In the society that we find ourselves in today, where there is widespread disease, famine, destruction, immorality, pollution, global warming and threats to our religious identities, we often find that Muslim countries, communities, families and individuals are helpless to face these issues without help from the outside world. The Ummah is not resilient and are ill-prepared for the challenges we have to face now and in the coming future.
The most beneficial knowledge that can be transmitted to our Ummah today, apart from the religious knowledge that is available, is the ability to become more resilient as a community. That means being able to recover from stresses, hazards, natural disasters or challenges without compromising their development and growth.
This includes being able to create and maintain a healthy environment, food and water supply, health and medical treatment, affordable housing, economic and financial activities etc. The education that they receive needs to prepare them to be able to critically evaluate and envisage problems, create, implement, manage and sustain the most beneficial solutions for their communities.
When one thinks about an ‘Islamic education’, we often tend to think only of religious matters , but the question is more about the holistic education of Muslims. Focusing only on one aspect of education to the exclusion of others, makes for an imbalanced individual and creates a society that is at a disadvantage to the rest of the world.
There are three key words that generally come to mind when it comes to Islamic education, Tarbiyah, Ta’dib and Ta’lim. Any holistic education system geared towards growing a well-balanced Ummah needs to consider these aspects of education together – spiritual nurturing, Islamic manners, etiquettes and morals as well as the transmission of knowledge and information that is useful to the Ummah.
An “educated” Muslim adult, which is the output of the Islamic education system is envisaged to be a person with an integrated personality, someone whose head (intellect), heart(spirit) and hands are aligned and are always striving to become the perfect human being in accordance with Islamic principles, and is beneficial to society.