Islamic education is uniquely different from other types of educational theory and practice largely because of the all-encompassing influence of the Koran. The Koran serves as a comprehensive blueprint for both the individual and society and as the primary source of knowledge.
Koran was considered the word of God and needed to be organically interacted with by means of reading and reciting its words.
Kuttab (plural Kutatib ) - served a vital social function as the only vehicle for formal public instruction for primary-age children and continued so until Western models of education were introduced in the modern period. Even at present, it has exhibited remarkable durability and continues to be an important means of religious instruction in many Islamic countries.
The curriculum of the kuttāb was primarily directed to young male children, beginning as early as age four, and was centered on Koranic studies and on religious obligations such as ritual ablutions, fasting, and prayer.
The approach to teaching children was strict, and the conditions in which young students learned could be quite harsh. Corporal punishment was often used to correct laziness or imprecision. Memorization of the Koran was central to the curriculum of the kuttāb, but little or no attempt was made to analyze and discuss the meaning of the text.
The purpose of Islamic education is not to cram the pupil’s head with facts but to prepare them for a life of purity and sincerity. This total commitment to character-building based on the ideals of Islamic ethics is the highest goal of Islamic education.
Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personality of man through the training of man’s spirit, intellect, his rational self, feelings and bodily senses. Education should cater therefore for the growth of man in all its aspects: spiritual, intellectual, imaginative, physical, scientific, linguistic, both individually and collectively and motivate all aspects towards goodness and the attainment of perfection.
Provide an environment which allows the student to realize these ideals and gain an education that enhances his spiritual, intellectual, imaginative, physical, scientific and linguistic growth. Using the above definition as an informative guide, one would expect an Islamic school then, to have facilities and a program of learning that allows a pupil to develop his/her sense of spirituality and build a positive relationship with God which becomes manifest in doing righteous deeds.
The Arabic language has three terms for education, representing the various dimensions of the educational process as perceived by Islam. 1. ta'līm - from the root 'alima (to know, to be aware, to perceive, to learn), which is used to denote knowledge being sought or imparted through instruction and teaching.
Education in the context of Islam is regarded as a process that involves the complete person, including the rational, spiritual, and social dimensions.
The comprehensive and integrated approach to education in Islam is directed toward the "balanced growth of the total personality…through training Man's spirit, intellect, rational self, feelings and bodily senses…such that faith is infused into the whole of his personality“.
Acquiring intellectual knowledge (through the application of reason and logic) and developing spiritual knowledge (derived from divine revelation and spiritual experience). According to the worldview of Islam, provision in education must be made equally for both.
2. Acquiring knowledge in Islam is not intended as an end but as a means to stimulate a more elevated moral and spiritual consciousness, leading to faith and righteous action.
- focuses on personality and character development of children, close attention to the real needs and concerns of students, and preparation of students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to function successfully as Muslims in society.
They have to learn and transmit Islamic heritage to the next generation. They have to engage in an intellectual struggle against other ideologies. They have to fight corruption to preserve their morals and those of society. They must get practical skills needed to succeed in an increasingly technical society.