Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Part 3 - Foundations of the Curriculum in the Khilafah

The following is part of a draft translation of the Arabic book entitled 'Foundations of the Education Curriculum in the Khilafah state' published by Dar al-Ummah (Beirut, Lebanon), 1st Edition, 1425 Hijra—2004 CE. I will be posting sections from the book:

3. GENERAL GOALS OF EDUCATION IN THE KHILAFAH STATE

There are two leading goals of education that must be observed when setting the method and subjects of education:-

1. Building the Islamic personality, intellect and psyche, of the Ummah’s children via implanting
the Islamic culture—’aqeedah, thoughts and behaviour—into the students’ intellects and
psyches. Accordingly care must be taken in the Khilafah State to set and implement methods to
achieve this goal.
2. Preparing Muslim children such that some become scholars with expertise in every field of life
whether in Islamic sciences (ijtihad, fiqh, judiciary etc) or empirical sciences (engineering,
chemistry, physics, medicine etc). Scholars who are able to carry the Islamic State and Ummah
upon their shoulders so as to gain the preeminent position among the world’s nations and States,
such that the Khilafah becomes a leading and influential State based upon its ideology, not a
subordinate or client State in its thought or economy.

4. TEACHING METHOD

The correct teaching method is rational address by the teacher and the student’s intellectual
learning/reception. Thought or mind/ration (‘aql) is the tool for both teaching and studying; and Allah gifted humanity with this mind thereby ennobling and favouring him over much of His creation. And He made the mind the situational cause (manaat) of accountability.

The mind is composed of four (elements): The brain (suitable for thinking), senses, the reality, and information precedent to the reality. The mind or thought or understanding (idraak) all have the same meaning namely: “Transferring sensation of the reality via the senses to the brain with existent previous information to translate the reality”; then issuing judgement upon the reality. If one wishes to transmit/communicate this thought to othes, as in the education process, the teacher transmits this thought to students via one or more styles of expression, principally language. If the students link this thought with a sensed or previously sensed reality, or one whose like they had previously sensed, this thought would be transmitted to them just as if they had achieved it. If they did not so link it to a reality, sensed or able to be senses, such as where they understand a sentence’s meaning and it was explained to them without their conceiving any reality for it, this thought would not be transmitted to them. Rather mere information would be transmitted to them, such information making them educated persons (muta’allimeeen) not thinkers. Thus the teacher, when transmitting thoughts to students, must bring its meaning close to students’ brains by attempting to link it with a reality they sense, or a reality close to what they have sensed, such that they adopt it as a thought and not mere information. Accordingly the teacher must be keen to make the student sense the reaity; if the
cannot bring forward the reality itself, he must depict an image close to that reality in the student’s brain when giving the thought such that the student links the information with a sensed or conceived reality resulting in thought.

The thought that the teacher transmits to students is examined as follows:-

--If it has a sensed reality that the students have previously sensed, or they sense it during the thought’s transmission to them, they would perceive and accept it intellectually.
--If they had not previously sensed it nor do they sense it during the transmission, yet however they conceive it in their brains and believe it just as it is transmitted to them, and they accept it just as they accept the sensed reality, they would also understand and accept it intellectually.
In both cases, the thought the teacher transmits to them would become their own thought.

However, if the thought did not have a sensed reality or one that can be sensed by the students, this thought would remain mere information to those it was transmitted to.
The sensed reality is the one that man can sense via one of his five senses, whether this reality were material or abstract (ma’anawiyy). The material reality is like seeing the tree, hearing the sparrow’s
voice, feeling the fabric’s delicacy, smelling flowers’ fragrance and tasting honey’s flavour. The
abstract reality is like courage, trustworthiness, cowardice and treachery that are sensed intellectually upon their material appearance. So one comprehends that the Muslim’s fighting the enemy despite their material and numerical superiority is courage, whereas his fleeing from the battlefield is cowardice. The sensed reality or one that can be sensed, whether material or abstract, is a fundamental element in the thinking process. Thought cannot be thought without it.

The hidden/invisible matters (mugheebaat) that man cannot senses with any of his senses e.g.
Paradise, Hellfire, the Throne etc are not topics of thinking via the senses; rather they are topics of thought via information whose credibility is definitive (qat’iyy) like the Noble Qur’an and mutawatir Hadith. As for the hidden matters imagined by some e.g. ghouls and the bull carrying the earth upon its horns, preoccupying oneself with the like is not thinkiing since they are neither sensed nor conveyed definitively by the senses. They are (mere ) speculation and superstition without reality, and students must avoid preoccupying their thinking with the like.
In the process of rational address and intellectual learning via hearing or reading, the addressor namely the teacher or curriculum devisor must use the four elements of thinking. So care must be taken when addressed the one being educated i.e. the “student”, whether orally or via writing, to precisely depict the reality for the student if he has not previously sensed it so that the recipient feels as if he perceives the reality. This is done via accumulating all information related to the reality so as to bring its image closer to the student.

The principal tool for rational address and intellectual learning in teaching or learning is language and the words and sentences it contains, the meanings that these words and sentences indicate, and the thoughts carried by these meaning. If the teacher and student comprehend these words, sentences and meanings with respect to the thoughts they indcate, these tools would be effective in the teaching and learning process. Accordingly, every teacher and curriculum devisor must take student linguistic achievement into account and use words, sentences and compositions that they understand in order to facilitate the intellectual discourse between the two parties. By intellectual discourse we mean the mutual address between the two parties containing the four elements of thinking.

Using this method, written or verbal texts change into thoughts within the student’s brain (just as they exist for the teacher) that he is able to express according to his linguistice achievement, then interact with the same according to his criteria e.g. halal or haram, right or wrong.

This method is suitable to transmit or receive any thought, whether this thought is directly related to a specific viewpoint about life such as ideological thoughts, or not so related such as mathematical sciences. If the thoughts belong to the first category meaning they are directly related to a specific viewpoint about life i.e. the thoughts organising man’s relationship with his Lord, himself and others, such thoughts must be linked to the Islamic ‘aqeedah. Thereupon one addresses the student’s feeling along with addressing his though in demonstrating this thought’s relationship with the student in this life and the Hereafter such that he becomes convinced of this thought and it becomes a concept controlling his behaviour. Thus his feeling of love and partiality (iqdaam) mobilise towards the correct thoughts emanating from a specific viewpoint defined by the Islamic ‘aqeedah, and he moves to realise it with conviction and enthusiasimn. Or his feelings of hate and resistance (ihjaam) is agitated against erroneous thoughts that contradict and oppose his viewpoint about life, so he moves to fight and oppose them. Teaching the intellectual text realted to a viewpoint does not mean merely restricting oneself to its linnguistic meaning; rather it meands understanding the text so as to apply it upon its relevant reality in order that the the student adopts the Shar’a mandated stance towards it, whether by acting or abstaining. So he studies this type of thought to control his behaviour according to the Shari’ah rules. Education is not merely for the sake if intellectual amusement’ rather it is meant
to build the Islamic personality, in intellect and disposition, that strives to attain Allah’s pleasure in all its actions and statements.

Whereas if the thoughts are of the second type i.e. thoughts not directly related to a specific viewpoint such as physics, chemistry, mathematics etc, they are studied to prepare the student to interact with the universe that Allah subjugated to serve man.

He ta’ala said:

“And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth” [TMQ Al-
Jaathiya:13]

And He ta’ala said:

“And He has subjected to you the night and day, and the sun and moon, and the stars are in subjection by His command” [TMQ An-Nahl:12]

The Muslim, as an Islamic personality, studies empirical sciences in order to derive benefit and employ it to serve the Islamic Ummah’s interests and vital issues. Knowledge is not sought for its own sake; rather, it is sought in order that man benefits from thethoughts and knowledge he learns in this life according to the Islamic rules.

He ta’ala said:

“Seek the home of the Hereafter with what Allah gave you, but do not forget your portion in this
world” [TMQ Al-Qasas:77]

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