The Dilemma of British Muslims in Education Part 3

By: Sheikh Fahimul Anam Published: Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Aim of Islamic Education

At the First World Conference on Muslim education, which took place in Makkah in 1977, the aim of Islamic education was outlined as follows:

"Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personality of Man through the training of Man's spirit, intellect, the rational self, feelings and bodily senses. Education should therefore cater for the growth of man in all its aspects: spiritual, intellectual, imaginative, physical, scientific, linguistic, both individually and collectively, and motivate all these aspects towards goodness and the attainment of perfection. The ultimate aim of Muslim Education lies in the realisation of complete submission to Allah on the level of the individual, the community and humanity at large" (Sarwar 2001:29)

In Islam education is comprehensive and all encompassing, and it does not differentiate between personal, private and public life, it governs both life, in this world and in the Hereafter, it covers both, the spiritual and intellectual dimensions, the action and the intention. And thus, we find the three Arabic words which are also used for education a) Tarbiya – and it refers to the development of individual potential and to the process of nurturing and guiding the child to a state of completeness or maturity, b) Ta'dib – and it refers to the process of character development and learning a sound basis for moral and social behaviour within the community and society at large, c) Ta'lim – and it refers to the imparting and receiving of knowledge, usually through training, instruction or other form of teaching (Halstead 2004 in Al-Attas 1979).

Education and Muslims in the UK

Along with the arrival of first generation they started establishing Mosques and Islamic centres, although the first generation came to UK mainly for economical or political reasons, and majority did not have the intention to settle in the UK, but with the lapse of time they found themselves inevitably settling down, sending their children to schools for education.

Up until the second generation attending schools and integrating with the society, the priority of the first generation was to work and support their families here and back home, perform their religious duties through Mosques and Islamic centres, providing Islamic education to their children through establishing Islamic supplementary classes through evening and weekend schools and classes (Maktabs and Madrasas).

However as the children of first generation immigrants started integrating through education and other social activities and gradually moving away from their faith, culture and influence, this made Muslims to review their position and identify main causes for drifting. Many Muslims suggest that one of the main reasons for all this is the absence of proper Islamic values in state schools, hence, many Muslim schools are springing up in Britain, as an alternative and for preservation of Muslims' faiths and practices.

Comments (2)

  • Muhammad Chowdhury

    16 January 2013 at 01:43 |

    How much do you think Muslim schools are doing to preserve Muslim faith and identity?
  • Muhammad Chowdhury

    30 April 2013 at 09:48 |
    Salams, I think it's about we moved beyong the government sponsored empty rhetoric of 'Islamic' education to a more objective search for the transformative effects of a real education that nurtures critical thinking and encourages intellectual honesty. That unfortunately may not generate the funding or patronage of any nation state.

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