Teaching Methods in Islam



The ancient Muslim educationists adopted a special method of teaching that promotes the recipients of knowledge. The following are some articles of the teaching methods:

Forsaking Tension

Teachers ought to treat their pupils leniently and kindly and avoid any tension and cruelty since these two things impede the mental growth and author serious psychological complexes. Ibn Khuldun says, “Tensional teaching injures the pupils, especially the children and the harshly educated.”

Physical Discipline

Pupils of irregular behavior and negligence should be disciplined if they ignore the advice. The ancient Muslim teachers used to beat and detain even the kings’ sons. Abu Merriam, the educator of al-Amin and al-Mamun*, caned them so harshly that one’s arm was injured. Before his father, the boy showed his hand, and the teacher was summoned. “What for did Mohammed –al-Amin- complain you?” asked ar-Rashid. “He is full of naivete and slyness,” answered the teacher. The caliph then said, “You may kill him! His death is better than being dull.”

In his instructions to al-Ahmer, one of his sons’ educators, ar-Rashid said, “You should first reform him by means of kindness and lenience. If he refuses, then you should use tension and coarse.”

Fathers used to say to the educators of their sons, “Your share is the flesh while ours is the bones.”

Beating and tormenting were the most important means of education. This is incorrect indeed since it is undecided to Islam that regards mercy, kindness, and lenience as the most matters on which education should settle. All of the crooked ways should be avoided in the educational processes. Teachers should not exceed in disciplining the irregular and deviant pupils since it creates mental complexes and impedes the maturity and prosperity of education and personality. Ibn Khuldoun says, “If the educator uses coercion, this will distress the pupil and confine his delighted spirit and urge on indolence and lead to lie and malignancy for avoiding more coercion. In addition, this coercion will teach the pupil trickery and fraud, and the pupil may take them as customs and qualities forever. The educator, whether teacher or father, should not exaggerate in disciplining the sons.” The Prophet (s) said, “Teach without chiding. Teachers are preferable to the scolders.” Ibn Quteiba said, “Teachers are recommended not to use tension or pride.”

Teachers are compared to the compassionate father. It is said, “Teachers are the substitutes of fathers.” It is also said, “Teachers ought to care for the students’ interests and treat them like the dearest sons with kindness, courtesy, benevolence, and patience on probable alienation. Teachers should apprise of their flaws by means of advice and sympathy, not chiding and crudeness.” Al-Qabisi, one of the master educators of the fourth century –of Hegira-, was asked whether it is recommended for teachers to use coarseness or lenience with students, he answered, “Disciplining should never occupy the good teachers’ lenience and mercy to the pupils. Teachers are the substitutes of their fathers. It is discommended for teachers to be always frowning. This will make the pupils disrespect them.”

Teachers’ roughness originates mental troubles and leads to the students’ refusing the lessons.

Suggestive Rebuke

Muslim educationists believe that the insinuative rebuke should be within the teaching methods in case pupils show irregular behavior or imperfect work since this method is more impressive than expression. They said, “Teachers who notice an irregularity or a crooked behavior should not state it directly to the pupils. They should insinuate within their common speech by referring to the disadvantages of such a behavior. This will achieve the intended convention.”

This method, in fact, is more useful than direct reproach, which may lead to rebellion and insistence on the wrong. Islam has asserted this topic in the fields of education and teaching. It is related that Imams al-Hassan and al-Hussein, the grandsons of the Prophet, once noticed an old man perform the ritual ablution incorrectly. They avoided stating to him directly; hence, they agreed on making him the arbiter who should rule of the most accurate ablution. As they performed the ablution before him, the old man said, “O masters! You both have performed the very accurate ablution, but it seems that the old man can master nothing.”



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