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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati


We will identify the lexical and terminological meanings of education, show the necessity and the goals of education, and refer to its relation to teaching, philosophy, and policy. Educationists have concerned with the above as a whole. As a comparative study, we have to pass precisely by all of the topics that we have recently presented. We will expose them in the form of a preliminary introduction to the modern educational studies as compared to the Islamic, which is the main concern of this book.

Lexical Meaning
In Arabic, the item ‘Tarbiya’ –education- stands for bringing up a child as it is mentioned in the Arabic-Arabic dictionaries of Tajul-Arus and Lisanul-Arab.
Accordingly, education refers to bringing up and caring for a child until attaining juvenility. This meaning comprises mental and intellectual perceptions.

Terminological Meaning
Educationists have paid a great attention to the explanations of the term in order to explicate its scientific purport. Yet, they have not presented a unanimous one. The following is a set of definitions:
The earliest definition of education is that exposed by Plato’s saying, “Education stands for granting the souls and bodies as much as possible an amount of aesthetes and perfection.” This definition comprises physical and spiritual education. The former is that education which sows corporal development and prosperity, while the latter is that which creates perfection and virtue.
Hubbell renders a characterization of the perfect education. He says, “Perfect education is that conserving the physical condition and vigor of pupils, and gives the power of controlling the mental and corporeal powers. It also increases the rapidity of realization and the sharpness of intelligence, and accustoms to good and precise judgment and creates gentleness in fulfilling duties deliberately.”
For Gold Simon, “Education is the way of making the intellect a real intellect and the heart a real heart.” This definition indicates that education should be the device of achieving intellective growth and nourishing souls with virtuous ethics. At any rate, it refers to the spiritual education exclusively.
Herbert says, “Education is training man for enjoying perfect lives.” Like the previous, this definition is exclusively restricted to the mental education.
John Milton defines, “Perfect education is that which helps man to fulfill any job so accurately and skillfully in peace and wars.” This definition is dedicated to the professional education.
For Mistalotzi, “Education is developing all of the potentials of children perfectly and properly.”
Hassle defines education as the manners of disciplining the natural abilities of children to make them fit enough for being in charge of a happy compartment.
Gimuel says, “Education is bringing up individuals for satisfying themselves first, and others secondly.”
Lithery says, “Education is the activities that purpose for bringing up a child or a young. It is a set of the acquired intellectual and manual habits, as well as ethical features.”
We may affirm that John Dewey’s definition is the most acceptable. He defines education as the process of adaptation between individuals and the environment. He says, “Education is a form and composition of the individuals’ activities, and then casting them in certain matrices, i.e. changing the process into a social action that is welcomed by the others.”.
Some of the previous definitions should be reviewed since they refer to a definite category. Logicians affirm that a definition ought to be comprehensive and inclusive to involve all of the individuals concerned.

The Educational Purport of the Term
The term has two purports, one is general and the other is specific.
The general purport is so comprehensive that it includes every intentional or unintentional action that helps in developing the corporeal, intellective, ethical, or susceptible powers.
As a general conception, education includes heredity, environment, and will, –the three factors of education- and their intentional and unintentional effects in maturing the powers and the human promptness. Every motion, activity, or aspect of the social environment that affects man’s essence or material entity, in any stage of the physical and mental composition, results in education in variant levels. All the above are within the effects of the broad-spectrum education. Steward Mill says, “Education, in its common sense, comprises all of the deeds that we ourselves do, as well as the deeds that others do for approximating us to our natural perfection. From this cause, education includes the indirect effects on ethics and human powers that create various direct purposes. As examples, we may cite laws, governmental formulation, arts, manufacture, and the other fields of social lives. Moreover, the effect may occur to the natural factors that are out of man’s order, such as climate and geography.”
Education, as a common sense, includes all of the matters that influence the process of constructing the ethics, apart from the source. Even the natural phenomena that are out of man’s control play a role in the processes of education and self-building. If we look at a nice influential thing, this will surely inspire in the development of our imagination and taste. We always hear some individuals refer to time, incidents, or events as their educators. Of course, these matters have nothing to do with self-determination.
The specific purport of education stands for the generations’ exchange of the educational and cultural bases. Some educationists delimit this purport by suggesting that it be committed to the efforts that are purposed for disposing the youth in a definite worldly affair. In other words, the specific purport of education is the endeavors and efforts that the adults exert for educating the intellects of the youth and ordering their moralities. The activities of the educationists and the practical teachers, which are aimed for instructing the youth, are regarded as the specific purport of education..
John Stewart denies the common sense of education and allocates it to the specific purport. He says, “Education, as a term, refers restrictively to the culture that moves among the generations to provide the youth with factors of bringing up. These factors pass on the level of the preceding generation..
At any rate, the majority of educationists argue that education, in its specific purport, is too short to build personal entities unless it coincides with the common sense, which is the social contact. T. S. Elliot says, “Schools are ready to transfer only a part of the culture to the students. Such transference is fruitless unless it is fully harmonious with the external factors. We do not dedicate the external factors to family and environment, but we extend them to comprise labor, amusement, journalism, general views, shows, and means of entertainments and sports.”.

The Necessity of Education
Education is a life necessity and a genuine human concern through which mental and social constituents are attained. It is surely man’s distinctive feature. As well as societies, education is necessary for individuals. An educationist says, “For individuals, education is a process of social normalization that gives the character of humanity, which is the distinctive feature. Everybody knows that individuals inherit their biological roots, such as colors of eyes, hair, tallness, and the other physical features, from their fathers and forefathers. The mental and social constituents of personalities are gained only through education. On that account, the basic chore of education helps in acquiring the human features. Hence, education is necessary for individuals and societies in an equal degree.”.
Education provides with the individual elements and habits the influence of which remains forever. Some psychologists affirm that babies actually rest upon others, to great extent, in the minimal needed habits, the most significant ethical and intellective specifications, and the general manners of people, life, and labor. Mostly, babies behave unfeelingly, but as soon as they learn how to imitate gentle individuals, this ethical and emotional influence will persist. Shortly, this imitation changes into a habit that is a second nature. Imitation, however, is one of the two ways through which the individual specifications are obtained, and personal ethics are constituted..
It is, then, a life element and a basic principal of personal perfection since it plays the role of coinciding, developing, and maturing the individuals. An educational analyst says, “Education is necessary for individuals as well as societies because the newborn individuals can not be regarded as mature social human beings. Biologically, they are human beings, but immature since they are incapable of associating and accommodating in societies. This fact unveils the importance of education in helping in developing and maturing individuals and their potentials, preparations, and skills to maximum. In like manner, education helps in acquiring the social characters for associating and belonging to societies. Thus, it is important for both individuals and societies. It is a social necessity, and an individual necessity, too.”.
Education is the one and only means of achieving maturity, and raising the individual and social levels; therefore, it is a binding necessity of life and a significant part in the entities of societies and individuals.

The Educational Goals
Education enjoys serious goals and big social responsibilities. The specialists have exerted great efforts for explicating such goals and responsibilities. Yet, they have had different viewpoints regarding the question of defining those responsibilities. Some worked in the frame of the spiritual goals while others worked in the material. A third group looked upon the social goals, and a fourth sought the individual growth and the personal composition.

Spiritual Goals:
Some Islamic educationists have affirmed that the basic purposes of education and learning are self-purity, self-chastity, and the constructing of relations with God. This is the most elevated purpose and the noblest intendment. Al-Ghezali says, “O youngster! Many are the nights that you have passed with seeking knowledge and scanning books, and you abstained from sleep. I do not know your intendment. If it has been obtaining the concerns of this world, collecting its wreckages, holding its positions, and ostentation before the others, then woe is you! If your intendment is enlivening the Prophet’s practices, refining your ethics, and violating the bad-tending soul, then many happy returns will be yours!”.
A number of Islamic educationists specify self-purity as the provisory of receiving knowledge. On that account, teachers used to check one’s moralities before being accepted as a student. The morally wrong ones were dismissed from classes so that they would not use their knowledge in evildoings..
Froble says that education is supposed to make the individuals feel their internal souls, realize nature, and confide in God’s oneness. Likewise, it must lead the individuals to the sacred pure life that is originated by the cognition of God, nature, and the human spirit.. He also affirms that the purpose of education should be the presentation of a sacred pure life of sincerity and goodness..
Master educationists have agreed upon the idea of dismissing any edification, which does not lead to perfection and self-discipline, out of the circle of education. Willula says, “The purpose of education is improving what our fathers corrupted. We can achieve so by adopting the accurate cognition of the Lord, cherishing Him, and committing ourselves to His path through virtues.”
As he asserts the moral aspect of education, John Luke says, “Virtues are the leading purposes of education.” The previous opinions have focused lights on the moral and spiritual aspects of education, ignoring theotheraspects.

Material Goals:
A group of educationists believes that the organization of the youth for obtaining their earnings should be the main goal of education. Some English educationists have named this goal as “bread and butter goal.” This opinion, however, owns a value. Human beings, as they tend to live persistently, are required to gain the earnings and seek its means that are actually the most imperative for awarding the survival of the individuals and the dependants. It has been said, “The learning of a profession is a security against poverty.”
The wealthy should not rely upon their fortunes and neglect professions and career. God has made the lands usable, and instructed us to seek the various ways and have from His sustenance; so, we should show our sons how to seek their earnings..
This opinion is interested in the material aspects exclusively.

Social Goals:
Some educationists have looked upon the matter from a social aspect. Jean Beige says, “The most significant goal of education is the attainment of the perfect boons of personalities, and supporting the respect of others’ rights as well as the basic rights. Education is responsible for substantiating the spirit of conformity and familiarity among people, including the racial and religious groups. It is also given the mission of developing the activities that are practiced by the UN Organization for keeping peace.”.
Kondrsie says, “First of all, education should act for enabling every individual to master the personal skills, and fulfill the required social tasks completely, and develop the makings as much as possible. In addition, it should share out the spirits of equality among people. Otherwise, it will not achieve the political equality that the law declares. The social goal of education is the management of learning in a way that produces the industrial development for achieving people’s contentment and enabling them to act the necessary social duties.”
Islam has declared most of these goals as the basic principals of the educational domains.

Individual Development:
Some educationists believe that the main goal of the educational processes is the achievement of the individuals’ perfect growth according to their predispositions and capabilities. The cultural heritage is regarded as one of the educational means. Such a heritage should be organized psychologically for fitting the various stages of development..
Other educationists added the estimation of the ethics, the good behavior, and the activities in labor to the educational processes. They also added self-will, self-reliance, and the rectification of desires, respecting people’s rights, good relation with the society, forbidding evil, presenting the environmental factors, and working for developing the human societies, to the goals of the educational processes..
Plato supposes that one of the educational goals should be releasing the ignorant individuals from the bonds of unawareness, and taking them from the world of gloom to that of illumination and freedom. The highest mental natures should be elevated to the ranks of practicing good deeds in this world..

More Goals
Philosophers of education state more goals that achieve the individual development and self-assertion. They are the well being, the emotional and social duties, and the recognition of the natural world.
Other philosophers expose ten goals as the most important in the education in secondary schools.
1. The development of the accurate ways of thinking
2. The founding of useful habits that are related to labor and lessons
3. The development of the social trends
4. The providing of a set of suitable tendencies
5. The development of the artistic and aesthetic aspects
6. The development of social senses
7. The development of individual-social concurrence
8. The presentation of the principal information
9. The development of physical conditions
10. The development of a steady philosophy of life.

Teaching and Education
The general purport of education, as it has been already cited, comprises all of the categories of activities that influence the development of individuals, predispositions, and behaviors. It is not peculiar to the activities that persons themselves do, or those done by others. The purport of education covers every modification and reformation practiced on ethics and behavior. It also includes the indirect factors, such as laws, the ruling authorities, the manners of living, the traditions and the social habits and conventions et al.
Such indirect factors, in addition to the material and natural environments and conditions such as climates and geographical locations, have effects on education. Finally, all of the circumstances that help in the formation of the human beings are included in the factors influencing the processes of education.
From the above we conclude that education comprises every development or formation that does with individuals’ powers, predispositions, and behavioral aspects tending to guidance.
Teaching, on the other hand, stands for the transference of information from a teacher to a student for delivering knowledge. Hence, teaching is confined in this frame while education enjoys a more elevated and comprehensive meaning since it includes every positive progress and maturity of the individuals’ capabilities.
Education, in its common sense, takes account of the whole physical, intellectual, and ethical aspects of personalities. Teaching stands for the process of transferring knowledge to individuals. This process is one of the educational means. The positivity of teaching is estimated according to the obtained knowledge.
Knowledge may influence the individuals’ lives only when being sentient and accordant to the actuality that it can be consumed in the behavior..
The imperfect knowledge leaves no effect at all in the individual composition. It creates the suspension of the practical life.

Philosophy and Education
Philosophy and education have a firm relation. Fichte affirms this relation in the essays he wrote to the German. He said, “Without the benefit of philosophy, education cannot attain a state of perfect clarity. There is an interrelation between the two any of which will be imperfect and ineffectual without the other.” John Dewey exceeds this point. He says, “The classical philosophy would not have been existent without the pressure of the educational questions on the intellectualities. The foremost naturalists were a single chapter in the history of science. The educational affairs obliged Sophists and their opposites on philosophizing. Their educational wording led them to instigate the philosophic theories.”.
Hobart Spencer says, “The accurate education can be practical through the accurate philosophy only.”

Psychology and Education
Psychology could find a way to the educational affairs when it has taken in all of the materials of education. It has analyzed such materials to the preliminary elements that involved the potentials and the intellective processes. There have been psychological analyses for the educational courses such as reading, writing, mathematics, languages, and composition. Likewise, arts and the practical materials of painting, carving, and ornamentation have been psychologically studied and analyzed into the preliminary matters, whether intellectually or manually. Such studies and analyses enabled teachers to select the most appropriate method that meets the pupils’ predispositions, taking in consideration the age and the grade. In addition, teachers could use such studies in choosing the most adequate courses.
Psychology is regarded as the major guide of teaching and educational processes..

The Educational Development
In the initiation of the history of humanity, houses were the only means of education. The preliminary tribe had individually the mission of educating the children physically, intellectually, and ethically, by arranging the means of the life preparations. This continued until the opening of the ancient ages. The Roman families, in their oldest ages, had full and exclusive supervision on bringing up and educating their children in the various aspects according to distinctive systems that were independent from any public authority. Education was one of the responsibilities of houses. Such educational efforts were confused with other indifferent activities to the degree that education was seen as an unintentional process. Afterward, houses began to look upon the educational affairs intentionally. After the invention of writing., education depended upon the familiarity with the experts of the previous generations, thanks to the recordings of the explored facts. This added a new household job, which is teaching in the meaning of private tutorials.
Fathers, kinsmen, and the elder members of families and tribes did this job to the children.. With the shining of the illumination of Islam, a great change occurred in all of the aspects of life, including education. Islam paid the greatest attention to education. Muslims have been encouraged on learning so that they would review the references of knowledge and culture for improving their lives and raising their levels.