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Seven Principles of Upbringing in Islamic Teachings

Education and upbringing are the most important and fundamental aspects of human life in such a way that any mistake may cause deviation in all aspects of life.

In Islam, much attention has been paid to this significant issue and the proper rules for human development have been laid down. What follows refers to some of the most important principles for upbringing[1] as viewed by Islam.

1- The principle of harmony with Innate nature (fitrah)

God the Almighty has endowed human being with some features and attributes that distinguish him from other creatures; rationality, truth-seeking, aestheticism, justice-seeking, and godliness are among these innate talents. The whole state of human life must be organized in such a way that these traits, which are like the seeds planted in the life of a human, grow properly. Education and upbringing are among the most important and influential factors in the complex of things that shape one’s life and must be in harmony with the innate characteristics. The necessity of this harmony is fully endorsed by reason.

The irrational environment cannot develop reason, and the non-spiritual environment cannot foster spirituality in man.

2- The principle of moderation

The religion of Islam is a religion of avoidance of excess or extremes as illustrated in the following Verse:

وَ كَذلِكَ جَعَلْناكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطاً

“Thus, We have set you up as a moderate nation” (The Holy Qur’an, 2: 143)

Moderation is against excess and defect. Either of these causes disruption to survival, continuity, and health. In education and upbringing too, which deal with the human soul and spirit, avoiding excess and defect is a very important factor.

3- The principle of comprehensiveness

Comprehensiveness means an all-embracing factor of an Islamic plan of upbringing for a human being. None of the aspects of the human personality are left out in the Islamic program, and each must reach its proper development. In the Holy Qur’an, the human being is called “Rashid” (right-minded). Rashid is the one who has grown all aspects of his being. If one aspect grows and the others stay stagnant or grow in an improper direction, a genuine upbringing will not occur. The danger that one-dimensional human being may cause is more than that of an untrained human. A human whose existential dimension grows while the rest of his dimensions do not grow may use his one-dimensional aspect as a tool to reach some immoral purposes.

4- The principle of supplying real needs

Human needs can be divided into two categories. Some of them are tangible. On the contrary, some needs cannot be felt unless one expert reminds one of them. Human health relates to understanding both needs and providing them with rationality; for example, when we are thirsty, we realize that we need water. But if our body needs a certain type of vitamin, we don’t notice it, but the doctor must remind us. This is also true in spiritual, emotional, and religious matters. Material needs are easier to identify than immaterial needs. The instructors and teachers must educate people on their genuine but incomprehensible needs and strive to meet those needs. The prerequisite for attaining perfection is to satisfy deeply immaterial needs.

5- The principle of emphasis on education in childhood 

The divine nature of man is the most valuable thing in Islamic education so that nothing should be preferred over it. If speech or conduct is contrary to the laws of nature, it must be explicitly amended. Fitrah resembles a sapling that needs to be taken care of from the beginning of its growth, to gradually grow into a firm and refreshing tree. Human and divine behaviors can be considered the fruits of this tree. Due to this crucial process, scholars of education and upbringing have emphasized the consolidation of good moral qualities from childhood.

6- The principle of guidance-seeking

An instructor in Islamic education should by no means be exhausted in educating others and assume his responsibility is over since education is a godly thing. God the Almighty observes His servant in every situation. Even if the servant goes astray, God still seeks His guidance. Teachers and instructors who have been influenced substantially by the teachings of Islam must also enjoy this divine attribute following their capacity. The Islamic instructor enjoys working to build and influence the soul of the instructed and considers this work worship. Also, our attention towards the Muslims should not lead us to be malicious against those who are not under the banner of Islam; rather, we should seek their guidance from God as well.

7- The principle of the free will

Man is a free creature who performs his duties voluntarily. That is why God the Almighty has entrusted the people with finding and following the right path. Divine guidance is not done with force and coercion; rather, it is a matter of choice. God who sent the Prophets and the Divine Books to guide human beings, ultimately wants them to find and follow the path of righteousness. The divine message is received from God, but it will not work unless one wants it. This principle must also be followed in education and upbringing. Learners have the will and free choice. We need to organize the situation so that they will move with their will and motivation to acquire moral virtues and human traits. A lot of people’s behavioral problems are caused by the force used by some instructors.

The Article was written by Hujjat al-Islam Sayyid Mostafa Daryabari and Dr. Morteza Karimi.



[1] With great reference to “The Principles of Islamic Education and Upbringing in the views of Martyr Mutahhari” by Hasan Maleki.

About Ali Teymoori

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One comment

  1. Nice write up. It is interesting and educative piece. May Allah reward you abundantly

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