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What do I mean by ‘Education from Creator’s Perspective’?

8 Jun

(My dialogue with a reputable international organization engaged in Islamization of Knowledge)

Assalamu Alaikum brothers,

It seems our meeting at your venue was not as productive as I had expected, as we moved on two parallel expectations. It would have been better if we had shared our expectations beforehand.

For me I have been involved in child education for the last twenty years and have acquired my PhD for the cause of redesigning education for ummah’s youth. From what little knowledge that Allah has given me, I see the train of ummah’s youth education totally derailed and a blind following of western theories and assumptions (Zan).

To explain my viewpoint I will like to follow the reverse logic or an inductive approach and request you to bear with me. I am not selling you anything, as I had mentioned it is for you to realize the shortcomings for your own sakes and accountability.

To start with, each soul has to bear her/his own burden alone and at the end it will either be hell or heaven eternally. This ‘being’ does not have a second chance. This implicates that each being is created with that perfect disposition and all faculties required for performing and taking this solo stand. It cannot be any lesser, as that could be used as a viable defense before our Creator. This also implicates that every person born has been instilled with a very autonomous and self-regulating personality that is compatible with the end activity of solo accountability.  Iqbal calls it ‘Self Contained Exclusive Center’; and as referred in Qur’an, ref Al-a’raf 172-173.

Amazingly this aspect of every child has been observed by many western educationists and less by the Muslim intellectuals. This amazes me, as Qur’an should have guided us in this respect. The historical evidence is also in line with this observed attribute, as we do not see children learning being made a fuss in history. The contemporary phenomenon of extensive learning intervention for child learning is just around 150 years old and more so in the last 30 years. The west wanted to produce manpower for its industries. This fact has landed us in the present dilemma of external forced learning.

Now since ‘acquiring Ilm or knowledge is mandatory for each Muslim male or female’, with no mention of any prerequisites, and we see the contemporary education heavily relying of external resources for this activity, we can deduce that the present trends are not natural. On the other hand we observe children overwhelmingly inclined to learning all the times and we also observe that this enthusiasm is inhibited when they are put into schooling. As such it can be deduced that schooling is not friendly to child’s natural urge for learning.

A point we should reflect on is that learning is a pleasure for human, where as schooling is not, because schooling is based on programming and not learning. Programming is relying on external intervention, as it is not natural, where as learning is internal activity of a human. This has been pointed out by most of the Muslim as well as non-Muslim renowned educationists.

The Secular West cannot fully adopt this notion of learning as it is not based on Haqiqah or Creator created nature, since secular west rejects any involvement of the Creator, rather is in full defiance of accepting this fact. They have built their systems based on their own theories erected on their on assumptions of this life and its purpose.

As evidenced in the human history, education is a very easy process as it relies on a person’s internal mechanism, which when exposed to different phenomena, quite naturally get intrigued and fall on the investigation mode to discover the secrets behind, and this we observe in each and every child. This attitude is depicted in the Qur’an as we are continuously reminded of different natural and historical phenomena. We do not require a lot of resources to fulfill this natural developmental urge of human. Vast resources are required for programming, and not learning.

From the above and from various ahadith, and historical evidences I conclude that education is not at all an inconvenient process and takes place more firmly when children’s urge to learning is not tempered with, and just facilitated, as it was for thousand of years in human history.

From the Islamic and natural (God created) perspective we have to keep the following in mind:

  • Every child is pre-programmed to recognize its Rab (Creator with the full implication of the term of Rab)
  • Every child is programmed to learn by itself and should remain an ardent learner through out its life.
  • Learning is an activity, which realizes a strong urge in every human and thus is pleasurable. If it is not it is programming.
  • Since learning is fard (mandatory) under all circumstances, unlike many other fard linked to certain preconditions/pre-requisites, it cannot be linked with money or other expensive resources. If the condition applies, it implicates that the activity is out of the domain of learning as ascribed by the Creator. It should be equally accessible to all strata of society.

In addition to my above observations Allah subhana wa ta’ala has given me the opportunity to observe and analyze various correct alternatives to the contemporary programming structure of education as well as has given me a very keen observational eye on child’s learning psychology. This greatly convinces me of the shortcomings of our present approach to child education

Iqbal’s educational approach has been one of the focuses in my doctoral research, which was carried out under the supervision of Mr. Khurram Ali Shafique, a contemporary scholar on Iqbal. Alhamdulillah I see in Iqbal’s educational approach a greater solution to our corrupted educational paradigm. For Iqbal the education has to fully endorse and blossom man’s individuality and self-respect and not be treated one among the herd. Ummah is considered as a string with finest of individuals (gems) synergizing together for the purpose of establishing the Creator’s world-order, and not as a drop of water losing its identity in the greater ocean of water.

Does such a dynamic education system exist? Yes it does, as it did for many thousands of years prior to the contemporary education system which is just around 150 years old and has been designed by secular forces to achieve their objectives. Learning is natural and an innate characteristic instilled by the Creator in each child and has to be facilitated. We just require a paradigm shift to adopt this system.

Do we get any guidance from our Prophet regarding this? Yes we do. We are told to impose the external intervention of the institution of salah at 7 yrs. and fully implement same at ten. That is introducing a child to structured learning at 7 yrs and expecting him/her to develop clear Furqan or discerning ability by age of ten where if still not adopting the institution of Salah has to be forced for same.

Historically this was followed and amazingly we see many western countries now adopting same.

My recommendations:

The thinking framework stabilizing Age (1-7 yrs):

  • Nature develops the rationalizing/logic perceptual-framework for the stabilizing of personality. Any external intervention which a child cannot rationalize leads to cognitive shock, which destabilizes a child’s perceptual framework. Child is a self-directed and extensive learning entity and will learn actively for what it feels the need to learn to operate in this life. This is a natural instinct, and a natural faculty. The child has just to be exposed to different phenomena.
  • No external learning intervention till age of 4-5 yrs. Encouraging development of language and playing worthy role models. Facilitation and no teaching approach.
  • Introduction to Qur’an Nazra at around 5 years of age where a child starts taking interest in reading and writing. Strengthening of Mother tongue for thinking-language development. Simple introduction to Qur’anic language understanding. Listening to Qur’an and meaning in mother tongue.

The developing Child (7-10 yrs):

  • Focus on developing proficiency in pure Kalam Allah. Establishing direct contact with the Creator through Kalam Allah (the pure Qur’an) and nature. Qur’an expounds observation of nature and natural phenomena. This approach leads a child to go further deep into Qur’anic investigation when need felt, by him/herself. New venues can be introduced externally.
  • The learning has to child centered and not teacher/school/curriculum centered. There are multiple reasons to this.

Please note nature, Qur’an (Kalam Allah) and human intellect are main tools in a human’s learning process designed by its Creator. These have to recognized as such.

I have avoided details to keep my message short, as you are very busy people whom I observe over-obsessed by the western educational approach.

Allah subhana wa ta’ala has given me the opportunity to methodically pursue my objective of redefining Nizam e Trabiyah for ummah in the last around twenty years. I have also been given the opportunity to research on Iqbal’s educational recommendations. I discover that Iqbal’s are not just recommendations but carry a deeper understanding of human learning psychology, and how the education is to be directed towards playing the role of Creator’s representative in this life on earth.

I hope I have conveyed my message to you.

Wassalam u Alaikum.

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The Western vs the Islamic paradigm of education

14 Dec
(A reply to a brother’s query)
Assalamu Alaikum Brother,
Allah be keeping you in health. I am glad that you have asked questions. I have been having sessions with the mentioned group  for the last around one year and have discussed on nearly all the topics that you have raised questions on.
I have myself been involved in education for the last 25 years focusing on the problems of education. Allah gave me the opportunity to initiate two education research institutes way back in the nineties. That was a phase where I was investigating the issue of education for ummah. My conviction was that unless we have a proper system of tarbiyah (raring) specifically designed around ummah’s (Muslim nation’s) own objectives we cannot rise again; this seems quite obvious. So I launched myself into this project of evolving or rediscovering the required system. This further led me to pursue my doctoral research in education, as you know basically I am a mariner and have sailed for the last forty years. Alhamdulillah I have been encouraged by John Holt’s research to study/observe the child learning psychology for the last around 25 years. One of the focuses in my doctoral research was the educational philosophy of Iqbal, and the other part was about the conceptions & practices of Islamic educators at primary school level in Pakistan about Islamic education. I am also an ardent reader of Qur’an, and have tried to analyze how Qur’an is designed to effect it’s reader. I write all this to give you an Idea about my efforts for the purpose of developing education for ummah (Muslim nation).
Attending to your queries, first of all note that I quote western scholars just to indicate that many western intellectuals too are dissatisfied with the contemporary education, and not that I agree with all their ideas. A person with no idea of Tawheed can never be led to correct conclusions, never, I believe. How can s/he when they have not understood the very basics of all creation and its purpose. Please try to visualize that if a person takes out the Creator and His purpose of creation s/he has taken the wrong path. This I could understand from the very first surah (section) of Qur’an, which is most recited Surah. Please note that every system is based on some theories and the theories are based on certain assumptions. If the assumptions are wrong, the theory can never be right.
1)    Islam is a perfect and complete religion. Our success in a’akhira (the next life) depends upon our correct performance in this life, as such life is not abstention but fully involving in life activities here, as this is the only platform to perform. Iqbal is very clear on this.
2)    A Muslim carries an entirely different paradigm and requires a system of education which caters with the development of that paradigm. This a non-Muslim can never understand. As mentioned in Surah Kafiroon (section from Qur’an). West has a very different agenda for education as they do not have the same objective of life as we have. Values of life are linked with Taqwa (God consciousness) in Islam and not superficial beliefs or objectives, and Taqwa is related to God consciousness, which the contemporary system has nothing to do with.
3)    The methodology of contemporary education is programming as has been pointed out by western critiques to education. West cannot avoid this as they have defective objectives of life from the Creator’s perspective. When we focus on objectives that are against the Creator ordained ones, we go against nature, and for that, we require programming. Education is a natural phenomenon, and has to be most friendly with human learning faculties; surprisingly Ken Robinson has same conclusion. This is not happening presently.
4)    Many European countries have reached upon the conclusion that the structured education should not start before 7 yrs of age. Is this new to us? The prophet had said that we have to ask children for salah at the age of seven and fully implement it by the age of ten. This was the norm earlier . The basic years are important for developing correct logic framework, remaining close to nature. We do not see structured education prior to the contemporary education system, any time in human history.
5)    Education system is developed around a nation’s or ideological group’s endeavors of life and not around an alien nations endeavors. It is a very basic aspect to understand. West has a totally different paradigm of life which is quite contrary to ours. The whole education system has been designed by them accordingly.   
6)    Does Mr. Mursi talk on the structure of education from child psychology perspective? Surprisingly most of our intellectuals do not reflect upon education from this perspective. Now we see the west showing their worry in this regards and we seem sleeping and will only follow suit may be a decade later.
7)    Western intellectuals like Ken Robinson or John Holt cannot correctly interpret education as they do not seem interested in giving right role to the Creator which is the very basic of our beliefs.
8)    Maths and science fall well within the scope of deen, their being manifestations of the Creator himself and His laws. Not a single aspect of knowledge can be taken out of  the scope of deen. When we introduce the children to all the sciences through Qur’an we anchor them to Qur’an. Which is so important as we have lost this anchor. And we observe this phenomenon during the life of Holy Prophet and for a couple centuries after him. We see a common man anchored to Qur’an. The motivation that Qur’an provided to probe into the creation of the Creator gave a knowledge acquiring velocity to the Muslims in developing all fields of knowledge which is not witnessed in history. We are not motivated by Qur’an anymore and the western systems appeal to us. We are developing apologetic minds.
Brother I see education and knowledge from a totally different paradigm and by Allah’s grace I have resolved the numerous gaps and puzzles that this education system consists of. I have firm belief that basic tarbiyah (training) and education cannot be linked to money. Acquisition of knowledge has been made mandatory on every Muslim male and female and as such can never be linked to money. In the present structure of education, or ways of imparting education, a lot of money is involved.
The present structure of education is for programming human minds to the unnatural secular ideology. The Creator has fashioned a human self as an active learning and probing entity, as we observe in young children. We have to revisit the correct definition of knowledge and learning. Presently we look through the western lenses, which makes me recall a hadith (saying) of our prophet that states that a time will come when the Muslims will  be blindly following the other people of the book to the extent that if they enter lizard’s hole the Muslims too will.
 
Br. Abid

Qur’anic vs Western Secular Education (Ref: Goals, Objectives, Resources and Practical implementation)

26 Oct

Quoting a brother’s query:

Education – Goals, Objectives, Resources and Practical implementation.

Dr. Mohammed Abid Ali has worked hard to develop a general guideline for education. Mashallah his work is comprehensive and well researched. He has very eloquently defined the Goals, Methodologies, Objectives, Identifying target recipients of education, Perception development and tied them with core Islamic values.

My concern is how we implement them and develop a detailed roadmap. I do feel that we should not condemn Western education but look at it objectively and take from it that which is effective. The West has been very successful in imbedding Hukuk ul Ibad at a very young age. They show respect when interacting with one another, stick to their word, believe in being on time, are polite, try to honor their commitments. These are Islamic values but the West has been successful in implementing them. We have not been very successful in translating our goals and objectives into practical actions.

We have to separate the four components of education and then try to use parts that are compatible with our goals.

Secular education –  science, math, language, arts, along with critical thinking.

Tarbiyah – Hukuk ul Ibad, Manners, respect for others, essentially human values.

Training – Train in specific areas as needed. Public speaking, trades like tailoring etc.

Value development- Perception of life based on Islamic values including Hukuk ul Ibad.

The West has done a great job in the first three areas and we have a lot to learn from them. My purpose for this letter is to take the work that has already been done by Dr. Abid Ali, a step further and help develop a detailed roadmap. At this time my main concern is children’s early education. We have them for 4 or 5 years and this is enough time to build a successful citizen with strong character, values and leadership qualities.

There are many practical steps we can take to instill our values. Here are some of them.

Children clean the class room every morning with the teacher for 5 minutes.

Assign projects to children to show how they helped their neighbor, friend, sick person.

Children make presentations to the class about projects etc. Build public speaking skills.

Reward them for fulfilling promises, helping parents, being clean etc. Make it important.

Corporate Sponsors to fund: taking children to hospitals, cleanup a park, paint school.

Teachers have to be trained to follow and exhibit these values before children will follow. There are many more steps that can be taken to implement values or strengthen education methods.

Unquote.

My Response

Assalamu Alaikum brother,

Reference to your query quoted above I will like to present following explanation:

In fact my writing which was forwarded to you was meant for our group which has already been attending our education awareness sessions from Creator’s perspective for around last one year. What I have written makes quite a lot of sense to them as their perception is already built to that level.

Brother I will like to ask you a very basic question: for how many hours a day are we Muslims allowed to keep our children under secular education? I know what your answer is? We have to live in Islam every second of the day, is it not? So how can we consider that sciences, mathematics and art are all secular? None of them can be secular as they depict the God created nature only. And nature is the strongest depiction of the wujud (existence) of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. You may be wondering how Mathematics is Islamic? What is mathematics: it is the numerical or Arithmetical depiction or definition of the laws of nature, and as such it is quite Islamic? For a Muslim he sees the powers of his Creator in all these. This is the explanation by Iqbal as well. Kindly refer to Asrar e Khudi and Ramooz e Bikhudi. No Ilm is out of the scope of Islam. The biggest problem of the present times is that we Muslims are extremely in AWE of the western systems and in the process we have quite totally forgotten our own intellectual traditions.

Tarbiyah, as you have mentioned, is one of the basic features of the teaching of our Lord. Do you feel that we should rely upon the western approach to inculcate this in our children when we have the complete and most effective tool in Qur’an to instill this in us and in our children. Are we presently using Qur’an effectively for this purpose? My assessment is that the utility of Allah’s Kalam is around 10 to 15% only in our lives, the rest is dictated by the western concepts of education.

When I was not very aware of the education from Creator’s perspective and was not prepared to look into the weaknesses of western education system I could hardly take the stage to talk on education. But Alhamdulillah I have been delivering lectures and presentations to quite large audiences from every aspect of life. When you have something to say and you are quite sure of its validity you develop the sense of public speaking. I do not feel that public speaking is such an issue.

We can develop whole curriculum through Qur’an as has been demonstrated to the group that is working with me; and as was the procedure during the life time of our prophet and for a few centuries after him. If we look at the world and all its sciences through Qur’an we will be carrying a purely Qur’anic thought dimension or perception. Which perception are we carrying presently? This is because we are being made to pass through secular education developed by the west to achieve their perceived objectives.

Imagine a person prepared through Qur’an, can he lack ‘Hukuk ul Ibad, Manners, respect for others, essentially human values’. What we lack presently is an Islamic perception or Qur’anic perception which inhibits us from developing our own systems as per Islam. Resultantly we have to resort to adopting alien systems. A good citizen may not be a good Muslim but a good Muslim will most naturally be a good and highly responsible citizen.

Can we develop our own education system? Definitely yes we can.

Do we have any leads and alternatives? Yes we have in intellectuals like Dr. Muhammad Rafiuddin and Allama Iqbal and may be many more. Iqbal’s approach to education was a part of my PhD thesis. And I find him quite elaborative.

By Allah’s grace I have been an ardent observer of child learning psychology for the last 25 years and I envision education from different perspectives, which include child psychology, Qur’an and contemporary educational needs. I have embarked upon developing educational procedures for children from zero to ten years of age, which I consider as key age for human development.

Truly,

Br. Abid

EDUNATURAL: ON DEVELOPING A CHILDREN LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER – VITAL ELEMENTS

8 Oct

Assalamu Alaikum

We have been discussing on how best to impart tarbiyah or education to our children. The most important factors that we have to be very clear about are as follows:

1) What is our objective of giving education to our children? If we maintain the western objectives we will have to adopt the western ways, but if the objectives are different than those of west we will have to devise an educational plan accordingly for our children. Because if we talk of taqwa (Creator consciousness) and khalifa (representative) of Allah the west does not have these objectives, and their systems and their systems’ structure does not incorporate this, which is natural and neither they are claiming this. It is only we the Muslims who claim that we will use the systems developed by west and still will be able to achieve our objectives.

2) Qur’an or Kalam Allah is Creator’s given guidance and tool for human perception development: It should be used for this purpose. Qur’an is the best tool for developing taqwa. And in Qur’an we are mostly educated through nature and natural phenomena.

3) How does a child learn or how does actual learning take place: At least we should realize that all learning theories are greatly dependent upon few factors: a) Assumptions about the objective of life. b) Assumptions about the nature of human being. c) Assumptions about the Creator and whether this life has any purpose or not. Please be careful that wrong assumptions will definitely lead to development of wrong theories as far as our Islamic perspective is concerned. When we follow western education system, this system is developed on theories by western, non-Muslim intellectuals. We are definitely walking or running on the wrong way. Does it make any sense?

The secular west have incorrectly understood and thus incorrectly defined child psychology. Education system is based on the definitions of child psychology. West has devised artificial ways of learning and teaching, where as a child best learns naturally. Ways which each child has been naturally ingrained or created with. So learning is natural and as such a very easy process and a very cheap process as well.

4) Nature plays the most important role in a child’s or any person’s learning. Even western educationists are realizing this fact lately. Please do watch ‘Teaching is not like making motor cars’ by Sir Ken Robinson. For the secular west nature is Godless for us our deen (way of life in Islam) is wholly based on nature (the fitrah), and nature is purely and wholly our Creator’s created. West has deviated greatly from nature and are bearing the negative results. For thousands of years the people lived near nature and let their young children learn naturally and from nature. Now since the west maintains an artificial objective of raising super intelligent children thorough education, they have tried to design education artificially and in the process the system has back fired. This is being realized by western intellectuals now. Please think what is happening presently, think of the confusion we all have landed into regarding the effect of education on our children.

Please realize that the nature is most influential and most friendly with human-beings. In Qur’an are we not educated through nature and natural phenomena? Time and again we are asked to reflect on nature.

5) What is meant by natural environment: As we have discussed above, the nature is most friendly with a child’s learning. Nature is all the laws which Allah subhana wa ta’ala has created to perfectly run this world. All the natural laws, be they physical, psychological, metaphysical (non-physical) are Creator’s creation. One of the definitions of Islam is to come in peace or harmony with nature.

We also have to realize that Insan or human-being is a highly intellectual and intelligent creation. In Qur’an Allah introduces us to ayat Allah (signs of Creator), and which are mostly through reminders about Allah’s creations. So learning facilitation center does not mean creating jungle and following the jungle’s laws. The jungle is for animals. Human is an intellectual being and as such we have to provide comfortable access to all healthy knowledge and information and let the children learn themselves, without much external interference or teaching at least till the age of seven. Amazingly, now this has been accepted by the west as well. But since west does not have correct objective of life they will expose their children to unhealthy knowledge and thus damage their correct mental growth.

SO THE VITAL ELEMENTS OF A LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER INCLUDE: CORRECT OBJECTIVES + NATURAL ENVIRONMENT + NATURAL LEARNING + EXPOSITION TO PURE QUR’AN AND SUNNAH & HEALTHY INFORMATION AND TOOLS.

AND ALL THIS REQUIRES VERY LITTLE MONEY. NOT THOUSANDS OF RUPEES EVERY MONTH WHICH THE SCHOOLS CHARGE TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN WRONGLY.

DO WE HEED

HOW VAST IS EDUCATION?

16 Aug
‘How vast is Education’ is a very important question for each one of us to understand. We should be very clear about what has our Creator (subhana wa ta’ala) intended through education?
What is education for?
When does education start and when it ends?
WHAT IS EDUCATION IN ACTUALITY?
These questions have been quite elaborately dealt with by Qur’an and our Holy prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. We see that the style and approach of Qur’an and Sunnah (prophet’s teachings) is totally educative.  100% and no less. Allah quite vigorously educates us through Qur’an and Sunnah (prophet’s teachings). One question for you: what are Qur’an and Sunnah for? Another few questions: what are Qur’an and Sunnah teaching us? What is the objective of Qur’an and Sunnah? What was the result of Qur’an and Sunnah on the sahaba e Ikram? How vast was the effect of Qur’an and Sunnah on the generations that followed just after the holy prophet? Was there a complete transformation and complete development in all aspects of life, or was it partial? These are very important questions for each of us to think on and answer to realize the real fact (haqiqah) of education, the vast effects that it makes. Is our present style of education anywhere near creating the reformation that took place during the times of prophet and in the times just after him? This reminds me of a question which Dr. Anis Ahmed raised. He asked me whether the present process of education educating our children or de-educating them. I found him so right, as a matter of fact the present educational process is de-educating us by taking us away from what we are meant to be. Then why is this great awe that we carry for the contemporary education system. Isn’t it perplexing? At least for me. I find such a lot of resistance in people to look critically at the contemporary education. We intentionally are ready to keep on taking this poison, but not ready to think and work for the change actively. Yes passively, as I observe many criticizing this system but are not ready to part with it. They demand, O.K. please give us a complete alternate model (paki pakaie taza roti) and only then we will think of considering whether we should accept that model or keep on sticking to our present ‘idol’ (taghoot) of education.Which life are we waiting for, will we be given another chance? Once we leave we leave for good from the phase of working (amal), and we enter the phase of accounting. We should realize this please. No more chances!
Brothers and sisters I say this, because I feel great majority of people are not ready to themselves work for this change, they do not want to go out of their comfort zones. They are not realizing the great poison that we are intoxicating ourselves and our children with. We see that we are heading towards destruction practically. We are practically losing our identity. Are we not? We are lost and quite totally out of phase with Qur’an and Sunnah in our practical lives, are we not? Our perceptions are no more based on Qur’an and Sunnah, and we see the result that we are not capable of designing a single life system for ourselves. We take the systems of the  the misguided ones (the da’aleen) and try to take out anti-Islamic (haram) from that, to suit our needs. Why have we lost this capability or capacity to develop our own systems? We cannot even initiate and design our first step to any positive change towards Islam, and that is our education system. Now can you feel the vast effect of an education system (the required Nizam e tarbiyah. Education is what makes you what you are or what you are supposed to be. Wrong education will simply put you on the wrong way, and right education will put you on the right way. And Qur’an and Sunnah are complete in guidance and education. Education is not only acquiring data or information. Education is creating the capability for correctly processing this data and information. This is an internal capability or process in each human being. This is the capability of correctly processing or perceiving. Education has to generate correct perception in us, the correct Adab in the words of Naquib al Attas. Is this presently happening brothers and sisters? How can we design Islamic or Qur’anic systems without this correct perception???  Education has only two functions: either to make you or to break you, nothing more nothing less. This is the deciding factor of your result in this Dunya and a’akhira. Can you visualize what I am trying to communicate?
For a Muslim it is all education from cradle to grave! Every moment of your life is either educative or de-educative. The intentional ambiance that you create around will be the deciding factor.

LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER FOR YOUNG CHILDREN: QUR’AN AS CURRICULUM

15 May

(Feed back from a sister)

On Sunday, April 26, 2015 8:22 PM, [edunatural]” <edunatural@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

Salaam we met at Ali Mujahid sahabs place. It was a very simple meeting and talk but the idea it held was so surprisingly easy yet powerful that we all were moved, mind boggled!!!

Started with Ali Mujahid Sahab telling the world n everybody is all about definitions. If you define something wrong in your life you’ll end up misguided. He told how we all live in 2 dimensions if we stick to one and take decisions according to it we will be successful… It’s either the Dunya dimension or the Akhirat dimension… Take decisions keeping one in perspective will make you achieve it eg success… According to dunya it’s a great career n luxury but according to akhirat it’s Surah e a’sr…Eman good deeds call towards haq n then sabr…

Education according to him is defined as a process which helps us to take better decisions. So it’s either education for dunya or for akhirat… It cannot be that we take education for dunya and end up successful in akhirat because Taleem and tarbiyat exist together unlike the popular concept that teachers give taleem while parents give tarbiyat. Charlie Chaplin was exiled from America when he opposed the concept of modern education in his films which even he understood is going to make human only a part of a factory…. And nothing more than that.

Now the amazing part… How our children have to be given taleem o tarbiyat. It’s this simple all that’s required is Quran…. Eg chapter (para) 30th … We read with our children a surah and in it we find about stars… Start telling children what stars are ? how Allah has made them ? show them in the sky.. You’re teaching your children the subject of astronomy 🙂 biology, behavioral sciences, geology… ( interestingly only in 30th para all subjects are found)any topic that comes just tell the children till what would interest them about it in primitive stage. The result will be the child will know that everything that exists around us exists in Quran, standing in Quran they will be seeing the world  also this practice shall tell them later that this is the Only book i need to consult. The perspective of the child shall be of Quran , beautifully said by Ali Sahab… ”Quran is taken as a subject while actually it is a Curriculum”…..

Wailuli humazatil lumaza… A child who is being educated with this has indeed left all his peers behind who happen to even graduate from world top universities…

So it’s this easy that any parent can do it yet with amazing affect on children. Ali Sahab is currently giving no more than 25 min session like this to a bunch of children he makes them hear sheikh al Yusri recitation that they repeat after n then a brief exercise as mentioned above Mash’Allah he says a very lethargic child as complained by parents demanded to increase the ayahs they were reading and a small 7 year old girl got startled when he said hal ataka hadithu musa? Ayesha Allah is asking you something… Did you hear about Musa? For sure she’ll remember this forever that Allah is talking to her through the verses.

Only Listening n repeating after sheikh Yusri has made children better qura’a than imam of their local masjid in 3 weeks time Masha’Allah and the interest they are developing in Quran is commendable! May Allah reward Ali Sahab for sharing this. Also he has 2 models for children above 10 which I would request on public demand he shares himself.

JazakAllah khairan kaseera Abid Sahab n Ali Sahab for this session our biggest problem has been solved… we are very very grateful.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER FOR YOUNG CHILDREN: IQBAL’S IMPLICATION

15 May

So far Allah subhana wa ta’ala gave us the opportunity to discuss the requirement of different age groups.  And in my last email we discussed the general requirements in the facilitation center from the perspective of learning environment. Today I will take up an important issue, which I am sure you all must be getting puzzled about, that how is Iqbal associated with what we have discussed so far. I will like to discuss some very basic aspects of Iqbal’s educational approach which insha’Allah will fix all the puzzle pieces in place.

  1. Iqbal holds Tawheed as the beginning and the end of all education. All education has to be linked with Tawheed. We have to ask ourselves how much of tawheed is involved in contemporary education.
  2. Iqbal puts all activities of human endeavors under the complete guidance of Shariah. As such education cannot leave the limits of Shariah. Is our education under the umbrella of Shariah.
  3. For Iqbal most important objective of children education is to preserve and strengthen child’s ‘Khudi’. The Khudi is a very vast concept which includes self-identity, self-realization, self-respect, the realization that I am solely responsible for my action (and I have to stand before my Creator all alone on the last Day of Judgment). This intense feeling of responsibility is covered by the concept of khudi. The upper limit of khudi lifts the person to a ‘Self Contained Exclusive Center’. A complete responsible khalifa or Insan. Insha’Allah we will be discussing this term later. Is our present education, right from the birth of a child, to preserve and strengthen khudi or to curb it, to make it weak? What are the practices of the contemporary education doing presently? Nearly all the procedures that it is following are negatively impacting Khudi. The result is a delinquent or careless product, with no clear objective of life. How can this person act as khalifa of the Creator and as you see we are not. Are we?
  4. Iqbal clearly defines role of each element and subject of education, be it history, natural sciences or arts. He also clearly defines the role of education for each gender, man and woman. This he has done from Islamic perspective.
  5. Iqbal considers the five arakan e deen as a very strong source of education for human being which have been designed by our Creator. Are they being effectively used in the present nizam e tarbiyah?
  6. Iqbal vows that whatever he has recommended is not even a little out from the Qur’anic perspective. Iqbal’s that it is directed to make each person the Khalifa of the Creator on earth. That should be the main objective of any educational endeavor. Is it not?
  7. For attaining and working at the status-hood of Khalifa of the Creator, every human being is required to develop his/her Khudi to a height where s/he develops the extreme sense of responsibility to take stand all alone on the Last Day of Judgment and account for her/his actions in this life.
  8. Iqbal explains that success in a’akhira (next life) is dependent on a person’s performance in the practical life in his stay on earth. As such one has to fully involve in the worldly affairs and not abstain from it. As such every child is be fully prepared to function correctly as per Creator’s command and run the world affairs as the representative (Khalifa) of the Creator.
  9. For Iqbal, creativity is a special characteristic gifted to the human being and the Creator wants human being to fully develop and utilize this potential.
  10. Iqbal describes human nature as developing challenges for itself and then endeavoring to conquer those challenges (Iqbal depicts that as creating one’s own enemies and then conquering or defeating them). Once these challenges, which the human creates for itself, are surmounted the person elevates him/herself in his own eyes, his/her khudi is strengthened. This is described as a process of human growth. This is quite explicit in a young child’s nature. I feel when Iqbal is explaining human nature, the processes are more apparent in children who are closest to the natural human and as they grow up they get influenced by the environment and education system. This I say because as per my observation Iqbal’s elaborations about learning process is more vividly observed in small children.

The important aspect of Iqbal’s recommendations for education is to prepare every child/person to effectively function as Khalifatullah fil ard (God’s representative on earth) so that s/he can  succeed on the Last day of Judgment. Iqbal explains that for achieving this status every single person has to have a very strong Khudi (self-identity, self-realization) which is fully subservient to Allah subhana wa ta’ala and none else.

The above views from Iqbal are written from the perspective of education for small children (0-10 Yrs of age). Iqbal’s educational detectives are much  broader and are quit inclusive for the designing of an education system from Islamic perspective.

 

DEVELOPING LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER: STAGES OF A CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT

8 May

(THE BELOW DISCUSSION WAS THROUGH EMAIL WITH A GROUP ENGAGED IN DEVELOPING A LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER FOR CHILDREN FROM ZERO TO 10 YEARS OF AGE FROM NATURAL AND ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE)

We can divide 0-10 yrs of child growth in three stages: 0 to 4 yrs (The intense observation stage), 4-7 yrs (The external communication stage) and 7-10 yrs (The launching age into world)

0-4 Yrs of age – THE INTENSE OBSERVATION STAGE:

At this stage, the child is very actively trying to make sense of the world around. This is very active period for development of logic framework of any person. If you recall, the logic frame work of a person plays vital role in a person’s accepting or rejecting any statement, idea or thought. The nature is 100% logical, because it has been created by The Creator or Rab al aalameen Himself. Please recollect the law of cause and effect which was discussed earlier. This logic framework is the most important faculty in human which decides what a person is going to really believe and act upon. In other words this is called furqan. The child is in intense observation state and learns mostly from nature and environment itself. At this age the child is programmed to learn by herself or himself, it does not appreciate your external intervention and even protests if you try giving any help in learning. The child will try to copy the people that he loves and feels secure and safe with. That is why a child should remain as much close to his family as possible and the family has to play role models.

What child requires at this stage is love, good role models and healthy environment. The child will enjoy good Qur’anic recitation, good colorful pictures, smiling and reassuring faces. Good things can be lightly and nicely presented to the child, and not enforced upon him. It needs a lot of independence and no instructions at all. It does not like instructions at all. When child ask for your help, you should help him. Expose him to good things. He will enjoy company of older children, and learns a lot from them.

What the child DOES NOT require at this stage is external learning interventions or enforced teaching. No human programming at all, that is taking him away from natural development.

For facilitation center: The environment should be light, bright and full of love. Self-learning environment has to be provided free of instructional atmosphere. The less threatened a child feels towards self-respect and self-confidence the more positive the child will be towards learning. If his self-confidence is damaged in anyway the learning slows down drastically. We do not have to be bothered whether the child is learning or not, and not to try to assess how much the child is learning at this stage. If the environment is friendly the child will learn 100% in its own way. This I call self-stabilization or settling down in life. Which is most important. Just recollect if you are not given time to settle down in a new environment you remain confused, restless and confused. So a child has to be given due time to settle down in earthly life. This is of prime importance.

(Self-learning Environment: An environment where you do not interfere with a child’s learning and leave the child alone to develop knowledge and confidence. No spoon feeding. Trust your child; s/he is much more efficient learner than you can teach. A child learns at its own pace, and rest assured he is extremely eager learner. It will select its own area or learning, which we should not try to decide for the child, as is happening presently. Just keep an eye open towards your child lest it harms itself due to inexperience. But intelligence wise it is much more intelligent than any grown up. That is why s/he is so much interested in learning which we normally are not.)

Nearly all scholars, Muslim or non-Muslim agree with the prime importance of the first four years of life. I feel following to be taken care of for children 4-7 yrs of age:

4-7 years: The external communication stage

At 4 yrs a child becomes talkative and tries different words and sentences to get the proper feel. Actually, he is practically trying to synchronize his sentences with what he has listened the grown-ups saying, trying to match the sound. He has developed some vocabulary, and tries to use all words in his vocabulary in different sentence structures. At this stage a child is very actively working on his communication skills. He remains an extremely enthusiastic learner and starts learning in a little structured manner from our standards. His ‘khudi should be actively reinforced by showing him full respect as a normal human being. Respect him as you respect elders. Actually this has to be done right from the birth of a child. A child has to be treated like a very normal human being. All that he lacks is just our communication procedures and lacks knowledge of our way of behaving or customary behavior. These he is very actively learning. Otherwise he is a very normal human being and much more intelligent than we are.

Good recitation from Qur’an will make him come closer to Qur’an. He may be helped to memorize small verses from Qur’an, but without coercion or force. Around five years you will find him getting more involved in external activities and may enjoy more structured games. We should exhibit awe of Allah subhana wa ta’ala in front of him from our conduct and behavior. Praise Allah on the sight of flower, insects, animals and any natural phenomenon. Subhana’Allah (Allah is fault free) is a very appropriate word. He should be exposed to different phenomenon.

Normally his language is clear and will like to listen to stories. Around six he is more focused and disciplined in learning. Salah (namaz) should be taught to him. We should make him listen to Qir’at of Qur’an and its meaning in his mother tongue in plain language.

He will show interest in writing and reading. If he shows interest, do assist him in this activity. However, do not over do, and leave him alone if his attention is diverted to another activity.

For facilitation center: Child should be shown full respect by everyone. His likes and dislikes to be cared for. He may be put in Nazra e Qur’an (learning to read Qur’an) if he shows interest, which I feel he normally will. Good qir’ah should be played before him. Expose him to different things, natural phenomena, designs, and may be toys as well. He should be let independent in learning. If he asks for help in learning, he should be helped. Let him select his own activity. At around six he is ready to be more organized in learning. Some will even be ready at around five years. But we have to take care of his interest.

7-10 years: The launching age into world

Around the age of 7 yrs a child is ready to launch itself into external world. His basic initialization period is over and he is ready to indulge or involve into the world around. If his initialization period has been correct, and the child has developed correct logic framework he will approach knowledge correctly. He will indulge in healthy learning. However, if he has not let to initialize correctly, this will show evidently in his attitude and emotions. The instability in such children is quite evident. He may possess erratic behavior and moods. Some mood changes and concentration lapses are expected in a child, but generally a stable child will show matured behavior and concern for others. 7-8 yrs, I believe may be considered as learning to learn outside world, and 9-10 is full-fledged learning time. He will enjoy learning about the outside world tremendously and show keen interest in same. I feel if he has been groomed in a natural way in the younger years he will have very deep concentration levels in the learning of his interest. Both girls and boys have to be treated very maturely, which will launch these young men and women in full bloom. We do not do that presently and keep them under tremendous weight of schooling and homework. They remain extremely confused and preoccupied with unhealthy learning. As a result they do not grow up and remain immature for the rest of their lives. Right, or wrong?

Are we matured as is expected of Khalifa tullah fil ard (Creator’s representative on earth)? That we are not and most of us can feel this instability in our nature. 10-12 yrs is launching into adulthood. Surprising, is it?

For facilitation center: at age 7 a child should be ready to practice salah (namaz) perfectly, as such at between 5 & 6 yr a child should be made to memorize portions of Qur’an and around six the child should also be introduced to the meanings of verses learnt. I feel the best method is by making the child listen to Qur’an and its simple translation. This can even be started at the age of four, when the child has stabilized in language. Listening to Qur’an in Arabic and then immediately the translation will make child associate meaning to the Arabic text. This learning will be very permanent in his life. Putting a child into salah (namaz) is equipping him with the best tool for developing taqwa and his control systems. It will save him from lewdness/shamelessness [fauhash (فحش)]  and divinely prohibited thought and actions [munkar (منکر)], hopefully for the rest of his life, a big achievement indeed.

(Presently at this age we are fully immersing him in western culture through English language, and also badly destabilizing his logic structure. Because he cannot rationalize why an alien language is being given so much importance, which he does not listen in the environment around, but is being so severely being imposed on him at school. This illogical act is done with the child at the age of 2-2 1/2 yrs. Now Can you make some logic of what I am trying to communicate?)

In the learning facilitation center for this age group we have to create an environment where the child can conduct experiments to satisfy his curiosity. He has to be provided with tools to practically confirm various phenomena and to extend his own findings into knowledge. This is the best age for developing language. He should be encouraged and exposed to healthy readings. History can be one very interesting subject for him to establish and strengthen his own identity and associate himself with ummah.

The environment of the LFC is to be full of respect and maturity. Child should be made to feel matured and responsible. He is entering adulthood and should be treated as such.

I request parents, especially the mothers to please correct me where they think I have made wrong observations. Parents are best psychologist if they closely follow and observe their children’s developmental progress. This we are badly missing presently following western secular theories of learning.

Edunatural (14)– the Islamic way to educate children (Every child is intelligent – a reminder)

29 Apr

Assalamu Alaikum,

When we talk of education, a very important aspect is to observe and recognize is a child’s intelligence. Some of the researches show that most of the intelligent toys that we provide to the children are below their intelligence level. So, instead of making the children more intelligent we make them less, or in other words retard their intelligence. There are various implications to this attitude of us grown-ups. The most important is our being held responsible before our Creator for how we destroyed the Creator given faculties which were meant to make him ashraf ul makhlooq (the best among the creations). Here we can also realize the impact of Ayah’s which declare the children as a fitna (test) for us.

Alhamdulillah I am a very keen observer of children’s intelligence, and am amazed at the depth of their thinking. This morning while having breakfast I took a little egg from my son’s dish and there came the protest from my 25 months old grandson. He reminded me that it was his baba’s. so then I had to explain to him is that whatever is his baba’s is mine also and whatever is mine is his baba’s also. Whatever is his sister’s is his also and whatever is his, is his sister’s also and so on and so forth for all the five people sitting around the table. His reaction was, ‘ can I have egg’. I asked whether he wanted to have more egg, he said no ‘your egg.’ And I passed it to him and he rejoiced same.

The thing to observe is that he could go beyond to the second stage thinking and wanted to experience if what I am claiming is true or not.

The same way a few days back he asked me where I was going and I told him to the masjid for namaz (salah). He reverted ‘dado has gone out (the car is not available)’.

Two days back he was standing with the little refrigerator’s freezer door open with the intention of removing a chocolate from there. These are intentionally kept by their mother with reefer door unlocked to teach them discipline and self control. Their normal ration is one chocolate a day. It was a bit early in the morning and he was alone awake and venturing independently as the parents were sleeping. I knew his intentions and gave a slanting look at the freezer. He held himself from removing the chocolate and asked me to leave the place. His words were, ‘abbu (calls me abbu) aap jao (you go from here), abbu aap joa’. and then said ‘abbu jao kam karo’ (father you go and do your job let me do mine). He finally closed the reefer door and moved on without removing.

Every child is intelligent and if we provide some opportunity and food for them to think and decide, it results in reinforcement of a lot of important personality traits required of Allah’s best of creations. However, if we neglect this use of mind in the proper bringing up of children we remain losers at all ends, and face ourselves with a very sure possibility of being held responsible for this great negligence and demolition of Creator’s gifted faculties.

Please observe what is happening at present? I see ourselves in totally reversing trends. We consider our children as our personal property and treat them as stupid beings, trying totally to dominate their developmental process. This mistake has been made by the west as well in their education system, which we are so much in awe of. Their trends have emanated from their wrong theories based on wrong assumptions about human beings. Normally the assumptions will decide the health of theories and the health of strategies drawn on those theories. This I call ‘going wrong from the roots’. So what happens is all the ingredients taken up by the roots for the development of the fruit too is wrong and cannot be otherwise. Can it be logically?

We have also to consider what fruits the west is vying for? Are they in anyway congruent to our aspirations as Muslims, or are they diametrically opposite?

Wake up please! We cannot afford this procrastination.

Br. Abid

Islamizing the taleem ….. – 79 (Should children be the epicenter of our lives)

22 Jan

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

(from a sister)
Assalam alaikum Abid Bhai (brother).

After I read your article ‘redefining the education system’ it really clarified things for me. Especially the fact that Allah subhana wa taala has also taken the responsibility for ‘educating us’ and embedded it into our nature. Like Allah says in surah (Chapter of Quran) al Balad that I’ve given you the faculties and shown you the way… It has given me a new found trust in my Creator and my children. This is the major stress reducer.

I think my children are the epicenter because I think this could be my path to Allah’s raza (favor). Is this wrong?

Regards,

(my response)
Assalamu Alaikum sister,

When in the Islamic university (Malaysia) I came across the educational writings of Naquib al’Attas. Alhamdulillah it defused many major confusions that I was trying to resolve. His concept of education is incorporative of many important theories, including that of Stephen Covey’s; I feel because he went to the very root of education. He describes the main aim of education is to create ‘Adab’ in us. The word Adab he defines as the realization of the status (or hierarchical order) and importance of every created thing as it has been positioned by the Creator Himself.

What does this imply? It implies that education should lead us to realize the hierarchical order of everything or hierarchy of importance, as the Creator wants that to be understood by us. This will make a very stable person out of us, because within this boundary we will tune our minds to operate and prioritize. Our raza or satisfaction will be the raza or acceptance of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Any better way to succeed?!! Any better way to put thing is right perspective? If our prioritizations in our lives are correct, we are certainly on the right track towards success in the next everlasting life?

Now let us come to the issue of epicenter or focal point of our lives. Remember the Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, was given away to bibi halima by hazrat Amna while still a little infant. This was quite normal practice among the moneyed Arabs. Did our Prophet disapprove of this practice? Many sahaba had more than a dozen children. Do you think it was possible to concentrate on each child? Some Sahaba had as many as fifty children. My mother had seven of her own and two adopted. I never saw her nervous or exhausted. At that time she was not even a practicing Muslim. I never remember her hitting any child. her love for us was tremendous. Alhamdulillah most of us are quite qualified academically and some have topped academically.

Another aspect is that I see most of the children spoiled by undue focus on them by the parents. The children can be spoiled very easily . I am sure most of the parents, specially mothers realize this better than I do. It will be much wise if we care for our children’s stable personality development more than we falling prey to our emotions, and over possessiveness of the children. There are so many aspect that we can discuss on in this respect. I leave it for parents to come forward with their quarries and questions.

Rizq is not only food or money? It is every human requirement. And Allah has taken its guarantee if we ourselves do not spoil the opportunities, and then he has himself ingrained the capacity and capability for acquiring same in each person. Over and above he himself provides all the opportunities. All the possessions in this life have been given to us for the test, the only test that will decide our heaven or hell. The focal point or epicenter has to be Allah and his commands. His love, His awe, His fear, His correct recognition by us. The children are one of the test, a tougher test then our wealth. Undue love of wealth, will surely misguide us, will it not? so is the case with our children. They have been called fitna for us, which may put us into chaos. Be matured and balanced in your focus towards your children. I will love many questions which I am sure many mothers have developed in their minds by my explanations.

Br. Abid.