In a society where religion and knowledge in general and science in particular do not go hand in hand, it seems necessary to briefly describe the position of Islam [in relation to] knowledge, Islam, in theory as well as in practice, has always promoted knowledge. Distinctive mark of human beings over the angels is knowledge:
“And Allah taught Adam all the names…” (2:31)
The first verses of the Qur’an began with the word:
“Read. Read in the name of thy Lord who created; [He] created the human being from blood clot. Read in the name of thy Lord who taught by the pen: [He] taught the human being what he did not know.” (96: 1-5).
The Qur’an says:
“Are those who have knowledge equal to those who do not have knowledge?!”(39:9).
The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his progeny) has also emphasized the importance of seeking knowledge in different ways:
(a) Time: “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
(b) Place: “Seek knowledge even if it is far as China.”
(c) Gender: “Seeking of knowledge is a duty of every Muslim”
(d) Source: “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer, he should take it even if finds it in the mouth of a mushrik.”
The Prophet did not only preach about importance of knowledge, he also gave examples of promoting knowledge. In the very first battle between the Muslims and unbelievers [in] Mecca, known as the war of Badr, the Muslims gain victory and caught seventy kuffars as prisoners of war. One of the criteria of releasing the POWs devised by the Prophet was that those who were literate among the prisoners could go free if they teach ten Muslim children how to read and write.