شناسه مطلب صحیفه
نمایش نسخه چاپی

Speech [The importance of knowledge and learning in Islam, and the need for education to be accompanied by training]

Jamaran, Tehran
The importance of knowledge and learning in Islam, and the need for education to be accompanied by training
The authorities responsible for the countrywide literacy campaign and those participating in the seminar on the literacy campaign
جلد ۱۳ صحیفه امام خمینی (ره)، از صفحه ۳۸۰ تا صفحه ۳۸۴
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Changing the machine guns into pens

I thank you gentlemen for having come here and are enduring this cramped place and the unpleasant air so that we can discuss certain matters. The gentlemen have come to see me because the campaign against illiteracy this year has not been received with the enthusiasm as it ought to have been. Besides, the necessary tools and means have not been made available either. But I am hopeful that this will be done later on. When one wants to start something, certain unforseen things happen, of course, in the beginning, and the need for certain things is felt when one gets busy with the work. I hope that hereafter our people and the government will give priority to getting this vital task accomplished. As I notice, on this placard that you have brought here it is written:" We shall turn our pens into machine-guns." I hope that human beings reach a sufficient stage of development to change the machine- guns into pens. Machine-guns have not served humanity as much as pen and pronouncement have. They have often served the big powers for the purpose of killing human beings. Islam that has told us to undertake the" Jihad" in defense of the faith, of course needs the implements of war. «1» But the actual thing is to defend truth and to replace the machine guns with truth and knowledge. The pen, knowledge and expression are the things that nurture man; not machine-guns or other destructive weapons of war. Even these things have come into existence because of knowledge. There are people who make machine-guns and all the implements of civilization as it is so called. Such things have been the cause of cities and God's servants to be wiped out. And But there are also people who have made them to help human beings, to make them develop and bring them peace and tranquility. As such, it is a service that they have rendered. You must try to have the machine-guns put aside by means of your writings and statements, thereby allowing the pens, knowledge and learning to take over.
As long as man wants to continue living under the tanks, cannons and machine guns, he cannot be a human being. He will not be able to attain human goals. People can only attain Islamic and human goals and perfection in knowledge as well when the pens overcome the machin-guns and the people's knowledge reaches that point where the machine-guns are cast aside and the arena becomes one of pen and learning.

The basis underlying the worth of actions and their intentions

In the Holy Qur'an, in the beginning of the verse revealed to the Noble Messenger, reading is recommended and the purpose for which reading and knowledge should serve him is mentioned. The Qur'an say:" Read in the name of thy Lord." «2» Apparently, reading knowledge and learning are, by themselves, not the point. There could be knowledge that is against man's nature and his generous temperament. But if knowledge is purposeful and of use to humanity, if it is in the name of the Lord and takes into consideration the divinity of God and his name, reading, learning and that machine-gun, then, are all at the disposal of man. Intentions matter most. They lie in the deeds and the implements that man makes. It is intention that gives direction to knowledge, learning and the other things that govern man's actions. There are things for which pens have come into existence as well as machine-guns and knowledge. If the aims and purposes for which these things have come into being be divine, then the pen, the machine-gun, knowledge and every action acquires worth; divine worth. A pen's worth depends on the purpose for which it is used. The worth of a machine-gun is also tied to the purpose for which it is operated. If the aim, purpose and intention are not human and divine, neither will that machine-gun be of any use, nor that pen. The pen is more harmful than the machine-gun. And speech is more dangerous than tank or cannon. The danger of knowledge is much more than all of these. But if used to serve the people, if meant to be used for the sake of the people and God the Blessed and Exalted, all these things, then, will acquire worth. A machine-gun will become like a pen, and a pen like a machine-gun.

The need for all deeds to be divine in purpose

Man should think about the things that are useful in training, teaching and coaching people, and should orient his actions accordingly. If the universities are not given direction, they will be the same as the ones existing for the people, and which produce destructive forces. But if they be given (the necessary) direction they will accomplish what the machine guns cannot. They can render service to humanity, which no one can do to that extent. The main thing is the direction and moving in it. The Qur'an says:" Read: In the name of thy Lord who createth". Read, but not for its own sake. Learn, but not just for the sake of learning. Acquire knowledge, but not knowledge for its own sake nor its acquisition for its own sake. Knowledge and education must have a purpose, a direction. The direction is the name of the Lord. God is the object of attention. It is for Him and His creatures. If the pens of the world start writing to serve God and His creatures, the machine guns will be kept away. Otherwise, they will become machine-guns. The destructive tools of mankind have been created by the writers and the scholars of all the universities. All the progress that man has made, has been made possible by the scholars and their writings and speeches. Try to give a direction to this education that you give the people. In the classes, where young and old come to learn you must give a direction to their education in the same way that you make them literate and teach them to read and write so that they read and write for God, and to serve Him, His creatures and Islam.

The need for education to be in tandem with upbringing

Educating and upbringing ought to go together. Upbringing ought to be human and useful to human beings. Education should be directed towards the benefit of the people. The name of God should be present in it, and attention given to Him. In all the classes that will be set up throughout the country, God willing, you gentlemen and the others who are involved in this great project and have undertaken this great act of devotion, ought to concentrate on giving the teachers direction. You must keep God in mind. Their knowledge should be for God and in obedience to Him. God the Blessed and Exalted, looks upon (the acquisition of) knowledge as one of the great acts of worship provided that it has a direction which is that same;" Read: In the name of thy Lord." In no nation is knowledge commended as commended in Islam. In many of its passages, Holy Qur'an commends knowledge, scholars and attention to knowledge. It makes little mention of iron. Where it does mention iron, it is in the context of the people's interests:" and He revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for mankind"; «3» It gives mankind strength; it gives him benefits. Iron is of no value at all if it does not benefit the people if it benefits the superpowers in the way you can see. But if iron be used in the people's service and for their benefit, its worth to them is very great. Iron and everything else have worth just as a pen has. The worth of everything depends on the way it is used. The value of the (mandatory) prayers that one says also depends on the intention with which one begins them. It is quite likely that there are people who pray but their prayers are registered in hell. That is when they flaunt their prayers to the people. It is also likely that the army, the soldiers and the pasdars serving God have far greater worth than prayers. In such a case, the worth of their machine guns surpasses that of the pens. Be particular about educating the people and, at the same time, training them.
" In the name of the Lord" The particularity of the name" Lord" is to draw the attention of the people towards imparting training in the Lord's name. That is, you must read in the name of your Lord to train people. The pen must be held in the hand to train mankind. Nothing has benefited humankind more than the pens that are true. It has also been harmed more by them than by anything else. Pen and expression have a link with people's minds. As such, if pen, speech, education and teaching happen to be for the sake of God, the minds of the people, too, will develop in a divine way. Otherwise, minds that are arrogant and evil will result.

Teaching the illiterate classes to read and write

I want all the Iranians to assist in this great and vital task. The gentlemen who go to the rural areas should invite the illiterate people to enroll in the literacy program." Acquiring knowledge is compulsory." According to this" hadith" God, the Blessed and Exalted, has said through the Noble Messenger that seeking knowledge is a duty. As it is stated in some of the narrations:" Learning is obligatory upon every man and woman. «4»" It is only through knowledge that mankind can secure its prosperity in the world and the hereafter. It is only by imparting knowledge that one can train the youths so that they are able to protect their own interests in this world and the next. No power can rule over our country if the people acquire knowledge and culture and learn what the purpose of knowledge is and the direction in which they must move.

The ignorance of the masses: our big problem throughout history

All the troubles that we had in the course of our history resulted from the undue advantage that was taken of the ignorance of the people. They used the people's ignorance as a tool to make them act against their own interests. If the people had possessed knowledge, goal-oriented knowledge, it would not have been possible for the destroyers to compel them to pursue a course contrary to the nation's. It is knowledge and education with a purpose in mind that can keep the nation safe from all troubles. Those who want to disrupt this movement, this Islamic movement, will not succeed in doing so. They cannot bear to see Islam being implemented in this country. it is knowledge that is able to stop all these corrupt practices. Nobody will be able to commit aggression against you if our people acquire knowledge, goal- oriented knowledge, and if they are trained. There ought to be training to accompany knowledge and alongside knowledge; religious training, divine training, human training plus knowledge. You ought to possess these two weapons so that nobody will be able to bring back the despotism (that once existed).
You, the literacy campaigners throughout the country should know that you are rendering a service to mankind which is the worthiest of all. The villagers and all the illiterate classes must know that this is a great service which they should whole-heartedly accept. They should not think that they cannot (become literate). No it is not so. Every man can learn. Every one can turn into a (literate) human being. Knowledge must be sought from the cradle to the grave. It is from infancy till near death. The world must be administered through Knowledge, purposeful knowledge. Old men and women, too, can learn. They, too, can become educated. They should not lose hope for themselves. The old, the youths, the children, the villagers, the city-dwellers- all should cooperate in this important task. Everything of yours depends on it- your civilization, your Islam and your humanity are all tied to it. Train these people. Everything depends on it. God willing, next year, if I be alive, I will see that this project has advanced spectacularly. If I am not alive, you yourself will see it. May God give all of you and the whole nation success in acquiring knowledge and also in knowing its purpose. May the people pick up the machine guns and also receive military training in order to bring peace to the world.
May God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.
«۱»- A reference to the noble verse al-Anfal ۸:۶۰." Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah, and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not. Allah knoweth them." «۲»- Sourah al-`Alaq ۹۶:۱. «۳»- Sourah al-Hadid ۵۷:۲۵. «۴»- Bihar al-Anwar vol.۱, p.۱۷۷. Hadith ۵۴: It is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman to acquire knowledge.

امام خمینی (ره)؛ 06 دی 1359

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