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The Concept and Aim of Islamic Education


The Ummah is in grave condition. Presently the Ummah is being stepped on, humiliated,

ridiculed, massacred, colonized, robbed of its rich resources or defeated. It has been

called names such as terrorist, backward, fanatic, and other such demeaning names. The

Ummah is being attacked from within and without. The Muslims are being secularized,

westernized and de-Islamized. They are loosing their identity to foreign ideologies such

as hedonism, materialism, existentialism, and other isms. The worst scenario is the

Ummah is in continuous war with each other. The pictures that the Ummah paints for the

outside world are not pretty. This is made worst with the help of biased media which are

very sensitive to the wrongdoings by the Ummah.

The irony is that the Muslims are the richest people in the world yet they died because of

starvation. They have in their possession rich natural resources yet the disparity between

the haves and the haves not is very great in the Muslims world. The rich has no

compassion toward the poor. They have the most realistic and practical method of living

in their possession but they change it to the very system that destroys their identity and

civilization. The colonial powers have succeeded in dividing the Muslims into several

small countries and turned them against each other. To ensure the perpetuation of their

ideologies, the colonialists appointed the local elites who were educated in western

institutions to lead the country after independence. These political leaders dance to the

tunes of their western masters. They oppressed their own brothers for the satisfaction and

approval of their western counterparts.

Economically, the Muslims are backward. Most of them are illiterate. They depend on

the west to provide them with food and services. Western colonialists feed their mind

with consumerism, thus create vast markets for their consumer products. Western

imperialists are not concerned with developing the countries they invaded but they are

concerned with making more profits by ensuring that the Muslims are in constant demand

for their products. Even though physically the Muslims are independent, but their minds

are still being colonized. Western imperialists constantly feed the minds of Muslims with

the superiority of western cultures through the media. Such is the state of the Ummah.

The Ummah has lost its fine culture and civilization. Westernized political leaders did

not comprehend the very fact that the Ummah is in such sorry state is because they

abandon their own belief for secularism. They naively thought that the predicament that

they are in is because of they are not modern and developed yet. So they find ways to

disseminate to the masses the importance of physical development as the method of

delivering the Ummah from further destruction. One most effective way is through

education system. The education system prevalent in the Muslims world is the exact

copy of their western counterparts. The end result is the Ummah is experiencing a

progressive erosion of culture and civilization. The Ummah is in a hurry to emulate the

Western culture which is seen as progressive and developed. It is stumbling behind

Westerners to get their seal of approval.

Therefore, it is imperative that the Ummah scrutinizes its education system and find

faults within the system. In order to make judgment on the current state of Muslims

education system, it is very significant to understand what education from Islamic

perspective is. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to expound the concept of education in

Islam. The confusion in the meaning of education will lead to the selection of wrong

aims and objectives of education which will affect the selection of contents of education.

The precise definition is crucial since it determines the framework of education. Thus, the

decision on content selections and programs of education becomes less problematic and

within the scope of Islamic education. Loose definition will allow irrelevant contents,

methods, and assessment to permeate into the framework of Islamic education which will

affect the outcomes of the education system. Hence this paper will first define education

from Islamic perspective followed by the aim and objectives of Islamic education. Then

this paper will compare the aim of Islamic education to the aim of secular education. The

subsequent discussion is on the root cause of the Muslims’ dilemma which is prevalent

through out the Muslim World. Before conclusion, this paper will present several

recommendations on possible solutions of the malaise of the Ummah.

The Concept of Education in Islam

In his book titled The Concept of Education in Islam, Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas

(1980) asserts that “education is something progressively instilled into man” (p. 13).

Education here is not a process but content. The “something” in the definition of

education is the content of education that is instilled into man. The word instill suggests

internalization which lead to a change in behavior. Therefore, education is not merely

transferring information from teachers to students but transforming a person to a good

person. To change an individual to be a good person, that “something” in education must

be the truth. Who and what determines the truth? From Islamic perspective, the truth is

determined through the signs of Allah which are the Qur’an and Sunnah, the open book

of nature and reason.

Before expounding the concept of education in Islam further, it is imperative to

understand the definition of man, aql, meaning, amal, justice, and wisdom first since

these terms are related to the concept of education in Islam. This paper then will discuss

the Arabic word that denotes education which encompasses the comprehensive meaning

of education. The discussion about the concept of education will be based on Syed

Muhammad Naquib’s (Al-Attas) point of view.

Nature of Man

First we have to understand the meaning of man because man is the one who is being

educated. The contents of education will be determined by the nature of man. Man is

born with fitrah which means that he has recognized that Allah is his Creator innately but

with the potential of being a nonbeliever. Therefore, he has to protect himself from

external agents of misguidance with the help of external divine agents which are the

prophets and the revelation from Allah (Yasein 1998). Man has dual nature, the physical

(body) and the abstract (mind and soul). Man’s physical nature is an agent that feeds the

soul with information through sense perception and rational perception so that meaning

of the information received can be understood. Therefore, there should be no dichotomy

between heart and body because the heart depends on the body to provide them with

information through the sense faculties and reason; and the body depends on the heart to

liberate it from succumbing to its lower nafs. Concisely, both dimensions of man must

be developed according to the truth.

We have mentioned that rational perception and spiritual perception are done in two

separate faculties. According to Yasien (1998), rational perception is done in the mind.

The locus of the mind is the brain. It is “capable of reasoning which is the projection of

aql on the mental plane” (p. 92). We know that man differs from other animals because

man is bestowed with the ability to reason and communicate using language through

speech. The process of articulating words in meaningful structures is done in the aql

(mental plane). Al-Attas (1980) defines aql as “an innate property that binds and

withholds the objects of knowledge by means of words” (p. 14). He claims that aql and

qalb (heart) are synonymous. Spiritual perception is done in the aql. Aql is capable of

both reasoning and intellection i.e. comprehending revealed knowledge. Qalb (heart) is

the locus of aql. This means that the function of the heart is not only to pump blood to

the entire body but also as an organ of spiritual cognition (Acikgenc 1996). The Qur’an

refers to qalb (heart) as thinking organ in the following verse:

‫يعقلونبها قلوب لهم فتكون الرض يسيروافي افلم‬

‫الصدور التىفى تعمىالقلوب اللبصرولكن فاءنهالتعمى بها يسمعون اوأذان‬

Have they not traveled through the land so that they have hearts to think with, and

ears to hear with? It is not the (physical) eyes that are blind, but the hearts within

the breasts. (Al-Hajj (22): 46)

From this exposition, we conclude that man is dual in nature; however both the physical

and abstract nature of man is interdependent. Therefore, education system should be

planned in a way that both dimension of man can be cultivated.

The Meaning of Meaning

Man is equipped with reason and aql so that he is capable of making judgment and

formulating meaning. Language is the tool that man use to make judgment and

understand meaning. What does it mean when we say that we understand the meaning of

something? Meaning, according to Al-Attas (1980) is the “recognition of a place of

anything in a system which occurs when the relation a thing has with others in the system

becomes clarified and understood” (p. 15). What he means by this statement is that we

cannot understand the meaning of a thing without recognizing its different position in

relation to other things and without making connection and association with other things.

For example, we can only understand the meaning of an object called “pen” when we

associate it with writing. To know the object “pen” is merely information, to understand

the meaning of a pen is to recognize its position in relation to writing. Therefore, the

meaning of a thing is the purpose of that thing. Furthermore, if we ask a person who

never heard of the word “axiology” before, he could not understand its meaning because

he could not make the connection between axiology and other concepts that are stored in

his memory. He does not know where to place axiology in his mind and he does not

know the purpose of knowing axiology.

The Meaning of Knowledge

Meaning has close connection with knowledge because we acquire knowledge after the

meaning of the objects of knowledge is understood. It is significant to distinguish

between information and knowledge because ontologically information does not

transform or change a person for the better. Information without meaning is mere speck

of data contained in one’s brain. When information is related and associated with other

information in the brain which resulted in using the information for specific purposes,

then the information contains meaning which makes it knowledge. Hence, information

that gives meaning to one’s soul can only be considered as knowledge. Al-Attas (1980)

defines knowledge as “the arrival in the soul of the meaning of a thing or an object of

knowledge” (p. 17). We have clarified that meaning of a thing is not the thing

independent of reality but the meaning of a thing is other than what the thing really is.

Thus, the meaning of knowledge is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge but the

meaning of knowledge is the purpose of seeking the knowledge. The true purpose of

seeking knowledge is determined by the Qur’an and Sunnah.

We have demonstrated that we understand meaning of a thing when the relationship the

thing has with other things is understood. To understand the meaning of knowledge, we

have to understand it in relation to man and education. Knowledge is the method or tool

to discipline the body, mind and soul of a man. We have also established that is

something in education that is progressively instilled into man. That something is

knowledge. Thus, knowledge that should be the content of education is knowledge of the

purpose of seeking knowledge. However, recognizing the purpose of seeking knowledge

alone does not make education complete. To render education an education, recognition

of the knowledge must be followed by acknowledgement of the knowledge. In other

words, after one recognizes his "proper place in the order of creation, such that it leads to

the recognition of the proper place of God in the order of being and existence” (p. 18),

one acknowledges it through action (amal). Recognition is Tawhid Rububiyah and

acknowledgement is Tawhid Uluhiyah. Acknowledgement is the manifestation of

recognition. Thus, the definition of content of education is “recognition and

acknowledgement of the proper places of things in hierarchical order of creation, such

that it leads to the recognition and acknowledgement of the proper place of God in the

order of being and existence” (1980, 19).

The Concept of Adl (justice) and Wisdom

Ontologically, things are arranged hierarchically in their proper places. For example, in a

family the father is the leader. The leader of all prophets is Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The condition of things being in their proper places is called justice (adl). Hence, when

we leveled the Prophet (SAW) at the same level with other men, we are doing injustice to

ourselves and others. Injustice brings disorder and chaos. In order for a man to make the

correct judgment of the proper places of things, he must have wisdom. Wisdom is the

knowledge given by God so that man who has wisdom can evaluate things justly. It is

the purpose of education to produce man of wisdom who perpetuates the condition of

justice. Therefore, the knowledge to be progressively instilled into man is knowledge of

how to be just to the self, family, society, the environment, and to Allah. Furthermore, if

we replace the phrase ‘the proper places of things in the order of creations’ with the word

justice, the meaning of content of education will be recognition and acknowledgement of

justice, such that it leads to recognition and acknowledgement of Allah as the source of

justice. If man has recognizes and acknowledges justice, the end result is man of


The Meaning of Education in Islam

All the concepts that this paper has discussed is related closely with the meaning of

education in Islam. Now that we understand those concepts, we can conclude that the

meaning of education is “recognition and acknowledgement, progressively instilled into

man, of the proper places of things in the order of creation, such that it leads to the

recognition and acknowledgment of the proper place of god in the order of being and

existence” (Al-Attas 1980, p. 21). Our next task is to match this definition to the accurate

Arabic word.

We have established that the content of education is the knowledge of the purpose of

seeking knowledge. The purpose of seeking knowledge is to produce man who

recognizes and acknowledges his proper place in the order of creation, such that he

recognizes and acknowledges Allah’s proper place in the order of being and existence. It

means that man who practices what he had learnt and knows his station in relation to

Allah. After he bears witness that Allah is his Creator, he acknowledges it through right

actions. The right actions are determined by the Qur’an and Sunnah. In other words,

man who uses wisdom to generate the condition of justice. Therefore, according to Al-

Attas, the correct word to represent this is adab since adab is the discipline of the body,

the mind, and the soul so that it brings the condition of justice.


Adab is the discipline that ensures the recognition and acknowledgement of one’s station

in the hierarchical order of creation; the discipline that enables man to recognize his

position in relation to Allah. In other words, the discipline that ensures man to say in

conviction that Allah IS my creator (rububiyah), that I am only a humble servant of

Allah, thus my actions(uluhiyah) must be in accordance to Allah. Al-Attas (1980) claims

that the succinct definition of adab is “the spectacle of justice as it is reflected by

wisdom” (p. 22). Adab includes both iman and amal. Therefore adab is the knowledge

of the purpose of seeking it which is the same with the content of education. Hence we

can conclude that education is ta’dib – the noun of the word adab. This claim is strongly

supported by the following saying of the Prophet (SAW):

‫تأديبي فأحسن أدبني ربي‬

‘My Lord educate (addaba) me and made my education (ta’dib) most excellent’

(reported by Al-Askari).

‫وأحسنواأدبهم أدبواأولدكم‬

“Educate (addibu) your children and improve their adab” (reported by Ibnu Majah

from Ibnu Abbas r.a.).

These hadiths prove that education in precisely ta’dib.

The Impact of Ta’dib to the Discipline of Body, Mind and Soul

The term ta’dib is encompassing both the education of body and the soul. The discipline

of the body does not mean the physical strength or health education only but includes all

education which will ensure man’s sustenance in this world such as means of generating

income, social responsibilities, environmental responsibilities, and etc. In other words, to

discipline the body, one has to have knowledge on how to manage the system; which is

classified as knowledge of fardh kifayah. Man comprehends knowledge to discipline his

physical self through mental faculty which is located in the brain. Thus, Allah has

bestowed upon man reason in order to understand the knowledge of fardh kifayah.

Ta’dib also refers to the discipline of the mind and soul. Man is endowed with

intellection faculty which is located in the heart so that he could understand revealed

knowledge in order to discipline his soul. Thus, man could discipline his mind and soul

through the knowledge of fardhu ain which is received through the heart (qalb). Since

heart is the king in man’s little kingdom, heart must be disciplined first. This is in line

with the Prophet’s (SAW) saying:

‫الجسدكله واذافسدت فسدالجسدكله اذاصلحت صلح فىالجسدمضغه الوان‬

‫الوهي القلب‬

“Behold, within the body is a lump of meat, if it is good the whole body is good,

and if it is rotten the whole body is rotten. Behold, that lump of meat is the heart”

(reported by Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Abdillah An-Numan ibnu Basyir).

The Prophet (SAW) said that if the heart is disciplined to recognize and act according to

what is ordained by Allah, the physical body will be saved from destruction of following

the lower nafs. Therefore, to have knowledge on how to discipline the heart is obligatory

to every Muslim man and woman. This revealed knowledge is called knowledge of fardh

ain. Thus when ta’dib is used to denote education, it means that education which include

both knowledge i.e. knowledge of how to manage self so that man can become an abd

(servant); and knowledge of how to manage the system so that man can fulfill his

obligation as khalifah (vicegerent) of Allah. There is no dichotomy between the two

disciplines; hence, the end result of ta’dib is man of adab or man who brings justice with

his wisdom.

Aim of Islamic Education

The aim of Islamic education is to produce good man. Good man means man of adab.

Man who recognizes his station in relation to Allah, his society, his self, and other beings;

and act accordingly so that he produces the condition of justice with his wisdom. Man

who recognizes and acknowledges his role as servant and vicegerent in this world. Good

man is a man who possesses the knowledge to manage his self and the system that he

lives in. In other words, man who recognizes that Allah is his Creator and manifests his

conviction through right actions. Right actions are determined by the Qur’an and the

Prophet’s (SAW) traditions. Concisely, good man is a man who emulates the Prophet

(SAW) as close as possible. To be good man is to be good both to the self and the


Therefore, good man subsumes good citizen. Good man is a man who is successful in

this world and in the hereafter because he removes every obstacle that comes between

him and Allah. According to Al-Ghazali, the purpose of man’s life is to gain happiness

in this world and in the hereafter. Therefore, he concludes that the aim of Islamic

education is to cultivate man so that he follows the teaching of the Qur’an and the Sunnah

to ensure eternal happiness in the hereafter (Nofal 1993). Good man defines himself as

an abd which assures eternal relationship with Allah; and accepts the role as vicegerent

which makes him the manager of the systems that ensure justice is done to the occupants

of the earth and to the planet earth itself. Man who does justice to himself, to society he

belongs to, to other creatures of Allah, and to the environment he lives in is the man who

serves Allah in totality. Therefore, the ultimate aim of Islamic education is to actualize

the following verse of the Qur’an:

‫وما خلقت الجن والءنس إلليعبدون‬

I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me (Az-Zariyat (51): 56).

Man who lives his entire life to submit to Allah alone is a man who is responsible and

amanah when they manage the system. Therefore justice will prevail in the society;

corruption will be minimized.

Aim of Secular Education

Secular education comes in many forms such as liberal education, democratic education,

or education that aims at perpetuating materialism, scientism, utilitarianism,

existentialism, and other isms. The common aim of these types of education is to

equipped students for worldly life. Their utmost concern is to transfer as much

information as possible so that students can be marketable in the job market or to give

them skill to function in a given society. For example, one form of secular education is

democratic education from the perspective of John Dewey.

This paper will illustrate a brief overview of Dewey’s aim of education. In his book

titled Democracy and Education, Dewey (1916) asserts that in an ideal democratic

society where everybody has equal opportunity “the aim of education is to enable

individuals to continue their education -- or that the object and reward of learning is

continued capacity for growth” (Chapter 8 p. 1). He further claims that since an ideal

state of democracy is not possible, aim of education must come within the education

process not from the without which is clearly stated in the statements below:

In our search for aims in education, we are not concerned, therefore, with finding

an end outside of the educative process to which education is subordinate. Our

whole conception forbids. We are rather concerned with the contrast which exists

when aims belong within the process in which they operate and when they are set

up from without. And the latter state of affairs must obtain when social

relationships are not equitably balanced. For in that case, some portions of the

whole social group will find their aims determined by an external dictation; their

aims will not arise from the free growth of their own experience, and their

nominal aims will be means to more ulterior ends of others rather than truly their

own (Chapter 8 p. 1)

He believes that aim of education must appear from internal i.e. within the education

system which means he advocated learner centered design of education system. The

society has no influence in manipulating the aim of education. The danger of this

philosophy is that it will create unbalanced individuals who could not perform well

within the society. Thus lead to disharmonious condition. Furthermore, ontologically

man does not know what is good for him, what more young students. If man knows what

is good and what is bad for him, there will be no destruction in this world. The truth is

only Allah knows what is good and what is bad for man. Therefore, letting the students

to dictate what they want to learn is letting them to do injustice toward themselves. This

philosophy will also produce students who are concerned with their own personal growth

and disregard the growth of the community.

Democracy from Islamic perspective is only to decide particular issues when the

available choices are permissible according to Islamic jurisprudence. For example, one

can practice democracy in deciding whether to use problem based learning or contextual

learning in implementing a particular curriculum. However one cannot use democracy to

choose whether to include aqidah or not in content of education. To understand aqidah is

obligatory for every Muslim man and woman, therefore it must be included in the content

of education. Muslim students cannot vote this subject out of the content of education.

Dewey’s concern is to produce individuals who possess the capacity to grow. The aim of

education is to equip students with the ability to continuously progress. Content of

education are not determined by the market forces but by the students’ own interest.

Conversely, the aim of education which has been practiced almost every where in the

world today is to produce citizens who are able to develop their country economically.

Content of education are determined by industrial needs. Therefore, more and more

subjects on values are sidelined; sometimes discarded all together from the content of

education. This is the reality that one cannot deny because it happens ubiquitously. The

utmost concern of today’s education is to produce individuals who can produce more

products effectively, therefore bring more profits to the organizations that they work for.

The end result is profit maximization.

Malaise of the Ummah

Because of the overemphasis on profit maximization and consumerism, education in the

Muslim world emphasizes contents and knowledge that can produce skilled and

professional citizens. Students are more concerned with filling up their minds with as

much information as possible so that they can excel in examination. Their motivation to

learn is not because they want to be good men and women but to enter into prestigious

higher learning institutions so that they could secure good jobs after they graduated. The

consequence is they learn what ever the market dictates them to learn. The result is

Muslims are lacking in knowledge to manage self, thus inflict injustice to themselves and

others. This is what Al-Attas called the condition of loss of adab. He defines loss of

adab as

the loss of capacity for discernment of the right and proper places of things,

resulting the leveling of all to the same level; in the confusion of the order of

nature as arranged according to their maratib and darajat; in the undermining the

legitimate authority; and in the ability to recognize and acknowledge right

leadership in all spheres of life (1980 p. 34).

Loss of adab is the result of confusion and error in knowledge. Erroneous knowledge

results in one’s inability to discern that everything in this universe is ordered

hierarchically. This mistake leads to one’s error in making correct judgment which leads

to leveling everything to the same level. For instance, one levels the Prophet (SAW) as

the same level as other men. The effect of this leveling is man considers the teaching of

the Prophet (SAW) is not relevant in modern times, there should not be taught in school

or should not be followed by modern men. Another example is that one considers the

law derives from the Qur’an as the same as law invented by man. This incorrect

judgment leads to injustice to oneself and others. Reality shows that man made law

cannot hinder man from indulging in criminal activities. Instead of solving the problems

of a society, man made law increases the problems that exist in the society. These errors

in judgment lead to injustice to the self, the society and others.

Another effect of loss of adab is the inability to recognize and acknowledge right

leadership in all spheres of life. Leadership in all spheres of life means leadership in all

human endeavors such as leadership at work, leadership in academic circles, leadership in

politics, etc. For example, people who do not have the right knowledge will not

recognize the right leadership which will lead to electing or acknowledging the

unqualified leaders to lead the country. Unqualified leaders who have no adab lead the

country according to the erroneous knowledge that they have. Thus, bring chaos and

disharmony to the society. The condition of loss of adab nurtures the growth of false

leadership of the Muslim Community; leadership who does not know his proper place in

the hierarchy of things and beings. This leadership creates the condition of injustice

which will prolong the loss of adab since they do not have the knowledge of putting

things in their proper places. These leaders were elected by followers who have no adab

or wisdom, hence inflicted injustice to themselves and others by putting those corrupt

people in the wrong place. False leadership will advocate education system that produces

more people like them either out of ignorance or out of the need to ensure their continued

control of political power. This process goes round and round in the vicious circle. This

vicious circle as depicted in figure 1 will continue unless the right knowledge is made the

content of education.

Which lead to
individuals being
appointed as leaders
who perpetuate the Loss of adab
condition of loss of

Due to
Confusion and error
in knowledge

Figure 1: The malaise of the Ummah

Holistic Education

Several measures can be made to break the vicious circle. One is through holistic

education which aims at producing good man; man of adab who knows how to manage

his self and how to manage the system. Man who understands the consequence of

recognizing is acknowledgement; and understands that Tawhid Uluhiyah is the

manifestation of Tawhid Rububiyah. Hence, the content of holistic education should

include both categories of knowledge. Al-Ghazali (cited in Nofal, 1993) asserts that the

curriculum of Islamic education should include both obligatory and optional sciences.

Obligatory sciences include religious science which is revealed and related or auxiliary

disciplines such as linguistic and literature. Optional sciences, such as mathematics,

medicine, philosophy, human sciences, etc, are studied according to the wishes of the

students. The criterion for selecting optional sciences is that the sciences must bring

goodness to the students and the society.

Al-Attas (1980) agrees that the curriculum of Islamic education should include both

knowledge to cultivate the soul and inner being of man and knowledge to cultivate man’s

body and physical faculties and senses. They are revealed knowledge which is obligatory

sciences (knowledge of fardh ain) and acquired knowledge which is optional sciences

(knowledge of fardh kifayah). Through both kind of knowledge, Islamic education will

be able to instill true knowledge in man, thus produce man of adab. Rashdan and Anis

Ahmad also have similar views on the content of Islamic Education. Rashdan asserts that

the content of education should include religious sciences, human and natural sciences.

The sources of the knowledge are from the revelation and the study of creation or nature

(cited in Ahmad 1996).

The content of curriculum of Islamic education is summarized in figure 2.

Curriculum Content of
Islamic (Holistic) Education

Knowledge to manage Knowledge to manage the

self - Religious Sciences system – Rational sciences
(Fardh Ain) (Fardh Kifayah)

Human sciences
The Qur’an: recitation and tafsir
Natural sciences
The Sunnah: History and The
Applied sciences
Prophet’s traditions
Technological sciences
The Shari’ah: Fiqh and law
Theology (tauhid)
Arabic language

Figure 2: Curriculum content of Islamic education

Islamization of Knowledge

The second measure that could be taken to resolve the confusion in knowledge and the

conflict between reason and revelation is through the process of Islamization of

knowledge. According to Al-Attas (1993) Islamization of knowledge means the act of

setting the knowledge free from secular interpretations and influences. It is the process

of filtering foreign elements out of every branch of knowledge especially human sciences

and infused the knowledge with Islamic elements and key concepts so that the knowledge

being instilled into man is true knowledge. Omar Kasule defines Islamization as a

process of modifying human knowledge so that it does not contradict with the basic

Islamic principles. The process does not suggest that the Muslims have to reformulate the

whole knowledge but suggests modification, correction and reorientation of the existing

knowledge using Islamic principles and values (Kasule 1996).

It is imperative that Islamization be implemented since the knowledge that is instilled

into Muslim children is secularized knowledge. From the views of the various scholars

on Islamization, it is clear that what renders knowledge Islamic is the values, purposes of

seeking the knowledge and sources of the knowledge are not contradicted with the beliefs

and injunctions of Islam (as enunciated in the Quran and Sunnah) (Kasule 1996). When

the knowledge instilled in man is true knowledge, man is liberated from false and

erroneous knowledge. Therefore, man will be disciplined according to the truth revealed

by God which leads to a change in man’s behavior which is inline with the teaching of


Hence, the most vital knowledge to be Islamized is human sciences with the priority

given to education and political science (Abu Sulaiman 1993). The priority is given to

education and political science since education is the knowledge that is used to transform

man from one state to another; and political science is important because without political

powers the changes that Muslims plan to implement will be challenged by the powers

that be. Through Islamization of knowledge, confusion and error in knowledge can be

rectified. The end result is the knowledge that is the content of education is true

knowledge which, God willing, will result in producing man of wisdom.


We have established that the purpose of seeking knowledge is to discipline the body, the

mind and soul; that is seek knowledge to manage the self and knowledge to manage the

system to bring justice and harmony in this world. Sources of knowledge to discipline

the body, mind and soul is from the Qur’an and Sunnah, nature and reason. Nevertheless,

knowledge that is prevalent within the Muslims world has brought confusion instead of

peace and justice. Knowledge that is disseminated through the education system is

westernized knowledge. Western knowledge is knowledge for the purpose of worldly

life and seeking knowledge for knowledge sake. In order to rectify this problem, one has

to understand the nature of man first so that all dimension of man is being educated.

Since ontologically nature of man is dual, man is obligated to develop both dimensions.

Neglect in either one dimension will produce disharmony or injustice. Therefore

knowledge must be balanced. Balanced does not mean equal weight but proper division

according to the hierarchy of the knowledge. Leveling of all knowledge to the same level

or overemphasis on certain knowledge will cause injustice. For instance, overemphasis

in knowledge to manage the system will produce individuals who have no values, lack of

wisdom, corrupt, etc. Conversely, neglect in knowledge to manage the system will

produce individuals who are not able to develop the society thus, allowing outside forces

to develop the system using alien philosophy which is contradicted with Islamic


This paper has discussed the concept of ta’dib which encompasses education that

disciplines the body, the mind and soul. The aim of ta’dib is to produce man of adab who

has the knowledge to manage his self and the knowledge to manage the system he lives

in. In conclusion, when the true knowledge is inculcated into man, the education system

will produce man of wisdom who will become the leaders in all spheres of life which will

perpetuate justice (figure 3). Therefore man will achieve happiness in this world and in

the hereafter.

True knowledge is
instilled into man –
Qualified and no conflict between
quality leaderships reason and
perpetuate the revelation
condition of justice

produces man of
adab; man who
possesses wisdom
which enable him to
make correct

Figure 3: The effect of the right and true knowledge instilled into man


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