Concept of Education and Upbringing in the Bible
The concept of upbringing and education is one of the most important concepts to occupy the contemporary mind. All approaches have begun to express its voice on it or, even, offer solutions to social problems related to it. However, still the religious approach- especially the heavenly religions– has the highest voice in this regard.
Making a comparison between the Islamic and Christian stands on the educational aspects, we found the Islamic stand to be comprehensive and accurate compared to the Christian one which was based on general and ecclesiastical texts that have nothing to do with the Bible or its teachings!
A Christian thinker claims that Jesus’ saying: “So what God gathered together, no man will separate it.” (Mark 9:10) leads to progeny good upbringing. However, a permanent marital relationship without divorce does not mean a good upbringing!
As many Christian beliefs, this perception has been blended with the doctrine of trinity or the belief in the paternity of God Almighty for the creatures—far is God from such blasphemous beliefs. A Christian thinker says, “As adoption is a divine idea, He set an example for us through adopting us as His children”, (Romans,8:15, Ephesians 1: 5).
The Prophet of Islam warned humanity against the crime of the transferring deviant doctrines to upcoming innocent generations or the monopoly of their future faith; he said,
“There is none born but is created to his true nature (Islam). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian quite as beasts produce their young with their limbs perfect. Do you see anything deficient in them? Then he quoted the Qur’an., The nature made by Allah in which He has created men there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion” (30: 30) (Sahih Muslim 2658 b)
This prophetic saying (hadith) means that: God (Allah) created people on the perfect creation (instinct), which is: natural acceptance of the truth of monotheism (the religion of Islam) enabling them to realize it upon their birth; the goodness of this religion is fixed in their souls, Al-Mazeri said: “It was a promise (not to be pagans) taken by them (i.e. their souls) before their creation”.
The objectivity of research in this field leads us to say that we do not lack an educational concept in the Bible, as many texts came in it that assure it, including:
-“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. “Deuteronomy (4: 6-7).
-“In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent signs and wonders–great and terrible–on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”(Deuteronomy 6-25: 20)
-“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise– .”so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6: 1-4).
-“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in”. (Proverbs 3: 11-12)
Among the texts regarding this may also include: (Psalm 127: 3; 34: 11; Proverbs 23: 13-14).
Concept of Education and Upbringing in Islam
However, not denying the Christian concept of education and upbringing, as establishing a good basis for education, it seems that it lacks inclusiveness, methodology and accuracy, compared to the Islamic one which seems to be comprehensive because it is based on a firm educational methodology.
Dr. Khaled Rusha, an specialist in education says: “Non-Islamic educational methodologies were characterized by focusing on one aspect of human life. In Judaism, education is based on excellence and specificity; the Christian education focuses on the salvation of man from vice. In natural education Rousseau sees that the goal of education is to provide the mind with knowledge only. John Dewey believes that growth is the goal of education. Renan believes that the individual, not society, is the goal of education. Islam is unique from all approaches, as it treats the human psyche along with the body, mind, and spirit. It took advantage of all human energies not wasting them.
Among these educational principles upon which Islam laid are the following:
Education and Upbringing through the Concept of Reward, Punishment, and Worship
Establishing the concept of reward and punishment to encourage doing good and discourage from doing evil deeds. Islam maximizes the role of joint responsibility towards the offspring and the concern to establish it righteously, as the Prophet of Islam, who was sent mercy to humanity, says:
-“All of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects, the man is a guardian of his family, the woman is a guardian and is responsible for her husband’s house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects.”.( Book 1, Hadith 283)
-“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded”.(66:6)
In the context of religious guidance or education by worship, God Almighty says:
-“And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.” (20: 132)
-The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, says about prayer: “Teach a boy Salat (the prayer) when he attains the age of seven years, and punish him (if he does not offer it) at ten”.( Book 1, Hadith 302)
Islam take into account the age of punishment; it defers it through considering an introductory period of psychological preparation that precedes the stage of punishment, which is restricted in Islam, under certain conditions. These include not breaking bone, injuring others, slamming face or insulting.
Moral, punitive education finds a way for it in Islam, as Islam takes into account that souls are driven by reward and punishment. The Sunnah (way) of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him,- says:
-On the authority of Ibn Abbas, may God be pleased with them, on the authority of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, he said: “Hang the whip where the people of the house can see it (i.e. be serious or firm in your house), for it (i.e. threaten of punishment) may deter them from vice discipline their manners for them.” Narrated by al-Tabarani (10/248).
In order not to misunderstand this concept incorrectly, Islam associates it with the concept of kindness. The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, says:
“When God Almighty wants good for the people of a house, he will bring kindness to them”.
The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, greeted children and made them feel their societal value. Sometimes he gave them his secret, which leads us to say that he tried to build their healthy social personality at young age.
Planting Sound Beliefs and Good Morals
Islamic education and upbringing aims to: instill sound belief in the hearts of children since childhood through conversation between parents and children.
The Qur’an mentions the Wiseman Lukman’s, commandments to his son saying:
“And We had certainly given Luqman, wisdom [and said], “Be grateful to Allah.” And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favor] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy. And [mention, O Muhammad], when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah. Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.” And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do. O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination. And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” (31:12)
Many educators have considered such Qur’anic approach to education because it contains the most important foundations of education criteria: For example education by planting sound belief, education by worship, education through psychological observation, vigilance of conscience and physical education, and establishing the concept of disciplined communication with society.
This aspect of education by worship through connecting children to noble rites especially prayer in Islam, is enough to create a generation that carries in its conscience a torrent of good qualities and good morals, as the Qur’an says in the matter of prayer:
“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. “(16:90)
Education by Example
This is evidenced in the establishment of the Qur’an of the supreme human perfect example i.e. Prophets, especially Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him):
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (33:21)
The Qur’an focuses that the goodness of parents has a good impact on the souls of children and their general affairs and attitude:
“And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. ” (18:82)
Allah (God) Almighty says,
“And let those [executors and guardians] fear [injustice] as if they [themselves] had left weak offspring behind and feared for them. So let them fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. ” (9: 4)
Making Legislation Appropriate to Family Cohesion
It should be affirmed that Islam has laid appropriate legislations for the cohesion of the family, which is the nucleus of society. These include social legislation such as marriage, divorce, and other legislations which were welcomed by Christian themselves .
Similarly, the Prophet of Islam urged marriage to the righteous wife who takes care for the man’s children and wealth, saying:
“The world is but a (quick passing) enjoyment; and the best enjoyment of the world is a pious and virtuous woman”.(Book 1, Hadith 280)
He, moreover, ordered kind treatment between spouses due to the good effect on society and offspring, as confirmed by education and social scientists:
-“Fear Allah, ‘Uthman, your wife has a right on you, your guest has a right on you, your self has a right on you ; you should keep fast and (sometimes) leave fast, and pray and sleep.”
-“The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”( Book 9, Hadith 2053)
-Al-Durar Al-Saniyya Website.
-Islam Way Website.