Reviving the Spirit of Scholarship in Islamic Universities: Reflections from the Life of Some Early Muslim Scholars

Ismail Hashim Abubakar


One of the underlying factors that accounted for the excelling of the Muslim Ummah was the high esteem with which the early Muslims held knowledge. Knowledge is the bedrock upon which the foundation of Islam is erected. The rapid growth and rise of Muslim civilization and its distinctiveness was not unconnected with the attitude which the earlier Muslims showed to scholarship. The zest, thirst and enthusiasm the Muslim scholars displayed towards knowledge and the effort they exerted in the course of acquiring it will forever remain a legacy worthy of celebration and emulation. Conversely, the main factor that still retards the Muslim world from progression and keeping it on the back lane is the lackadaisical and indifferent attitude the latter Muslims show to scholarship. While institutions at all levels and of varied grades are constructed in the Muslim world on frequent basis, the kind of graduates the institutions produce are nothing to write home about, compared to other students in the non-Muslim world. Students nowadays join universities and other institutions of higher learning for the sole purpose of certification rather than knowledge acquisition. This is evident in the fact that reading culture, bookishness, research and spirit of scholarship in general are almost dead in our learning environments.  Libraries become full and congested only when examinations approach. This paper seeks to highlight the effort, dedication and commitment of some of the early Muslim scholars towards the search of knowledge. It aims at equipping student of Islamic universities and higher educational institutions with a manual for reflection and revival of the increasingly deadening spirit of scholarship. The paper makes use of the six essential elements of knowledge acquisition as paradigm to trace the efforts of Muslim predecessors towards attainment of scholarship height. The researcher recommends the working out of modalities that will center on the promotion and bolstering of scholarship culture in Muslim universities and higher institutions of learning.   Key Words:  Student, Scholars, Scholarship, Knowledge

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