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)
Toward an Adamic Education:
Posted by Ayesha at 1/23/2007
The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.
A. Bronson Alcott
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
William Arthur Ward
There is nothing more fruitful than ignorance aware of itself.
José Ortega y Gasset
If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people.
What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.
In the education of children there is nothing like alluring the interest and affection; otherwise you only make so many asses laden with books.
Michel de Montaigne
Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.
Howard G. Hendricks
The first idea that the child must acquire in order to be actively disciplined is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity.
The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
Edward De Bono 1933-, British Writer On Thinking Process
Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.
Albert Szent Gyorgi
Creative thinking involves imagining familiar things in a new light, digging below the surface to find previously undetected patterns, and finding connections among unrelated phenomena.
Roger von Oech
Posted by Ayesha at 1/13/2007
It is said, "He who knows himself knows his Lord." For one when realizes his own limitations, he knows more of the power of God, and he [learns] not to rely on himself and his own intellect. Instead, he places his trust in God and seeks the truth from Him. And those who rely on God, He suffices them and will guide them along the straight way.
Education... should be undertaken for the spiritual development of man, and with the aim of deepening his understanding of the world around him... and to use this understanding as a gateway to spiritual love and apprehension of God.
Progress is a not a forward motion but a move back toward our roots.
Posted by Ayesha at 1/08/2007
"...Along these lines, I'm thinking of a very famous story in the Masnavi, in which a farmer comes to Moses, one of the children of Israel. And he says, "Moses, would you please teach me the language of the animals?" He says, "Of course not! How do you know I even know the language of the animals?" Every day he comes back and pesters Moses. One day God says, "Teach him." So the next day this guy comes and Moses teaches him the language of the animals.
The man is so happy with himself. And he goes back and he's living his daily life. One day he hears the chicken, you know the hen saying to the rooster. "Well, too bad about the old goat here." And the rooster said, "What's going on?" "Oh, he's going to die. Can't you see?" The farmer takes the goat into town and he sells it, right? Sure enough, the next day he hears, the guy comes back, the guy who bought the goat. "Hey, your goat died on me." "It was perfectly health when you bought it."
A few days later. About a month later, you know. He was out in the barnyard again. He hears one of the sheep talking to another sheep. He says, "Well, too bad about the old horse. You know, his days are numbered. Look at him, you know. Not much time." So, he grabs the horse, takes the horse to the market. A week later, the buyer comes back. "What did you do? You sold me a sick horse!" "You looked at his teeth, you checked him out. You said what a fine specimen of horse flesh. How can you blame me? I know nothing. You must have fed him some bad food or something."
So, this goes on. The farmer starts getting very wealthy, I mean, relative to the other farmers he knows. He's doing very well. And then a year down the line he hears one of the cows talking to another. "Gee, too bad about the master." "What's wrong with the master?" "Oh can't you see? I don't think he has more than a week left to live."
And of course the farmer says, this can't be! He runs back to Moses. He says "Moses, save me." He says "What are you talking about?" "Moses, save me. I'm going to die. The cow is saying I'm going to die in a week. Don't you remember you taught me the language of animals?" Moses says, "What can I do?" "You're the one who taught me. You're the one that can save me." Moses says, "It's far, far too late for that. Don't you understand that every affliction you suffer prevents a greater affliction? If you had left that goat to die the first time, and just ignored it, you never would have gotten sick. Your lifespan would have lasted 150 years." Think about that.
Posted by Ayesha at 1/08/2007