The Three Processes of Islamic Education

The glorious Qur’an (2:129) identifies three processes of Islamic Education. They are: Telawah, Ta’aleem and Tazkeyah.

First, the process of Telawah involves recitation / reading / rehearsing of the verses of the Qur’an according to given rules. For the manners of reciting the Qur’an please check www.islamonline.net.

The Glorious Qur’an offers guidance to mankind in all spheres of life. Muslim scholars can easily identify and group Qur’anic verses related to any topic such as pillars of Islam, faith, the Qur’an, arts and sciences, work, justice, social relations, moral foundations, financial interactions and transactions, law, political circumstances, international relations, commerce and agriculture, historical accounts and events, and other religions.

Second, the process of Ta’aleem involves both teaching and learning. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be unto him) said that: the best among you are those who either learn or teach the Qur’an. But which part of the Qur’an should we learn or teach? The answer is obvious. To the best of our ability, we should believe it, read it, understand it, apply it, learn it and teach it. Verse 2:129 speaks of learning / teaching the Book (the Qur’an) and Wisdom.

According to the Qur’an (10:101), Allah (swt) instructs muslims to study and gain knowledge in all aspects of the universe. Muslim learners and teachers should not turn away from any verse for if they do they would be in violation of the Qur’an (12:105) that says, “And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!”

Islam offers unlimited curriculum to motivated learners and teachers. Islam and science are happily married and the Qur’an offers a bottomless reservoir of knowledge and science. Allah will continue to show his Signs until the Truth is accepted. “Soon we will show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord witnesses all things?” (Qur’an 41:53)

The process of Ta’aleem should go beyond the standard Sharia sciences. ” We need to study all branches of industrial, medical, experimental and civil sciences in order to meet the demand of Fard Kefaya to enable the Muslim ummah to recover from weakness, dependence and cultural regression that is pushing muslims to the end of the line.” Khalid Bin Abdallah Almusleh (www.islamdoor.com ) Fard Kefayah stands for any activity needed by the muslim ummah which if it is not done by some muslims, all muslims would be responsible; they would carry the sin for not doing it. It makes sense therefore that muslims as an ummah should encourage all scientific activities which will take the ummah forward to regain its dignity among nations.

No discussion of the Ta’aleem process is complete without saying few words about wisdom. The Islamic literature suggests a wide variety of meanings of wisdom. Detailed discussion is beyond the scope of this introductory article. It is safe, however, to define wisdom in the most general terms, as the ability to do the right thing, the right way, at the right time, in the right place. People, regardless of who they are, take pride when described as “wise”. It is indeed a blessing from Allah (swt). Verse 2:269 says,

“He grants wisdom to whom He pleases; and he to whom wisdom is granted receives indeed a benefit overflowing; but none will grasp the Message but men of understanding.”

Third, Tazkeyah is the third and last process. Tazkeyah is the process of purification of the self or the process of self purification. This is the job of the Prophets and their followers. Verse 91:7 says, “By the soul and the way of molding it and its polar nature of wickedness and righteousness. Truly he succeeds who purifies it and truly he fails who corrupts it.”

The process of Tazkeyah stands for all efforts made to help people move upward on the ladder from the Ammarah or evil-inciting soul (lowest level) to the Lawwamah or self-reproaching soul (middle level) to Mutma’innah or reassured soul (highest level).

It is true that Tazkeyah comes from Allah (Qur’an 4:49) and it is true that all human efforts towards Tazkeyah should always be accompanied by supplication for Allah’s support but it is also true that people must do their part before expecting Allah’s help. The human can do a lot to refine his soul and purify the self. “The Qur’an talks about humans who purified themselves and about human efforts toward refinement (Fatir:18). Humans have been described by the Qur’an as clean (Maryam:19). Some human self refinement (tazkeyah) involves maintaining correct and firm aqeedah (belief), observing the acts of worship, avoiding the forbidden, reflecting on the creation, developing a good character and good behavior, and avoiding bad behavior.” Wa’li Shihab, Refinement of the soul, www.islamonline.net. In its broadest sense, Tazkeyah covers all activities that move people away from wickedness and get them closer to righteousness.

Summary and conclusion. This article presented the special prayer made by Prophet Ibrahim (Qur’an 2:129). The three educational processes of Telawah, Ta’aleem and Tazkeyah have been discussed briefly. The sequence of processes suggests that the Islamic educational process must begin at the logical beginning: Telawah. Then, from the verses of the Qur’an, Ta’aleem starts. Ta’aleem takes place to help learners/teachers to climb on the Tazkeyah ladder. The three educational processes presented in this article are dynamically connected to form a guiding model in the area of curriculum design in our Islamic schools. Islamically speaking and summing up in a single statement: Ta’aleem not founded on Telawah is baseless and Ta’aleem not leading to Tazkeyah is useless.

About the Author
Dr. Mohammed Saleh

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Dr. Mohammed Saleh spent most of his life in the field of education: teaching, administration and consulting. He taught at the elementary, secondary and university levels. At Umm – Al Qura University (Makkah), Dr. Saleh held the position of Assistant Professor at the College of Education and Associate Professor at the college of Social Sciences. Dr. Saleh had the pleasure of running three k – 12 Islamic Schools in North America: Panama City Florida, Richmond (British Columbia) and Ann Arbor (Michigan.) As an educational Consultant, Dr. Saleh used his life – long experience in education to develop a model of Quran – curriculum integration process (abbreviated Q – cip.) His vision was to share his knowledge and experience with Islamic schools in North America to help teachers integrate the Glorious Quran in all subjects. May Allah swt, in His infinite Mercy, grant him the highest level of Paradise, inshaAllah.

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