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Al-Zarnuji’s Method of Learning Essay

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Updated: Nov 26th, 2021

It is universally accepted that education is one of the important aspects of human development due to the constant need for self-improvement as well as self-expression. Therefore, there are different approaches to the ways of learning that mostly depend on the culture and traditions of different countries. The Arabic view on education is brightly presented in the works Instruction of the Student: Method of Learning by Imam al-Zanuji. His great pedagogical work reflects his unconventional and comprehensive outlook on the purpose of knowledge consisting in the revival of Islamic religion and culture and in postulating the main principles of successful education.

Zarnuji’s work enlarges is an effective guide for the students to learn Islam in the most meaningful way. The principles and rules presented in the book enlarge in great detail on the necessity to obtain knowledge since it is granted access to God and His appraisal. The most valuable chapter of the book advises respecting the knowledge since it is the only method to perceive the essence of studying. In the chapter, the writer persuades the reader that the esteem of knowledge leads to esteem God and Islam. Hence, Zarnuji states: “One way of holding knowledge in esteem is through Veneration of the Book [the Koran]” (2001, 34).

The book also discovers the importance of respectful relations between the teacher and a student. Thus, the students must always trust their teacher and fully rely on him. Arising out of it, “veneration of learning includes veneration of companions in the quest of knowledge …for it will be necessary to praise one’s teacher and one’s fellow students in order that one can profit from their learning” (Zarnuji 2001, 36). Respect and knowledge are the most important components of a successful education since without it the knowledge loses its primary value. For the knowledge to be firm, a student is to note down the major points in all lessons for.

One of the most important principles put forward by Zarnuji is the constant necessity of acquiring knowledge that trains the ability to single out the main points. Throughout the book, the writer calls for students to be deep seekers of knowledge so that they could acquire more knowledge in future (Zarnuji 2001, 66). Such a philosophy requires to value the time and to use purposely. It is obligatory that everyone who strives to be educated should strive for consistency and obedience and rely on Allah only. The author skillfully explains that the process of learning and engages the student into the constant search of the purpose thus avoiding the useless matters.

The unconventional approach to the process of learning is also revealed through the author’s outlook on the functions of memory and its connection with the knowledge. According to Zarnuji, knowledge helps to develop memory whereas memory helps to acquire more knowledge. Here, he also refers to the Islamic Scripture that runs: “There is nothing that increases memory more that reading of the Koran silently and reading of the Koran silently is the most excellent thing because of the word [of the Prophet]” (Zarnuji, 67). In other words, memory is the possibility given by God to those who respect the Koran.

In conclusion, the book introduces us to the process of comprehensive and consistent learning that provides the student with necessary skills in acquiring knowledge. It teaches not on only how to obtain the knowledge and how to be a successful student, but discusses what knowledge a student must lead to the right perception of life philosophy. In addition, the writer sees the knowledge as the easiest way to cognate God.

Reference

Al-Zarnuji, Imam. 1947. Instruction of the Student: the Method of learning. New York: King’s Crown Press.

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