The house of Islam has firmly stood for over fourteen hundred years upon the unshakable cornerstones of the Quran and Sunnah. The depth of their truisms, the breadth of their coverage, and subtlety of insight have breathed into Islam such ascendancy as that can only be derived from the Divine. From the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon his soul) and his Companions, the understanding emerges that the Quran and Sunnah comprise a fountainhead of knowledge that must be both preserved and propagated by this Ummah.
This understanding spawned a historically unparalleled birth of sustained intellectual activity. Innumerable books were penned on subjects as varied as Quranic Exegesis, Hadith, Islamic Law, Spirituality, Seerah, History, Economics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine, and Sociology. Libraries were created; research institutes were sanctioned; and scholars were tenured. Through the blood and sweat of countless scholars and a community commitment to knowledge, a legacy was born.
Against all odds, this legacy has continued. Neither meagerness of resources nor the acrimony of enemies has stayed its tide. It is this heritage of learning that continues all over the world today. New research into the Quran and Sunnah is ongoing and necessary as modern scientific discoveries, ethical problematics, and religious polemics emerge and develop. The language of knowledge is changing, and this necessitates a modern Islamic dialogue articulated by qualified scholarship.
Here in America, our responsibility is perhaps even greater than those elsewhere to create this dialogue, to address this challenge. There is a gross scarcity of qualified, modern scholarship in the United States. The preservation of the traditional Islamic Sciences is Fard Kifaayah. This means that if some individuals discharge this obligation then the entire community is absolved. However if they do not, then the entire community is considered noncompliant with regards to this Fard. Furthermore, the Quran has exhorted that a community of people stay behind to gain deep and scholarly knowledge of the religion. From Hadith, we learn that toward the end of time, knowledge will be lifted up by the death of scholarship, and in the vacuum thus created, the ignorant will mislead the masses. Muslims in America cannot afford for such a vacuum to exist. We owe a debt to those before us and have a responsibility to those yet to come to propagate this tradition of knowledge, this legacy of scholarship.
The outlook is not entirely dim, however. All over America are to be found the beginnings of an, Inshallah, large-scale effort to carry on our intellectual heritage. However, there is a long way yet to go. The Institute of Islamic Education (IIE) was founded to participate in this great and noble mission. The Institute is in need of your sincere Duas and your participation in this mission. It is a mission truly worthy of our consideration as Muslims in the US, one that simply cannot be ignored.