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Islamizing the taleem ….. – 41 (Theories on perception – Qur’anic)

25 Nov

(My dialogue through email with a group on the Topic: Islamizing the Taleem and Tarbiyah of our children)

Assalamu Alaikum,

I feel we have discussed enough on what ‘perception’ is?; the role this ‘perception’ plays in defining human personality, and that the correct development of perception is one of the key objective of any education system, natural or human intervened (human created). If there are any questions on what we have talked on so far, or any further elaborations required relating to our previous discussions I will be happy to answer.

Let us move a step further on to discuss on the technical aspects of perception. There are few theories that insha’Allah we will be discussing first. The first being the Qur’anic perspective as discussed by many Islamic scholars of past and few of present times. Please note that this is theory, and developed by scholars on their understanding of Quran and Ahadith. They divide human into five elements or components in the order:


Qalb being close to Ruh,  and Aql close to Jism. Qalb feels, thinks, reflects and gives decisions as well. Aql seems more related to mundane (or apparent) logic. The main identity of human, the Nafs seems to be the resultant of the interaction between Qalb and Aql, of this earthly existence (the Jism) and the spiritual existence (the Ruh). The three identities- or we can say inclinations- of Nafs mentioned in Quran are: Nafs al Ammara bis suh (which is negative side, having negative tendencies); it exists in each person. Then we have Nafs al Lawwamah (where conscience resides and works- it pricks when a wrong is thought of or done), Nafs al Mutmainna (The one at complete peace)- the state of satisfaction.

Please recollect the previous discussions where we deduced the following about the faculty of perception:

1)      Perception is how we look at this life and the world around.

2)      Our perception will decide what to listen, what to hear and what to look at. It relates to perceptional filters. The info that is filtered through our senses. If you remember the experiment by sketch of young/old women in The Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. That was quite interesting.

3)      Wrong perception can make you look wrongly at many issues. Case of Kuffars.

4)      Major role of any education system or nizam e tarbiyah is to develop correct perception.

Having defined the Nafs and perception briefly we go to some of the Ayats of Quran which are reflective of perception:


As-Sajda:09;  ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ وَنَفَخَ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِهِ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالأبْصَارَ وَالأفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلا مَا تَشْكُرُونَ

Thereafter He molded him and breathed into him of His Spirit; and He made for you hearing, and beholding (s) (i.e., eyesight) and heart-sights; (i.e., perception) little do you thank (Him).

Al-Mutaffifin: 13-14;

 إِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الأوَّلِينَ

كَلا بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

When Our Signs (Ayahs) are rehearsed to him, he says, “Tales of the ancients!”

By no means! but on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do!


وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لا يَسْمَعُ إِلا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لا يَعْقِلُونَ Al-Baqara:171

The parable of those who reject Faith is as if one were to shout Like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are void of wisdom.

At-Tawba:127  وَإِذَا مَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ نَظَرَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ هَلْ يَرَاكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ ثُمَّ انْصَرَفُوا صَرَفَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لا يَفْقَهُونَ

Whenever there cometh down a Sura, they look at each other, (saying), “Doth anyone see you?” Then they turn aside: Allah hath turned their hearts (from the light); for they are a people that understand not.


Al-Baqara:007;  خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَى سَمْعِهِمْ وَعَلَى أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur). Al-Qur’an, 002.007 (Al-Baqara [The Cow])

There are numerous Ayah (verses) describing the faculty of Perception, the result of wrongly developed perception and how the right perception can be developed. Great majority speak of Qalb, Foad, Sadr as seat of perception. Please do not much worry about the details at present as these issues will mostly come during the discussions. Here my intention is to give you an idea of perception from Qur’anic perspective. And most importantly how important it if from the perspective of any education or educational process.

Insha’Allah I will be speaking on the theories of the technical side of perception which will include:

1) Quranic perspective of Perception
2) March and Simon’s perception model
3) Worldview model by Alparsalan Acigenc (Turkish Muslim Scholar)
4) Vector effect on perception

Any other model which any reader may like to discuss.