Educational Ontology

Goals of Education

Khajeh Naseer believes that human being has different and diverse abilities, aptitudes and capacities. Man has two attitudes: attitude towards goodness and badness. Therefore, It is quite necessary that, as one of the most important goals of education, manُ s abilities to be educated and his or her capacities to be actualized in order that he or she might achieve a scientific and practical perfection and attain the ultimate happiness and nearness to God. It is evident that education and guidance of educators, teachers and guides play a great role in this field (Beheshti, Abu ja’afari & Faqihi, 2000).

Khajeh Naseer Tusi introduces an absolute happy as one whose happiness has no decline and change. Happiness is obtained whenever its owner enjoys a pleasure of wisdom. One, who has not comprehended such a true and real pleasure, how will be inclined to it? (Tusi, 1981).

Khajeh Naseer Tusi emphasizes “moderation” a characteristic which can bring humans to happiness. Those ones who pay attention to only some of their aptitudes or powers canُ t reach happiness (Tusi, 1981).

Farabi believes each folk (country) whose cities cooperate to achieve happiness will become lucky, and all the inhabitants of the world will become lucky whenever all folks (countries) in the world cooperate to attain perfection and happiness (Seyyed Arab, 2007).

Farabi considers human perfection, as one of the educational goals, in acquiring virtues and acting according to them. He believes that action is of particular importance in actualizing the intellectual development (Soltanolqaraee, 2005).

Farabi sees guidance of man’s main aptitudes or powers, i.e. lust, anger and rational faculty or intellect as the aims of education. The major aim was the cultivation of the rational faculty in such a manner that it becomes governor of other aptitudes (Soltanolqaraee, 2005).

The following cases can be known as the goals of education from Farabi’s viewpoint:

1. Instruction of right beliefs, and strengthening the belief to them. Such beliefs as belief in God, hereafter, happiness and the way to reach it through cognition of deeds and actions that lead to happiness.

2. Training of necessary skills for incumbency of a duty in Utopia (virtuous or perfect city)

3. Encouragement of individuals for action according to right beliefs.

4. Encouragement of individuals for doing social duties (Howzeh- University Co- Operation Center, 1998).

Farabi is of the opinion that the goal of education is moderation in the appetitive and irascibility faculties and submissiveness to intellect. Therefore, the goal of ethics and education is a moderate personality that its speech and rational faculties govern other faculties. As for lust and anger Farabi says that these two are not good or bad in themselves, rather their goodness or badness is dependent upon whether they are in service of intellect and real happiness or not.

In social aspect of education, he deeply believes that the orientation of education should be towards regulating the affairs of Utopia that he has described it in one of his books. Farabi much emphasizes that educational goals to be social oriented. On the whole, it can be said that the following points can be concluded about educational goals:

Perfection of rational faculty in its two sections: Speculative (theoretical), and practical (Pragmatic). Originality or authenticity belongs to perfection and development of speculative intellect, and the leadership of societies is the right of real philosophers, whether, they have achieved truth thought their own efforts, or through inspiration.

Action and behavior are of particular importance in actualization and development of intellectual faculty of humans. A special and great attention has been paid to social goals and development of expertise, skills, social and economic problems, in the thinking and educational system of Farabi.

Intellectual and spiritual perfection and pleasure is higher than material and physical pleasure.

Farabi considers the worldly happiness as an introduction for hereafter happiness, and he also deems it possible to achieve spiritual happiness in this word. He introduces cognition and attaining Truth as the ideal goal and the final perfection (Howzeh- University Co- Operation Center, 1993, PP. 267-269).

Avicenna’s view on educational goals is almost similar to Farabi’s. These two philosophers both emphasize speculative intellect, and social aspect of education (Howzeh- University Co-operation Center, 1993, P. 275).

Avicenna calls God as the pure and absolute goodness who is the true and real Beloved for all human beings. He also believes that happiness is the real purpose and the desired aim of humans. A real happiness is free and pure from worldly interests and defects. Although sensory affaires and worldly things appear as happiness apparently, but in fact they can’t be considered as happiness (Avicenna, 1981).

Avicenna, regarding happiness as one of the goals of creation and education, in harmony with Plato believes that whatever humans become closer to God, their enthusiasm, love, and their beatitude increase and whenever they remain away from God, such an enthusiasm, love, and beatitude and joy decrease in them (Shiite encyclopedia, 2007).

Avicenna swears by God that it is only the foolish who become unable of perfection and get attached to this abject and low world. One who has given her or his heart to the world is always involved in abyss of pains and disappointment, and is always distressed and in delusion of worldly goods. Then how may it be possible that such people have love of seeking and cognition of the truth?

Avicenna introduces amphibolies and quarrelsomeness as the most invalid efforts. The best actions are those which their doers have a pure intention and clear belief, and the best intentions are those sprung from knowledge. Wisdom is the mothers of virtues, and cognition of God is the first and the most important involvements. All bondmen should seek help from God. They should come to know that following the worldly desires causes darkness of the soul, therefore, it is necessary to forsake of many of carnal desires in the way of helping people.

People should take lessons from the past folks. It is Knowledge that gives its owner a high rank and esteem. In the light of acquiring knowledge and virtues, manُs soul will be purified from all kinds of vices (Dehkhoda, 1998).

The foundation of Ghazali’s educational philosophy is the realization of humankindُs happiness as one of the goals of education. He means by “happiness”, the other worldly happiness because it includes all wishes. This happiness is eternal, is a pleasure without pain, is perfection without decrease, is an esteem without abasement. To achieve such a happiness, “knowledge” and “action” should be with each other so that one’s behavior to be changed, for so far as one’s behavior is not changed well, no happiness will be attained.

If a light of knowledge shines to one’s heart, her or his behavior will become admirable. Therefore, no change in behavior is expected without education and instruction. That’s the reason why instruction is considered as the noblest affaires. The desirable otherworldly happiness has a non-disjunctive connection with the societies of this world. Thus, it requires that instruction to have no disjunctive connection with society needs, in such a manner that there should be some people who strive for a accomplishment of social life in which the life needs of this world have been satisfied, and also be consistent with man’s nature and all people observe God’s orders and guidance in what they do.

Humans are social in their nature and need cooperation with each other to prepare their life materials. The task of instruction and education is preparation of people for participation of them in the accomplishment of the social life, in such a manner that everyone can do what he or she should do without difficulty and doubt (Kilani, translation, criticism and additions by Rafiie, 2007).

Ghazali says that honesty and virtue of human being is in having the aptitude for cognition of the exalted God. The characteristic of human being is the ability of obtaining knowledge and wisdom, and the noblest kinds of knowledge is cognition of the exalted God and his Attributes, because man’s perfection is dependent upon this, and humans can attain happiness and can deserve neighborliness of God and proximity to Him through that particular sort of knowledge.

The whole happiness of mankind is in this fact that makes vision of God as his or her destination, and makes the hereafter as his or her deployed place and the world as passageway (Ghazali, 1989).

Humans should know and recognize their truth of their essence, because if they do not identify this, it will be impossible for them to seek for their happiness and attain it. In fact, man’s happiness is in the cognition of the exalted God, and the cognition of one’s soul is the key for the cognition of God (Ghazali, 1997).

Ghazali believes that wisdom is God’s bounty which will be given to everyone who deserves it, and the result of wisdom is easiness and the result of wealth is pain and disaster (Ghazali, 1888). Ghazali says that each thing which is finished because of death has now value for the wise, rather that bounty has value which is eternal and permanent, and this bounty is “faith” which is the seed of eternal happiness (Ghazali, 1888).

Ghazali believes everyone who knows the world and is always remembering the last breath of life (death), the affairs of the world will become easy for him, and his faith will become strengthened. Ghazali says that the comfort of the world is only for a few days, and mixed with different kinds of pains (Ghazali, 1888). Everyone who makes his effort in following the bodily pleasures, and is like animals in eating, will fall in a abyss of ignominy (Ghazali, 1989).

Ghazali stimulates anger, lust, etc. to troops that attack humans and can finally overcome them, and make humans their slaves and perish them and debar them from the way of reaching to the eternal happiness (Ghazali, 1989). As for goals of education, Ghazali is of the opinion that human’s inner form is not good so far as four powers or aptitudes have not become good in: knowledge, anger, lust, and justice (Attaran, 1992).

According to Beheshti, Faqihi and Abuja’fari (2001), although Sa’di has not explicitly stated the educational goals in his works, the following goals can be deduced from his sayings and poems:

1. Detachment

Sa’di speaks in detail of self-cognition, faith, servitude toward God, and praising God in his writings and considers such traits necessary if one desires reaching the position of attachment to God, therefore reach a place that includes all values. Sa’di recognizes serving God as a way to gain esteem, power and greatness, and he regrets that the people come and go and do not taste the most pleasurable and enjoyable pleasures of sincere devotion and absolute sincerity, which will cause wisdom springs to flow from his heart to his tongue.

Therefore, the ultimate goal of education, from Sa’di’s viewpoint, is cognition of the exalted God and devotion to him. He says the way to reach this state is through the soul and being detached so that one acquires inner purity or good morality and is able to surrender to God.

2. Cultivation of spirit

Sa’di considers the cultivation of spirit as the basis of education and man’s personality, and believes that it is impossible to cultivate spirit without purification of soul and banishing carnal desires, arrogance, rancor, oppression. He says it is also impossible without acquiring moral virtues such as humility, modesty, benevolence, justice, magnanimousness, and magnanimity.

3. Health of Body

Sa’di considers man as consisting of physical body and spiritual soul. He states that spirit’s cultivation is by itself desirable and the major goal. However, he considers procurement of health and the power of body and satisfying its needs as desirable intermediate goals for the purpose of worship of God and rendering service to people. He warns humans against indolence. Sa’di mentions four points regarding health of body:

1) avoiding gluttony, 2) moderation, 3) preservation of greatness and magnanimity, 4) refraining from idleness.

4. Social Adjustment

From the viewpoint of Sa’di, social adjustment leading to peaceful coexistence is desirable as we aspire to the perfection of the ideal society. He imagines a Utopia in which these two things are the firm foundation of each individual in such society. That’s the reason that Sa’di, in all parts of Gulistan and Bustan, speaks of characteristics of the individuals in a desired society and mentions such properties as justice, humility, peace, benevolence, sympathy, and contentment as the characteristics of the desirable society.

Sa’di mentions the following items as the factors which create social adjustment: 1) justice, 2) humility, 3) self-esteem and uprightness, 4) benevolence and goodness.

Moulavi says that the goal of man’s creation is “knowledge and guidance.” In another part of “Masnavi,” he introduces “knowledge of the truth” as the goal of man’s creation. Therefore, Moulavi believes that knowledge should be for God only. The possessors of such a knowledge are those who are affected by their knowledge and insight, and their intellect restrains them from doing evil and committing sins.

Moulavi places a particular emphasis on “intent.” He says that, for example, a poet composes poetry for a special intent, and his intent plays the main role in this area. Therefore, all men benefit from their deeds and the sciences they learn on the basis of their intent and goal. If these intents and goals are good, the results and benefits of their deeds and behaviors will be unimaginable and very good.

A man who establishes his prayer for God will definitely be rewarded in this world and the Hereafter. Thus, one can understand that each of the disciplines are a means and instrument that can lead man to God, truth, and true peace and tranquility if man’s intent or goal is good and approved, and these disciplines cannot, by themselves, give man sublimity and are not consolatory. Sciences, which are tools for submission, sublimity, and transcendence are for leading man to the goals of creation, and should not be taken as the final goals. Moulavi emphasizes that all the branches of sciences and knowledge are for the sake of man.

Therefore, it can be said that those who love God, should really love Him, and their final desire should be for God. In this case, it is possible for us to speak of a learned and loving worship of God as one of the most important goals of man’s creation. Thus, it is up to all the virtuous and wise scientists and scholars not to involve themselves in words, utterances, and appearances, and not to forget the real goal behind the words and controversies.

Goals of education from the viewpoint of Moulavi can be divided into main different groups:

1) Ultimate aims,

2) Intermediary goals.

Ultimate Aims

As regards “ultimate aims”, the following aims can be extracted from Moulavi’s poems and writings (Beheshti, Abuja`afari & Faqihi, 2000, pp. 211-219):

Annihilation in God and abiding in Him

Moulavi believes that the ultimate and final perfection of human being is disengagement from existence or being, and reaching an abiding state after annihilation; and this is the meaning of proximity to God. Annihilation in God means becoming free from darkness, involvements, material and worldly attachments, and disillusionment with everything except God. A man annihilated in God does not see and does not want save God (Beheshti, Abuja`afari & Faqihi, 2000, pp. 211-212).

Voluntary death

This particular kind of death means that man dies or separate, when living, from nature and material attachments, and is borne in divine world, fights against carnal desires, and lives, free from ambition, disgrace, position, eminence and destroys all devilish temperaments and dispositions and reaches a position that kills the evil- prompting self, and makes himself or herself free, and is borne with divine and spiritual life and humanly admirable dispositions, and this is the second birth of human being.

Intuition or knowledge by heart

In addition to value of formal sciences, Moulavi believes that a seeker mystic or possessor of gnosis position of intuition, has really achieved the infinite Divine knowledge, and has undoubtedly revealed some secrets of being, even a sea of sciences and facts that others are deprived of it. This intuitional and inspired knowledge is not only endless, but it is always, in a state of being created, and represents at every moment new sciences and discoveries for the wayfarer mystic.

Immediate receiving of God’s bounty or emanation

In the beginning, a mystic goes through the way along with his or her educator or leader, but the highest position and rank is where he or she receives the bounty and favor of God Immediately, even the seeker becomes the channel of Divine bounty.

Intermediary goals

As for intermediary goals, the followings can be extracted from Moulavi’s works:

Cultivation and guidance of intellect and thought

Moulavi deems necessary the cultivation and guidance of intellect and thought in spiritual experience and intuition, and considers it as a goal of education. Moulavi says that the real knowledge is an intuitive knowledge than man receives immediately from God, and it is endless, and the superficial sciences can’t be considered real because of limitation and instability; but if people receive these sciences correctly and follow them well, and act according to them, and cultivate and guide their intellect and thought in the light of them, they will gradually achieve the real knowledge.

Solving the existential problems

From Moulavi’s viewpoint, humans’ existential problems are the philosophy of creation, imprisoning of the spirit in body, fear of the future, man’s attachment to the lust shackle, anger, fame, position, etc., neglectance from the real “ego” and from the original home, defect in thinking and intellect, loneliness, etc. Solving these problems is the goal of mystical education from Moulavi’s viewpoint.

Moulavi says that these difficulties can be solved through appealing to spiritualities, acquisition of soul virtues, and avoiding vices, and seeking help from those endowed with divine breath and spiritual soul, and finally the basic solution of these problems is “love”. A lover is always in happiness and exhilaration. He or she complains of nothing and no one. There are no short sightedness, meanness, malignancy, cynicism, arrogance, temptation, greed, self- interest, grief over this world and the world hereafter in the hearth of a mystic.

Love satisfies the thirst of spirit, and satiates the heart, and dissolves the lover in Master and he or she enjoys heartfully, because the right cause for enjoyment and happiness is internal not external.

Happiness is never possible through possessions, position, fame or prestige; rather it is from inner being. Moulavi (2000) believes that acquisition of knowledge should be for God. In other words, man’s intention from learning and the dissemination of knowledge should be nearness to God (pp. 1-2).

The knowledge of such scholars is not superficial, because superficial science may lead to neglectance (Rum: 7). It is intellect and reason that governs their lives (ibid, p.2). Even their religiosity is based on knowledge. Thus, According to the prophet of Islam “the best of you from the viewpoint of faith, is the best of you in knowledge” (Muhammadi Rey Shahri, 1993, p.121), their faith is the best and firmest kind of faith; that’s because Imam Baqer says someone who acquires knowledge, their knowledge will lead them to righteous deeds (ibid, p. 131).

Therefore, it can be concluded that humans receive benefit from the sciences they learn according to the intentions they have. It is in the light of good intentions that they receive real tranquility and are led to God and truth (ibid, p. 32). The prophet of Islam says that if a person learns science for hypocrisy and worldiness, God will remove blessing from his life and make the life annoyed and difficult for him (Muhammadi Rey Shahri, 1993, p. 479).

Educational goals from Ibn Khaldun viewpoint can be divided into two general groups:

1. Ultimate goals

2. Spiritual dispositions, i.e. series of goals and perfections of soul (Behehsti, Faqihi & Abuja’afari, 2001,pp. 109-113).

Ultimate goals

Ibn Khaldun considers “knowledge, faith, theistic belief” as the ultimate goal of education. From His viewpoint spiritual dispositions can be divided into three groups:

1. Scientific dispositions

2. Industrial dispositions

3. Spiritual dispositions

Scientific Dispositions

These are mastering skills in science in such a manner that its owner can teach that science, participate powerfully in discussions, and understand derive branches from principles with master on foundations of rules and science problems.

Industrial Dispositions

These are practical- intellectual skills, like sewing and carpentry

Spiritual habits or dispositions

These are firm humanistic moral properties, and the position of soul perfection which is along with exaltation and motivation and approaches of the individual to God, angels and the ultimate aim.

According to Tabataba’i (1987) Islam has established its most important commandments, such as Hajj, prayer, jihad, charity, and every kind of religious piety, based “on community” (society). It has also considered real happiness in nearness to God as the supreme goal of an Islamic community. Achieving this sacred goal is in itself a great guarantee of performance that acts as a serious, inner supervisor for the implementation of the laws regarding an Islamic society.

Tabataba’i (1987) considering one of the verses of the Qur’an (Zariat: 56), says that the ultimate aim of man’s creation and of Islamic education can be worship (and in fact devotion to and submission to God). Both worship and perfection man receives from it are the aims of man’s creation, and all are results of worship, e.g. mercy of God, and etc. cognition or knowledge obtained from worship, will be a higher aim as compared with worship itself.

The truth and reality of worship is in the fact that a bondman reaches the place of humbleness and submission to God. The ultimate aim of creation is achieving the truth of worship, i.e. a position in which the bondman has separated from himself and all other things, and is always in remembrance of his Lord.

Tabataba’i (1990) in the eighteenth volume of Al-Mizan Interpretation, in description of the Qur’nic verses mentions this speech from Imam J’afar Sadeq that a believer is a brother for another believer, and his eye and his guide, does not beguile and deceive him, does not oppress him, does not mislead him , and if he promises him something, he does not break that promise.

Tabataba’i (1987) argues that in the light of “law of social justice” each rightful cause will be sided with and righteousness will be sided with its doers, and the relations among people will become justly. Thus, humans are inevitably in acceptance of having a society and social justice. Islam has considered social spirit in all of its commandments and rules. According to Mutahhari (1988) ; man in Islam has a comprehensive personality and is very sensitive to his social responsibilities.

Principles and methods of Education

Education is based on broad and general rules and policies which are called principles of Education. These polices can be applied and practiced through methods of education which bring the person to the goals of education. It is possible to extract the following principles from the texts khajeh Naseer has written (Beheshti, Abuja’afari & Faqihi, 2000):

1. Discovering aptitudes: People are different in intellectual aptitude and ability, and personal capacities and interests on sciences, skills and occupations. If the unique and particular aptitude and interest of each person in different sciences, techniques and skills are discovered, and she or he is involved in a job and educational field consistent with her or his aptitude and interest, she or he will undoubtedly attain considerable success. Therefore, it is up to individuals, their parents and teachers to discover children’s aptitudes and interests to guide them to the way suitable for them.

2. Harmony with nature: Khajeh Naseer believes that one should consider children’s nature and the gradual trend of their soul faculties, and that education should be in harmony with the stages of their aptitudes development. Since moderation governs the nature, and coherence and system of the world is based on justice, it is also necessary in education that the principle of moderation, that is driven from the nature, be observed so that all the human being’s aspects be developed.

3. Harmony with the human’s nature of seeking God and religion: According to khajeh Naseer, harmony with human’s nature and religion is the certain principle of education, and all educational policies should be based on this nature, and human’s perfection is possible through considering the above fact.

4. Observing development stages: Khajeh Naseer, regarding education based on the gradual growth and development of the individuals, refers to the stages of development of children, the quality of the gradual formation of their aptitudes and powers, and the procedure of the instruction of the composition lesson to children. The stages of children’s education are:

a) Suckling period: This stage starts with the birth of children until they become two years old.

b) Correction period: After finishing suckling state, Children’s education should be started, and they should also be forbidden from companionship with the bad, because they are much influenced by their companions. If their virtues and values are praised, they will turn to these good properties.

c) Period of instruction of religion and morality: The subjects and materials which should be first instructed to children are religious and morals obligations and that those may become unwavering in their souls.

d) Complementary instructions or trainings: complementary instructions should be started after finishing complementary educations. Students should first be taught the science of ethics if they are interested in acquiring science, after which, they should learn social manners and they should be made familiar with social adjustment factors, and move them away from luxury, affluence, wealth and comfort.

e) job and employment: getting a job and occupation should be prepared for youngsters when their complementary period of training and instruction is finished. This causes that they taste the sweetness of an occupation and earn a living in this way.

5. Observing the student’s understanding and comprehension: Different students and pupils have different power of understanding and comprehension. Observing these individual differences and becoming in complete agreement and unanimous with them is of the certain principles of education.

Khajeh Naseer emphasizes that every knowledge or science can’t be taught to every person, rather each knowledge is suitable for a particular group, and teaching that particular kind of knowledge to those who do not deserve it, is considered as an oppression. Some people receive dubious things, but they do not understand the answers to those dubieties. Therefore, such doubts should not be told to them. It is also necessary that teachers and educators be familiar with logics and can use it when necessary and speak with each person according to her or his particular speech.

6. Counseling: Khajeh Naseer Tusi says that all people need counseling in all of their individual and social fields of life, because it can help to achieve goodness and advisability more simply and prevent badness and loss. Khajeh Naseer also emphasizes that the students and seekers of knowledge discuss about a subject they have learned it, because it may be that an hour of discussion would be better than a month of review and repetition.

7. Affection: According to Khajeh Naseer, one should love (a real love) and should be really loved. Thus if affection governs home, school and society, and is considered in the plans of responsible of educational planning, and backgrounds and plans for its implementation have been provided, then many of corruptions and problems will be solved.

The highest kind of affection is that one which is free from all sorts of defect of materiality, passivity, estrangement and darkness, this kind of affection is given to humans to love the exalted God. After the inner affection of humans to God, The affection and kindness of parents to their children and of teachers to students are considered as highest affections.

8. Encouragement and punishment: Khajeh Naseer has considered encouragement and punishment as two means for guarantee of implementation of education, and its extension, and making sound the home climate, school, society and creating motivation for avoidance of offenses.

He believes that people are different; a group of them should be led to courtesy and morality by warning and punishment, and another group with encouragement and announcement. Although education is founded on encouragement, and a child should be praised and encouraged in public when she or he does a good behavior and if she or he does a bad behavior, we should try to feign negligence it, in some cases. But if that bad action is repeated, he or she should be blamed in private, and then state the heinousness of that action and caution her or his against repeating that behavior

9. Practice and repetition: Khajrh Naseer is of the opinion that practice and repetition cause actualizing and realization of one’s aptitudes and abilities. Therefore, people should try to create suitable and desired habits and skills and finally acquiring sensual dispositions through practice and repeatation, and students should repeat the lessons happily and with motive, after learning that lesson and reflection and precision in it.

10. Interior Purification: According to khajeh Naseer, interior purification is purification of inner self from moral corruptions and it is the first step in self – education without which one can’t be adorned with moral virtues. Thus, students should be pious from the very beginning and keep their heart or soul from offences so that their knowledge may become fruitful.

11. Mortification: Khajrh Naseer believes that mortification is necessary because if human’s soul follows appetitive and irascible faculties and obey these two faculties, will decline to a bestial soul. Although mortification is difficult in the beginning, but considering its effects such as chastity, self- preservation, contentment, trust in God, generosity and piety, it would be sweet and easy.

12. Self- vigilance and Self- examination: According to Khajrh Naseer self- vigilance is that one always tries to avoid sins, worldly involvements, and obstacles of perfection and keeps and cares for his or her inward or outward behavior and speech in order that not to behave against God.

Self-examination is when one controls his or her worships and compares them with God’s bounties and then confesses his or her defects and sins before God. These two cause one compensate for previous behaviors and tries to clean the effects of sins by worship and mortification.

Khajeh Naseer Tusi’s view on educational principles is very similar to Avicenna’s. The following items can also be extracted from Khajeh Naseer writings as the most important of educational principles from his viewpoint:

1. Following from Nature: Khajeh has paid much attention to this fact that in education one should consider man’s nature and its gradual development, and the education of children should be quite in harmony with their gradual stages of physical growth. Therefore, we should first know the stages of children’s natural growth and then plan consistent with that nature.

2. Observation of Stages of Education: Khajeh has considered stages for education, considering the law of following from the nature and some other things. These stages are similar to those ones Avicenna has put forward.

3. Observation of Individual Differences: Khajeh Naseer recommends observing individual differences of persons in educational planning (Howzed and University Co- operation Center, 1993, pp. 318- 320).

If one wishes to extract some principles from Farabi’s statements observing of which originates suitable methods and decisions for achieving goals of education, can refer to the following cases:

• Education is for the happiness of individuals of the society.

• Instruction can’t be separated from education, since speculative and Practical trainings or instructions are justifiable. Therefore, an instruction which does not lead to belief and action along with belief and certitude is useless. Observing individual differences in aptitudes and attitudes to sciences and industries is necessary.

• Universal education and instruction is necessary. Those ideas and concepts which are prerequisite condition of attaining a real happiness should be taught to all people. Even, those ones who avoid the opinions consistent with Utopia, should become convinced by different methods so that they might turn to right ideas and opinions (Howzeh- University Co- Operation Center, 1998).

Although Farabi has not presented an independent model and design for educational principles, but the following important principles of education can be extracted from his writings and discussions:

1. Being social of education: from Farabi’s viewpoint, education is social, i.e. humans are social by their natures, then it is necessary that social goals to be considered for their education, and achieving Utopia is a goal that should be considered and a accomplished in education.

2. Observation of individual differences: Farabi believes that individual differences, i.e. different aptitudes and interests of students, should be considered and observed in education.

3. Preparation of individuals for different occupations: Farabi is of the opinion that each person should be educated for a particular skill and occupation, and this fact should be considered from childhood.

4. The effect of geographical environment and quality of buildings: Farabi believes that natural environment, climatic conditions, and architectural fashion are effective in education. Therefore, he recommends that educators should pay attention to this fact in education (Howzed- University Co- operation Center, 1993, pp. 271-272).

Education is actualized in the light of some important and comprehensive principles. From the viewpoint of Avicenna, these principles are realized through some educational methods (Howzeh- University Co- Operation Center, 1998):

1. Self- cognition and Self- education: One should first rectify himself before trying to educate others and to rectify oneself it is necessary to know himself or herself. Individuals should completely know their reprehensible properties and habits.

2. Observing individual differences: Different people are different in physical power, power of thinking, intellect and aptitude and other aspects, their interests to different and crafts are different as well.

3. Cognition of aptitudes, interests and possibilities: Discovering intellectual abilities and aptitudes should be considered in selection of a major or an occupation and craft. Ibn Sina also believes that personal interests for a major or occupation plays an important role in one’s progress and success and preventing from wasting one’s time. In addition to all of these, there should also exist learning possibilities and instruments for a particular kind of science or occupation.

4. Formulating the plan on the basis of the stages of development: Avicenna has paid attention to the stages of development of children in the process of their education, and has considered a particular plan for each of these stages. Therefore, educational planning should be based on the stages of a person’s development and growth.

5. Group training and instruction: Avicenna emphasizes group instruction, and believes that a child should acquire knowledge and do his or her job in group, because good children have a good influence and effect on the child. Observing the above principle causes: moral and social education of children and actualizing their intellect and perceptions, and satisfying their spiritual needs.

6. Encouragement and punishment: Ibn Sina recommends encouragement and punishment of children as guaranty keeping the admirable dispositions and avoidance of moral iniquities and reprehensible habits. He mentions different ways for encouragement or punishment.

This indicates that educator should not only use one particular method for encouragement or punishment, e.g. encouragement of children can be carried out through praising their good behavior and morality, and through getting friendly with children or acknowledging them.

According to Avicenna five principles are of importance in education of children and youngsters: faith, good and admirable morality, health, knowledge and occupation (Shiite encyclopedia).

7. Selection of Teacher and Friend: Avicenna says in this field that it deserves the educator of a child to be wise, religious, and aware of moral education, and have skills in the education of the children. On the other hand, since one can’t trust one’s own cognition from oneself, he or she needs a wise and kind friend to help to show them their morals and moods. (Howzed and University Co- operation – Canter, 1993, pp. 280-283).

The following educational principles can be extracted from Ghazali’s writings (Howzeh- University Co- Operation Center, 1993, p 305):

1. Imprintability of child’s heart

2. Changeability of morality

3. Graduality of personality formation

4. Effect of habits in education

5. Effect of indoctrination in education

6. Negative or affirmative nature of education

7. Individual differences

8. Different stages of development and growth, and the necessity of observing them

The following educational principles can be extracted from Moulavi’s works (Beheshti, Abuja`afari & Faqini, 2000, pp. 220-232):

1. Submission to God: Moulavi has emphasized this principle in many cases of his writings and poems. Obeying this principle gives a particular insight to humans in the light of which they would not see and want save God, and not get attach to anything else but Him, and worship Only God. In fact, the real philosophy and reason of all worships is submission and servitude to God.

2. Following Educator: Moulavi has expressed the need of human being to an aware and reliable educator; and he believes that following such educator will bring man to perfection and elevation. This educator knows the soul, faculties of the soul, existential dimensions of the soul, temptations and deceptions of the soul, and the spirit’s pains and that’s the reason why this educator can help others and treat them. These educators, are as physician and guidas, and are pure bondmen of God that never think of the material and worldly things.

3. Motivation and Request: Moulavi says that the basis and foundation of attaining truth is request or wanting which increases man’s efforts and activities.

4. Effort and Activity: Moulavi considers effort and activity as great factors for bringing man to goals and aims. He had also introduced these two factors as the cause of man’s happiness and joy.

5. God’s bounty and grace: In addition to effort and activity, grace of God exalted is a major factor of bringing humans to perfection.

6. Esteem or the dignity of man: Moulavi believes that in addition to satisfying material and superficial needs of people, we should not neglect their high and supreme needs.Man has a structure that can be a manifestation of God and a light of Him. Therefore, he should not lose himself and his esteem or dignity.

7. Sociability: Moulavi believes that there is no monasticism or renunciation in Islam. He has introduced joining society as the way of reaching growth, elevation and perfection. Moulavi says that membership in a society makes man valuable and spiritual, and this causes that man avoids egoism and individualism. It is in the light of joining society that the spirit of compassion, altruism, patience, trust or good judgment, and affection is cultivated in humans. That’s the reason why the principle of sociability has been considered in Islamic worships.

8. Individualism: Moulavi has stated the individual differences and psychological, intellectual characteristics of each person and the necessity of observing these factors in life and education. Educational policies should be consistent with the rate of comprehension, understanding, intelligence and aptitude of each student.

9. Simplification: Moulavi is of the opinion that this principle is the educational principle of all divine religions, and the recommendation of all high mystics; while severity, and imposing an ignorant plan indicates crude.

The educational methods from Moulavi’s viewpoint can be divided into two groups:

1. methods of student education

2. methods of self-training

Methods of Student Education

The following educational methods can be extracted from Moulavi’s works this field, as some of the important methods (Beheshti, Abuja`afari & Faqihi, 2000, pp. 233-253):

a. Suggestopedia or mimesis Method: Moulavi has emphasized the effective role of this method in education. He believes that the admonishment of others through one’s deeds is more attractive.

b. Affection Method: Moulavi believes that educator can make student attached to him or her, and provide the ground for student’s acceptance of education and trust to the educator.

c. Encouragement or punishment Method: Moulavi agrees that education is based on encouragement and affection. In spite of this, he has sometimes spoken of punishment when encouragement or kindness is not effective in the education of a student. But the intention of teacher should be educational and for the correction of student’s behaviors, and must not be taking revenge, acting out of self- interest or self- comfort.

d. Good Admonishment or Positive Advice Method: Moulavi introduces good admonishment or good exhortation as the educational method of God’s prophets. He has used this method in many cases and in different stories and exemplum. He refers to two major points in this regard:

First) If admonishment is prudent and tactful and its conditions are observed, it will have a very great influence and effect. Second) the main condition for effectiveness of admonishment is readiness of the one who is to hear that admonishment. Many a stubborn man, opposes the friendly advice, or justifies them.

e. Counseling Method: Moulavi has spoken of this method in many cases, and has mentioned its role and importance in helping individuals for cognitive changes and creating new insights and finding solutions to different problems.

f. Taking an object lesson Method: Moulavi has introduced taking lesson method as the sign of intellectuality, insight and growth. He believes that man can take many lessons from the history of the past.

g. Story Telling Method: Story telling is one of the most frequent used methods of Moulavi. He has explained many facts in different kinds of stories.

h. Exemplum Method: Moulovi has used exemplum to clarify different subjects to permeate them in audiences and address.

He has described, in some cases, difficult and complex subjects through using several running subsequent exemplums.

Self-training Methods

The following educational methods can be extracted from Moulavi’s works in this regard, as some of the important methods (Beheshti, Abuja`afari & Faqihi, 2000, pp. 235- 262):

a. Fulfillment of Knowledge: According to Moulavi, the heart of the matter for knowledge is commitment and action. The criteria of humanity should be searched in practical obligation and commitment, and we should not be beguiled by superficial sciences of some people. If knowledge is combined with action, it not only brightens the soul of its owner, but also it guides the ignorant people.

A man, who has no commitment to his knowledge, is like a tree which has no root. On the other hand, from Moulavi’s view, the basis of knowledge is intuitional, and this particular kind of science is only obtained through action. It should also be noted that in the event of acting according to superficial science, i.e. not intuitional sciences, one can gradually achieve the desired perfection and intuitional knowledge.

b. Loving God: Moulavi considers love the most basic mystical educational method, and believes that spiritual education and development is only possible through having such a love; because love has a power that changes or revolutionizes the personality of the lover and purifies him from himself and from his unbecoming properties, habits and behaviors, and leads him to harmony with the beloved.

c. Watching over the soul and self- examination: Moulavi has much talked about watching over the soul and self-examination and their role in self- training. He has considered them as the factors of leading humans to perfection, self revelation, heart indulgence and passing the stages of Mystic Journey.

d. Reciting the Qur’an: Moulavi says to us regarding the Qur’an not to consider it like other words and usual concepts; because its appearance has a great inner form. If we read the Qur’an and accept it and speculate on the deep meaning of each verse, our spirit will gain such a magnitude that enthusiasm for flying leaves the spirit restless without moment of calmness.

e. Remembrance and Thinking: Moulavi is of the opinion that man’s thinking should be combined with remembrance of God, because this remembrance causes dynamism and purification and magnificence of thinking, and also causes separation and purification from all sorts of evils and vices. It not only enlightens man’s thought, but also it cultivates man’s inner senses.

Ibn Khaldun believes that the following items can be considered as the principles and methods of education (Beheshti, Abuja`afari & Faqihi, 2001, pp. 115- 128):

1. Graduality in Instruction: According to Ibn Khaldun, the first point which should be considered here is that, instruction for the student leads him to learning. When it requires creating a disposition in that student, it needs time and is done gradually, because the aptitude of someone is gradually actualized or realized.

2. Consideration of the Measure of Student’s Understanding and Aptitude and its Gradual Cultivation: Ibn Khaldun believes that the amount of intellectual ability of students in scientific subjects and problems should be identified, and then they should be instructed consistent with their aptitudes so that their understanding and aptitude in learning might be cultivated.

3. Development of Instruction From Simple to Difficult: Ibn Khaldun is of the opinion that not observing the above mentioned fact and not considering the correct instructional and teaching method cause student not to comprehend the subject matter and then drops out.

4. Applying Different Teaching Methods: It is up to the teacher to be aware of different teaching methods and be able to apply them in order to use the suitable method and procedure in instruction and teaching. Ibn Khaldun believes that teachers can use different teaching methods for their students.

Some of these methods are: first) lecture, a teaching method in which the teacher tries to transfer his knowledge to the student, and there is a one- sided dialogue between teacher and student and the lecture is teacher- centered.

second) Suggestopedia teaching method in which the subject matters are taught to the students through their imagination by deeds or speeches. Third) dialectic and scientific dialogue (debate) between teacher and student, or encouragement of the students to discuss with one another.

Ibn Khaldun considers the second method more complete and more comprehensive than the first one. He also believes that the third teaching method is the simplest one for learning of the students.

5. Creating a suitable ground and atmosphere for learning and removing the obstacles: Ibn Khaldun says that there are the following obstacles and problems for learner in learning, and teachers should try to remove or solve them:

    a. Applying vague words

        • Selection of a brief and short text (or subject matter)

        • Abundance of text books (as instructional sources)

        • Frequency of involvement in instrumental sciences

        • Teaching materials beyond student’s understanding

        • Mixing the subject matters

        • Longitude of instruction time

        • Concurrent instruction of two different disciplines

        • Verbal controversies

6. Simplification and Kindness of teacher: This can be very effective in educational achievement and moral education of students. In contrast, severity an harsh treatment will cause many negative and psychological disorders, including student’s dropping out.

7. Keeping freedom and personality (self-esteem) in students: According to Ibn Khaldun, it is of the effective methods in education that binds teachers, educators, parents or everyone else, to be friendly. Also, it is a stimulant to free expression of feelings and personality in students, and they avoid imperious orders or instructions. Not considering this fact causes that ability and self- esteem of students to be destroyed.

8. Evaluation and Assessment: It is up to teachers and educators to evaluate their student’s performances in order that the student might know what he or she has done, and what- that should have done- has not done. What he or she has said, and what- which should have said- has said, and in general what and how have been his or her deeds and speeches so that it might become possible to correct them.