The Unusual Concept of Education in Quran

Quran is meant to provide us with “Allah’s Worldview”, as it were. The way God looks at the world and the existence of humanity and it’s ultimate destiny. Therefore, those who trust the Quran look to it to provide the right idea about

essential aspects of human life. Education is clearly a crucial concept as we can see in our societies. Education as it stands in the world is about purveyance of official knowledge. Children go to school to get an education. For those fortunate enough to have degrees, their degrees give them a better chance of finding jobs when they graduate. The system is very well arranged and society functions accordingly.


Strangely enough, Quran does not mention universities (jamia in Arabic) or even religious schools (madrassa).

One could argue that this is because Quran is archaic, having been revealed in ancient times. I personally believe that since Quran declares itself to be the explanation of every thing (Quran, Ch 12 Vs 111), it would have

mentioned everything relevant to human life. After all, it mentions the notion of societies (umam) but does not mention the modern nation state (dawlah). I believe this is because the society is essential to the human condition but not the state.
In the case of education, Quran mentions what is essential for us to know. For example, it mentions words like knowledge (‘Ilm) and signs (ayat). Ilm appears 854 times in Quran and Ayat appears 382 times making them both some of the most common terms in the text. Not only that, ilm is seen to be something vital to understanding revelation both in nature (20:114) and in Quran itself (41:2-3).
Ayat on the other hand seem to be about human beings assigning or achieving meaning to phenomena or events. Ayat

are found in the horizons and in our souls (41:53) and these confirm the meaning of the Quran itself, making it a book firmly fixed in the field of existence. Ayat are means for us to have communications with Allah, essentially.


And then there is the personality of the people of the core (ulil albab). The etymology of their name is from the word “lubb” which refers to the deepest part of something. I read it as the core of being itself. This term is used in several places in Quran in a wide variety of ways. For example, those who understand the signs in nature and society (3:190-
191). The people of the core also refer to those who understand the deepest truths (12:111). The people who understand the firm signs of Allah leading to the creation of His system are also termed people of the core (3:7), as are the people who understand the value of giving due recompense in society (2:179).

These are just three very summarily explained aspects of Quranic concepts related to education. From here, I infer that the Quran isn’t really about formal education but rather education by going out and exploring the world for oneself. By understanding the information and signs available, we may be able to refer to the Quran itself and achieve a deep

knowledge of how it views life. Formal education isn’t a bad thing of course, it is still transmission of knowledge after all. However, first-hand knowledge is best




About Farouk A. Peru

I am a human being in the world, blogging my existence. My thought systems may be found in my website:
This entry was posted in Essays, Theory and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Unusual Concept of Education in Quran

  1. nmr says:

    I have always had the impression that the Qur’an encouraged “life long learning”. I mean, what real value to one’s personality does a university education have if, after getting your degree, you never bother to learn anything new? Never pick up a book? Just stay stuck in everything you learned when you were in your 20s while the world around you changes? Doesn’t seem like a good idea. But keeping that spark of curiosity alive throughout your life- that is very cool.

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