“Education in Islam is a comprehensive whole which brings about a harmonious development of mind; body and soul. It purifies the soul, “Tazkia-e-Nafs”. It sharpens the intellect and builds the body. Religious; moral; scientific and physical education goes side by side in the true Islamic educational system”. Due to the prevalent apathy and decadence of Muslin (as differentiated from Islamic) society, this concept is no where enforced. To provide complete and integrated support to the poor, in order to build up a base for poverty eradication, a system of education on the above quoted lines from Fasool-Fee-Tarbiyatul Shakhsyat Al-Islami by Dr. Jeezawip is the order of the day. Persia, Iraq, Syria, Arabia, North Africa, Spain and Asia Minor were the home of culture and civilization of such excellence as had never before been achieved by humanity till the mid eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries AD. Particularly all major cities were centres of sciences and arts where students from neighbouring countries used to flock to gain education. The Mongol invasion completely destroyed these institutions, what remained, lost their former glory and distinction. The hard labour of centuries and accumulated wealth of knowledge were completely eradicated and vanished without a trace. Men of science were either ruthlessly killed or forced to flee to parts unknown to die in misery and poverty. The decline of Egypt was due to two outbreaks of Bubonic Plague which killed many of the citizens making no distinction between men of learning and illiterate. Spain was devastated, ironically by the freedom of the Spanish from the Muslim invaders who had converted the land of superstition and religious bigotry into one of freedom and an advanced culture that penetrated as far as the South of France. Latter day Muslim institutions never regained the glory of these centuries and this was the prime cause of the eventual defeat of the Muslims. The Holy Prophet Mohammad (Upon whom Be The Peace and Blessings of Almighty Allah) has said: “Piety is very good but it comes from knowledge; knowledge is very good but it comes from patience; patience is very good but it comes from kindness.” The essence of educational theory is further elucidated by enjoining: “Teach politely and make everything easy for the child and do not make anything difficult, in case you get angry keep silent. Teach and don’t shout because a
teacher is better than a shouter”. Both these quotations from the Holy Prophet (SWAS) are from Jame Bayan al Islam by Abu Abd-al-Barr. The universal Islamic system thus suffered decline and was eventually dismantled and a foreign structure was emplaced. With the abandonment of traditional education by the elite, instead of reviving the fallen system; decay and cleavage in society resulted. Our system of education has been reduced to a fixed body of knowledge which the pupils had to master whether they understood it or not. And which was frequently completely unrelated to their lives. On the other hand Western Education evolved the concept of: “what is taught in schools should contribute to an understanding and appreciation by each pupil of the environment in which he/ she has to live and play a part in”. As a rational mix, curricula “must represent selections from the social heritage and culture, not to be memorized and stored away for some future use but as those experiences and activities which society considers most desirable and best adapted to the needs of the pupil”. Bismarck once stated that the Battle of the Sedan (1854) was won by the German Schoolmaster. The aim of elementary education as stated in 1887 by Octave Geard was “to learn well in each of the branches that of which we cannot be permitted to be ignorant”. According to the Collier’s Encyclopaedia, Vol. 8, Education, History of: “The child is an active sentient being exposed, even before he comes to school, to a great variety of experiences through which he acquires a body of active personal interests, instead of “the prison doors of the school closing about the child” the school must start with the interests which the child brings with him, expand and enrich them in range of meaning. The task of education is to relate the experiences provided in the schools to those outside the school and by making the pupil an active participant in what is going on to broaden his interests. In this way the pupil’s interests become intrinsic and have meaning for him. Because they have meaning, they are capable of expansion to interests and activities of ever increasing value. Since the student is an active participant of what is going on in the classroom, he may be expected to put forth effort in his studies without the compulsion of external discipline; or in other words he learns to discipline himself”. An awareness of education as a tool of living; of learning and of thinking whereby the child is integrated into a progressive social environment and not merely knowledge for its own sake becomes the main objective. Thus the spirit of Islamic education is practical; functional; human; social; flexible and not only intellectual. “The purpose of education is to help the learner attain an ever expanding supply of understood ideas so that they may cumulatively become
instruments for reconstructing experience, if necessary and for augmenting the store of ideas with those ideas that have evolved from new experiences”. To summarize the above quotations, educators have realized that the growing child lives in an environment which provides a great variety of experiences and interests. The task of education is to start with the interests and the curiosity of the child and select, from the many sided cultural environment, those experiences and activities which will train the growing child, through various stages of education, into a free and responsible member of society. Thus it is obvious that education is life and not a preparation for life. Essential instruction starts with the interests of the pupil and makes them over and enriches them in accordance with their future needs as citizens, workers and human beings. The second implication is that pupils must actively participate in their own education by fully understanding and appreciating the meanings of what they learn. From the foregoing we can pick up a few principles of education: Graded, Stage by Stage Instruction. Motivation through interests. Sense perception as the basis of understanding. Provision of cumulative experience as an educational background. The ideal of education is that all children have free access. It should be supported by Public Taxation and be supervised by Public Authorities in conjunction with Parent’s Associations. Teacher’s Associations must be encouraged and empowered to develop courses of study. Emphasis must be placed upon local environment and on activity based methods of instruction. In short, an indigenously evolved curriculum will be the only tool for imparting true education. Moral underpinning of education is a factor that cannot be overlooked. Moral education means the creation of the concept and insight of moral sense which helps a person to differentiate between good and bad and to understand that goodness lies in virtuous behaviour and badness in evil actions as taught by the Holy Quran. The picture that emerges is that we sorely lack curricula; text books; training aids; teachers; facilities and even an environment for such dynamic education as envisaged in Islam. The education of rote memorization in order to fill a self created slot of “Imam Masjid” has no place in Islam and is only a latter day development of decadent Muslim society. This factor must be revitalized and brought into tune with Islamic precepts in order for us to progress.
In Sweden Vocational Training in Primary Education was started as far back as 1877 while France followed suit in 1882. The application of science to manufacturing; communications and transportation with the constant need of a growing supply of skilled workers spurred on this type of education. The Industrialized West and the Far Eastern Economies have all taken advantage of these concepts and have built up strong; vibrant; dynamic and self perpetuating economies, while ours lies in shambles and has become a hotbed for fanaticism on one hand and elitism on the other. The advent of digital communication and data processing makes the task of rehabilitating our education system that much easier provided that it is imparted in National and Regional Languages. Computing through simple programs and electronic learning games must be developed along with access to detailed knowledge banks. When you start with a clean slate the advantage is that you can start with an electronic easel rather than “Thakti and Sallaiti”. Sardar Taimur Hyat-Khan email@example.com