Islamization of the Curriculum

This paper makes two important arguments. It demonstrates how the curriculum design is important for the moral and social well-being of individuals as well as societies. Having asserted that, the paper argues that curriculum design depends fundamentally on a well-defined philosophy of education. Without a philosophy of education that can give moral purpose to both individuals as well as societies, it will be difficult to identify a core element that can anchor the curriculum design. The paper then proceeds to identify the fundamental elements of an Islamic education philosophy and from it elicits the core concerns of an Islamic education curriculum. The paper also discusses several strategies to integrate revealed knowledge and acquired sciences for Muslim universities and schools.

It has been acknowledged by educators throughout the world that education serves a dual purpose, one for the individuals and one for society. Through proper education, an individual’s potentials - physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, and emotional are drawn out, cultivated, and developed. In this sense, Socrates referred to a teacher as a midwife because his or her role is to draw out something already innate in a child. Of course, what is drawn out and how soon depends very much on the skills and ability of the teacher. Education also serves another important role, which is to transmit and transform the cultural values, and legacy of a particular society. Education is said to be playing a conservative role when it merely transmits the prevailing cultural values and beliefs from one generation to the next. It is also capable of playing a more radical role when it attempts to reform society. In general, education plays both a conservative and a radical role in the progress of civilization.

Education is a lifelong process. A famous tradition of the Prophet Muhammad exhorts believers to “seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” Just recently, modern medicine has shown that a child can also receive external stimuli even when he/she is still an embryo. Thus, the potential of learning begins as early as a few months after conception. Education is of three types: informal, formal, and nonformal. The home is the most important institution of informal education. In it, learning takes place in an unstructured and indirect manner. It is the first “school,” and the mother is the first “teacher.” School is the most important institution of learning for formal education. In it, learning experiences are structured and organized systematically to achieve specific learning outcomes. In formal education, the school curriculum and the school teachers are very important facilitators of learning. In addition, learning occurs nonformally, which means that education is provided through institutions or organizations other than the formal school, for example, adult literacy classes.  

Education covers a broad spectrum of issues. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Muslim Ummah have been consistently reminded and cautioned by its scholars that the state of its education seems to be the root of its problems. Some scholars have reasoned that as a discipline, education consists of five subdisciplines, namely, curriculum, counseling, management, instruction, and evaluation.[1] This article is an attempt to examine curriculum, which is one of these subdisciplines.

Curriculum is so important that it has been named the queen of educational sciences. Curriculum is a reflection of the educational philosophy of the institution concerned, in fact, the mechanism by which its goals are attained.

Determining and Selecting: Educational Objectives
The Islamic Philosophy of Education

Problems with Existing Curriculum in Muslim Educational Institutions
a. Educational objectives
b. Content
c. Educational evaluation

Islamization of the Curriculum
a. Setting the Agenda
b. Content and method
c. Educational evaluation


* Dr. Rosnani Hashim Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the International Islamic University, Malaysia.

[1] See Hasan Langgulung, "Islamisasai Pendidikan dari Perspektif Metodologi" (Islamization of Education from the Methodological Perspective), paper presented at the National Seminar on Islamization of Education, Department of Education, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, July 14-16, 1998.

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