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Islamic Pedagogy refers to the educational values, concepts, and perspectives rooted in the Islamic tradition that inspire and inform renewed thinking within Islamic schools and educational settings.

Like other faith and spiritually based pedagogies, Islamic pedagogy challenges the increased technicising of teachers work and insists on centring educational values of holistic (mind-body-soul) education – where the education of the soul is paramount.  

Pedagogy in this sense is a human science, a philosophy of education that addresses the big why questions around the purpose of education and schooling thereby informing the way we teach (i.e. instruction) - but isn’t simply the art of instruction. Pedagogy here refers to the education values that inform instructional practice. In other words, the way we teach is not  arbitrary. We each teach in ways that reflect our educational values. And for educators in Islamic schools, the assumption is that educators (Muslim or not) reflect educational values of Islam.

Concrete examples of educational values and concepts in Islam that define an Islamic pedagogy include (but are not limited to):

  • Fitrah (pure state) is the state all children are born in
  • Amanah (trust) is the religious responsibility one holds as a parent or educator
  • Tarbiya (to grow, increase, nurture wholeness) is an essential aim of education
  • Ta’dib (refinement of character) is equally an aim of education
  • Tazkiya (refining one’s spiritual self, self-discipline) is central to holistic education
  • Niyyah (Intention) informs the purpose of learning
  • Ilm / Aml (knowledge and action) is a critical interplay in learning
  • Ihsan (excellence) defines how a learner approaches learning
  • Muhasabah (self-assessment or introspection) defines the purpose of evaluation
  • Tafakkur (reflection or purposive thinking) is a critical process in transformative learning

These concepts (and many, many others) are the basis of what make Islamic schools distinct. Islamic schools aren’t simply distinct because they are schools for Muslims, or because Islam as faith formation is taught in the school, or because the school environment reinforces Islamic values and religious observances. Islamic schools are distinct because they are rooted in a pedagogical tradition (in terms of education philosophy) that are informed by concepts like the ones listed above. For example, when an Islamic school claims in their mission and vision that their ultimate aim is to nurture tarbiya (wholeness – mind/body/spirit) then the educational approach of nurturing tarbiya is what distinguishes that school. And that educational approach of nurturing tarbiya will (or should) inevitability be based on other educational concepts rooted in Islam.  

More information

Islamic Pedagogy Focused Webinars

Why Islamic Schools Need Islamic Pedagogy

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4 Big Ideas About Islamic Pedagogy

How Islamic Pedagogy Transformed My Classroom 

How Islamic Pedagogy is Transforming Our School

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