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Monday, January 21, 2013

Detailed values of this system

I dare to bring forth the underpinnings of the curriculum offerings. This will make "Quranic Values System" radically different from the one we have in practice.

In this Quranic Values System, self or personality is the kernel, the core, the hub, or the nucleus. This whole System metaphorically draws upon as ‘that hard kernel of gaiety that never breaks’. The Foundations of this System -on the basis of which the curriculum offerings of all the disciplines of Social or Physical Sciences, or of the professional pursuits like the Medical, Engineering, Networking, Teacher Education or of the Training Programs are to be worked out, include the following elements:

The Ideological Basis of Curriculum

The curriculum in this System reflects the underpinning of that ideology, which is based on the values enshrined in the Quran and provides the individual for self-development. The Qur’anic basic principles are (i) the individual is the focus of these values and (ii) the group exists to enable the individuals to develop and express themselves to the full extent of their capacity. It lays primary stress on personal worth of the individual and the gaining of knowledge of invariable sequence of events. This enables the individual to make better adjustment. This also makes the individual conscious of the causal nexus between events governed by the Law of Requital. And also that the action performed deliberately, or with a high degree of ego-involvement, changes the personality of the doer for better or for worse. The curriculum offerings are built on these values and are named as the "ideological basis of the curriculum".

Economic Foundations of Curriculum

Four factors contribute to the production of wealth, the goods and the possessions: (a) a person’s physical and mental capabilities; (b) the education and training he/she has received; (c) the opportunities available to him/her; and (d) his/her industry, the work he/she puts in. His/her natural endowments are a gift of Allah and are not acquired through his/her own efforts. A person is indebted to the community for the education and training he/she has received. The society too provides him/her with opportunities for producing wealth. This makes it clear that people can justly claim only that portion of the wealth, which is the outcome of the labour he/she has put in to produce it. And not the whole. For this purpose the Qur’an provides the following factors that are to be made as the economic foundations of the curriculum underpinnings:

1. Contract between an Islamic State and the believers to be established.

2. Sources of production are for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

3. All that is surplus to the needs of an individual belongs to the society.

Social Foundations of Curriculum

Individuals possess potentialities, but those can be actualized only in a favorable social milieu and through co-operation with congenial companions. The Qur’an lays down a pattern according to which a healthy social organization for entire mankind can be formed. The Qur’an has expressed this view in lucid and unambiguous language: ‘Verily, We have honored every human being’. This view gives full recognition to the dignity of humans. As humans all are equal; every one possesses the self. This is the basic principle of the Islamic Order.

The Qur'an has laid down two principles for this purpose. (a) ‘No man shall carry another’s burden’ and (b) ‘every one will be entitled to get according to his/her efforts’. It means that in Islamic Order, man is punished or rewarded for his/her own deeds and is held responsible for his/her voluntary actions. It further enjoins upon human beings to be strictly just in his/her dealings with even his/her enemies.

The recurring theme of the Qur’an, is the interdependence of man. So the Qur’anic program has a two-fold aim: the furtherance of the best interest of the individual and that of the society with preference of others to themselves. The Qur’an declares that: ‘The believers prefer others to themselves although there is indigence among them’. In this way people’s vital interests are bound up with the interests of humanity. They realize the good only by working for the general good. Dedicated to the service of mankind, the believers keep the doors of Rabubiyyh Order (system for the growth and development of humanity) open to all. In this way the social foundations include the following permanent values:

1. The criterion of a high position in society rests on men’s own personal merits and character.

2. Justice is one of the fundamental permanent values and no distinction is allowed in this respect between friend and foe. As regards the courts of justice, the believers have been very clearly guided by the Qur’an:

(a) confound not truth with falsehood (2:42)

(b) nor knowingly conceal the truth (2:42)

(c) hide not testimony (2:283)

(d) evidence must be given truthfully (4:135)

(e) and be you not an advocate for the fraudulent (4:105)

(f) and never be a supporter of the guilty (28:17)

(g) be you staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man for Allah is nearer unto both (than you are); so follow not passions lest you lapse (from truth) and if you lapse or fall away then look! Allah is ever informed of what you do (4:135)

3. Respect for humanity: All humans are equal by birth and are worthy of respect

4. Personal responsibility: Justice demands that everybody should bear his/her own burden and should personally fulfil one's own responsibilities. Thus the consequence of one’s act cannot be transferred to another

5. Zulm: It means ‘to put a thing at a place where it should not be’. The Qur’an not only prohibits wrong acts but also that you should not be wronged. If every individual on his/her part avoids wrong acts, the wrong shall be eliminated from the society and all shall be protected against it

6. The survival of the constructive: According to the Qur’an only that which is beneficial for the entire mankind survives.

These values are imbedded in the curriculum fabric, so that the learners may bring these values forth through their overt and covert behaviour.

Now the question is "what is the operational mechanism for this Quranic System?"

Operational Mechanism for Strategic Educationists

The operational mechanism of this System is four-pronged: (a) incorporation of the Law of Requital; (b) resurrection of this system on the recognition of Allah; (c) organization for the self-development; and (d) strategic pedagogy for subject matter areas on the empirical theory of knowledge. Strategic measures for these four prongs can be worked out to keep balance between the changing socio-economic conditions of the time and the permanence of human personality.

For the convenience of those who intend to work on it, these four operational mechanisms are elaborated very briefly as concepts to grow pari passu with knowledge to be imbibed in the educational fabric:

1. The Law of Requital: It works unerringly and brings connection between acts and their effects. It has been explained under the heading of Ideological Basis of Curriculum above.

2. Allah as the Sustainer/Nourisher of the Universe: This means that Allah carries forward the universe and every thing in it, from one stage to a higher one. He keeps everything moving for work actualizing its latent capacities. This law is the sheet anchor of the universe. It is the guarantee that everything in it will develop to the full extent of its capacity. But the only possible exception is human beings that through their own volition may set themselves against it and miss-apply his/her freedom by choosing to descend instead of ascending. For all the disciplines of knowledge - physical or social –or of Training Programs this law demands to be dubbed in the emerging bases and the end products.

3. Course of self-development: The evolutionary process, in evidence in the outer world, takes within humans the form of self-development. This demands three things. (a) Social environment through interaction with other free selves with internal harmony and concord. (b) Sense of participation in social activities and/or educational pursuits directed to a noble end. And (c) society based on justice, dedicated to the acquisition of higher values and committed to respect for human personality. This course of development of the self is not by receiving but by giving. The more the self gives of its riches, the richer it grows. ‘Riches’ include wealth, knowledge, potential, capabilities, etc.

4. Knowledge: Qur’anic view is close to the empirical theory of knowledge and exhorts humans to use first step to get to know the nature and its way (17:36). Those who do not make proper use of their senses and mental power sink to the animal level. The result is that they cease to be rational beings (7:179).

It is, therefore, desired to base this operational strategy (a) on the pristine ideological pursuits rooted in the permanent values, and (b) execute these pursuits with the constructive potential in accordance with the Divine Law given in the Qur’an (35:10).

If we do all these parameters, we can eradicate the misconception and its devastation, which is being wrought with the concept of Islam as religion.

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