Classical and Contemporary Approaches to Education: An Islamic Perspective
The gap between the classical and contemporary approaches to education in Islam is a theme which has not yet met with adequate response and solution. To fully comprehend the nature of classical education demands no less than a thorough understanding of its characteristic features as distinct from the modern methods of education, yet appreciating how later developments brought about its eclipse. This article charts the historical trajectories of education in Islam, surveying the scriptural, philosophical, and institutional foundations and examines how they have been affected by reforms following the advent of modernity and its attendant philosophies. The discourse begins with an enquiry into the ethico-religious basis of learning in the Quran, Sunnah and juristic doctrine, as well as the spirit that guides them, such as academic freedom, classifications of knowledge, and teaching methodologies. The discussion proceeds to consider contemporary challenges to Islamic approaches to learning especially those coming from scientific modernity, rationality and science, which need to be negotiated, confronted if necessary, and integrated when deemed beneficial.