Literacy of Al-Qur'an, Prophet Muhammad as Father of Literacy


The revelation was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad not instruction related to worship such as prayer, zakat or fasting. However, it is precisely the command for iqra ', which basically means reading. Not only reading, but also conveying. The word iqra' contains very broad meaning as instructions to search and convey knowledge in continuous manner from the cradle to the grave. From instructions of iqra’ the Islamic community was moved. Educational institutions such as the kuttab, library, writing tradition, translator movement of foreign works, and well-known universities were born. From the first revelation of Quran, Islamic literacy culture was born and developed.

Science is a light which can save humans from the brink of darkness and ignorance. This is importance looking for knowledge by reading in the board meaning. As the meaning contained in the term iqra', a person is not only ordered to read, but also conveyed. Thus, reading is the main prerequisite before someone conveys a knowledge.

The reading instruction contained in the term iqra' isnot only understood to read written text. However, iqra' includes the meaning of reading the universe and everything in it, including humans and the environment around us.

The culture of literacy that is realized by the tradition of critical thinking. Which is supporting of traditional of good reading and writing must continue to be socialized so that it becomes culture of our society. As expressed by UNESCO, literacy has a very broad influence and benefits for the progress of the nation, state and society.

Literacy is like a basic ingredient, where the progress of human civilization is determined from it. The peak of Islamic civilization and knowledge in classical period was built with the spirit of literacy movement through various research activities, translation, writing, and reading of the Quran verses and universe carried out by intellectuals and Muslim scientists.

Taufik Ismail, a great writer of Indonesia found that in 13 countries, on average high school level children read books of 5 to 6 books a day. Even in the US, students are required to spend 32 books a day.

There is something we have missed out on so far, that children are seen going and studying to school, but there is an important side that is forgotten, that is reading culture. Most of the students' time in school are used to listen teacher when they delivering subjects. The rest is for playing with friends.

Only a few days ago Indonesia's ministry of education and culture realized the importance of literacy culture by launching the "School Literacy Movement" program which should have been held since the existence of schools in this country.

Library is like the heart of school and reading is the heart of education. The while students does not read book, they has not likes become with the heart own in books. This is a very appropriate analogy to illustrate how important the value of reading.

Reading is a very important thing in our lives. All the knowledge that exists in our live becomes a reading skills. This is confirmed in the Qur'an, that reading is the key to everything. Both reading something textual and contextual.

The most popular verses of Qur'an relating to the urgency of reading are Al-Alaq verses from one to five. This verse is the first verse revealed by Allah through the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. When he was in Hira's cave. The first Lafadz which reads iqra' which means reading, marks the virtue and importance of reading for humanity. In Qur'an, the word reading is repeated 89 times and the word writing is repeated 303 times.

The instruction to read is an instructions that is not confirmed in other religions as confirmed in Islam. It should be read as our Moslem's characteristic. And this case not excessive if we said that the Prophet Muhammad is the father of Literacy.

Prof. M. Quraish Shihab in his book entitled "Insights of the Qur'an" confirms that the instruction to read is the most valuable thing that can be given to humanity. "Reading" in the various meanings the first contained foremost requirement for the development of science and technology while building civilization. History proves that civilizations that have succeeded in existing and lasting for a long time have begun from a book (reading).

Anyone must be a pioneer of  literacy movement, that not only teachers, but also parents, students, scholars, and all people must cultivate literacy. Because the literary culture all nations can achievement glory.

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