In my four years of studying world religions and the African traditional religion at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, one habit that I developed was picking up the teachings of great men regardless of their religious affiliation.
From The Buddha to Jesus, from Paul Twitchell to Muhammad, all these great men and prophets had a lot of values to teach us. If only we did READ.
Due to the rise of social media and the popularity of the internet, the reading culture amongst a larger part of the population is really drab.
Many even find it difficult to read 1,000 words articles like this one, and the newfound laziness is really affecting a lot of people’s reasoning.
You still find those of our peers, who are supposed to rule the intellectual domain of this generation, believing in superstition.
Reading is a healthy habit, one that reduces stress, increases your mental capacity, and surely does make you a better person.
In OAU, we had this argument culture, where you argue intellectually, using facts and resourceful materials.
Unfortunately, this culture is not really vastly employed in the public domain. You would find adults engaging in blind arguments and even rejecting empirical evidence for hearsay evidence.
I find such engagements distorting and highly frustrating.
If only a lot of our young people could take a cue from the first-ever Quranic verse to be revealed to Prophet Muhammed p.b.u.h.
Surah Al-Alaq (The Clot), is highly significant, and there is a reason why it was the first verse to be revealed to the prophet.
Let me give you a brief background to the verse.
Prophet Muhammed p.b.u.h, was illiterate, which was a common feature in the Arab community before Islam. Most Arabs trusted their memories, they preferred oral traditions and transfer of knowledge. Reading and writing were not their things.
While on a retreat in the Cave of Hira, located at Mountain Jabal al-Nour near Mecca, the prophet was in search of TRUTH.
The Angel Gabriel would then appear before him, to deliver the first verse of the Quran.
Gabriel commanded the prophet to “Read!”. He responded, “But I cannot read!”. Then the angel embraced him tightly and then revealed to him the first lines, “Read: In the name of your Lord Who created, Created human from a clot. “
The word Iqra which comes at the beginning of the first and third verses of the Surah indicates reading as an important tool of learning.
The Holy Qur’an contains revelations about the importance and value of learning as exemplified in Surah al- ‘Alaq. Thus, a learned man is placed in a high position, next to the Prophet in the Holy Qur’ an. In the tradition, the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. was reported saying:
“The learned are the successors of prophets.” (Bukhari l864:28)
I just wish the Angel could just come down, and make a lot of our youths READ.
This article was written by Tolulope Ayeni