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COLLOQUIUM ON ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH OUR EDUCATION AND WHAT CAN BE DONE’ ONLINE VIEWING LINKS

24 May

Assalamu Alaikum,

Colloquium on ‘What’s wrong with our education and what can be done’, being jointly conducted by Mr. Salman Asif Siddiqui, Director Educational Resource Development Center and Dr. Muhammad Abid Ali, will cover the following:

SCOPE OF STUDY

The colloquium will In-sha’Allah make you reflect, understand, and explore around some of the most fundamental and pertinent questions on education, which are as under:
Reflect:
1. What education is preparing you for?
2. What do you want to achieve in your life?
3. What have you been created for?
Understand:
1. How did we know what we know about child, knowledge, and learning?
2. What is NOT achievable through the contemporary education system?
3. What are the undesired outcomes of the contemporary education system?
4. How the contemporary education system is synchronized with the aims of modern, capitalist civilization?
5. What the framework of formal schooling is constituted of and what are their inherent features and intrinsic intentions?
Explore:
1. What could be the best possible goals of education?
2. Is an alternate education model possible?
3. What resources do we have to achieve our desired goals?
4. Has Iqbal provided us with solutions?
5. What should be our immediate to long-term action plans? 

Language of instruction: English and Urdu mixed.

This three days program can be watched on the following link:

Session 1 27th May’14 (from 3PM till 7PM PST or 10AM till 2PM UTC)
http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1897084-what-s-wrong-with-our-education-what-can-be-done

Session 2 28th May’14 (from 3PM till 7PM PST or 10AM till 2PM UTC)
http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1899670-what-s-wrong-with-our-education-what-can-be-done

Session 3 29th May’14 (from 3PM till 7PM PST or 10AM till 2PM UTC)
http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1899675-what-s-wrong-with-our-education-what-can-be-done

Br. Abid

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ANNOUNCEMENT: COLLOQUIUM ON ‘WHATS WRONG WITH OUR EDUCATION AND WHAT CAN BE DONE’

14 May

Assalamu Alaikum,

Please note a colloquium has been organized by Center for Educational Resource Development (CERD, Karachi) at Awan e Iqbal Lahore from 27th till 29th of May 2014. The topic is, ‘What’s wrong with our education and what can be done’.  It is being jointly conducted by:
Dr. Muhammad Abid Ali, PhD (Education), MBA (HRD, Fin), Master Mariner.
Dr. Wahab Souri, Department of Philosophy, University of Karachi.
Mr. Salman Asif Siddiqui, Director Educational Resource Development Center, Educational Psychologist.

The link to the flier: Colloquium on What’s Wrong With Our Education (4)

Br. Abid

Edunatural (15)– the Islamic way to educate children (We do not have time to work on systems – what does that implicate?)

7 May

Assalamu Alaikum,
Have we ever tried to realize the importance of this life, the importance to each single sole that is sent here to this phase of life? This is the only one life that we have been given to perform and Qur’an is very clear that there will be no other chances after this. One life for ourselves as well as for our children. If we pass the test we live in paradise for ever and what if we fail….? Should we not have our hairs stand at this serious fright?

يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالإنْسِ أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِنْكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِي وَيُنْذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا قَالُوا شَهِدْنَا عَلَى أَنْفُسِنَا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَشَهِدُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَافِرِينَ
(Qur’an 6: 130)

“O ye assembly of Jinns and men! came there not unto you messengers from amongst you, setting forth unto you My signs, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say: “We bear witness against ourselves.” It was the life of this world that deceived them. So against themselves will they bear witness that they rejected Faith.

How many among us really feel that we are preparing ourselves and our children correctly to pass this exclusive test here? Can it be done by lingering around and following our speculations, or are we required to enter Allah’s deen 100%? Which is no conjecture at all. Then why are we in this state of confusion regarding nearly all aspects of our lives? Is it not because we are totally subdued and in a way immersed in an alien thought structure, an alien way of life? Our vision is western, our dimension is western. This attitude is shown towards our education system as well. We confess and complain that our children are being destroyed, and then we see we are adopting the thoughts and the ways of the secular west even at our homes, in our personal conduct. Our life is being governed by the ways of the west, is it not? I see us transgressing in nearly all aspects of life following the ways of those who have openly transgressed against Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Education is no exception; rather is the root cause of this transgression. Our minds are made to follow the ways of the west because we are trained by their child grooming systems at large. We are reminded by Qur’an:

فَتَرَى الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ يُسَارِعُونَ فِيهِمْ يَقُولُونَ نَخْشَى أَنْ تُصِيبَنَا دَائِرَةٌ فَعَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِالْفَتْحِ أَوْ أَمْرٍ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ فَيُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا أَسَرُّوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ نَادِمِينَ
(al-Maida: 51-52)

Those in whose hearts is a disease – thou seest how eagerly they run about amongst them (Christians and Jews), saying: “We do fear lest a change of fortune bring us disaster.” Ah! perhaps Allah will give (thee) victory, or a decision according to His will. Then will they repent of the thoughts which they secretly harboured in their hearts.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَتَّخِذُوا بِطَانَةً مِنْ دُونِكُمْ لا يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالا وَدُّوا مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاءُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
(3:118)

O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom.

قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيًّا فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلا يُطْعَمُ قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَلا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
قُلْ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ
(6:14-15)

Say: “Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth? And He it is that feedeth but is not fed.” Say: “Nay! but I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allah (in Islam), and be not thou of the company of those who join gods with Allah.”
Say: “I would, if I disobeyed my Lord, indeed have fear of the penalty of a Mighty Day

Please do not think that these ayahs are not relevant. These are very much relevant to our present approach, whereas we are promised by our lord that if we apply ourselves in His cause He will show us the way. Nevertheless, we are not eager enough to find the way and adopt to go the easy way; the drawing room efforts, not leaving our comfort zones. We are not at all eager enough to develop our systems. Moreover, when we do that we again follow the western methodology for that project:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
(29:69)

اور جن لوگوں نے ہمارے لئے کوشش کی ہم اُن کو ضرور اپنے رستے دکھا دیں گے۔ اور خدا تو نیکو کاروں کے ساتھ ہے

And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.

لِمَنْ شَاءَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَتَقَدَّمَ أَوْ يَتَأَخَّرَ
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ

(74:37-38)
To any of you that chooses to press forward, or to follow behind;-
Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds

أَيَحْسَبُ الإنْسَانُ أَنْ يُتْرَكَ سُدًى
(82:6)
Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled?

بَلِ الإنْسَانُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ
وَلَوْ أَلْقَى مَعَاذِيرَهُ
(75:14-15)
Nay, man will be evidence against himself,
Even though he were to put up his excuses.

فَأَمَّا مَنْ طَغَى
وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى
(79:37-39)
Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds,
And had preferred the life of this world,
The Abode will be Hell-Fire;

We find warnings after warnings for our transgression. Sisters and brothers are these warnings not for us?

Allah subhana wa ta’ala and His prophet, may peace blessings of Allah be upon him, invite us towards fit’rah (the nature) and we lunge towards the artificial ways of the west. How old are the western ways 200 yrs or say 300 yrs. and the humanity has existed for thousands of years. Is the present education system providing the need to develop human beings? Is it in any way, or is it creating a highly dangerous race of people who will be creating utter chaos in the world both in the non-Muslim world as well as in Muslims because their Qalb (reflective unit) are not being developed. This education does not have the provision to develop Qalb (reflective unit), does it, and without Qalb a man I believe is an animal only and not human. Is this not what the secular west claims to?

I write all this because I do not see people really bothered, otherwise they would move. Every now and then, I am given a comment that due to some activities or time restraints they do not find themselves capable to work for this cause. Do we not see that our prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has very clearly put the parent as the main educators. Does it not implicate, that the parents are best educators or facilitators? Does it not and most of us refuse to accept this injunction and, as brother Salman Asif say, we outsource this responsibility to people that we do not even know. I have heard even seniors among us say that they cannot say much about education; probably it is the western education they are referring to. But who is suffering actually? It is we the parents first as we will have hardly any excuse to present to our lord.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لا يَعْلَمُونَ
(30:30)

So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.

Is it not the time we realize the actual issue and act?

Br. Abid

Edunatural (13)– the Islamic way to educate children (Critical age for correct education)

23 Apr

(The below correspondence has been taken from a group mails, focused on redefining and redesigning education from Islamic/Natural perspective)

Assalamu Alaikum,

While talking to one of the participants I realized that there was confusion on what level of education I am critical about and whether urgent attention is required for all levels of education?

I strongly feel that it is the primary education which we should really be focusing upon at present. Because that lays the foundation of ones thought structure and personality. Once proper Islamic thought structure is developed, or in other words once the faculty of Taqwa (God consciousness) is strongly developed and well in place, the required dimension has been established. From then onwards the child will visualize all from that dimension and will take decision based on her/his Taqwa. Her/his actions will be Allah directed. S/he will seldom falter or commit big sins (Gunnah e Kabira). S/he will develop a mu’min’s vision.

At higher levels of education, if even if he is not taught from Islamic perspective, he will automatically look at everything from Islamic perspective and see the work of His creator in all that he receives. And because of looking from the right dimension his higher education will carry him further up in Taqwa and Iman.

Br. Abid

Edunatural (12)– the Islamic way to educate children (Redefining education: why is it important?)

20 Apr

Assalamu Alaikum,

After having gone through interesting step of redefining Education from our (Islamic) perspective, we move on to an even more interesting stage of defining educational concepts and Creator given learning faculties in a young child.

WHY ARE THESE IMPORTANT:
Imagine if we have defined education or the process of education wrongly, that means we have set on a wrong road and definitely, we will be traversing a wrong road which cannot make us reach our desired destination or target. Imagine an arrow fired at the wrong direction will most definitely hit the wrong target, if any. On the other hand, if we are clear on what we want to achieve and how we want to achieve that, then there is great possibility that with Allah’s help we will be able to make to the destination. Now if even one expires before reaching the destination, your ajr (reward) for the great deed is stored for you, which has been promised by our Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And as the project bears fruit, no matter of your absence, the sadqa jariah (continuous reward) follows you till the day of Judgment. And mind that, for those who have realization and they expend on this cause, it will not be a small one; right or wrong?

One of the biggest dilemmas of the present day education is that neither it is as per our aspiration nor is it child learning friendly. Why has it happened? Primarily because it was designed and developed by a people who do not want to believe in the involvement of the Creator, and do not want to believe in a’akhira. Then they defined human and human objectives wrongly as per their assumptions and aspirations. Sad so, surprisingly we have no realization of this and tread there path quite blindly. Again I will remind you of the hadiths which predicts that the Muslims will blindly follow the other people of the books.

It is just a part of premise to our next step. Please do express yours’ opinions as well

Br. Abid,
captainmabidali@yahoo.com

Edunatural (11)– the Islamic way to educate children (Project approach and methodology – suggestion from a participant).

19 Apr

(The below correspondence has been taken from a group mails, focused on redefining and redesigning education from Islamic/Natural perspective)

(suggestion from a brother)

Dear Abid Sahib,

I have some feedback regarding overall Project Scope & Scale in general and Key Notes 2 & 3 in specific. There are two approaches we can take to work on “education facilitation center”:

1) One is we develop a long-term vision to set a direction. The vision will give is “what” part, the purpose of that vision will give us “why” part and strategy will give us “how” part. Within the strategy to achieve that vision, we define some methodologies and goals, one such goal could be facilitation center.

2) The other is we start from one facilitation center as our goal, expand it to become a network of such centers in different areas. Slowly, this will evolve and take some direction

The difference between both the approaches is the first is driven by a dream, a direction, a future picture in mind (as Peter Senge defines vision), this in turn inspires us to define strategy and set goals. In other words, we start from something not specific, not very concrete, but ultimately reach to something very concrete. In the 2nd approach, we start from concrete goals and then set objectives to achieve that.

Abid Sahib, I apologize for suggesting an alternative because I am in no way close to what your insight and exposure is in this area. I feel approach 1 better than 2 for the following reasons:

a) I have seen in my life, those frameworks, projects, structures are more scalable, robust and long living which start from Generic and General terms and then arrive at specific and tangible goals.

b) The scale and scope of a vision-oriented projects is much large in terms of its influence on people and geographies

c) If pioneers of a project don’t set direction in the very beginning and start taking specific steps, pioneers may die after some time (say 50/100 years later), and the followers may end up going in a direction which was never intended by the pioneers

d) The purpose of any exercise must be clearly understood, articulated and disseminated. It is the linchpin that makes the difference. Purpose provides an anchor to the team members of a project. When I say purpose, I mean purpose of the vision itself.

e) Since vision starts from Generic and leads to methodologies and specific goals, it could be easily transformed into generic framework which could be adopted by organizations, countries and even individuals. However, taking many specific items to arrive at generic framework is very difficult.

f) What I learnt from my teachers and read in books that when our colonizers decided to rid us off our strengths, their brilliant minds sat and looked what are our strengths. They developed a vision. Then abolishment of Khilafat, setting up of modern universities, dividing into smaller states with coerced boundaries , developing curriculum to make sure students get ready to serve their masters (as John Taylor Gatto says) were some of the goals to achieve that vision.

I have not done much brainstorming yet, however, I feel our vision should be generic to reform complete education system. Some of the goals could be Facilitation Centers, Curriculum, Teachers, Sustainability, Scientific Research, Educational Institutions, etc. Having established Vision, Purpose and Goals, we can prioritize our work to start from setting up Facilitation Centers for homeschooled children. But our direction should be to achieve our ultimate vision. One may say that, how can we achieve such a grandeur vision in our lifetime. The answers are two: 1) If we are unable, our grandchildren will be able Insha’Allah, 2) We are not Mukallaf (responsible) to achieve success, we are to do efforts. Allah (swt) will decide the fate of our efforts. In both the cases, we are successful as per Qur’anic Teachings (قُلْ هَلْ تَرَبَّصُونَ بِنَا إِلَّا إِحْدَى الْحُسْنَيَيْنِ).

Sorry for such long and dry post.

Wassalam

(my response)

Assalamu Alaikum brother,

Jazak’Allah for the detailed email which is quite relevant. Most of the members have been reading me for quite some time, some for the last three years and know what I am talking about. Please go through all the Key Notes 1 to 5, which will give you a fair idea of the strategy. I recommend you read my communication with this group which I am uploading in my blog : https://tarbiyahforum.wordpress.com/ Please start from the serial number 1 of the Islamizing the Taleem and Tarbiyah …. you will get a better idea of my approach.

Br. Abid.

Edunatural (10)– the Islamic way to educate children (Attempt to define Education from Islamic perspective-1).

17 Apr

 

Assalamu Alaikum,

Let us move to defining education from our perspective. Two things have to be considered for this definition:

  1. Natural growth of a child.
  2. The preparation of Khalifat ullah fil ard (Creator’s vicegerent) in all aspects of living here.

So we define education as a process through which a child/person is developed in all respects to discharge her/his duty most efficiently as Khalifa (vicegerent) of the Creator

Subsidiary definitions can be:

  1. The formal and informal processes of preparing a person to succeed in this life as well as in a’akhira (next life).
  2. The process of developing realization of the Creator by reflecting on His Ayahs (manisfestations)—developing Taqwa (God consciousness)
  3. The process of inculcating adab and tehzeeb in a person.
  4. The process of personality development
  5. Transferring of culture and traditions from one generation to another; thus maintaining national identity.
  6. The process of developing various life skills.
  7. Etc. etc

I will request the members to add to these subsidiary definitions.

The issue is that the education was not a word used before a few centuries. This was basically introduced in the present educational realm. Earlier in the Islamic world Tarbiyah, Taleem and Tadeeb were used for this process.

Tarbiyah is derived from raba meaning to grow, or to increase and refers to individual potential and the process of nurturing and guiding young people to maturity.

Taleem is derived from alima, which means to know or to be informed and refers to the imparting and receiving of knowledge, usually through teaching.

Tadeeb is derived from Aduba, which conveys the sense of being refined, disciplined, or cultured. Tadeeb refers to the process of character development and learning the principles of social and moral behavior within the community.

“In summary then, Islamic education covers individual development and God-consciousness, the transmission of knowledge, and the development of an understanding of society and its social and moral rules. This comprehensive approach to education means that no aspect of a Muslim’s life can remain untouched by religion, and thus the acquisition of knowledge and education is, quite simply, a religious duty. Ultimately education is necessary in order to attain success in this life and the next (Muslim Childhood: Religious Nurture in a European Context,  By Jonathan Scourfield, Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Asma Khan, Sameh Otri).

I will go a step further to say that actually the success of next life is dependent on the success in this life from Islamic context. Success is a relative word and will be different for each thinking group. The scope of education as a process is dependent on how you understand and define education. if we define as preparing a person for a trade or profession, we will just design education for this purpose, the whole structure will be accordingly erected, and if it is for the success of a’akhira we will design it accordingly. So defining education incorrectly has its great consequences, as is the case with contemporary education. I request you all to please provide me with your feedbacks and where felt add your understanding of education to what has been said.

Br. Abid

Edunatural (9)– the Islamic way to educate children (Importance of being Allah centric).

15 Apr

(The below correspondence has been taken from a group mails, focused on redefining and redesigning education from Islamic/Natural perspective)

(from a sister)
I think that an activity that is outside the scope of abdiat (obedience to God) can be educating in the sense that when one recognizes the mistake and makes tawbah (repentance) it can bring one closer to Allah. Allah has made insaan weak and forgetful and no one can always be in a state of abdiat (obedience to God). That is why Tazkiya (reflection on self) should be an important part of the education system that we are working on and I thank Sr Seher for bringing it up.

However deliberately following an education methodology that is outside the boundaries of abdiat (will be wrong in my opinion. However sometimes the boundaries are not so black and white. I am reminded of an anecdote that my father used to tell us. I am not sure whether it is a true story but as far as I can remember it was about a famous person known for his Hikma. I want to say Sheikh Saadi but I don’t remember for sure.

The story goes that once this wise man was on his way somewhere when a little boy, out of mischief, pulled his lungi. Instead of yelling at the boy or punishing him, the wise person decided to reward him with a silver coin. The little boy, encouraged by the reward, decided to pull the same trick with his own father the next day and instead of a silver coin, you can all guess what he got from his father.

Was the education methodology of this wise man outside the boundaries of abdiat as he basically encouraged a son to be disrespectful to his father?

(my response)
Assalamu Alaikum sister,

Jazaki’Allah for participating. In Qur’an, we have been asked to enter into Islam or the state of submission completely. We cannot say that for this much time of a day I will remain in submission and for so much time out of it, can we? Although we may make mistakes and repent to Allah subhana wa ta’ala, or even at times we are not ready to realize our mistakes. Intentional mistake to the sake of seeking repentance is not allowed by Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Intentionally we have to submit to Allah completely and should not carry any wish or intention to leave His obedience. A person who believes that we can live outside Allah’s submission is carrying a very dangerous intention that is in direct conflict with Allah’s orders. At many places in Quran Allah has clearly ordered us to enter into His submission completely.

When we talk of education, we cannot intentionally device any methodology or tool that is in direct conflict with Allah’s obedience that is an extremely dangerous proposition, and we will be held responsible for all the negative effects that that process cast’s on the child. That will be like ma’asiat e jariah (continuing transgression).

We have to be extremely careful in devising or designing learning tools, for they leave indelible effects on children, which definitely we will be held responsible for.

Br. Abid

(from a brother)
Walaikum As Salam,

A very interesting point of view indeed. I guess when we put A’akhira (next life) as the main objective of our lives then it automatically puts everything into perspective. The important area where we need to focus on is how to retain this Allah consciousness at all times so we do not drift away. The only way to achieve this is to strive for Taqwa (God consciousness).

Since children learn from our actions, once we are tuned to the true islamic way of life then whatever activity we do would be Allah centric. I think in the recent times when someone says education it is usually associated with schools degrees colleges universities, however when we are talking about education in Islam we mean attaining ‘Falah’ – Ultimate success. Which I believe you already mentioned as “main objective of education is to prepare a person to succeed on the day of judgment the yom uddin”

Regards,

(my response)
Brother I believe you got my point. When we become Allah centric, we put all into proper perspective and then it does not matter if we even travel to communist China for acquiring knowledge. This was the case earlier. Now because of secular education and approach, this is not happening and we are in utter confusion.

Basic few years are quite crucial for developing this approach. I would say up to 10-12 years.

Br. Abid

 

Edunatural (8)– the Islamic way to educate children (Definition of education from Ummah’s perspective-3 – Implication of Abdiat [submission to God]).

10 Apr

(The below correspondence has been taken from a group mails, focused on redefining and redesigning education from Islamic/Natural perspective)

(from a brother)
Assalamualikum wrt wbt.

We won’t be ‘Educating’ our young ones if we make them do anything that goes against the concept or spirit of abdiat (submission to God). If we are not instilling this spirit in them, our ladders are definitely on the wrong walls.

I teach a few students here in Malaysia who go to a popular Islamic School. This school recently organized this Tarbiyyah (training) night where all boys spend the night in school learning about Islam and realities of life. It’s kinda like a Halal (religiously legal) boys hangout. From what I learned about it, its a really nice hangout where the teenagers have what we can call, Halal fun. The thing is, that though these programs might be a bit beneficial and teenagers get to learn a bit through them, they only show that all year round, there is no specific focus on such tarbiyyah (training)  which is why these Islamic schools tend to organize such a program once or twice a year to maintain the ‘Islamic’ part of their school’s name.

I’m not criticizing such events. Alhamdulillah, I have benefited from such events before as well. Its just that it shows our perception about religion and schooling and our young ones then tend to believe or be of the perception that together with schooling and this life, we have to take out some time for Islam as well. Whereas as Muslims, every single minute of our lives should in the spirit of abdiat (submission to God).

So as I believe. we can absolutely not use any methodology which is against the spirit of abdiat (submission to God).

(from a sister)
Assalam o Alaikum,

I agree with all the points from Br. Abid and I want to add something I have been thinking about. Almost all the educational fields, if thoroughly explored, to some point open our minds about Allah S.w.t ‘s creations and nature. For e.g. I recently read about where in Surah Baqarah (a chapter from Qur’an) Allah S.w.t gives an example of a mosquito and the creature above it. Science has now proved that there is indeed a creature over the wing of a mosquito, which cannot be seen from the naked eye. Allah s.w.t says He does not feel ashamed of giving an example of a mosquito or the creature above it. Hence, medical education can be easily related to Islam and Quran. When we read Architecture even though it is a purely dunyawi (mundane) field, we went through the history of Muslim empire, the Umayyads, the Otthoman empire etc in the subject History of Islamic Architecture. Their achievements and downfalls were discussed in class. While reading about Landscape design, we got to know about various types of plants and their characteristics, which made us come closer to nature itself.

What I want to say is that some subjects can be taught in such a way that they simultaneously increase our knowledge about deen (religious practice) and dunya (earthly life).

JazakAllah

(My response)
Assalamu Alaikum sister,

Jazaki’Allah for a thought provoking email. I agree with you except that from the perception about Islam that I have developed I see dunya (munsane life) fully inside deen (way of life) in Islam. I feel if a proper perception is developed at a young age a child or person automatically see’s the Creator in everything that he acquires. Be it natural sciences or social sciences. Everything directs her/him towards the Creator and supports his taqwa (God consciousness) development.

By the way I see Islam as a wonderful and thoroughly rejoicing way of life.

Br. Abid.

Edunatural (7)– the Islamic way to educate children (Definition of education from Ummah’s perspective-2 – some discussions).

7 Apr

(The below correspondence has been taken from a group mails, focused on redefining and redesigning education from Islamic/Natural perspective)

(from a sister)
I agree with you.  And although every action that we do must be for Allah I think we should expand the objectives slightly.

So besides the success in a’akhirah (next life) education must lead to the following (technically these points fall into success for a’akhirah [next life])

1. Implementing islam completely in our lives
2. Betterment of society (financial,  environmental,  social, moral etc)
3. Dawah (invitation to Islam)
4. Implementing Allah’s law in the land

These are all I can think for now.  Please do suggest more

(from a revert sister)
Assalaamu alaikum,

Can any activity in education be out of this concept of abdiat (obedience)? NO

Can we use any tool or methodology in education which is against this spirit? NO

First of all I think education can be broken down into 2 types for clarification, one is the formal process of schooling, like today’s education system and the other would encompass everything else.  We are lifelong learners, whether it is for a job, learning a new language or hobby etc.  Nothing we do can go against the concept of obedience to Allah swt.

I think since the two become separated at a young age, they are seen as separate instead of integrated.  It is then the “awe of the west’s” education system of the cambridge schooling system here that removes Allah swt from the equation.  I cannot speak for the matriculation at all since I am not familiar.  Then as children grow, it is the parents that instill: I want my child to be a doctor, engineer, accountant, etc.  Parents are not steering their children into halal professions for the sake of Allah, money and status is the motivator.

When I first put my eldest into an Islamic preschool (before I knew that formal education was not encouraged until age 7), it was a wonderful preschool held in a small homey masjid.  All learning materials had been created so that Allah swt was always discussed in every subject, integrated.  It wasn’t until I switched her to another “Islamic” school for first grade that I realized that is was basically public school with Arabic, Islamic studies, and prayer time thrown in.  They used all the same books as public school since they had to meet those state requirements.  It made the kids see Arabic and Islam as subjects to be studied to get a passing grade, not something to be integrated into their lives.  I think that is what the Cambridge system does here with “Islamiat” class as well.  The books are not written from an Islamic frame of mind.  Moreover, parents who may not be very practicing, throw their kids into Islamic school hoping to get more Islam into their kids. (This was in the U.S.)  Parents need to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” to use a loose expression. Parents need to be a child’s first and best teacher. That is the main reason I chose to home school. That needs to continue when choosing a profession.  Girls needed to be guided to jobs that can possible be done at home if they are going to work.  Jobs in haram fields as insurance and banking need to be avoided for example.

Waiting to here what other’s think as well.

Wasalaam.

(from another sister)
I don’t understand one thing… is implementing Allah’s law in land a part time job or will it require an extreme of all we can offer even our lives that we keep coming up every now and then,  again and again  with careers and how schooling is bad and how we need to bring in only Islamic values to professions around? I think our objective must be much, much higher than that.  I think all of us are Well Aware of the eternal damages of any system that comes from kuffar (nonbelievers) let it be education, system of governance etc etc hence we stood up for a change right? . Once we start of with the thought of ‘la ilaha illallah ‘ it is itself such a humongous responsibility over the shoulders of our children and ourselves that nothing else would consume us in-sha’Allah. This is why we see no sahabi (prophet’s companion) or Prophet having a constant profession. A sister once described it beautifully how our children should be ‘skilled to earn’ which literally doesn’t mean degrees.. She gave amazing examples about ibne sina etc etc….

This new education system in-sha’Allah must first n foremost keep “Establishment of Allah’s nizam (system) as it’s prime objective, according to the model set by Rasul Allah n sahaba (prophet and his companions) only then can we be sure of following sirat e mustqeem (correct path) in educating the youth and empowering them for Ruling as abd Allah (servants of Allah) not a mix and match of what batil (non-Islam) offers and Islam tells so they fit in” … I think this is why we separate ourselves and our children from what the society offers ( i.e. schools ) at such an early stage because if we don’t intensely keep this as an aim i.e. to educate and provide our children with all necessary tools required to fulfill as the prime objective, I fear we are initiating nothing more than a humble jumble of what already exists and has failed to deliver.

(My response)
Jazaki’Allah sisters and brother,

I agree with you all, sisters and brothers . Here my main objective is to rationalize that there is no activity outside the domain of deen (Islamic way of life). The theory and practice of something of this and something of that does not comply with our deen (Islamic way of life). I see this concept as main drifter of the present times.

My last email was putting forward the premise or prerequisite for developing any activity in education. I am not mentioning the objectives of education here. Insha’Allah we will be taking up that a little while later. The present stage is to define education and my last message is just a premise, an agreement to proceeding any further.

When I mention of deen it is not the contemporary narrow definition of deen (Islamic way of life), rather a holistic one. This I tried to explain in my last email. I like other participants of the project to also convey their agreement or disagreement. As I have mentioned earlier we have to move on with consensus.

If we agree that our whole life’s intentional activities have to comply with deen (Islamic way of life) , than it will imply that any activity which is going against the spirit of deen (Islamic way of life) is unhealthy for us and our children, both for this life as well as a’akhira (next life).

All the learning activities that we design or adopt should not be contradictory to our deen, the deen of Islam as elaborated by Quran and Sunnah (practices of prophet). We have to look at all activities from the dimension of Quran and sunnah (practices of prophet) . Please do let me know if you agree with this basic guiding principle.

Br. Abid.