- Dear Sirs Sharing a nice article. Read please the following article on Islamic Education Movement. Underlines some parts. The Islamic EducationMessage 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2010View SourceDear SirsSharing a nice article. Read please the following article on Islamic Education Movement. Underlines some parts.
The Islamic Education Movement: A Recent History and Objectives
*Shah Abdul Hannan
The Islamic Education Movement, otherwise widely known as the Movement for the Islamization of Knowledge, is a new phenomenon, which began to unfold sometime in 1977-1978. A group of scholars felt that the educational system in the Muslim World is not fulfilling the needs of Muslim countries and that it should be thoroughly revised and updated. Against this backdrop, the first Islamic Educational World Conference was held in 1977 in Makkah, bringing together more than 300 scholars from all over the world. The first conference offered certain significant recommendations for the Islamization of Knowledge. Later, more such conferences were held in other parts of the world and attended by Ulama, academics, scholars and intellectuals of various countries. Such conferences were held, among other countries, in Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh. This writer had the opportunity to participate in the conference held in Dhaka in 1980. These conferences helped significantly in conceptualizing and determining the future contours and structure of Islamic Education. Later, notable institutions such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), USA joined in this movement. Since then, the prime focus of IIIT activities has been the restructuring of thought and the Islamization of knowledge including the Islamization of education.
The painstaking efforts of the learned scholars of various disciplines to formulate a pragmatic Islamic Education Policy through the Islamic Education Conferences combined with the contributions of eminent Islamic organizations and individuals to result in the establishment of the first Islamic University, the International Islamic University (IIU) in Malaysia. Distinguished Islamic scholars from different parts of the world, who made significant contributions to relevant fields and combine a remarkable expertise in specific disciplines with a profound belief in and understanding of Islam, assembled in the new alma mater. Many of these scholars were leaders of the Islamic Movement in their own countries and were at the forefront of dawah-oriented Islamic activities in their own fields and sub-fields. Dr. AbdulHamid AbuSulayman, a renowned scholar of Islam and the current Chairman of IIIT USA, assumed the responsibility of leading the IIU, Malaysia, after the groundwork had been done by the 1st Rector of the University Prof. Dr. A. Rauf along with his colleagues. A prolific writer, Dr. AbulHamid has in his credit a number of publications of which �Towards an Islamic Theory of International Relations� and �Crisis in the Muslim Mind� are widely acclaimed. Dr. AbulHamid, on assuming the responsibility of heading the University, vigorously pursued the project of the �Islamization of Education.� Arabic and Fiqh (Islamic Law and Jurisprudence) were introduced as compulsory university requirement courses. From the very beginning, the University took steps to gradually Islamize the subjects in the social sciences and the effort continues.
Since then, other Islamic universities have been established in different parts of the world following the model of IIU, Malaysia. One such university has been established in Islamabad (Pakistan), another in Uganda in Africa, and yet a third in Kushtia (Bangladesh). It must be admitted that the Islamic University, Bangladesh has, to some extent, lost direction on account of the local political environment. This university has not been able to make much headway in following the model of IIU, Malaysia. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that despite its various shortcomings, the Islamic University, Bangladesh, has also made some contributions of its own towards the Islamization of education and knowledge. Later, Darul Ihsan University and Islamic University, Chittagong were established in the same spirit*.
To many, the importance of the project of the Islamization of education remains unclear, and this issue demands an in-depth examination and a critical and careful analysis. The Islamization of education is significant because the roots of the major problems facing the Ummah, the Muslim community, today can be traced to the issue of education. If we evaluate the deeply troubled political, economic and social scenarios prevalent in the present Muslim world from an Islamic perspective, we may conclude that the ultimate reason for all these ills in the Muslim world lies in our failure to restructure the system of education in such a way that it might simultaneously meet the demands of our time and enable us to (re)constitute ourselves as pious Muslims. Had we been able to educate Muslims in the proper Islamic spirit, the socio-political and economic maladies gripping the present Muslim world could not have become anywhere as widespread and as deep-seated as they are today. Prominent scholars and academics such as Ismail Raji al Faruqi, AbdulHamid AbuSulayman, and Syed Ali Ashraf (the eminent educationist, Islamic scholar and founder of Darul Ihsan University Bangladesh) share this view.
Islamic educationists and scholars are of the unanimous opinion that the various problems facing the Ummah are emanating from the crisis in the sphere of education. Such thinkers and intellectuals uphold that education has failed to achieve its desired objective in ignoring issues of ethics and morality in the course of the last century.
The crisis facing our present world civilization is rooted in the marginalization of moral and ethical issues in the curriculum of educational institutions. As an outcome of this disrespect to eternal moral values, our educational institutions are producing violent and cruel human beings devoid of love, affection, fraternity, brotherhood and the sensibilities of a common human citizenship. Recent developments in Bosnia, Kosova, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Gujrat in India are mere symptoms of the impoverishment of modern education, which has produced men prone to dehumanizing tendencies. Modern man is no longer imbibed with transcendent humane values. Hence the most developed nations of the world today do not hesitate to bomb unarmed civilians, women, and children in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of a �war against terrorism.� These �sophisticated� countries, otherwise steeped in discourses of �civil society,� �democracy,��progress,� and �human rights,� did not falter in continuing sanctions against Iraq at the cost of the lives of millions of Iraqi children. Nobody can hope to change this sorry state of affairs, to really and truly improve the face of modern civilization unless the educational curriculum is restructured, with a particular emphasis on moral and ethical values.
What is, therefore, required is a re-centering of education on ethical principles, a fruitful combining of professional training with moral education, where religion serves as the richest and key repository of moral values. As far as Muslims are concerned, such values can be drawn from Islam and if Muslim societies are not reordered or �re-made� in the light of the precepts and teachings of Islam, not only Muslim societies but the entire world is bound to suffer. In other words, humankind will suffer. The solution, therefore, lies in combining Islamic values with modern subjects in the case of Muslims. Where non-Muslims are in the vast majority, as in Japan, China and many Western countries, modern disciplines should be infused with locally rooted ethical and moral values. It is noteworthy that the phenomenon of globalization currently underway and the concomitant rise and proliferation of new media such as the internet and satellite dish, ensure that developments in one part of the world affect other parts with unprecedented speed. Therefore, the problem of education must be addressed both at regional and international levels.
In addressing a seminar in Dhaka during his recent visit to Bangladesh, Dr. Abdul Hamid A. Abu Sulayman, the former Rector of IIU, Malaysia, and the current Chairman of IIIT, USA, pointed out that �Muslims are not performing. Bangladesh is not performing. The Muslim world is not performing�. He observed that in January 2001 (or December 2000), the total GDP of the Muslim world was US $ 1100 billion whereas the GDP of Japan at that time was US $ 5500 billion, which is five times higher than that of the Muslim world despite the fact that the Muslim world stretches all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic. �Why are not Muslims performing, why are not Muslims motivated, why are not Muslims key actors on the world scene, why are they only spectators, why they are in the fringe�, asked Dr. AbdulHamid of his learned audience in the seminar.
Dr. AbdulHamid submitted that Muslims are marginalized because: �We are not motivated�. The present educational system has failed to motivate Muslims and one of the foremost reasons for this is that Muslims continue to suffer from the �slavish mentality� inherited from the colonial period. We have been unable to rid ourselves of this slavish mentality, which induces us only to follow and imitate but not to think critically, constructively, creatively, and as leaders. Dr. AbdulHamid suggested that Muslims must reallocate to education the importance it has enjoyed historically within the Islamic tradition. He proposed that Muslims integrate the natural and social sciences, professional training, and the arts and humanities with Islamic values.
Now if we turn to history, to the Abbasi, Usmania, and Mughal periods, we find that their educational systems did produce army generals and civil servants who studied the then modern subjects and at the same were fully conversant with teachings of the Quran, Sunnah, [the Traditions of the Prophet (SAWS)], and Fiqh (Islamic law and jurisprudence). An army officer during the Abbasi reign did not only master the military sciences but was also knowledgeable in the teachings of the Quran, Sunnah, Fiqh, and Arabic language. Likewise, a civil servant was required to study contemporary professional subjects along with the Quran, Sunnah, Fiqh and Arabic. Approximately 150 to 200 years earlier, the system of education in much of the Muslim world was grounded in an integrative approach and not in an exclusionary one.
What is, then, the responsibility of the new generation of Muslims? The duty and obligation of the Muslims, and in fact, the task of scholars and policymakers worldwide is to conceptualize and implement a restructuring of educational systems, and not to focus on professional knowledge alone so that we no longer produce only mechanized and materialist human beings but individuals with robust values, an ability to reflect both critically and compassionately on the world, and a profound capacity for soul-searching. We must structure the educational system globally in such a way that professional knowledge is productively integrated with ethics and morality. This can be done on the basis of religion. It should, however, be made clear that the establishment of an Islamic University does not mean that the doors of such educational institutions shall be closed to non-Muslims. Any non-Muslim student should be able to study at such a university without having the teachings of Islam imposed upon him/her. A non-Muslim student would be obliged to follow only the core educational program (including the University requirement courses). Non-Muslim students would be offered optional subjects in certain discipline or areas.
The message of Islam is universal, intended for all humankind: Ya Ayyuhan nass, O mankind. Allah has revealed the Quran not to divide humankind. The duty of the Prophet (SAWS), in fact, was to bring people together, bridging cultural, racial, and class divides. Islam teaches humankind not to take away the rights of others but to protect such rights. Islam advocates against any kind of extremism and upholds moderation. Indeed, Islam identifies itself as constituting a middle ground. Allah (SWT) in Surat Al Baqarah declares: �We have created you as a balanced community�(2:143).
It is, therefore, clear that if we are fully able to appreciate and realize the true meaning of Islam, then we cannot turn out to be extremist but would incline towards moderation. Despite various misconceptions circulating in a hegemonic global media regarding Islam today, I, like most Muslim thinkers around the world, firmly believe that there is no reason whatsoever for non-Muslims to fear Islam. If we consider the annals of history, we find that the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) established a worldview and lifestyle in which life, honor and property of a non-Muslim were guaranteed full security. Moreover, in the commonwealth established by the Prophet (SAWS) under the Charter of Medina, the Jews were self governing and autonomous and they used to conduct their communal life in accordance with their own laws. The Muslims, for their part, used to follow their own laws. The state was run in accordance with the shariah and all the communities participated in the joint undertakings of the state such as defense.
The essence of Islam is Tawheed, which not only indicates the oneness of Allah but also signifies that humankind is one and its honor, inviolable. The objective of the shariah is the attainment and sustenance of the welfare of mankind. Tawheed signifies the welfare of the entire human race. It also implies that believers of Tawheed must always desire the well-being and happiness of others and must not discriminate between human beings. Despite various cultural, dispositional, and economic differences between persons, the principle of Tawheed advocates respect for all on the grounds of a common humanity and global citizenship. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) fully embodied the gamut of meanings Tawheed conveys and represents. He (SAWS) stated in his farewell pilgrimage speech that No Arab has superiority over a non-Arab. White skin has no superiority over black skin. What is the meaning of this? There are two levels of meaning here, explicit and implicit. The explicit meaning is on the racial and cultural level, and is self-evident. The implicit meaning is on the gender level. Given that there is male and female both among white skinned and black skinned people, what does it mean for an Arab to be equal to a non-Arab? It simply means that an Arab female is equal to a non-Arab male and a non-Arab male is equal to an Arab female. Which guidelines could be more egalitarian than this? What message, considered particularly within its contemporary socio-cultural and political context, could be more revolutionary?
In the face of the basic equality of humanity, differences on the level of biology, culture, social roles, and class are superficial indeed. The differences and hierarchies that have become deep-rooted in our societies are the result of the prevalent educational system. The establishment of a proper and practical Islamic educational system in Bangladesh would ensure the access to education for all. There would be scholarships for the underprivileged and the meritorious, and various options for non-Muslims in their pursuit of knowledge within an Islamic setting. New avenues would be explored and new scopes and opportunities created. Human equality would be pursued meticulously. The honor, dignity and respect due to non-Muslims as human beings would be vigorously guarded. There would be no compulsion in the area of religion as clearly enunciated in the Quran: La Ikraha Fiddeen (Surat Al Baqarah: 256).For any personal reply, please reply me bejust.peace@...Join me @facebook!
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