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Education in Islamic Education

The Koran

At the beginning of the seventh century C.E., Muhammad, a native of the city of Mecca, was called to communicate the Word of God: the Koran (meaning "[Scripture] Reading," or "Reciting"). Shortly after his death, the individual parts of the Koranic revelation were collected from both oral and written sources, arranged in one text, and published by an authorized committee of learned Muslims. Thus the Koran became Islam's first and only holy book.

Sura (chapter) 96, traditionally considered as the very first revelation to the prophet Muhammad, starts with the divine command to "Read" (or: "Recite"/"Proclaim" words of the holy scripture). It stresses that God "taught Man that which he knew not" and that God did so "by [the use of] the pen"—suggesting that God taught humankind "the holy scriptures," or "writing." These verses seem to highlight that Islam, from its very beginning, expressly prioritizes the imparting and acquisition of (religious) knowledge, learning and education; and that God is humankind's undisputed supreme teacher.

Like the previous prophets, Muhammad was called to proclaim the Word of God as contained in the heavenly archetype of the holy book. However, he was also ordered first to listen to the revelation. Only then was he to recite and read the divine text himself, to learn of its meanings by way of explanation, and eventually to convey and teach God's message to others: in Sura 75:15–18, for example, one notes the powerful way in which the Koran addresses the oral components of receiving, listening, learning, and setting forth the Word. This, as it appears, "divinely inaugurated" method of instruction had a significant impact on the transmission of knowledge and on education in Islam in general.

Further notions on teaching and learning are to be found at Sura 2:282–283, which deals with the establishing of legal matters and explicitly refers to the need for people who are able to write, to the importance of written documents, and to the practice of writing and dictating; detailed instructions are even given on how to proceed. Sura 3:79 then reminds the "masters [in the Scripture]" and "followers of the Lord" (rabbaniyyun) of their twofold obligation: to teach and to continue studying. Other pedagogical elements in the Koran extend to issues such as: the developmental stages, habits, and socialization of the human being; ethical norms and values related to education; and human psychology.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Dysprosium to Electrophoresis - Electrophoretic TheoryEducation in Islamic Education - Pre-islamic Arabia, The Koran, The Prophetic Tradition, Oral Instruction And Books, Educators And Institutions Of Primary And Higher Education