims to attend schools or classes where this is taught?
 Muhammad Shahrour, Al-Kitab wal Qur’an: Qira’a Mu’asirah, Al-Ahaly, Damascus, Syria, 1990, p.281–285; Nidhal Guessoum, Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science, I. B. Tauris, London, 2011, p.312-314, 323-324; Ziauddin Sardar, Reading the Qur’an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Isalm, Oxford University Press, New York, 2011, p.359-362; Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, The Book Foundation, Bristol, UK, 2002, p.1024, n.10. For further readings and references on various views held by other past and present Muslims scholars and authors, see Adel A. Ziadat, Western Science in the Arab World: The impact of Darwinism, The Macmillan Press Ltd., London, 1986, p.84-122. See also the comprehensive paper by Prof. Abdul Majid at http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_151_200/muslim_responses_to_evolution.htm (21/12/2016)
 Dr. Israr Ahmad Khan, The Process of Creation: A Qur’anic Perspective (Translated By Dr. Absar Ahmad), Markazi Anjuman Khuddam-ul-Quran, Lahore, 2013; Ahmed Afzal: “Quran and Human Evolution”, in the Quranic Horizons, 1:3, 1996, p.50-51. For further readings on various views held by other past and present Muslims scholars and authors, see Nidhal Guessoum, Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science, I. B. Tauris, London, 2011, p.271-324; Adel A. Ziadat, Western Science in the Arab World: The impact of Darwinism, The Macmillan Press Ltd., London, 1986, p.84-122.
 Mohammed Said Ramadan Al-Bouti, Kubra al-Yaqiniyyat al-Kawniyyah: Wujud al-Khaliq wa Wadhifat al-Makhluq, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, Syria, 2004; Harun Yahya, Evolution Deceit, Ta-Ha Publishers, London, 1999; Harun Yayha, Atlas of Creation, Vol. 2, 13th ed., Global Publishing, Istanbul, Turkey, 2008; Shihab-ud-Din Nadvi, The Creation of Adam and the Evolutionary Theory, Furqani Academy, New Delhi, 2001; Wahiduddin Khan, God Arises: Evidence of God in Nature and in Science, Goodword, New Delhi, 1999; Seyyed Hossein Nasr, “On the Question of Biological Origins,” Islam & Science 4.2, Winter, 2006, p.181–197; Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Evolution Theory and Islam: Letter to Suleman Ali, M.A.T. Papers, London, 1999; Muzaffar Iqbal, “On the Sanctity of Species,” Islam & Science 4.2, Winter, 2006, p.89.
Is it permissible for a Muslim to study Common Law or any law other than Islamic Law?
 Sunan Al-Kubra, no.12114; Al-Dala’il fi Gharib al-Hadith, 243
Ibn Hisham, Sirat an-Nabawiyyah, 1/123; Al-Dala’il fi Gharib al-Hadith, 243
Musnad Ahmad, 2904
 Al-Izz bin Abd al-Salam, Qawa’id al-Ahkam fi Masalih al-Anam, vol.2, p.160; Cited in Jasser Auda, Maqasid al-Shari’ah: A Beginner’s Guide, IIIT, London, 2008, p.19
Al-Shaikh Ibn Baaz, Majmoo‘ Fataawa, Maktabah al-Shamilah, vol.2, p.326
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol.1/310; Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan vol.8/386; Al-Wasit li Sayyid Tantawy vol.1/366, 1623)
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
The Qur’an and Sunnah clearly prohibit Muslims from any dealings that involve interest/usury (riba). Dealing in usury and interest (riba) are part of disbelief (Kufr). In conventional education, some subjects and fields require the study of interest or usury (riba) which Islam prohibits. Is it permissible for a Muslim to study subjects such as Economics, Accounting and Commerce, etc. that are in preparation for work in conventional banks and financial institutions that deal in riba?
Muslims in the “Halal Industry” have been working steadily in the areas of banking and finance, food and beverages, hotels, tourism, entertainment, transport, manufacturing, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc. to ensure
Mohammed Taqi Usmani, The Text of the Historic Judgement on Riba by Supreme Court Pakistan, Islamic Book Trust, 2003.
 See references to the various scholars and Fatwa Councils and the arguments they proffer in Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Fiqh of Muslim Minorities: Contentious Issues and Recommended Solutions, Al-Falah Foundation, Cairo, Egypt, 1424.2003, p.152-199. See other classical and contemporary scholars and their arguments cited in Khaled Abou El Fadl, “Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities: The Juristic Discourse on Muslim Minorities from the Second/Eighth to the Eleventh/Seventeenth Centuries”, in Islamic Law and Society, E.J. Brill, Leiden, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1994, p.181-187.
See Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, Dar al-Salasil, Kuwait, 1424AH, vol.24, p.293; vol.24, p.259; vol.24, p.307, for more discussion of the differing views of classical scholars on the definition of sariqa. Also, Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law, American Trust Publications, U.S., 1993.
Muhammad Ibn Rushd al-Hafid, Bidayat al-Mujtahid , vol.1, part 2 (Cairo, n.d.); Dr. Ahmad Shafaat, Islamic Perspectives: What is Riba?, 2005, cited in http://www.islamicperspectives.com/RibaIntro.htm (visited 04/08/2016); Farhad Nomani, The Interpretative Debate of the Classical Islamic Jurists on Riba (Usury), The American University of Paris, Source: http://www.luc.edu/orgs/meea/volume4/NomaniRevised.htm (Accessed 04/08/2016), etc. Some of these differences of opinion on the definition and scope of riba date back to the time of the Companions. Usamah ibn Zayd narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There is no riba except in nasi’ah (waiting)”; in another narration: “There is no riba in hand-to-hand (on the spot) transactions”. (Al-Nasa’i, 50); Caliph Umar said that there were three issues, he wished, that the Prophet (pbuh) could have explained to them in more detail. Two of them were about Inheritance Law of Islam and the third one was about riba. (See Bukhari, 5588; Muslim, 7744; Abu Dawud, 3671; and al-Baihaqi, 5456. Reported also in Al-Tafsir Ibn Kathir). On another occasion, he said that since some kinds of riba were not quite clear to them (Muslims at that time), therefore they had left almost 90 percent of otherwise permissible transactions in fear of involving in riba even unknowingly. (Reported in Al-Kanz al-Ummal by Muttaqa al-Hindi).
Mohammed Taqi Usmani, The Text of the Historic Judgement on Riba by Supreme Court Pakistan, Islamic Book Trust, 2003.
Al-Shaikh bin Baaz, Majmu‘ Fataawa, Maktabah al-Shamila, vol.2, p.326
Some educational institutions offer courses which teach Fine Art (and drawing of animate creatures), un-Islamic Music, Atheistic or Secular Philosophy, Sex Education (for unmarried), and Common Law (which is un-Islamic). Is it permissible for Muslims to enroll in such courses or attend such institutions?
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol.1/310; Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan vol.8/386; Al-Wasit li Sayyid Tantawy vol.1/366, 1623
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Musnad Ahmad, no. 8953; Sahih Muslim, no. 4860.; Al-Baihaqi, Sunan al-Kubrah, no. 16401; al-Tabarani, Al-mu’jam al-Kabir, no. vol.22, p.16; Sahih Muslim, no. 4888; Sunan al-Kubrah, no. 16401.
Ibn Abi al-‘Izz, Commentary on the Creed of Tahawi, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, KSA, 2000, p.330
See more discussion on this in Question No.10: Studying Laws other than Islamic Law, discussed above.
A well-researched material specifically for Muslims on this subject matter include – Hisham Al-Talib, Abdulhamid Abu Sulaiman & Omar Al-Talib, Sex and Sex Education: What Do We Tell Our Children? The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), USA, 2014.
Bukhari and Muslim
Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari, Islamic Guide to Sexual Relations, Huma Press, UK, 2008; Ibn Qayyim, Rawdatul Muhibbeen wa nuzhat al-Mushtaqin, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1992; Abd al-Rahman bin Abubakr al-Suyuti, Shaqaiq al-Utruj ala Raqaiq al-Ganj,Dar al-Kitab al-Araby, Damascus; Muhammad Hassan, Muhammad Mukhtar and Muhammad Sa’id, Funun Fi Ghurfati Nawm, Maktabat alfa al-Tijariya, Cairo, 1426AH; Salah al-Deen al-Safadi, Lawatu al-Shaki wa Dam’atu al-Baki, al-Maktabatu al-Rahmaniyya, Cairo, 1922.
Bukhari, 6130; Muslim, 6441; Musnad Ahmad, 24298; Abu Dawud, 4933
Wahbah al-Zuhayli, al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adilatuhu, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, vol.4, p.223; Abu Muhammad Ali bin Hazm, al-Muhalla bi al-Athar, al-Maktabah al-Shamilla 3.13, vol.9, p.26, Issue no.349; Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, al-Mawsu’at al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, Dar al-Salasil, Kuwait, 1404AH, vol.12, p.112
 See also Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Diversion and Arts in Islam, Islamic Inc. Publishing and Distribution, Egypt, 1998.
 I.R. Al-Faruqi, and L.L. Al-Faruqi, “Handasah Al-Sawt (or The Art of Sound)”, in The Cultural Atlas of Islam, Macmillan, NY, 1986; Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Fatawi al-Mu’asirah, Al-Mansura, Dar al-Wafa’, Egypt, Vol.2, 1996; Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Diversion and Arts in Islam, (Trans. Rawaa al-Khateab), Islamic Inc. Publishers, n.d.; Isma’il R. al-Faruqi (edt.), “The Shari’ah of Music and Musicians”, in Islamic Thought and Culture: Papers presented to the Islamic Studies Group of the America Academy of Religion, IIIT, 1982; Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazali, As-Sunnan Nabawiyya Bayna Ahl al-Fiqh wa Ahl al-Hadith, Dar Shuruq, Cairo,1996.
 See Ibn Taymiyyah “Kitab al-Sama’ wal-Raqs,” Majmoo’ah al-Rasa’il al-Kubra, Matba‘ah Muhammad ‘Ali Subayh, Cairo, 1966, Vol. 2, p.295-330; Imam Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, Vol.8, p.264-266; Al-Shafi‘i, Kitab al-Umm, Bulaq, Cairo, 1906, Vol. 6, p.215; For more discussion of various views on this, see I.R. Al-Faruqi, and L.L. Al-Faruqi, “Handasah Al-Sawt (or The Art of Sound)”, in The Cultural Atlas of Islam, Macmillan, NY, 1986; Muhammad Nasirudeen al-Albani, Tahrim Alat al-Tarab, Maktabat al-Dalil, 1416, (Maktabat al-Shalimah);Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Fatawi al-Mu’asira, Al-Mansura, Dar al-Wafa’, Egypt, Vol.2, 1996; Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Diversion and Arts in Islam, (Trans. Rawaa al-Khateab), Islamic Inc. Publishers, n.d.
 He was also called the “Amir al Mu’minin fi al Hadith” (“Leader of the Believer in Hadith”) and was among the greatest scholars of the successors (tabi’un) of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Quoted in Abdal Hakim Murad, Understanding the Four Madhhabs, Cambridge: Muslim Academic Trust, 1999, p.13).
Is it permissible or necessary for a Muslim woman to learn subjects other than religious studies? And is there a limit to the level of education a devout Muslim woman should attain?
See Shams al-Din Muhammad bin ‘Abdu al-Rahman al-Sakhawi, Al-Daw’ al-Lami’ li-Ahl al-Qarn al-Tasi’, Beirut, Maktabah al-Hayah, n.d., vol.12; Ahmad bin Ali bin Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Durar al-Kaminah fi A’yan al-Mi’ah al-Thaminah, ed. ‘Abd al-Warith Muhammad Ali, Beirut, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1997; Ruth Roded, Women in Islamic Biographical Collections: From Ibn Sa’d’s to Who’s Who, Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994, p.68. All cited in Khaled M. Abou El-Fadl, And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourse, University Press of America, Inc., Maryland, 2001, p.137.
 Ahmad bin Ali bin Hajar Al-Asqalani, Tahzib al-Tahzib, Maktabah Da’irah al-Ma’rif al-Nizamiyyah, India, 1326AH, vol.47, p.44, no.2850
 Ahmad bin Ali bin Hajar Al-Asqalani, Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb, Matba’ah Da’irah al-Ma’rif al-Nizamiyya, India, 1326AH, vol.42, p.47, no.2841
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’alam al-Nubala, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.18, p.234; vol.19, p.120
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.23, p.92
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.23, p.270
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.23, p.141
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.21, p.15
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.17, p.31
 Imam al-Dhahabi, Tazkirah al-Huffaz, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.4, p.1249,
 Bakr bin Abdullah Abu Zaid, Ibn Qayim Al-Jawziya: Hayatuhu Atharuhu wa Mawariduhu, Dar al-Asima, Riyadh, 1423AH, p.174
 For many more examples see http://www.muslimheritage.com/article/womens-contribution-classical-islamic-civilisation-science-medicine-and-politics; http://www.youngmuslimdigest.com/study/02/2015/great-women-islamic-history-forgotten-legacy/; See also the book, Al-Muhaddithah: The Women Scholars of Islam, by Mohammad Akram Nadwi – available at https://ia802705.us.archive.org/23/items/AlMuhaddithat/al%20-%20Muhaddithat.pdf
 See Mohammad Akram Nadwi, Al-Muhaddithah: The Women Scholars of Islam, Interface Publications, Oxford, UK, 2007, p.273-290.
 Abu Ya’la, Musnad Abu Ya’lah
Muhammad Atiyyah Salim, Tatimmah adwa al-bayan, Maktabah al-Shamila, 3.13, vol.2, p.252
Educational institutions and campuses are morally corrupting – with alcohol, music, smoking, drugs, immodesty, promiscuity, rape, cultism, etc. – Would it be permissible for Muslim students to attend such institutions?
Sahih Muslim, no.79, Dar Ihya Turath al-Arabi, Beirut
Some have argued that coeducation leads to immorality and lewdness. Will this not be a legitimate reason for Islamic Law to prohibit Muslims from attending such schools?
“From this hadith, we conclude that a woman is permitted to serve her husband and his male visitors, just as the husband is permitted to serve his wife. It is evident that her serving the visitors is allowed only if there is no fear of temptation and if she is properly dressed; if the wife is not properly dressed (as is the case with a majority of women in our time) her appearing in front of men is haram.
 See for example, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.7, nos.111-112, 495, 502 in Alim 6.0
 Cited in Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s discussion on this topic in The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam (London: Al-Birr Foundation, 2003), p.152
Some schools prohibit Muslim girls from dressing in a manner that is compliant with Islamic teachings. Is it prohibited for Muslim girls to attend such schools?
 Ali bin Na’if al-Shuhud, Al-Khulasa fi Fiqh al-Aqalliyyah, Maktabah al-Shamila 3.13, vol.7, p.48
Some schools allow their Muslims girls to wear uniforms that are compliant with Islamic hijab requirements, but they do not permit the wearing of theniqab (the face-veil). Is it permissible for Muslim girls who regard wearing the niqab as obligatory to abandon their studies or regard attending such schools as prohibited?
 This is based on a number of authentic hadith such as this one: Qatadah narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “When a young lady begins to menstruate, it is not proper that anything should be seen of her except her face and hands.” (Abu Dawud). For further discussion on this subject, see Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Jilbab Al-Mar’ah Al-Muslimah fi al- Kitab wa al-Sunnah, Beirut: Al-Maktab al-Islamiyyah, 1994, pp.57-59.
Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, Dar al-Salasil, 1427AH, vol.4, p.316
Some Muslims believe that any form of “national service” such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an act of disbelief (Kufr), because it is a form of serving the nation instead of serving Allah, the only One Who should be served. (It should also be noted that in Hausa language, “national service” is translated as “bautan kasa” which literally means “worshipping the nation”). Is it permissible for a Muslim to serve others or his nation while also serving Allah?
Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Husain al-Baihaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1410AH, vol.6, p.117, hadith no.7658; Daraqutni
 Muhammad bin Ismail al-Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad, Dar al-Bashair al-Islamiyya, Beirut, 1989, p.85, hadith no.218; Sulaiman bin Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Dar al-Kitab al-Araby, Beirut, vol.4, p.403, hadith no.4813
Al-Tirmidhi, 1924; Musnad Imam Ahmad, 6494; Abu Bakar Ahmad bin al-Husain bin Ali bin Musa al-Baihaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra, Maktabat Dar al-Baz, Makkah, 1994, vol.9, p.41, hadith no.17683
Sahih Muslim, 6721.
Sahih al-Bukhari, 676; Musnad Ahmad, 24226
Some Muslims regard the National Pledge and National Anthem as a form of glorifying the nation instead of glorifying only Allah. The Nigerian national pledge and anthem ask citizens “…to be faithful, loyal and honest”, “to serve Nigeria with all my strength…”, “to serve our fatherland…”, etc. Such loyalty and service is understood to be due only to God. Those who recite these pledges and anthems – such as students, civil servants, armed forces, media houses, etc. – are regarded as disbelievers (Kuffar). Are Muslims permitted to recite national pledges and anthems?
Wahbah al-Zuhayli, al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, vol.4, p.214
The Prophet (pbuh) prohibited people from standing up out of respect for him. Many schools teach their students to stand up in respect for the teacher upon entering the classroom. Is standing up for a teacher (or anyone else) prohibited in Islamic law? Does this practice make attending schools or classes where such is done also prohibited for Muslims?
Bukhari, Adab al-Mufrad, 202.
Cited in Khaled M. Abou El-Fadl, And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourse, University Press of America, Inc., Maryland, 2001, p.49. (Hereinafter referenced as El-Fadl, 2001)
 Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi
Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari fi Sharh al-Bukhari, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1993, 12:322.Cited El-Fadl, 2001, p.49.Based on some of these, Imam Malik ruled that a woman may not remain standing before her husband. (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:319, cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.56)
Sahih Bukhari, 3043; Muslim, Abu Dawud and Al-Bayhaqi.
 Al- Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:321. See also al-Bukhari, Al-Adaba al-Mufrad, 201-2. Cited El-Fadl, 2001, p.57
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:320. This view is also held by Al-Albani in his Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da’ifah, 3:637-8. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59.
Husain bin Mas’ud al-Baghawi, Sharh al-Sunnah, Beirut, Dar al-Fikr, 1994, 7:213; Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:320, 323. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59
Badr al-Din Mahmud bin Ahmad al-’aini, ‘Umdah al-Qari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Beirut, Dar al-Firk, n.d., 11:251. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.58
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:317.
Husayn bin Mas’ud al-Baghawi, Sharh al-Sunnah, Beirut, Dar al-Fikr, 1994, 7:213; Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:320, 323. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:318, 322. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:320.Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:320; Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59. See also Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaimin, Sharh Riyadh al-Salihin, al-Maktabah al-Shamilah 13.13, vol.1, p.59
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1993, 12:323.Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.59.
Ibn Hajar al-Haitami, Al-Fatwahs al-Kubra al-Fiqhiyyah, Beirut, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1983, 4:247-8. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.58
Ibrahim bin Musa al-Shatibi, Al-Muwafaqat fi Usul al-Shari’ah, ed. ‘Abdullah Darraz, Cairo, Dar al-Fikr al-‘Arab, n.d., 3:64-65. Cited in El-Fadl, 2001, p.60
Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 358; Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1919
For further reading on the issue of standing up for others, and in addition to references already cited above, see also Hasan Ayyub, Al-Suluk al-Ijtima’i fi al-Islam, Dar al-Buhuth al-‘Ilmiyyah, Cairo, 1979, p.324-332.
 He was also called the Amirul Mu’minim fil Hadith (“Leader of the Believer in Hadith”) and was among the greatest scholars of the successors (tabi’un) of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Quoted in Abdal Hakim Murad, Understanding the Four Madhahib, Cambridge: Muslim Academic Trust, 1999, p.13
Ahmad, 4687; Al-Bukhari, 6103, Muwatta’ Malik, 3606; Muslim, 224
Some Muslims understand the act of saluting a flag or a superior officer to be similar to an act of reverence, veneration and worship, and therefore regard it as an act of polytheism (shirk) and disbelief (kufr). Some also regard the salute gesture as similar to the raising of the hands in prayer (salah), except that it is done with only one hand. Would saluting a flag or a superior officer be regarded as an act of kufr in Islamic Law?
 Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principle of Islamic Jurisprudence, p.191; Abdul WahabKhallaf, Masadir al-Tashri’ al-Islamiy fi ma la Nass fihi, Kuwait, Dar al-Qalam, 1414 AH, 6th ed., p.26 and 30; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Dar Tayba, Madinah, 1420 AH, vol.7, p.465; Al-Hasan bin Ali al-Barbahari, Sharh al-Sunnah, Makrabah al-Sunnah, Egypt, 1416 AH, p.28, 47 & 49.
Traditional Islamic teachers who are learned scholars in the Islamic Sciences are discriminated against and not recognized by the conventional educational system simply because they do not understand English, even though some of them are more learned (about Islam) than those teaching in the universities and secondary schools. The educational system is therefore unjust and prejudiced against Islam and Muslim scholars (Huffaz, Alaramomi, Gwani, and Malaman zaure) by not recognizing them. Should Muslims continue to attend and support such institutions?
· It is true that many professionals and especially those whose qualifications come along with titles tend to be arrogant and prejudiced against those whom they regard as beneath them. This is true for doctors (whether medical or academic) and barristers; as it is for engineers, professors, Imams and sheikhs. Knowledge unfortunately usually comes with the challenge of pride, arrogance and prejudice.
· The basis for a prohibition (haram) of something should be established on clear evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah, and not on the attitudes or character of people. The arrogance of a doctor, mechanic, teacher, school or institution does not make study of their field (medicine, engineering, etc.) to be haram. There are many Muslim scholars who have been unjust, prejudiced and discriminatory against others. Scholars of Hadith sometimes look down upon Scholars of the Tafsir of the Qur’an. Scholars of Fiqh sometimes feel superior to scholars of Hadith. Scholars of Usul al-Fiqh sometimes look down upon scholars of Fiqh. The knowledge of an arrogant or hypocritical Muslim Sheikh, Imam or scholar of Hadith or Qur’an does not mean that his knowledge or field of study is also haram. The discrimination, prejudice or arrogance of a scholar tells on the character of the scholar and not on the validity or otherwise of his field of expertise or knowledge of the subject. There is the need to always distinguish a person’s behaviour from his subject, knowledge or institution.
· Colonial powers have definitely been very prejudiced against Islam and Muslims. They have done whatever they can to undermine many of the traditional Muslim political, economic, judicial and educational institutions, and they have shown varying degrees of disregard for traditional scholars and scholarship. Muslims however now have the opportunities to change this and through the proper channels and methods, reform these institutions to meet the needs of the Muslim Ummah today.
· Many academic institutions, especially universities, recognize and offer honorary degrees to individuals who have excelled in their respective fields, even if these individuals do not speak English or have any degrees. Many Muslim scholars of various specializations have been given honorary PhDs and academic awards by conventional universities and professional institutions in Nigeria and beyond for their scholarship and contributions to Islam and the society. It is therefore not the university system as an institution that is necessarily prejudiced against the traditional institutions or its scholars, but some individuals within those institutions. More of these honourary degrees however need to be awarded to recognize and encourage competent traditional scholars of various specializations.
· Meanwhile, it may also be asked whether there is also discrimination and prejudice by the traditional Islamic institutions and their scholars against those competent professors and lecturers in the conventional educational system. How many traditional Islamic institutions give similar recognition – through titles such as “Sheikh”, “Alaramma”, “Imam”, etc. – to those distinguished academic scholars who have excelled in Islamic scholarship or even scholars of other fields that fulfill religiously mandated social or collective obligations (fard kifayah) such as teachers, doctors, agriculturists, engineers, etc.? Some university lecturers have earned recognition as proven authorities in both the Islamic and conventional systems of education.
· There is however the need for building better linkages, collaboration and mutual respect between both institutions along with better systems of assessing and evaluating competences, and the identification of talent and distinction in various specialization and levels of scholarship.
· Instead of prohibiting Muslims from attending conventional institutions, which have their immense benefits to society, it may be better to encourage and support both systems of education to work better together wherever possible.
The Prophet SAW said: “Every child is born innately submitting to Allah (as a Muslim), it is his parents that change him to either be a Jew or Christian or a Pagan”. This hadith is understood to imply that taking children to any Western or conventional educational system is equivalent to “Christianizing” such children. What is the correct interpretation of this hadith?
 Saifu al-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Al-Rahiq Al-Makhtum (Sealed Nectar), Dar-us-Salam Publications, Riyadh, 1996, p.105
Western education is an avenue to convert Muslims to Christianity. In some government and Christian missionary controlled schools, there is pressure on Muslim children to convert to Christianity, and some Muslims children have left Islam. Is it permissible for Muslims to attend such schools when there is the risk of apostasy?
Many titles in academic institutions have their origins in the titles of Christian clergy – such as Minister, Ministry, Chancellor, Dean, Doctor, etc. A Muslim should not use such names that identify him or her with another religion. Some say that to do so is prohibited and an act of disbelief (kufr). Is it permissible for a Muslim to use or be referred to with such religious titles? Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in institutions where such titles are used and awarded?
Abdurahman bin Nasir al-Sa’di, Risalah latifah fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Muhimma, al-Maktabah al-Shamila, 3.13; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Qawa’id Al-Fiqh: The Legal Maxims of Islamic Law, The Association Of Muslim Lawyers, U.K., 1998; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, The Islamic Text Society, Cambridge, 2003, p. 369-382; Mohammad Akram Laldin, Introduction to Shari’ah and Islamic Jurisprudence, 2nd ed. CERT, Kuala Lumpur, 2008, p.150-153. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Living Islam with Purpose, Nawawi Foundation, 2007, p.22-36
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in, Maktabat Kulliyah al-Azhariyyah, Cairo, 1968, vol. 3, p.47
The title “Doctor” used to describe an Islamic scholar is a Western terminology of Christian origin that is unknown in the Islamic sciences. What is traditionally known among Muslim scholars is Sheikh, Imam, Hafiz, Muqri’, Muhaddith, Mufassir, Faqih, Usuli, Mu’arrikh, etc. Some Muslims are of the opinion that using the title “Doctor” while abandoning Muslim academic titles is an act of imitating non-Muslims (tashbih) and preferring their ways to those of the Islamic tradition. This is regarded them as prohibited (haram). Is it permissible to a Muslim scholar to use the title “Doctor”?
 Bakr bin Abdullah Abu Zaid, Al-Majmu’ah al-Ilmiyyah, Tagrib al-Alqab al-Ilmiyya, Dar al-Asima, Riyadh, 1416 p.319
Abdurahman bin Nasir al-Sady, Risalahun latifa fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Muhimma, al-Maktabah al-Shamila, 3.13; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Qawa’id Al-Fiqh: The Legal Maxims of Islamic Law, The Association Of Muslim Lawyers, U.K., 1998; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, The Islamic Text Society, Cambridge, 2003, p. 369-382; Mohammad Akram Laldin, Introduction to Shari’ah and Islamic Jurisprudence, 2nd ed. CERT, Kuala Lumpur, 2008, p.150-153. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Living Islam with Purpose, Nawawi Foundation, 2007, p.22-36
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in, Maktabat Kulliyah al-Azhariyyah, Cairo, 1968, vol. 3. p.47
Some Christian clergies originally used university convocation and academic gowns. It is prohibited from Muslims to use clothing that associates them with other religions as wearing such clothing is understood to be a form of imitation and association with their disbelief (kufr). Is it permissible for Muslim students or professionals to wear such clothing? Are those who wear such clothing committing kufr by imitating the disbelievers (kuffar)?
“People’s sayings and actions are of two kinds: acts of worship by which their religion is established, and customary practices which are required for day-to-day living. From the principles of the Shari’ah, we know that acts of worship are those acts which have been prescribed by Allah or approved by Him; nothing is to be affirmed here except through the Shari’ah. However, as far as the worldly activities of people are concerned, they are necessary for everyday life. Here the principle is freedom of action; nothing may be restricted in this regard except what Allah has restricted… to do otherwise is to be included in the meaning of His saying: ‘Say: Do you see what Allah has sent down to you for sustenance? Yet you have made some part of it halal and some part haram?’ (Q.10:59)… Since this is the stance of the Shari’ah, people are free to buy, sell, and lease as they wish, just as they are free to eat and to drink what they like as long as it is not haram [prohibited]. Although some of these things may be disapproved, they are free in this regard, since the Shari’ah does not go to the extent of prohibiting them, and thus the original principle [of permissibility] remains”.
“As scholars have observed, it is notable that the Hadith does not use the latter form of the verb, “to resemble,” because it would have fundamentally changed the meaning. The verb “to resemble” would have indicated that the mere act of being similar to others is disallowed, which is the mistaken interpretation that some Muslims give to the Hadith. By avoiding the latter verb, the Hadith shows that there is no harm in merely looking like others, as long as the act is not associated with the negative inward qualities indicated by the verb “to imitate.” If a Muslim is motivated to wear the clothing of another people and imitate their customs out of a sense of inferiority, it is reprehensible. It is a different matter altogether when one wears the same clothing with self-esteem and the intention of being a functional member of society.
Similarly, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The Jews and Christians do not pray in their khufoof (leather socks) or shoes, so be different from them”, also, “Distinguish yourselves from the Jews; they pray with their shoes off, so you should pray with your shoes on”. Some Jews and Christian groups still pray with their shoes off, while others go to church and pray with their shoes on. However, the fact that most Muslims and scholars pray(ed) with their shoes off in a similar way as these Jews or Christians do (or did) only shows resemblance (mushabaha) and not an imitation (tashbih or tashabbaha) since those Muslims who pray with their shoes off do so only so as not to dirty their prayer mats (sajadah) and sit down more comfortably. Also, because some Christians now pray in church with their shoes on does not prove that those Muslims who do the same have decided to imitate these Christians. It only shows similarity and resemblance (mushabaha) which is permissible, and not imitation (tashbih) in order to look like or identify with them in a religious practice or costume which would be prohibited.
 Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Qawa’id al-Nuraniyyah al-Fiqhiyyah, pp.112-113, cited by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam (London: Al-Birr Foundation, 2003), pp.5-6.
Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Living Islam with Purpose, Nawawi Foundation, 2007, p.24
 Shaikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Sacred Law in Secular Lands (Vol.1 and 2, 18 audio CDs), trans. from Arabic by Hamza Yusuf (California, USA: Alhambra Productions, 2000).
For a discussion of the differences between similarity or resemblance (mushaabaha/ tashaabaha) and imitation (tashbih/ tashabbaha), see Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Living Islam with Purpose, Nawawi Foundation, 2007, p.24; Shaikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Sacred Law in Secular Lands (Vol.1 and 2, 18 audio CDs), trans. from Arabic by Hamza Yusuf (California, USA: Alhambra Productions, 2000).
Sunan Abu Dawud, 652; Sunan al-Baihaqi al-Kubra, 4056
Abdurahman bin Nasir al-Sa’dy, Risalahun latifa fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Muhimma, al-Maktabah al-Shamila, 3.13; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Qawa’id Al-Fiqh: The Legal Maxims of Islamic Law, The Association Of Muslim Lawyers, U.K., 1998; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, The Islamic Text Society, Cambridge, 2003, p. 369-382; Mohammad Akram Laldin, Introduction to Shari’ah and Islamic Jurisprudence, 2nd ed. CERT, Kuala Lumpur, 2008, p.150-153. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Living Islam with Purpose, Nawawi Foundation, 2007, p.22-36.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in, Maktabat Kulliyah al-Azhariyyah, Cairo, 1968, vol. 3. p.47
 He was also called the Amir al Mu’minin fi al-Hadith (“Leader of the Believer in Hadith”) and was among the greatest scholars of the successors (tabi’un) of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Quoted in Abdal Hakim Murad, Understanding the Four Madhahib Cambridge: Muslim Academic Trust, 1999, p.13
Ahmad, 4687; Al-Bukhari, 6103, Muwatta’ Malik, 3606; Muslim, 224
This section focuses on questions concerned and related to conventional education that are important to some, but not as regularly raised as those treated in the earlier section of this material.
28. The un-Islamic Uniform Requirements for Muslim Boys at Maturity.
29. On the Educational System as the “factory” of a Corrupt Nigeria.
30. On Registration with Government as a Sign of allegiance with Kufr.
31. Making Teachers Stand in Class as a Sign of Disrespect.
32. On Caliph Umar Discouraging Learning in Other than Arabic.
33. Some Mathematical Symbols are similar to the Cross or Crucifix.
34. On Professors of Islamic Studies who cannot Recite the Qur’an Properly.
35. On the Hadith: “We are an Ummah that is illiterate…nor do we calculate”.
A Muslim boy who has reached the age of maturity is required to have clothing that at least covers area from his navel to the knees. In many primary and junior secondary schools, male students are required to wear shorts that do not cover the knees. Is it permissible for Muslims students to attend such schools?
Muhammad bin Ali al-Shawkani, al-Sail al-Jarrar, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya, Beirut, 1405AH, vol.1, p.160; Wahbah al-Zuhayli, al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adilatuhu, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, vol.1, p.654-657; Abu Muhammad Ali bin Hazm, al-Muhalla bi al-Athar, al-Maktabah al-Shamilla 3.13, vol.3, p.210, Issue no.349; Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, al-Mawsuat al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, Dar al-Salasil, Kuwait, 1404AH, vol.32, p.56
The societies’ corrupt leadership and elite – both Muslims and non-Muslims – are products of conventional schools. The conventional educational system has had the greatest educating influence on their upbringing. The moral and ethical corruption of the leadership has to be a product of the negative influence of the conventional educational system. Is it permissible to send Muslims children through such an educational system?
The Qur’an and Sunnah teach us that when we argue or speak, we should be fair and just – “and if you speak, be just” (Qur’an 6:152).
This verse makes it explicitly clear that even Satan – the greatest tempter of humanity – has no power over us. We decide what to do with our choices and we cannot even blame him for our misguidance. We are to take full responsibility for our decisions.
Consequently, we cannot blame any of God’s prophets for the misguidance of their family members or communities.
Some Muslims regard the registration of teachers, professionals, schools and organizations with the government as a sign of allegiance to kufr, and thus regard it as prohibited. Is it permissible for Muslims to register anything with the government?
 Sunan Al-Kubra, no.12114; Al-Dala’il fi Gharib al-Hadith, 243
Ibn Hisham, Sirat an-Nabawiyyah, 1/123; Al-Dala’il fi Gharib al-Hadith, 243
Musnad Ahmad, 2904
For more examples of treaties by the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions with various non-Muslim communities, see Shaikh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombing, Minhaj-ul-Quran International, London, 2010, p.141-156.
In the traditional Islamic educational system, it is more respectful of teachers and their status that they sit down while teaching students who will be seated on the floor. In conventional education, the teacher is required to stand up and move around, while the students are relaxed in their chairs. This is a sign of disrespect towards the teacher and his knowledge. Is it permissible for Muslims to attend such classes and institutions?
It is narrated that Umar bin Khattab discouraged the learning of languages other than Arabic. Most conventional schools do not teach in Arabic. Should attending these schools not be at least discouraged for Muslims?
Ahmad bin Abdul Halim bin Taimiyyah, Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, Matba’at al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyyah, Cairo, 1369AH, p.135
Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2715
Musnad Ahmad, 22978.
Sunan Abu Dawud, 5102.
Multiplication and addition symbols in mathematics are similar in shape with the cross or a crucifix. Is learning and using such symbols permissible in Islam, or is it an act of disbelief (“kufr”)?
Abdurahman bin Nasir al-Sady, Risalahlatifah fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Muhimmah, al-Maktabah al-Shamila, 3.13; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Qawa’id Al-Fiqh: The Legal Maxims of Islamic Law, The Association Of Muslim Lawyers, U.K., 1998; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, The Islamic Text Society, Cambridge, 2003, p. 369-382; Mohammad Akram Laldin, Introduction to Shari’ah and Islamic Jurisprudence, 2nd ed. CERT, Kuala Lumpur, 2008, p.150-153. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Living Islam with Purpose, Nawawi Foundation, 2007, p.22-36
Fatwahs al-Lajnah al-Dai’mah;al-Majmuatu al-Thaniyah, Fatwa no.18441
Some lecturers and professors of Islamic studies in Nigeria cannot even properly recite the Qur’an in Arabic, and have memorized very little of it. Can a person who does not understand Arabic be regarded as a scholar, or have the authority to teach Islam? Is it permissible to learn Islam from Institutions with such lecturers?
“When ijtihad relates to inferring from Text, a knowledge of Arabic would be essential. But if the focus is not the purport of the text but a conceptualization of the masalih and mafasid involved, a knowledge of Arabic may not be essential….Whosoever has come to understand what are the purposes of giving rulings in Shari’ah and is so advanced in this understanding, that he could be regarded as knowing what the objectives of Shari’ah are, (for him) it makes no difference at all if he acquired that knowledge through translations in some of the non-Arabic tongues. He and the one who acquired the understanding from Arabic readings are at par”.
Allah praises those who listen critically and pick what is best from what they learn: “those who listen to what is said, and go by the best in it.” (Qur’an 39:18)
The poor Qur’anic recitation and memorization of a few lecturers or professors of Islamic Studies should not prevent anyone from learning other useful knowledge from these lecturers, or from others in the department.
Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi, Al-Muwafaqat fi Usul al-Shari’ah, Cairo, Egypt, Al-Maktabah al-Tawfiqiyyah, 2003, vol.3, pp.162-163. Cited in Mohammad Omar Farooq, Towards Our Reformation: From Legalism to Value Oriented Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, IIIT, London, 2011, p.xiv
The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: “We are an Ummah that is illiterate; we don’t write or calculate.” The Qur’an also describes the Prophet Muhammad as an “illiterate” (nabiy al-ummiyy). These texts show that we do not need to go to school to learn literacy or numeracy. Is it therefore not prohibited for Muslims to go to educational institutions that teach these skills?
The interpretation of this hadith therefore must be wrong as it contradicts the reality of the understanding of the importance of literacy and numeracy in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions and in Islamic history and scholarship.
It was narrated from Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “We are an unlettered nation, we do not write or calculate. The month is such-and-such or such-and-such – meaning sometimes it is twenty-nine and sometimes it is thirty.”
“The phrase ‘We are an unlettered nation’ is not telling them to be like that. They were unlettered before Islam came, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves”(Qur’an 62:2)
“And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are illiterates (Arab pagans): Do you (also) submit yourselves (to Allah in Islam)?” (Qur’an 3:20)
Although this is how they were before the Prophet (pbuh) was sent to them, they were not commanded to remain like that.”
And Allah knows best!
Bukhari, 1814; Muslim, 1080
Majmu’ al-Fatwahs, 25/164-175