Shaping the minds of the Maranaws: Imperative need for true learning

By : Alexander Mangorsi Mindanao Today/07:14:24pm 08/29/2021


(1st of 2 parts)

IN Islam, seeking knowledge is considered a virtue. Such that the ranks of those who seek knowledge are raised in such a distinct honor and a distinguished class (of an eminent status) praised by Allah SWT Himself.

The Qur’an says:

Allah will raise those who believe among you and those who were given knowledge, by many degrees. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do (Surah Al-Mujadila, 58:11).

In a hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said:

Whoever takes a path in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to walk in one of the paths to Paradise. Indeed, the angels will lower their wings in great pleasure with the one who seeks knowledge.

Men of faith with true knowledge are of special ranks

Verily men are born equal in the eyes of Allah and it’s Allah alone who raises and decreases the rank of a person.

And among those who occupy a special distinction of ranks are those who are those who believe in Allah and who are endowed with the basic rudiments of intellect, wisdom and knowledge and who use and utilize the same for the sake of Allah, for the welfare of their fellow men, and for the basic benefit of human society.

Certainly, knowledge is a vital and indispensable factor in the development of all human civilization and in today’s world where the economy has become more and more knowledge-based, knowledge development has become a key factor for the continuation of men’s endless quest for change, progress, prosperity and growth.

Thus, Islam treats knowledge as a crucial element in the development of human society.

In fact, the very first Quranic verse that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was Iqra, meaning "read,” opening the door to read, write, and ponder.

The Quran urges mankind to think, ponder, reflect and acquire knowledge that would bring them closer to God and his creation. (

“Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is the Most Honorable. Who taught by the pen. Taught man what he knew not” (Surah Al-‘Alaq. 96:1-5).

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the epitome of a leader with value

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been such a man of intellect and because of his unsullied dedication, great enthusiasm and commitment to the principles of Islam.

He was able to lead Turkey to its height of development in the field of economy, advanced infrastructures, technology and military hardware.

Public record would confirm that “the Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, with an estimated strength in 2015 of 639,551 military, civilian and paramilitary personnel.” ( Turkey Defence).

In a nutshell, Edrogan using his true learning founded on Islamic values was able to balance the compelling needs between Islam and Secular Turkey.

Humble beginning

Erdoğan does not come from the Turkey’s secular political elites. He was a man of humble beginning.

In his early years, he sold bottled water in the street to make a living, but because of his religious training at the Imam Hatip School which involves the study of the Qur’an, the life of the Prophet Mohammad SAW and Arabic language, that knowledge of the Faith has become his enlightenment and source of courage to make waves of change later in a liberated and secular Turkey.

A pragmatic leader with Islamic values

As mayor of Istanbul, “He was pragmatic in office, he was able to solve the City’s water shortage problem by laying hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines. The garbage problem was solved with the establishment of state-of-the-art recycling facilities.”

He also changed the public buses to environmentally friendly ones.

The city's traffic and transportation jams were reduced with more than fifty bridges, viaducts, and highways built.

He also took precautions to prevent corruption, using measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently.

As prime minister and later president, Erdogan took a courageous step to resolve chronic issues that constitute an obstacle along Turkey's development, progression and empowerment.

Turkey saw huge investments in mega projects and infrastructures including roads, airports, and a high-speed train network.

The mosque soft power

According to reports, some 17,000 new mosques have been built under the leadership of Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey’s global soft-power push is built on mosques. Ankara is funding thousands of mosques out of more than just goodwill.

“The mosque being built in Albania’s capital has been the largest in all the Balkans. One in Accra, Ghana, is the largest in West Africa. Another in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, is the largest in Central Asia. A complex in Maryland is said to be the largest of its kind in the entire Western Hemisphere. There are at least 2,000 others of various sizes that are funded by Ankara, and still more have been planned or discussed in places such as Venezuela, where Erdoğan is bolstering Nicolás Maduro’s beleaguered government, and Cuba, which Erdoğan claimed Muslim sailors reached before Christopher Columbus.” (

In defense of deen

Turkish president was considered a visionary and a pragmatic leader and a blessing not only to Turkey but to the extended global Muslim community, as a Muslim President, he vehemently opposed the West for their negative stance on Islam.

Erdogan, for instance, went on an offensive against French President Emmanuel Macron for the latter’s perceived Islamophobic view of Islam.

Erdogan also criticized some of the Arab monarchs for abandoning the cause of the Ummah, especially Palestine and Kashmir.

He was definitely aghast with some of the Arabs who would rather “look for solutions in the Western capitals for their problems, instead of reaching out to their Muslim brothers and sisters for help.” (“President Erdoğan decries divide in the Muslim world,” Daily Sabah, November 28, 2019.)

Knowledge must be a tool for change

However, in as much as knowledge is as indispensable, the same knowledge must be a powerful and necessary tool to establish the authority of God on the surface of the earth, to enlighten and direct men to enjoin what is right and prevent what is evil, do good deeds, show kindness, exhibit compassion, depend justice and to rule and govern with impartiality, justice, compassion and righteousness. (To be continued)

(Alexander Tomawis Mangorsi is the admin of the Bangsamoro Policy Caucus Facebook page. The Bangsamoro Policy Caucus is an internet-based policy advocate for issues of indispensable relevance and significance to the common welfare and collective good of the Moro People.)

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