Islam attaches so much importance to knowledge that it considers its acquisition to be among the superior acts of a Muslim. The first revelation that dawned upon Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) started with the word “Iqra”, which means “read”.
God repeats the word “read” in the third ayah of the same surah then says that He the Almighty has taught mankind; taught what mankind knew not. God then focuses on the importance of the pen in the acquisition and spread of knowledge. Thus it is knowledge that opens up the path of prosperity and perfection for mankind, and with knowledge a person becomes capable of charting out his course for a better future, as per his inclinations. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) always encouraged Muslims to acquire knowledge as is clear by his famous statement:
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
Following the capture of several prisoners by Muslims in the victory they achieved in the Battle of Badr that was imposed by the Arab infidels of Mecca, the Messenger of Mercy said any captive who can teach reading and writing to at least 10 persons will be freed without any ransom. This is a clear testimony to the special attention of Islam and the Prophet to knowledge and literacy. The Prophet took into consideration all branches of knowledge, as he encouraged his companions to learn other languages, such as Syriac which was widely spoken in the Levant in those days.