Continuous Islamic Education is one of the most Important Means of Reform

Author : Dr. Ibrahim Ejjo

Date Added : 12-09-2023

Continuous Islamic Education is one of the most Important Means of Reform


All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.


One of the most effective ways Islam employs to combat crime, prevent it, and reduce its prevalence is through purposeful education. This education is considered one of the most important means to resist evil and corruption, and it has a profound impact.


Islamic education is distinct from other forms of education in the sense that its primary and ultimate goal is to create virtuous individuals. While other educational systems aim to prepare citizens who may differ in their qualities and philosophies, Islam seeks to educate individuals regardless of their gender, race, language, or nationality.


As far as Islamic education is concerned, the human being is the focal point in all aspects: intellect, soul, body, and instincts. Islam provides a comprehensive framework and methodology to guide individuals toward achieving this goal. {Methodology of Islamic Education, P.14-15}.


Moreover, Islamic education seeks to guide individuals towards becoming the most righteous and God-conscious (taqwa) people. It emphasizes that one's worthiness or nobility in the sight of Allah is determined by their level of piety and consciousness of Him. As mentioned in Surah Al-Hujurat , (Verse: 13): "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted."


Islamic education encourages people to be devout worshippers, recognizing that the primary purpose of their creation is to worship Allah alone, as mentioned in Surah Adh-Dhariyat (Verse: 56): "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."


Furthermore, it calls for individuals to seek the pleasure and guidance of Allah in both their private and public lives, following His guidance wholeheartedly. As mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah (Verse:38): "So if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter]."


Islamic education is not only characterized by its focus on humanity but also by its deeply rooted religious aspect. It connects individuals with their Creator, instilling in them hope and fear of Allah. It addresses human nature, awakening the innate factors of goodness within them. As mentioned in the book "Islamic Studies," the connection of the human conscience to Allah is the primary line in profound ethical education. This necessitates that religious beliefs serve as a fundamental basis for individual or social education, aiming not only to achieve social or national interests but also to attain a higher, fundamentally human goal characterized by the desire to please Allah alone and sacrifice for His noble countenance.


Islamic education aims to shape the Muslim individual and Muslim society, guiding lost humanity towards divine faith and the Islamic perspective on humans, the universe, and life. This concept is beautifully summarized in the book {Islamic Education between Tradition and Modernity, page 98}.


What confirms the role of Islamic education is that it is a practical type of education that calls for goodness, emphasizes it, prohibits evil, and warns against it. This is reflected in the verses where Allah seeks faith accompanied by righteous deeds (e.g., "Those who believe and do righteous deeds - those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally." (Al-Baqarah, 82). Islamic education is not theoretical and far-fetched from practical application; rather, it is within the capabilities and limits of human potential. In this regard, the exemplary model for humanity is the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), whom Allah has made a role model for all people through his words, actions, and character (e.g., "There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often." (Al-Ahzab, 21). Therefore, he is the embodiment of all the principles, values, and teachings of Islam, making Islamic education a blend of theory and practical application, with a strong focus on the latter.


One of the characteristics of this education is that it is continuous and comprehensive, involving everyone. Hence, we find a strong emphasis in the prophetic tradition on the role of the family in education. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said, "Everyone is born a Muslim, but his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian." {Transmitted by Bukhari & Muslim}. This highlights the pivotal role of parents in the upbringing of their children for Islam places this responsibility on their shoulders. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The imam who is over the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock; a man is a shepherd in charge of the inhabitants of his household and he is responsible for his flock; a woman is a shepherdess in charge of her husband’s house and children and she is responsible for them; and a man’s slave is a shepherd in charge of his master’s property and he is responsible for it. So each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock." (Transmitted by Bukhari) He also emphasized the importance of good manners in upbringing, saying, "There is no gift that a father gives his son more virtuous than good manners." (Transmitted by Tirmidi).


Indeed, the role of schools is crucial in shaping the minds and characters of young students due to their natural inclination to imitate. This is why the early generations of Muslims were very particular about selecting righteous educators for their children. As mentioned by the scholar Abul Ala Maududi, the Islamic spirit within students largely depends on the teachers and their knowledge and conduct. Teachers who embody this spirit can effectively nurture it in their students.


Then comes the role of the society that is based on virtue. It assists in promoting goodness, condemns evil, distances itself from those who engage in it, and tightens the social bonds around them. We can see this in the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when he ordered people to boycott those who had lagged behind from participating in the Tabuk expedition. Their punishment was social isolation until they repented to Allah. (He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that there is no fleeing from God (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for God is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful." (at-Tawbah, 118).


In this way, Islamic law focuses on nurturing and reforming the individual throughout all stages of their life. It provides them with noble Islamic values, guides them towards high moral standards, instills faith in their hearts, and directs them towards goodness while steering their thinking away from evil and corruption.


Undoubtedly, true faith and sincere conviction serve as a strong fortress and a protective barrier against committing indecent acts and violating prohibitions. Genuine faith is what guides towards the right path, and hearts filled with faith, relying on Allah, provide no openings for the devil to enter.

As they say, "Faith is the source of virtues, the bridle of vices, the foundation of conscience, and the strong bond between humanity and its noble values." {Islamic Guidance for Youth, p. 38}.


This faith is the barrier between a person and evil, because the believer knows with absolute certainty that God is watching over them. No matter how hidden their actions may be from people, they cannot escape God's knowledge. If they evade worldly punishment, they will not escape the punishment of the Hereafter. The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: "The adulterer is not a believer at the moment when he is committing adultery. The wine drinker is not a believer at the moment when he is drinking wine. The thief is not a believer at the moment when he is stealing.  The robber is not a believer at the moment when he is robbing and people are looking on." {Transmitted by Bukhari & Muslim}.

One of the results of education in the history of Islamic society is that crime has been confined to the narrowest of limits, even after Islamic society deviated significantly from the comprehensive meaning of Islam. However, it has remained one of the least deviant societies among human societies to this day. {The Scientific Symposium for the Study of the Application of Criminal Legislation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Vol.1, page 216}.


The scholar Abu Zahra states: "A single glance at the state of a community that applies Sharia law and the level of security within it, compared to a city in Europe teeming with people who have torn apart the bonds of law because it is a human-made construct, and among them, you'll find a lack of belief in it, demonstrates to us the impact of faith in people's hearts."


This perspective shows us that crime correlates inversely with civilization. In communities that follow heavenly laws, as urbanization increases alongside faith, hearts become more refined, and crime decreases. In the Islamic civilization during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the era of the Companions, crimes went in the opposite direction to the growth of Islamic civilization. As civilization expanded, crime decreased. {The Crime, pages 13-14}. All perfect Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.