The Kuwaiti government has decided to consider Thursday, April 4, 2019 as an official holiday for all government departments, public and private institutions and schools and universities to celebrate the anniversary of Isra and Meraj. This event marks the night Allah took Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on a journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to heaven. Lailat al Meraj marks this journey to what the Holy Quran describes as the “farthest mosque in Jerusalem”. It takes place just a month before Ramadan.
Usually in Kuwait, the ministry of awqaf holds a celebration to commemorate this religious occasion and to review its events as a lesson for the lives of Muslims. This article is not the place to explain the circumstances of the holy journey of the Prophet (PBUH), but to look into the present to improve our situation today in order to adjust and upgrade our situation for the future.
There is no doubt that the Islamic world today is experiencing a difficult phase, where many innocents are being killed and subjected to violence because of civil conflicts or terrorism by extremists. So we need to consider where we stand today and how to deal with the bad conditions and take from the spirit of this occasion a lesson to combat grief and weakness.
I believe that extremism and terrorism threaten the Muslim world. Ignorance appears to be a weapon that is being used by many, and education does not appear to be a priority for governments in the Muslim world to fight terrorism. Efforts to stop killings do not seem strong and shy appeals are not enough.
We are required during such religious occasions to review our mistakes and spread the Islamic religion as a religion of tolerance, learning, knowledge and wisdom, using what we have for a better future. But how does learning and education make us better? Education in Islam is essential. Education contributes to sustainable development for all, especially children.
According to research carried out by UNESCO in 2013 in developing countries, some 47 million children suffer from early childhood illnesses due to malnutrition, and about 1.7 million children can be saved. Mothers in those countries only have primary school education, and about 12.2 million children can be saved by mothers with a secondary education.
Throughout history, education has been an important pillar of societal progress and a key driver of civilizational development. The first rule in building a strong nation is building a human being first as a strategic goal of nation-building. The first brick of this building is to develop a strategic plan for education based on their progress.
Education is therefore one of the most important forces to achieve economic development and prosperity. Thus, education is a great force for spreading goodness in societies and the message of tolerance. No one can deny that the social and economic growth of any nation is linked to science, and its role is essential in the advancement of states.
But, the question is why did we not become like other countries having scientific and technological progress at a time when we have many important tools for this? I think education should seek to develop awareness among the younger generations, not only as users but as makers and inventors. There are rules in the Quran to obtain scientific knowledge, and the Islamic religion is based on science and knowledge. On this holiday, we should review our position among nations and what we lack.
By Muna Al-Fuzai