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Ethics

Education Is the Bringing Up Of Capabilities

Sometimes we make a thing out of something without any internal attraction inside that "something". For instance we make furniture out of a piece of wood by working on it. Thus, a character or feature is created.

But some other time, a thing has got internal impetus for change and becomes something else. In this case guidance is necessary and in many others lack of guidance may mislead the object. An example is the child who has the innate capacity for sucking its mother's breast and acquiring knowledge. However, if it is not directed to the right way, it may either die from hunger or stay ignorant or might suck some dangerous objects in place of its mother's breast or might learn some pernicious knowledge which might harm it. This change of the innate capacity into practical acts is called education.

Thus, education is not industry; rather the subject of education should be an organism which has innate capacity for development.

Since man has some innate capacities such as truth-finding, ethical conscience, love for beauty, love for freedom, self-interest, and love for life he needs an instructor who will bring out these capacities and lead them in the right direction.

Quanttime, the famous French psychologist believes that man's soul has four dimensions at the time of birth, i.e. man has the following four capacities at the time of his coming into this world:

1. The Scientific And Rational Capacity Or The Fact-Finding Capacity:

The advancement of science, the discovery of the secrets of creation, the human perseverance in finding facts all stem from this dynamic capacity.

2. Ethical Conscience:

Man is created in such a way that he enjoys doing good deeds, justice, showing piety, discipline, self-control, bravery, sacrifice, and truthfulness.

On the other hand he abhors injustice and lies, uncleanliness and debauchery, untidiness and indecision, meanness and indifference, and the like.

3. Love For Beauty:

Man cares for the beauties in nature such as the blue starry sky, magnificent flowers and sceneries, limpid water with fish swimming in it, beautiful birds, deer in the desert, pleasant songs, elegant paintings, poems, and chirographies and gracious statures. This very capacity has made man create art and enrich life as a whole.

4.The Capacity For Worshiping:

Man believes in God from the bottom of his heart. He has worshiped God throughout the history and has consecrated this worship. To keep this consecration and holiness, he has endured lots of hardships.28

With regard to the above issues a good instructor is the one who guides all man's innate capabilities in the right direction and does not let these abilities go astray.

For instance, man has sexual drive but he should guide it in the right way. Its suppression does not solve any problem. Man loves arts and beauty and must make use of them in the proper way. He should not deprive himself of these assets. Educating and nourishing man's skills is in harmony with the innate characteristic of religion. In this regard the Holy Qur'an says:

    "فاقِم وجهَكَ لِلدِينِ حَنيفاً فِطرَتَ اللهِ التي فَطَرَ الناسَ عَلَيها لا تَبديلَ لِخَلقِ اللهِ ذلك الدِّينُ القيِّمُ"

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state - the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion.”29

Notes:

28. In this regard, refer to the following sources: The religious sense or the fourth dimension of the human soul; Farhangname, vol.8, p.738; Ayatollah Mutahhari's "Book on Education and Innateness."

29. Qur’an, 30:30.

Adapted from: "Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education" by: "Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji"