THE ISLAMIC ETHICS AND EDUCATION

Friday, October 21, 2016

Uanttime, 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, elephant 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 hollowness, he has endured lots of hardships. 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 characteristics of religion. In this regard the Holy Qur’an says:

Meaning: “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.” (Qur’an 30:30)

ANIMALS HAVE LIMITED POTENTIALS FOR EDUCATION:

Animals know their ways of life by instinct. These innate inspirations, which manifest themselves as instincts, drive them toward a limited state of perfection. However, some animals such as dogs, horses, elephants, monkeys, dolphins, foxes and bears possess a higher status of intelligence. They could be trained to protect the herds, the police, and to purchase commodities, and to perform circus performances. We have all seen such extraordinary performances in the films and elsewhere. But, it is to be noted that the sphere of animal performances is highly restricted because their capabilities are narrower than those of man. For this reason, however hard we try to train them, they will never be able to solve mathematical problems, analyze the inside of the atom, make space-ships to be sent to the Mars or to the Jupiter, to discover medical relief’s for hard-to-cure diseases, to cure TB and cancer suffers and finally to carry on surgical operations on hearts, brains and kidneys. This is only man who can, through right education, discover everywhere and solve problems and manifest his capabilities and make himself “God’s substitute on the earth”.

EDUCATION VERSUS TRAINING

As we saw before animals naturally recognize their good and evil, their food locations, and their ways of life. In this way, their capabilities manifest themselves. On the contrary, man knows neither his pains nor their remedies, neither his friends nor his foes, and possesses neither instruments nor his defense mechanisms. He has obtained all these through education and experience:

Meaning: “And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers-you did not know anything-and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks.” (Qur’an16:78)In order for man’s skills and capabilities to flourish in diverse dimensions such as talking, having high morals, walking, living honestly, and loving justice, he needs instructors. Thus, education helps him improve his knowledge and culture; whereas training is employed to direct his innate capabilities and his spiritual dispositions. An educator teaches him the things he does not know, whereas a trainer guides his innate abilities in the right direction.

ETHICS VERSUS EDUCATION

In the past Education was a branch of ethics. It dealt with the educating children and bringing forth their skills. In the books written on education the encouragement for learning science and the ways of learning useful sciences were emphasized. But because of its significance in the lives of people, education raised itself from an inferior position to a completely independent branch of science, now there are numerous valuablebooks and resources written on it.” Since Imam Ali (s) in his erudite letter has emphasized numerous issues in education and has provided us with great samples of the advantages and favors of ethics we have called his article “the first treatise of Ethics and Islamic Education”.

THE WRONG-DOER NEEDS AND INNOCENT INSTRUCTOR:

As we saw above, wisdom of man does the functions of instincts of animals. However these two are different in many respects:

a)         An instinct, works without the consent of its holder. It does not astray. Bees have always built their hives hexagonal and ants have always halved the wheat seeds in two halves in order to stop their growth in their under-ground shelters. But being equipped with free-will, man does not have to function in accordance with wisdom’s guidelines. Animals have recognized their development through the guidelines of genesis and have to go forward without their approval.

Meaning: “There is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock; surely my Lord is on the

right path.” (Qur’an 11:56)

Meaning: “Surely we have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.”(Qur’an 76:3)

b)         An instinct performs an action without any error, but the wisdom makes mistakes when arriving at conclusions from the premises. The environment, lack of sufficient knowledge, wrong education, out-of-place prejudice, lust and anger, and the like, all have their fatal consequences on our wisdom. In this way man is prone to commit mistakes. Thus, he will need an innocent instructor. It is for this reason that God has sent messengers and Imams to guide people. Imam Musa Ibn Jaafar (s)in his famous treatise tells Hisham.

Meaning: “Allah has provided man with two guides: The overt guide and the covert guide. The overt guides are the Messengers and Imams and the covert guides include man’s wisdom.”