Wow! I am impressed...

Toward an Adamic Education:

"If it has not been a fatalistic mentality of “this is the way things simply are,” then it has been our “weak theoretical foundations, simplistic interpretation, and intemperate application” of an Islamic pedagogy that has been the greatest challenge to Islamic schools in North America. The lack of a clearly articulated Islamic pedagogy and what that entails for both the purpose and practice of Islamic education within the modern West must be addressed with a sense of urgency.


We have chosen to adopt the term Adamic Education from Abdal Hakim Murad (T.J. Winter), as opposed to the commonly used term Islamic Education to illustrate the roots of an Islamic education and also its relevance to the greater discourse on education.Western epistemologies refer to the moment that Adam was sent from the heavens to spend the remainder of his life on earth as the great “Fall.” That single moment of ignorance where Adam ate from the forbidden tree and therefore earned himself the consequence of being sent to earth is understood in the Islamic epistemology as an ascent, not a fall. Islamically, Adam’s physical displacement from heaven to earth is understood as an ascent because spiritually he was raised from a state of ignorance to one of knowledge.

Through a process of education, Adam was raised in status in becoming Allah’s khalifa (vicegerent) on earth and the angels bowed to him. It is therefore this process of education and move from a state of disobedience to obedience that raised Adam in status to an “Adamic state”.

The process of becoming educated is not a forward motion toward things unknown, rather it is a search for knowledge that will bring an individual back toward their fitra (natural state of purity). “All education is a re-education – a reclamation” of a pure state of being again. It is a process of recognizing the magnanimity of the Creator– of His Oneness (Tawheed).

All forms of knowledge that bring an individual closer to that state of understanding are considered educative. There is no distinction, as Imam al-
Ghazzali notes, between knowledge that is considered secular or that which is considered religious.

Ahsan states in a beautiful metaphor that within Islam, all areas of knowledge are “like branches of a single tree rooted in the cognition and awareness of God.”

Learning is for the purpose of attaining a state of being, whether that is achieved through learning about photosynthesis or prayer, the intent is the same. Learning(ta’allum) is a form of worship (ibaada) that proclaims an individual’s slave hood(ubudiyyah) to the Creator. It is no different than fasting and prayer – because all of them are processes of returning and regaining what we have lost.

An Adamic Education therefore, alters the purpose of schooling entirely. It is about
“human transformation and not merely about the transmission of knowledge.” The
acquisition of knowledge as an act of worship makes learning into a sacred event.
Everything about the class is treated with a sense of reverence, dignity, and
austerity;“utterly unlike the modern educational experience.”

The Pedagogical Divide: Toward an Islamic Pedagogy
Nadeem Memon, PhD Candidate, OISE/UT
Qaiser Ahmad, M.Ed, OISE/UT
(PDF File)