What are the principles of the education system in the Islamic civilization?

The Answer

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The Principles of the Education System of Islamic Civilization

Islam has given man the highest authority by describing him as the most honorable creature and the vicegerent on earth.

The principles of its education system based on this description of man are as follows:

1. It accepts truth instead of force/power as the point of support. That is, it is based on the principle “The right (truth) is powerful”. It enables justice and law to settle among people, which leads to peace and tranquility.

2. It is based on virtue and Allah’s consent instead of benefit. It provides solidarity among people.

3. It accepts mutual assistance instead of struggle in life, which makes people help one another.

4. In the ties between communities, it accepts the bonds of religion, country and class instead of racialism and negative nationalism, which is conducive to fraternity, brotherhood, attraction and approaching.

5. Instead of fulfilling the desires of the soul only as the goal of life, it causes man to satisfy his sublime senses, to be a perfect person by assuming high ethics, which elevates him to real humanity. This prevents the evil desires of the soul, elevates the soul and makes man a peaceful and happy person in the world and in the hereafter.1

Today, it is really necessary to reconstruct our own national education in accordance with those principles.Those principles should be taken into consideration when all sciences are presented to the youth.

Thus, the education to be given to man should be in a manner that will give him this consciousness and in a way that will enable him to fulfill the sublime duties assigned to him.

Therefore, truth, virtues, Allah’s consent, solidarity, unity of religion, unity of the country, being perfect individuals with high ethics and elevated feelings, unity and solidarity are among the most important principles for the Anatolian people to survive. This will be possible with the combination of science education, which is the light of the mind, and religious education, which is the light of the conscience. This issue is expressed as follows in the book called Münazarat:

"The light of the conscience is the religious sciences. The light of the mind is the exact sciences. The truth becomes manifest with their harmony. Through those two wings, students become successful. When they are separated, bigotry occurs in the former; cheating and doubt occur in the latter." (Nursi, B. S. Münazaraat).

The Young Turks, who could not understand the importance of the religion of Islam, which is like a spiritual battery for ensuring unity and solidarity in the community, in our social life, during the constitutional period, thought that life and religion were separate from each other. They thought progress and development could be through Western civilization. They thought it would happen by abandoning religion as in the West. However, they could not take into account that Islam and the distorted Christian religion of the West were completely different.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who followed those developments closely at that time, pointed out this mistake and expressed what should be the right way as follows:

“Those who suppose religion and life can be separated are the cause of disaster
The mistake of the Young Turks:
They did not know our religion is the basis of life;
they thought nation and Islam were different.
They imagined civilization would endure and always be dominant,
and saw happiness and prosperity to lie within it.
Now time has shown civilization’s system1 to be corrupt and harmful;
incontrovertible experience has taught us this.
Religion is the very life of life, its light and its basis.
This nation will be revived only through the revival of religion.
Islam understood this.
Contrary to other religions, our nation has progressed to the extent we adhered to our religion.
And it has declined to the degree we neglected it.
This is an historical fact which occurred due to our feigned forgetfulness.2

So, the source of the mistake of the Young Turks was the idea that Western civilization would settle all kinds of issues and ensure the bliss of society, replacing the religion. The period of one century showed the corrupt and harmful aspects and shortcomings of that civilization system.

The real altruistic nationalists realized that this nation’s survival and advancement would be possible through understanding the religion truly and reviving it. In other words, unlike other religions, they understood that the nation would develop based on the degree of clinging to and holding to the religion of Islam, and that it would decline as the religion would be neglected. Realizing this historical fact, which was overlooked, the altruistic people understood that it would be possible to get rid of this dilemma by considering man’s material life, as well as his spiritual structure in education.

Administrators, non-governmental organizations and intellectuals, who saw the mistake the Young Turks, who could not understand the difference between Islam and Christianity, made at that time, who realized the deadlock in education and who felt the need for reconstruction and revival of education, have searched for various solutions for the last quarter century.

In this regard, very serious scientific meetings, open sessions, panel discussions and symposiums have been organized in various parts of Anatolia, in particular, since the 2000s.

One of them is the International Congress of Creation in the Light of Science, which was planned to be held annually after 2017. Some of the decisions that this congress adopted as a principle in the roadmap are as follows:

1- The religion of Islam does not conflict with real science. The idea “Science and religion are separate” is the product of positivist philosophy. What led them to such an idea was the practices of the Christian religion in the past. In other words, the realities of science and the realities of religion cannot be different. The fight between science and religion, and between intellect and revelation is not the fight of the Islamic civilization because the subject of science is the book of the universe, which is the work of the power of Allah. The Quran is also the work of Allah’s attribute Kalam (Speech). They are not at odds with each other. On the contrary, the Quran is a kind of interpretation of the book of the universe.

“Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?’” (az-Zumar, 9)As it is understood from the verse of the Quran above and many other verses and hadiths, the religion of Islam gives great importance to science (knowledge) and scientists (scholars).

2- In understanding man and the universe, physics and metaphysics should be given together. Dealing with the cause-effect relationship alone in science is not enough to understand the universe and man; holistic thinking is necessary. It becomes possible through metaphysical thinking. Most of the education systems in the world have been shaped according to the positivist philosophical view for nearly two hundred years. The existence of the spirit in man is not taken into consideration in such a system of education. Man is a whole with its matter and spirituality. Metaphysics completes science by penetrating into and beyond things.

3-Knowledge obtained by scientific methods should be given not by chance and causes but with significative meaning, that is, from the perspective of oneness. A language that is compatible with our cultural values should be the language of science.

4-There is a confusion of concepts and information pollution of knowledge about evolution and creation. What everybody understands and means by evolution is different. The word evolution is used in place of almost thirty concepts and terms like perfection, change, change of state, metamorphosis and evolution. The terms like perfection, change, change of state and metamorphosis express change and differentiation. They are not theories but laws. 

However, evolution in the sense of evolvement, which states that one species emerges from another, is a philosophical view that does not rely on any evidence. Since the views put forward for evolution in the sense of evolvement do not have sufficient scientific basis, it has been regarded appropriate to use the expression “the view of Evolution” instead of “the theory of Evolution” in educational and training institutions.

5-Another reason why the concepts of evolution and creation are understood differently is the differences in the perception of deity. There is a general understanding like this among scientists:

If the cause of the occurrence of a being is known, it is not God’s work. According to them, God is the owner of the beings whose cause of existence and nature cannot be explained scientifically. However, Allah uses causes as a veil for His power. Causes do not have the power of plan, program and design. They do not have the attributes of intellect and will, knowledge, skill and creation.

6-We do not have to be subject to the values ​​of positivist philosophy in science. We want to bring back the old values of our ancient culture and civilization. We will evaluate metaphysics as scientific knowledge along with physical thought from now on. We will interpret the data obtained from science and philosophy with the values ​​of our own civilization. That is our responsibility as well as primary duty. We have already had the science and technique of the West. We will take it and add spirit and meaning to it. Thus, the truth of everything and the purpose of the creation of everything will emerge; man will rise again to the level of the most honorable creature.

While preparing this book, we benefited from the books called “Creation through the Language of Sciences Series”, “Creation in the Light of Sciences” and “Popular Science Series”, which were compiled from the papers presented at those congresses.

Nobel Laureate Pakistani physicist, Abdus Salam describes sciences as “the art of examining the works of Allah in the universe”.

Science examines the beings in the universe. It tries to show the structure and nature of every form and being, as well as the wisdom and purposes of their creation.

There are two kinds of presentation of the sciences obtained from the beings in the universe.

The first one is the presentation by scientists and educators. In this kind of presentation, the Creator is generally hidden from the eyes due to the effect of the materialistic philosophy in general. The causes are presented directly as the doers and everything is shown as the work of nature or chance. In other words, the Creator is excluded and nature and causes are shown as God instead of the Creator. It is suggested that it is not scientific to attract attention to a creator and mention creation.

A young man who is brought up with such an education thinks that he is unattended and ownerless in the universe, that everything moves randomly and that he has no responsibility toward anybody. This makes young people irreligious, unbelieving, miserable, naughty, disobedient, subject to the desires and ambitions of their souls.

The second way of presentation is the introduction of the Creator by each branch of science through its own language.

The Book called Creation Through the Language of Sciences, which you are holding now, shows clearly that the artistic, regular, neat, wise and purposeful creation in the universe is the work of a creator with infinite knowledge, will and power. It is also called significative meaning or view of oneness.

The young people who obtain this viewpoint and look at the beings on behalf of Allah will know from whom goodness comes, and they will nurture feelings of gratitude and appreciation toward Him. They will understand that they are not unattended, that they were created for a purpose and that they have duties and responsibilities toward their creator; hence, they will discipline their lives.

1Footnote 1: It is a complete sign of the unknown. It is related to the cruel civilization in its deathbed.
1Nursi, B. S. Sözler. Türkiye DiyanetVakfı Yayınları-600. 2nd impression, Ankara, 2016,  p. 158-159, 495.
2Nursi, B. S. Sözler. p. 886-887.

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