4.0 KNOWLEDGE, A PRE REQUISITE FOR
A. TAJDID and KNOWLEDGE
PHENOMENON OF TAJDID
Reform and revival of the ummat will
occur through educational and knowledge reform. The process of reform and revival is usually referred to as tajdid. Tajdid is a recurring phenomenon in the ummat and is a sign
of its health and dynamism. It is a basic characteristic of the ummat that periods
of reform/revival alternate with periods of decay and return to jahiliyyat. At
least one mujaddid appears every 100 years. Review of Muslim history shows that
this has held true over the past 14 centuries. At times there were more than one mujaddid.
Sometimes in the future the mujaddid will not be an individual but an institution.
requires knowledge, ideas and action related by the following mathematical equation: tajdid
= idea + action. Action without knowledge and guiding ideas will not lead to true change. Ideas without action are not change
requires and is preceded by a reform in knowledge to provide ideas and motivation on which to build. The rise of Islam in
the Arabian peninsular was the first act of tajdid. Islam ushered in a new revolution
in the world that started with a change in both the methodology and content of knowledge. It came as a change in overall view/context,
tasawwur. It re-established the principles of causality in both the physical and
social arenas; these principles and laws had been forgotten during the times of superstition and worship of idols. It reiterated
that causality was based on immutable laws of Allah in creation, sunan Allah fi al
kawn. It called upon humans to derive some of their knowledge from empirical observation of both their contemporary universe
and the historical experience of communities that came before and were destroyed because of unbelief. Islam emphasized objective
and not subjective observation and judgment, hiwa al nafs. It also changed the
way knowledge was acquired and was used by requiring that there exist a moral context.
REFORM and CHANGE IN KNOWLEDGE
All successful societal reform starts
with change in knowledge. Human history started with teaching names of things to Adam.
This is the first recorded human act of acquiring knowledge in a systematic way. The mission of all prophets started
as a change in knowledge and understanding. These constituted a revolution in knowledge. Correct knowledge leads to the ideal
society. The ideal society can not be created without a knowledge base. That knowledge base must be correct, relevant, and
useful. The social reformers must have an intellectual vision of reformed society. The physical picture of the new reformed
society must be constructed intellectually before it physically exists. If the
vision is not clear, the reform will fail. It is very difficult to construct the vision as you go along. Successful Islamic
reform/tajdid movements in the past 14 centuries started by scholars and involved
educating then mobilizing the masses. The following is a partial listing of reform movements in Islamic history. Distinguishing
characteristics of the successful ones were that they were led by scholars and involved change and promotion of knowledge
B. REVIVAL MOVEMENTS IN THE EARLY
Revival movements in the early period
(until 10th century H) were more ideological, spiritual, and knowledge reform and led by Omar ibn Abdul al Aziz
(d….H), Imaam Muhammad bin Idris al Shafe’I; Hujjat al Islam Abdul Hamid al Ghazzali (d. 505 H), Sheikh al Islam
Taqiyu al Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (d. 661 H), and Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jilani (d. 605 H).
C. REVIVAL MOVEMENTS IN THE RECENT
Revival movements in the recent period
(11th and 13th centuries H) had a regional focus and were led by: Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d.
1206 AH) in the Arabian peninsula, Imaam Muhammad al Sanussi (d. H) in North Africa,
Amir Abdulqadir (d. H) in North-west Africa, Sheikh Othman dan Fodio West Africa
(d. H), Shah Waliullah al Dahlawi (d. 1175 H) in India,
and Imaam Ahmad Muhammad al Mahdi (d. AH) in the Sudan.
D. MODERN REVIVAL MOVEMENTS
Revival movements in modern period
(14th and 15th centuries H) were characterized by having a wider geographical impact outside the region
in which the leaders worked directly. They were led by: Jamaluddin al Afghani (d. 1314H),
Sheikh Muhammad Abdo (d. 1323H), Rashid Ridha (d. 1353H), Imaam Hasan al Banna (d. 1948CE), Badee Zaman Nursi (d. ), Shibli Numani (d. 1333H), Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938 AD), Maulana Abu A’la al
Maududi (d. 1399H), and Shaikh Abdul Hamid ibn Badees (d. H).
E. REASONS FOR SUCCESS/FAILURE OF
FACTORS OF SUCCESS
Movements that succeeded in creating
a permanent impact had the following characteristics. (a) Scholarly leadership. (b) Revival of knowledge and its spread among
the masses. (c) Getting the masses to gain a new understanding of their social reality which leads to changes in attitudes
and behaviors of the masses (d) Mobilization/organization of the masses (e) Change of social systems, and (f) Establishing
new political/social institutions (g) Continuity.
FACTORS OF FAILURE
Many reform movements failed. The
reasons for failures of these reform movements included: (a) personalizing movement which leads to personality cult (b) dealing
with symptoms and not the root problems (c) reactive and not pro-active strategies (d) tarbiyyat
and mobilization with no strategy (e) movements based on tribal, ethnic,
or nationalistic considerations alone (f) loss of vision and sense of direction and becoming a sect, or order dedicated to
LESSONS FROM THE PAST
The experiences of the past can not
be transplanted to today without modification. Attempts to reproduce a historical experience in its details is doomed to failure
because they ignore the changed spatio-temporal circumstances. We can however learn the following from them: (a) Reasons for
success (b) Reasons for failure (c) Methodology and not tactics.
5.0 KNOWLEDGE: STRATEGY, OBLIGATIONS,
A. REVIVAL and EDUCATION
DAWN OF A NEW ISLAMIC ERA
Today is watershed in the history
of the ummat. The ummat is witnessing
the dawn of a new era, an era of change from weakness to strength. Muslims have recognized, identified, described, and analyzed
the weaknesses of the past. There is a determination to correct past deficiencies. Resources are being mobilized to achieve
fixed goals. Aspiration and planning for a better future vision are in high gear. Muslims realize that nothing can be achieved
without strength and power. Strength is both spiritual and material. Material strength consists of knowledge, science, technology,
organization, and management. Spiritual strength lies in the return to the eternal guidance of the Qur’an. The contemporary
spiritual revival is not unique to Islam; other faiths are also experiencing a revival. The secular alternative is losing
credibility in many parts of the world. Only the Muslim world has a credible ideological and practical alternative. The ummat is experiencing an all-out effort of total Islamization of society. There is
an unstoppable momentum towards Islamization of all aspects of society: thought and knowledge, political systems, legal systems,
economic systems, education systems, and social systems.
THE POTENTIAL OF THE UMMAT
The Muslim ummat is a potential economic and political bloc whose potential is
not yet realized. The Rabat-Jakarta geo-political axis comprises of more than 60 states. There are also influential Muslim
minorities in many states along this axis. If this Islamic bloc were to work in unison and co-ordination, it would have a
decisive impact. The Rabat-Jakarta demographic and economic axis has a relatively big population because of a high rate of
natural increase among Muslims and falling birth rates in non-Muslim societies of the industrialized countries. Muslims are
25% of humanity and are increasing. Allah blessed Muslims with rich natural resources in their lands. There is generally unity
of ideology and culture in the Muslim world. This unity is more real among the peoples than governments. It will come to fruition
as soon as governments represent the will of the people. Muslims are now experiencing growing self-confidence, and self-assertion.
All these augur well for the future.
ASSESSMENT OF CONTEMPORARY TAJDID
The contemporary tajdid movement has a lot of strengths but also has basic deficiencies that must be corrected if it is to succeed.
Attempts to reform have so far not benefited from deep enough intellectual analysis. The reform movements are more reactive
than they are pro-active; pro-activity requires more intellectual preparation. The knowledge and intellectual crises are still
a barrier. Reform movements unguided by correct knowledge and understanding will falter and fail or will be deviated from
their paths. There is an internal crisis within the ummat that is a remaining obstacle:
the educational and knowledge crisis. Real and permanent change must be from the bottom. The bottom is weak. A weak bottom
leads to a weak top. A weak top has no inner ability to lead a revival. The bottom can only be mobilized and strengthened
through knowledge. The top requires knowledge to create a vision and plan for its realization.
SOCIAL CHANGE: KNOWLEDGE and ACTION
A social change requires change in
attitudes, values, convictions and behaviors of a critical mass of the population. Attitudes, values, convictions, and behaviors
are determined by the knowledge base. Good knowledge will lead to positive changes. Bad or inadequate knowledge will lead
to negative changes. Societal changes without underlying change in knowledge and thought will be temporary and will soon lose
sense of direction. In the past knowledge change and transmission could occur in the informal sector. Today knowledge is transmitted
by the formal school system. Efforts to change or reform knowledge must translate into efforts at reforming the school system.
Knowledge alone is not enough. Action is needed to put knowledge to good use.
Action without knowledge leads to disaster. Those in dynamic action acquire even more knowledge from field experience and
are better placed to spear head intellectual growth.
B. THE NEW KNOWLEDGE STRATEGY
The vision of the knowledge strategy
is an upright balanced person who understands the creator, knows his place, his roles, his rights, and his responsibilities
in the cosmic order. He participates actively and positively in building society (socially, culturally, and technologically).
He understands that development activities must find a just equilibrium between material and spiritual, control of nature
and preservation of the environment, technology and humanity.
The mission of the knowledge strategy
is conceptual transformation of the education system from kindergarten to post graduate studies to reflect tauhid, positive moral values, objectivity, universality, and serving the larger causes of humanity.
The goals of conceptual transformation
of knowledge are (a) to identify and eliminate parochial aspects of the basic paradigms of the disciplines of knowledge and
reconstruct paradigms on basis of objectivity and universality (b) define objective research methodology for development of
new knowledge (c) guide use of knowledge for the good of humanity and the environment. The goals of practical reform of the
education system are to: (a) abolish duality of education systems in the Muslim world (b) develop school curricula (c) develop, test and publish teaching material (d) expand access of masses to knowledge
through formal and informal institutions.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A REFORMED EDUCATION
The desired system of knowledge will
have the following characteristics. (a) Everybody must have access to knowledge without discrimination based on gender or
social class. (b) Learning must be free/affordable and continuous. (c) Personal relations must exist between teacher and student so that morals are transmitted at the same
time as knowledge. (d) Privately or community-owned schools are the ideal; government
should play only a facilitatory and/or regulatory role (e) quality will come from quantity. The aim is mass education in the
start; improvements in quality are achieved with time.
BARRIERS TO EDUCATIONAL REFORM
The following are possible opponents
of the proposed education system: (a) The European secular system is well entrenched and has vested economic, political, and
military interests (b) local or national stakeholders who will lose privileges when society is reformed. (c) Procrastination:
It is a mistake to start building institutions before minimum theoretical guidelines are in place. It is also a mistake to
wait until all the theory is worked out before action starts. Theory development and practical application must go hand in
C. THE SCHOOL
GOALS OF THE SCHOOL
The school (kindergarten to 12th
year of education) is passing through a moral as well as an academic crisis both locally and internationally. The moral and
social behavior of children is worsening. Academic achievement is falling. What is needed is to redefine an Islamic school
that should set itself the objective of imparting Islamic education and producing a complete individual, insan kamil, as described by the Qur’an. Islamic education sets itself the goal of guiding a child to an
Islamic personality, character, and behavior. The ultimate objective is taqwa.
Children are born pure in fitra. The way they are educated and brought up determines
whether they will be good or bad. The scope of an Islamic school is wide and includes faith, intellectual, moral, social,
and practical skills or attributes. Learning in such a school should be Qur’an-based learning. This means not only teaching
the Qur’an but teaching everything else from a Qur’anic perspective including inculcating iman, understanding, and practice of religion. The teaching of the Qur’an should emphasize critical thinking,
tafakkur; reasoning; substantiation; observation of the world, tadabbur,
and critical analysis. It should discourage blind following, taqliid, and rote learning.
The school is a socializing agent.
It is a laboratory for islamization of the total society. It should exemplify the adab
of the teacher which consists of : kindness, sincere advice to the student, humility, being a good example and role model,
knowing the characteristics of each student and dealing with him or her as an individual. It should also inculcate the adab of the student: commitment, ikhlas;
humility, tawadhu’u; respect for teacher, and applying what is learned.
Emphasis: The school curriculum must be designed with care. It should emphasize the following. (a) Relation between
the pupil and the creator, other people and the environment. (b) iman. (c) complementality
(body & soul, individual & society, practical & applied. (d) Knowledge-based social engineering (e) Continuity
of education and learning outside the class-room (f) Appropriateness to the growth and development needs of the child (g)
Equilibrium and harmony, tawazun-wastiyyah-i’itidaal (h) Preparing the student
for ibadat and ‘amal salih. Besides
human experience, the sources of Islamic education should be the principal sources of Islamic law: (a) Qur’an (b) sunnat © opinions of sahaba (d) Ijma (e) qiyas
(f) istihsan (g) istislah (h) istisbab and (i) urf (j) siirat (k) tarikh.
Methodology: The methodology of instruction must have the following characteristics: (a) gradualism (tadarruj) (b) Reality/realism, waqi’iyyat, (c) positive attitude
to human nature, fitra (d) balance, tawazun.
Content of the curriculum: All subjects must drive home the basic thrust of Islam. The aim should be to avoid
too many periods devoted to teaching Islam. It is best that Islam is taught in an integrated way with the rest of the curricular
subjects. Curricular subjects to be included in the school curriculum are: (1) Qur’an (2) Qur’anic language (3)
other languages (4) Islamic studies: tauhid/aqida, fiqh, tahadhib and tarbiyyah; moral
and social etiquette (adab), seerah ) (5)
science (6) mathematics (7) history (8) geography (9) arts and crafts (10) Liberal arts (music, drama, painting) should be
islamized. Islamic art forms should also be considered as alternatives: calligraphy, non-representative painting, tajwiid).
Extra-curricular activities should be encouraged such as: essay competitions, art competitions, drama, trips,
excursions, camps, songs, sports, practical dawa experiences, amr bi al maruf & nahy ‘an al munkar,
D. HIGHER EDUCATION
The objectives of the university
should be to produce leaders of Islamization. It should extend the frontiers of knowledge by research. Universities must be
active partners in societal development by researching and involvement in science and technology. Universities must have the
following attributes in order to fulfill their responsibilities: (a) academic freedom to teach and research without political
interference or pressure, (b) an integrate approach to research and knowledge that does not pre-clude deep specialization
in the various disciplines, (c) Being part of the society and not an ivory tower, (d) the teachers must be a model of Islamic
behavior so that they can impart positive influences on the students.
E. EDUCATION OF THE MASSES
LEARNING IS AN OBLIGATION FOR ALL
Essential knowledge is what each
individual adult must know about diin in order to live as a Muslim. Fard ‘ain:
are those religious obligations that are incumbent upon each individual like salat
and zakat. Each Muslim must know enough about them to carry them out correctly.
Fard kifayat are obligations that are incumbent upon the whole community. If some
members of the community know and carry them out the obligation is fulfilled.
TEACHING IS AN OBLIGATION
Those who have knowledge are obliged
to teach and disseminate it. Useful knowledge must not be hidden from others, kitman
al ‘ilm, but must be taught. Harmful knowledge should not be suppressed but should be known only to those able to
handle it and not become confused. If it is completely suppressed and in unknown by anyone of the good people it may come
into the community secretly and confuse the less educated. Some useful and correct knowledge should not be taught to the less
educated who may be confused by it.
ETIQUETTES OF SEARCHING FOR KNOWLEDGE,
adab talab al ‘ilm
Intention: the student must have
as intention learning so that he may serve. If the intention is glory or personal gain, there is no blessing in the learning.
The story of Musa (AS) and khidhr is very educative about the adab talab al ilm.
The student must try to seek to understand first. Unnecessary and sterile argument (jadal) is not part of the Islamic tradition.
ETIQUETTES OF TEACHING, adab al mu’allim
The teacher must transmit both knowledge
and character. In the earlier history of the ummat, teachers were models of character.
With the secularization of education, morals became separated from knowledge and teaching. It should be the aim of the new
education strategy to close this gap.
Knowledge can not grow and develop
in an atmosphere that lacks freedom of expression. Assuring freedom of expression for everybody implies among other things
that even the ignorant who can mislead others must have their freedom. This risk is worth taking because there is no humanly
possible method of knowing in advance what someone will say. If they say something wrong it can be countered with argument
and evidence. On balance when both truth and falsehood are given equal chances for expression, the truth in the final analysis
predominates. The Qur’anic educational method, tarbiyat qur’aniyyat,
is a guidance in this matter. The Qur’an has preserved for eternity the words and opinions of the worst people in human
history like Pharaoh, Nimrod, and the polytheists. Their opinions are reported honestly as they were said sometimes in direct
speech using their actual words. These bad people had freedom of expression even in the Qur’an. They were countered
by Qur;anic arguments and evidence to the ultimate benefit of knowledge growth.
Describe the education system in
your community or country
Describe the general education level
in your community
Define the meaning of the term illiteracy
What do you understand by the term
‘dichotomy of education systems’
Describe your personal experience
of dichotomy as you were growing up
What are the main problems of the
Islamic religious education in your community
What do you understand by the term
‘transfer of technology’. What are its advantages and disadvantages
Describe aspects of the malaise of
the ummat as they manifest in your community
What do you understand by the term
What phenomena in your community
or country indicate that the process of tajdid is active
What does the term ‘Islamization
of Knowledge’ mean? How does it relate to your professional training and work?
What un-resolved intellectual issues
exist in your society today?
What are the main causes of differences
and arguments among Muslims in your society?
Describe the strengths and weaknesses
of the primary school curriculum in your country
Describe the strengths and weaknesses
of the secondary school curriculum in your country
What roles do universities in your
country play in social reform
What are the means of mass education
available in your society. How effective are they?