• Imam Ghazali was born in 1059 AD near Tus in
Khurasan, a part of the then Persia.
• He is also known as Hujjatul Islam.
• Imam Ghazali mentions in his book Al-munqudeen-al-
dalal, that he spent 38 years in the search of truth from
place to place and studied different schools of thoughts
of that time.
• He was offered the post of head of Nizamia School in
• Imam Ghazali ’s skepticism continues from another ten
years, in which he wondered in many palaces including,
Makkah, Yathrab and Syria.
He also performed several pilgrimages to Makkah
and once took an oath, while standing beside the
stone of Abraham (Maqam-e-Ibrahim) in the Khana
Kaaba. He swear that;
• I will not go to the court of any king
• I will not get any money from rulers
• I will not indulge in any type of discussion with
• Imam Ghazali died in 1111 Ad.
• He has written number of books including the “Revival of
Islamic knowledge” (Ahya-e-uloom Islam) and “Incoherence
of philosophy “ (Tahafat-ul-filasafa)
• He provided rational basis for the Islamic beliefs and
integrated Sufism and individual beliefs, to give a holistic
picture of Islam in helping to reunite Muslims of the world.
People criticize him for the lack of use of reason in Islam.
As an educator, he is the greatest and most influential
educators of Islam and has great influence on the modern
The importance of Knowledge:
According to Ghazali, knowledge can bring us closer
to God as well as enhance worldly respect and
position. Knowledge, according to him is not
relative but has an entity in itself. It can raise the
status of the individual, create self respect and take
him to the highest position.
According to Ghazali, there are four categories of
Prophets convey the message of God
regardless of any discrimination and help to
purify the inner self.
They use their authority, legislation and
rules to train and guide the society.
Their knowledge benefits only selected
individuals but for benefiting masses.
They are meant to fulfill the religious
needs of the society and train outer and inner
self. Their is to promote knowledge, improve
the life of people, and help them to acquire
desirable through education.
Ghazali divides knowledge into two types
i. Useful or desirable knowledge
ii. Useless or undesirable knowledge
i. Useful knowledge:
It is further divided into two
This knowledge is obligatory for all and contains the
knowledge of Islam
This knowledge is optional and depends on the will
of the individual. It is further divided into two;
ii. Useless Knowledge:
Although no knowledge is useless, it is not
desirable if it can create an undesirable effect
If it harms somebody like magic etc
If it leads to thinking about God.
Ghazali says that these matters should be left
only to prophets and saints.
• Aims of Education:
• Ghazali based his aims of education on Islamic
• According to him, the major aim of education is
that it is useful. The knowledge gained as a result of
education should be useful both for individual and
the society. It means that the aim of education is
character building of individual so that it could
differentiate between good and evil and avoids
following the evil path.
Johnn Herbart proposed the same ideas about
700 year after the demise of Ghazali.
Psychological concepts of Ghazali:
Ghazali raises the basic question whether the
human instinct is based on good or evil. He has
presented his ideas in the light of Quran and
Hadith. According to him good or evil are not
physical and is not instinctual. Humans can be
transformed by education and training. Rousseau
expressed similar idea in 18th century.
Ghazali seems impressed by the Greek
philosophers. According to Aristotle there are two
types of creations in the world. i.e.
Perfect creation: These are perfected like moon ,
Imperfect creations like seed of tree, which is
imperfect in the sense that it has the ability to
become a tree.
According to Ghazali, human beings are
imperfect creatures and are similar to the seed.
They have the ability and capacity to become
perfect, only the suitable conditions are required.
According to him, good character means good
Ghazali has given the following four ways in which
deficiencies can be identified and removed.
Such teachers that have spiritual insight and knowledge
and has the ability to analyze deficiencies of others
We can identify our deficiencies with the help of our
We can know more about our deficiencies from our
Ghazali also stresses on self-analysis from time to time.
Ghazali strongly criticizes the curriculum of his time. He
raises the basic question of criteria for selection of subject
matter for curriculum. He studied the various curriculum's
in his times and reached the following conclusions:
More time is spent on religious education and worldly
education is completely ignores
Worldly education is equally important
While teaching religious education , a great number of
differences arise among the teachers, which result in mud
slinging on each other.
• No place for character building in curriculum
• Ghazali recommended that curriculum should be
composed of obligatory (Farz-i-Ain ) And optional
(Farz-i-Kafaya ) knowledge. It should be a
combination of religion and worldly education.
• Ghazali included industrial education, textile,
agriculture, tailoring and hair cutting in the
• This indicates that Ghazali ’s educational ideas are
• Ghazali also stresses the acquisition of philosophy
Methods of Teaching and Techniques:
Ghazali has recommended the following teaching methods
and techniques, which are based on psychological
principles. These methods and techniques are widely used
and educators all over the world agrees with their
Teaching lessons to be based on previous knowledge and
experience of the students.
This helps to know the ability, knowledge and aptitude of
the learner and helps to motivate students towards the
lesson which is very important for the educational process.
John Herbart and Pestalozzi recommended the same
principle about 700 year after Ghazali.
Simplifying the lesson:
Teachers should simplify the difficult concepts
by stories, tales etc other wise his teaching will not
Move from simple to complex
Ghazali stresses that teachers should first
teach simpler concepts and when the students
are motivated towards lesson, then he can
introduce complex concepts.
Ghazali stresses the importance of planning and
advises that teachers should do his preparation
before teaching , for effective teaching.
The teachers should avoid the use of force . He
should be like a father to his students and should
use love and affection instead of corporal
punishment. Use of force can lead to bad habits
Teacher and students should also have good
Avoid double standards:
Teacher is like a guide to students. He should
not be a hypocrite and should breed good
qualities like, honesty, good etiquette, good
moral character etc
Abilities of students:
Ghazali stresses that while teaching the abilities of
students should be kept in mind. Concepts, which
are above the mental level of the students will not
make the teaching effective.
Ghazali ’s ideas about female education are
different from modern day. He is only in favor
of elementary education for women so that
they could play their due role in society. He is
not in favor of higher education for females.
Rousseau has similar ideas.
Ghazali also stresses acquisition of home-
related knowledge for women.
Ghazali has greatly stressed the physical education
for children. He believes in old Greek axiom “ sound
mind in sound body”
He suggests proper clothing for children so that
they could develop and grow properly. He suggests
avoid tight and fit clothing.
He also stresses the importance of good and simple,
diet for good physical growth.
Discipline and Imam Ghazali’s philosophy:
Khalid (2005) stats Imam Ghazali forwarded very
important views about discipline. He is not in favour of
maintaining discipline on the basis of fear and
intimidation. Discipline should be maintained on the
basis of love and understanding. He is in favour of
developing a good relationship between the students
and the teachers. The teacher should not scold the
students and treat them with kindness and sympathy.
The teacher should act as a role model for the students.
He is deadly against of using punishment in educational
institutions, because it did not bring any positive result
in the learners. It does not encourage students to be
creative and flourish their minds.
Khalid (2005) says Imam Ghazali was a great Muslim
educationist and presented many fruitful theories,
aims, methods and curriculum of education. He
suggested a utilitarian type of education to enable the
learner to carry a successful vocation and profession.
He emphasis personal experiences and teacher- pupils’
relationship. The same views have been presented by
the modern educationist even after lapsing of one
thousand years. Whatever he had presented many
years before is implemented today. He was a great
In short we can say that the contribution of Ghazali to
education, what he said later reflected by western
educators. That was actually originated in the times of