The difference between the Qur’an and other branches of knowledge:
The Holy Qur’an is the fountainhead of entire learning. But there is a striking difference between the Holy Qur’an and other books. The Qur’an is the word of Allah and books on various branches of knowledge are human studies of Allah’s creation. These books only deal with specific subjects and topics. A book on one discipline is quiet on other disciplines. They are no way comparable to the Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is a treasure of all knowledge and learning that man may need till the end of time. The sciences and technologies are human ventures in the line of guidance Allah has revealed in the Qur’an. They are parts of an infinite whole contained in the Qur’an. All knowledge originates from the Qur’an and this is the basic truth of the Islamic doctrine of knowledge.
A subtle reality:
The Holy Qur’an provides us an ideology in written form. As a theory is experimented in some laboratory for its validation the Qur’anic knowledge is validated in the sacred person of Allah’s Beloved Messenger. The holy personality of the adorable Prophet is the embodiment of the Qur’an – the Quranic teachings put into practice as a practical model for the entire mankind. As the knowledge contained in the Quran is unlimited the life conduct of the Holy Prophet too is infinite in the like manner because a limited thing cannot encompass an unlimited thing.
The outcome of knowledge:
The subject taken up in the third verse of the Surah refers to the impact of the acquired knowledge on human character, his ways, manners and habits and the personality profile at large. That is the outcome of knowledge when practiced. What influence knowledge imprints on human personality and character is contained in this third verse. Allah Almighty says:
“Read and your Lord is Most Generous.” (Quran, 96:3.)
The Grandeur and Glory of Allah Most High is supreme. He has no beginning and no end. He is the Lord of both pre-eternity and eternity. He is Eternal, Most High and Transcendent. His Light encompasses the whole universe. All the creation whether living or non-living are subject to His command alone. The holy verses of the Surah inform man, the humble creature, on the greatest truth of the universe that Greatness, Grandeur and Glory are the attributes of Allah Almighty alone. Man is but a humble and lowly being. Knowledge also teaches him humbleness and modesty and manners of obedience to Allah. It provides him a skill to perceive and conceive His Majesty and Beauty. When his heart gets kindled with knowledge it makes him bow down before his Lord and frees him from all other chains. He fears none but Him and gets instilled with courage to rise against all the tyrants of his age. He cares not for any Pharaoh and stretches not his hands before any tycoon. He begs only from Allah and His Messenger. He has faith in the Glory and Grandeur of Allah and believes in his own humbleness and powerlessness. Influenced by these feelings he holds: He is meant neither for heaven nor earth; The world is for him, not he for world.
Feeling of humbleness and modesty :
When the branches are decreed to bear fruit, they bow down before the will of Allah. This is the prostration of gratitude in the Holy Presence of the Lord of the universe. But the branch that stiffens instead of bowing down gives way and breaks. Allahdespises pride and arrogance the most. In the same way when man ventures to explore and study various branches of knowledge, mysteries of the world start dawning on him. He then feels humble, down to earth and becomes paragon of modesty. His lips quiver with thankfulness and gratitude and he gets immersed in His blessings. He practically affirms that Allah is Clement and Gracious and all Glory and all praises are for Him alone. But if contrary to that, knowledge rouses in him feelings of self-love, egotism, and arrogance and man starts giving credit for his achievements to himself instead of attributing them to Allah and becomes stiff-neck taking all good as the result of his personal hard work he is not a true scholar or man of learning. He is rather an ignorant person having no knowledge of the truth.
The word iqra’: read) has been repeated in this verse. Allah has mentioned His Glory also along with “read”. This signifies that faith in His Glory is an inevitable result of acquired knowledge. But if knowledge does not leave this impact on him and he does not feel humble, lowly and modest and does not believe in the Majesty and Glory of Allah, then his knowledge is no knowledge and he is but an embodiment of ignorance and unawareness.
Removing the superiority complex:
Knowledge fosters sense of obedience in man, purifies his heart and soul with humility and humbleness and roots out arrogance and sense of superiority from his mind. Superiority complex is almost an incorrigible malady. It takes its roots deep in man. God-feeling also stems from the same disease. Tyranny and oppression is the outcome of this awful state of mind which gives birth to Pharaohs and Nimruds. This feeling is the mother of all radicalism, extremism and terrorism. It spoils peace and devastates human societies. But yet we can cure it through knowledge. Knowledge condemns and discourages growth of superiority feelings in man and helps him maintain balance, equilibrium and moderation. It promotes tolerance and emotional stability in societies. It inculcates humbleness in man which provides a fertile soil for human prosperity. However, this is wrong if someone starts feeling that he is the know-all and has completed his venture to acquire knowledge. If a person after getting knowledge crafts such a belief as if he knows everything, his course of study has been completed, and he has become a veteran scholar, he is still wandering in the darkness of ignorance and has lost the path of truthfulness.