Dec 13, 2011

Education Based On Application

by Khadeejah Islam

Back in school years, we were exposed to an educational curriculum which focused on learning through memorizing. In addition, we were led to believe that good grades along with a dozen of certificates reflected our aptitude. Therefore, most of our childhood years were spent in cramming notes and memorizing a large portion of the textbooks, even if we did not understand the concept. If we were to leaf through old textbooks, we would stumble upon a lot of pages marked with the words “memorize by heart.” Later in life, during the years in university, we were allowed a little bit of space as we were assigned projects where we had to apply the lessons that we learnt. However, at the end of the day, the students were still habituated to memorizing.

This system of learning continues even today. Most of the students memorize by heart before the exam, and once the exam is over, they unload their memory and hence, cannot retain most of what they had learnt, or even memorized (without learning or understanding). Such a method of learning has come under heavy criticism in the past few years. This is because memorizing perhaps ensured better grades, but later in life, the lessons memorized did not materialize into actions. In other words, the students, failing to grasp the concept, did not know how to implement or apply what they had learnt. As a result, they were unable to generate new ideas for the betterment of the society. Their individuality and creativity was stunted. Their productivity at work declined. The certificates were of little value. In addition, most of them were reluctant to participate in extra-curricular activities and community service projects, because they were too busy chasing certificates and grades.

It is indeed a pity that such a mode of learning has crept into the world of Islamic education. Nowadays, people are vocal about the importance of seeking and conveying knowledge, but the issue of application is ignored. There have been instances where duties involving application have been overlooked. The following are a few examples:

People update their Facebook status with a verse from the Qur’an and think that they have “saved” the world. While such a technique is not really bad, and may convey the message of Islam easily, it should also be noted that others want to see how that verse can be applied in the modern world. Furthermore, not everyone uses Facebook, and even if they do, not all are regular. Therefore, implementation is essential to guide your neighbours and others with whom you interact on a regular basis.

There are many who are so “busy” seeking and conveying knowledge that they do not have time to stop and ask others if they are in any need or not. They do not have time to respond to urgent messages. They do not have time to visit the sick. They do not have time to volunteer for community service projects as much as they should. Where is the implementation of the knowledge that they are seeking and preaching?

I urge my brothers and sisters to implement the knowledge as much as they are seeking and conveying it. The real test lies in application. For instance, it might be very easy to preach that we need to be patient, but harder to do so when we face a major loss in our own lives.

Furthermore, many people, such as rape victims, do not hope for a long lecture, but they do expect you to drop by, spend some time with them and say a few words of kindness. The following are examples of ideas which need your application:

Contribute an idea to reduce poverty and unemployment, or to support women battered by domestic violence or forced marriages.

Represent Islam by engaging in beneficial causes, such as sponsoring orphans, raising awareness about AIDS, participating in various workshops, etc.

Work with other Muslims on Islamic events and projects. There are many options out there. You can contribute by your skills of writing or halaal photography. You can organize halaal movie screenings in your area. You can donate to authentic websites and promote them.

Do not cut off social interaction. We, as Muslims, have already been accused of “not integrating into the society.” Therefore, make it a point to maintain contact with others at least once a week. With the advent of social networking sites, this should be easy. Do not ignore mails, text messages and calls (unless absolutely necessary). Go around in your community, interact with others and see who needs help. Your neighbour might be suffering from domestic violence and may want your intervention.

Keep up-to-date with current affairs. I do not understand why people ignore newspapers. I do not know of any ruling which says that reading newspapers is haraam. You need to know what’s happening where, so that if the need arises, you can do your bit to help. Newspapers often publish reports (especially local ones which do not receive much attention) which could help us to stay safe, to raise awareness, or to engage in charity. You can also participate in halaal events.

May Allah enable us to practise at home as well as in the wider community all the Islamic values that we preach. Ameen.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)


Jazakillah. Very valid and practical points. When you consciously decide to draw closer to Allah and learn His knowledge, it's easy to get carried away in the excitement of spreading it to others and give them what you want to give, rather than what they need to receive. If we give them what they need first, then they will open up to something else. Thing is, that approach requires time. Better to invest more effort in less people than less effort in more people; it's more effective.

Jazakallah for the simple reminder...we definitely need to practice what we preach. For those who like to   participate in health/nutrition education and good health promotion, there is a website that our health teacher told us about. It's an amazing site with the latest updates into the Food & Health world. It's called and shows you how you can help your community and/or the latest issue at hand.

Wa iyyaki!
Excellent observation. Please continue giving feedback so that we learn more.

Wa iyyaki!
Please share this article with others and keep checking back on this site for more articles!

Assalam alaik Sis Khadeejah Islam,

Jazakillah khayr for this well written article! :) Nowadays, it is easy to post a verse from the Qur'an and Hadith but difficult to implement it in our lives. It's of course commendable to be reminding others but like you said, it should be exhibited in our actions too. 

I actually used to do the same thing; I would post '20 ahadeeth in 20 days'. I would pick and choose the hadith which sounds the nicest (sometimes not concerned on whether they are saheeh or not, astarghfirullah) and post it to share with everyone but ultimately, did not use it as a reminder to myself first.

There's an idiom I came across awhile ago that I think is relevant to your article (don't remember the exact words): "People may not understand faith but they can understand service." How true is it!

 Walaykum assalam! :)

Wa iyyaki! Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences! Please share this article and keep reading other articles on this site inshaaAllah. :)

Post a Comment