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Yaumul Ilm: Tackling The Problems Of Our Education Sector

By Sheikh Muhammad Mahmud Turi
In the name of Allah who states “… Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees; and Allah is Aware of what you do” Q58:11.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant, our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.

The Education Committee of the Islamic movement, better known as Lajnar Tarbiyyah da Ilmantarwa was established and mandated by Sheikh Ibraheem al – Zakzaky (H) to oversee all educational endeavors within the movement. The committee has recently convened its 2nd 4 – day workshop on teaching method and the Yaumul Ilm at the Jannat Dar al – Rahma, Dembo, Zaria graced by his eminence, the sheikh.

Prominent scholars have made invaluable presentations in the workshop attended by teachers drawn from various schools across the country. The lead – paper was presented by a famous professor of education from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The Yaumul Ilm, is an annual event commemorated to appraise educational status with a view to improving it. Ilm, is an Arabic word for knowledge. As I have extensively elaborated in my earlier article on the world’s educational dynamism, differs from education as the latter is a process of imparting the former in consonance with child’s growth and development or students’ intellectual capacity.

The philosophy of education from the Islamic view point is to produce PIOUS INDIVIDUALS who will live as VICEGERENTS OF ALLAH on earth. Thus, unlike the WEST which ignores the moral aspect, Islam emphasizes both irrespective of areas of specialization.

This year’s programme critically analysed the role of the rich and institutions in promoting the education sector. People from all walks of human life attended the event and were highly excited by the lectures presented by the guest speaker, a professor of physical education from National Teachers Institute, Kaduna, and the respected sheikh.

No doubt, there are a lot of misconceptions on education depending on the views from which it is studied. In fact, some people confuse education with literacy which is only a means to attainment in educational pursuit.

On taking a brief look on attempts for definition; Sarwa (1994), defined education as a system which transmits the revealed and acquired knowledge to the younger generations of Muslims in order to prepare them for life and enable them discharge their duties as vicegerents of Allah on earth with the sole aim of achieving success here and hereafter”

Nwana (1998), stated that education is a tool by means of which government achieves its national objectives. Therefore, there can be no any meaningful development for any nation or society without an effective educational system put in place.

In what Ashraf (1979), described as western education, predominantly operated in most Muslim countries including Nigeria, he lamentably stated;

“Modern western education places an exaggerated emphasis upon reason and rationally underestimates the value of spirit. It encourages scientific enquiry at the expense of faith; it promotes individualism; it breeds skepticism; it refuses to accept that which is not demonstrable; it is anthropocentric rather than theocentric. Even where it does not directly challenges faith, it regulates it to the background as something much less important than reason. The result is that the intellectuals have become at variance with one another, each individual claiming his philosophy to be the only correct guidance for himself and sometimes propounding it with missionary zeal for others”

Imperatively, it is good to make a very important clarification here that education should not be restricted to either Geography or racial group. You may refer to my article World’s educational dynamism. Knowledge in its diverse nature is no doubt generally from Allah the Most – High.

The 1977 First Islamic conference on Muslim education observed that: Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personality of man through the training of man’s spirit, intellect, the rational self, feelings and bodily senses. The training imparted to a Muslim must be such that faith is infused into the whole of his personality and creates in him an emotional attachment to Islam and enables him to follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah and be governed by the Islamic system of values willingly and joyfully so that he may proceed to the realization of his status as Khalifatullah to whom Allah has promised the authority of the universe”

Okafor (1981), commended the efforts of the Muslims in preserving learning and extending its horizons. The identity of Islamic education is the balance between catering for soul and body and the balance in this world and hereafter. The central point in Islamic education is the recognition of Allah as the creator and controller of the universe popularly called tauhid. Thus Islamic education attempts at integrating an individual into a sound and effective citizen socially, economically, politically, intellectually and spiritually.

Al – Balagh foundation (1988), stressed the main objectives of Islamic education:                                                                                                                                   

I.                  Inculcation of social consciousness and nourishing a feeling of human response.

II.                Development of all human resources for the betterment of mankind

III.             Building of a balanced personality and the inculcation of systematic Islamic virtues.

In the Nigerian context, the conceptual framework of education entails formal, informal and non-formal. The formal is any form of teaching -learning process with a generally accepted and regular set of roles, organisation and pattern while the Informal is a process of fitting individual into an organised way of life and an established tradition of a society and the non – formal is leaning activities and skills outside the school system.

For quite long, the Islamic educational system has been neglected by the governments which is vividly not unconnected with the country’s constitutional provision that upholds the colonial legacy. However, if Muslims are determined, they can reactivate the Islamic educational system which comprises the revealed and acquired knowledge. The pessimism is due to over reliance whose existential basis and official orientation are neither Islamic nor in its favour.

The Islamic movement in Nigeria is set to reverse the situation. As such, the movement has established community – based schools named after the great scholar and revivalist sheikh Usman bn Fodio popularly called Fudiyyah schools.

Visionally, the schools were planned to uphold the Islamic legacy as revived by the sheikh and are sporadically dispersed in the northern part of the country. Although there are several factors dwindling the efforts being made, but we are very optimistic given their level of moral and academic excellence especially compared to public schools.

Based on the UNESCO guide, no fewer than 26% of every country’s annual budget should be earmarked for education. This guideline is interestingly abided by in the developed and many developing countries. In addition to the task of creating employment opportunities in consonance with population dynamism.

However, less than 10% of Nigeria’s annual budget is given to education which suffers 40 – 50% non-implementation. This is why our education sector dilapidates leading most of our postgraduate students outside the country.

Either as individual or under an umbrella like the parent – teacher association (PTA), parents must pay their due to schools as an obligation promptly. This will facilitate the same for teachers to which cost benefit effect is in their favor.

Teacher as the field worker must work sincerely bearing Allah as witness to his employment contract. In addition to that, he/she should consider students as a trust of Allah to guard and care based on ethics. They must get their characters well molded especially as their students simply copy them without questions. The school heads on the other hand must ensure good conduct of their teachers and make sure they have the necessary educational qualification and perform their duties effectively.

Community role is relative and diverse. For example, the nongovernmental organizations, local and international donor agencies and the wealthy individuals must play their expected roles to the best of ability in terms of provision of scholarships and educational support to schools in a multi – faceted way.

In a nutshell, the event has identified areas in need of urgent intervention to promote our schools’ capacity by philanthropist and the general public:

I. Land/development                                                                                                               

ll. Laboratory/other equipments                                                                                          

lll. Staff development                                                                                                                

lV. Sponsorship of the less privileged students                                                                   

V.   In – house capacity building programmes                                                                                

VI. Transport means for conveyance of students
In his closing remark, the sheikh has expressed dismay over the corruption and tyranny of those in authority who misplace priority, and misappropriation of public trust which destroyed not only the Education but all sectors of our National life.

He called on all wealthy individuals which he described as relative and the general public to consider contribution to the Education sector as an obligation that Allah appreciates and rewards abundantly so that our society can advance.

While commending the effort of the Lajnah for organising these educative programmes, we pray for the actualization of the sheikh’s sublime hope in the establishment of a University in line with Fudiyyah principles and improvement of all sectors of our society.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah!