Education in Islam | Wikipedia audio article


Education has played a central role in Islam
since early times, owing in part to the centrality of scripture and its study in the Islamic
tradition. Before the modern era, education would begin
at a young age with study of Arabic and the Quran. Some students would then proceed to training
in tafsir (Quranic exegesis) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), which was seen as particularly
important. For the first few centuries of Islam, educational
settings were entirely informal, but beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ruling
elites began to establish institutions of higher religious learning known as madrasas
in an effort to secure support and cooperation of the ulema (religious scholars). Madrasas soon multiplied throughout the Islamic
world, which helped to spread Islamic learning beyond urban centers and to unite diverse
Islamic communities in a shared cultural project. Madrasas were devoted principally to study
of Islamic law, but they also offered other subjects such as theology, medicine, and mathematics. Muslims historically distinguished disciplines
inherited from pre-Islamic civilizations, such as philosophy and medicine, which they
called “sciences of the ancients” or “rational sciences”, from Islamic religious sciences. Sciences of the former type flourished for
several centuries, and their transmission formed part of the educational framework in
classical and medieval Islam. In some cases, they were supported by institutions
such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, but more often they were transmitted informally
from teacher to student. While formal studies in madrasas were open
only to men, women of prominent urban families were commonly educated in private settings
and many of them received and later issued ijazas (diplomas) in hadith studies, calligraphy
and poetry recitation. Working women learned religious texts and
practical skills primarily from each other, though they also received some instruction
together with men in mosques and private homes.==Etymology==
In Arabic three terms are used for education. The most common is ta’līm, from the root
‘alima, which means knowing, being aware, perceiving and learning. Another term is Tarbiyah from the root of
raba, which means spiritual and moral growth based on the will of God. The third term is Ta’dīb from the root aduba
which means to be cultured or refined in social behavior.==Education in pre-modern Islam==
The centrality of scripture and its study in the Islamic tradition helped to make education
a central pillar of the religion in virtually all times and places in the history of Islam. The importance of learning in the Islamic
tradition is reflected in a number of hadiths attributed to Muhammad, including one that
instructs the faithful to “seek knowledge, even in China”. This injunction was seen to apply particularly
to scholars, but also to some extent to the wider Muslim public, as exemplified by the
dictum of Al-Zarnuji, “learning is prescribed for us all”. While it is impossible to calculate literacy
rates in pre-modern Islamic societies, it is almost certain that they were relatively
high, at least in comparison to their European counterparts. Education would begin at a young age with
study of Arabic and the Quran, either at home or in a primary school, which was often attached
to a mosque. Some students would then proceed to training
in tafsir (Quranic exegesis) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), which was seen as particularly
important. Education focused on memorization, but also
trained the more advanced students to participate as readers and writers in the tradition of
commentary on the studied texts. It also involved a process of socialization
of aspiring scholars, who came from virtually all social backgrounds, into the ranks of
the ulema.For the first few centuries of Islam, educational settings were entirely informal,
but beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ruling elites began to establish institutions
of higher religious learning known as madrasas in an effort to secure support and cooperation
of the ulema. Madrasas soon multiplied throughout the Islamic
world, which helped to spread Islamic learning beyond urban centers and to unite diverse
Islamic communities in a shared cultural project. Nonetheless, instruction remained focused
on individual relationships between students and their teacher. The formal attestation of educational attainment,
ijaza, was granted by a particular scholar rather than the institution, and it placed
its holder within a genealogy of scholars, which was the only recognized hierarchy in
the educational system. While formal studies in madrasas were open
only to men, women of prominent urban families were commonly educated in private settings
and many of them received and later issued ijazas in hadith studies, calligraphy and
poetry recitation. Working women learned religious texts and
practical skills primarily from each other, though they also received some instruction
together with men in mosques and private homes.Madrasas were devoted principally to study of law,
but they also offered other subjects such as theology, medicine, and mathematics. The madrasa complex usually consisted of a
mosque, boarding house, and a library. It was maintained by a waqf (charitable endowment),
which paid salaries of professors, stipends of students, and defrayed the costs of construction
and maintenance. The madrasa was unlike a modern college in
that it lacked a standardized curriculum or institutionalized system of certification.Muslims
distinguished disciplines inherited from pre-Islamic civilizations, such as philosophy and medicine,
which they called “sciences of the ancients” or “rational sciences”, from Islamic religious
sciences. Sciences of the former type flourished for
several centuries, and their transmission formed part of the educational framework in
classical and medieval Islam. In some cases, they were supported by institutions
such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, but more often they were transmitted informally
from teacher to student.The University of Al Karaouine, founded in 859 AD, is listed
in The Guinness Book Of Records as the world’s oldest degree-granting university. The Al-Azhar University was another early
university (madrasa). The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid
caliphate. The Fatimids traced their descent to Muhammad’s
daughter Fatimah and named the institution using a variant of her honorific title Al-Zahra
(the brilliant). Organized instruction in the Al-Azhar Mosque
began in 978.==Ideas==Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas described the
Islamic purpose of education as a balanced growth of the total personality through training
the spirit, intellect, rational self, feelings and bodily senses such that faith is infused
into the whole personality.Seyyed Hossein Nasr stated that, while education does prepare
humankind for happiness in this life, “its ultimate goal is the abode of permanence and
all education points to the permanent world of eternity”.According to the Nahj al-Balagha,
there are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge merely heard and that which is absorbed. The former has no benefit unless it is absorbed. The heard knowledge is gained from the outside
and the other is absorbed knowledge means the knowledge that raised from nature and
human disposition, referred to the power of innovation of a person.The Quran is the optimal
source of knowledge. For teaching Quranic traditions, the Maktab
as elementary school emerged in mosques, private homes, shops, tents, and even outside.The
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has organized five conferences on Islamic
education: in Mecca (1977), Islamabad (1980), Dhaka (1981), Jakarta (1982), and Cairo (1987).==See also==
Madrasa Islamic studies
List of contemporary Muslim scholars of Islam

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