OPINION | Concept of Education from Islamic Perspective
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OPINION | Concept of Education from Islamic Perspective

By  Mohammad Saiful Islam
Department of Law, International Islamic University Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh

OPINION | Concept of Education from Islamic Perspective

The word Education has been derived from Latin word: “educare, educere, educatum, educates” or “education” which indicates to lead pupils or pull out there dormant abilities. The word “educare” means “to bring out” or “to nourish” where “educere” means “to lead out” or “to draw out”, “educatum” means “act of teaching” or “training”, “educates” means “to bring up, rear, educate” and “education” means “a breeding, a bringing up, a rearing”. The Greek word “pedagogy” is also sometimes used for education. Several scholars have attempted to define Education from their own approaches. According to Aristotle, “Education is a process necessary for the creation of sound mind in the sound body”. According to Socrates, “Education is the mean that helps in searching the truth”. Imam Ghazali defines, “Education is a process which enables an individual to distinguish between the true and the false, the good and bad and the right conduct and the evil doing.” .

The concept of education in Islam from the terminological and philosophical point of view, Al-Attas states, “Recognition and acknowledgement, progressively instilled into man, of the proper places of things in the order of creation, such that it leads to the recognition and acknowledgement of the proper place of God in the order of being and existence.” Education in Islam is “an education which trains the sensibility of an individual, in such a manner that their attitude towards life, their actions, decisions and approach to all kinds of knowledge are governed by the spiritual and deeply felt ethical values of Islam”. It is a mode of training the body, mind and soul through informing the knowledge of all kinds i.e. fundamental as obligatory and specific as optional. It formulates human beings for complete life with no separation of this short-term life which ends with death, and the eternal life that begins after death. Education in Islam is not simply of obtaining intelligent knowledge but it is a process of decoration the nature and character of an individual so that they can jointly represent Islamic ethics, work as khalīfatullāhfī al-ard (vicegerent of Allāh on the earth), watcher of true, nobility and human greatness . In other word, education is “a method through which human beings are competent and organized in a concerted way to do their Creator’s command in this life (dunyā) to be pleased in the life of hereafter (ākhirah).”

According to Al-Attas, the meaning of education is inherent in the associations of term “tarbiyyah”, “ta’lim”, and “ta’dib” taken altogether. Though all terms denote to education, ta’dib is more perfect and exact in understanding the concept of education. Ta’līm, from the root “alima” means to instruct, to teach, to train, to school, and to educate, which contains elements of knowledge through teaching and learning. Tarbiyah, from the root “raba” means to nurture, to bear, to feed, to foster, to nourish, to cause to increase growth, to rear, and to bring forth to mature produce, which denotes the method of education that gives stress on physical, intellectual, spiritual and ethical development of an individual in accordance with the will of Allah . However, tarbiyyah is not suitable to carry the meaning of education from its terminological point of view. Because this meaning is not only applicable to human, but also to other species such as animal and plants. Ta’dīb, from the root “addaba” denotes to be cultured, refined, to discipline, well-mannered, implies the process of education that delivers emphasis on nurturing worthy human beings with decent codes of conduct accepted by Islam, so that he displays behavior and position himself in the society with fairness and justice .

The concept of education in Islam must takings into reflection of all the dimensions specified above. The word ta’dib is also used by the prophet (s.m) when he says, “My Lord educated (addaba) me, and made my education (ta’dib) most excellent.”. Adab includes disciplining the mind and soul. It is also about achievement of good abilities and qualities of the mind and soul, so that individual can distinguish between: good and bad; right and wrong; and real and false. Three elements inherent in the concept of education i.e., the method, a content, and recipient refer to “human beings”. The comprehensively recognized meaning of education today is growth and development. It is a continuous and lifelong process of one’s potentialities. This opinion is repeated in the Hadith-The Prophet said, “Acquiring knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” 

In conclusion, in the context of Islam Education is the organized process of acquiring knowledge that makes a complete person, including the rational, spiritual, and social dimensions.


1. Al-Attas, M. N. (1991). The Concept of Education in Islam a Framework for an Islamic Philosophy of Education. International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, International Islamic University

2. Daud, W. M. N. W. (1998). The Educational Philosophy and Practice of Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas: An Exposition of the Original Concept of Islamization. Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization.

3. WORLD-COME (1977). Paper Presented at the First World Conference on Muslim Education, Mecca.

4.  Wehr, H., & Cowan, J. M. (1979). A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic:(Arab.-Engl.). Otto: Harrassowitz Verlag.

5. Khamis, M. H., & Salleh, M. J. (2010). The Philosophy and Objectives of Education in Islam. Proceedings of the Regional Conference on Islamic Education, Shah Alam, 24-25 July 2010, 1-14

6. Yasin, F., Firdaus, R., & Jani, M. (2013). Islamic Education: The Philosophy, Aim, and Main Features. International Journal of Education and Research, 1, 1-18.

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