An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

About

In the name of God, the Infinitely Gracious, the Infinitely Merciful.

This blog has been set up as a space to explore the spiritual dimension to parenting and education. Tarbeyah is an Arabic word which carries the connotations of nurturing the whole being, striking a chord with educere (drawing out) in Latin. We are interested the development of the whole child as well as the state of consciousness we bring to them. Needless to say, it’s an educational process for us parent too, as we draw out qualities from within and learn to manage our inner state as the outer world becomes more demanding. “In our Tradition there is a Hadith about the Faithful being mirrors to the Faithful; Waldorf talks about how the child imitates everything around them. They are our best mirrors, and it’s painful when you see in them the exact replay of what you dislike most in yourself! That was always an incentive to keep on with the inner work.” Patzia González-Baz

Often education and parenting approaches focus on conditioning the child and the innate intelligence of the soul is neglected. In Islamic terminology, the higher cognitive faculties of the human being as described in the Quaran are not addressed:

Unfortunately, much so-called ‘Islamic’ education gives places  too much emphasis on ta’lim (instruction, what the French call ‘formation’, often through an excessively teacher-directed and authoritarian approach which does not foster critical thinking and gives few or no opportunities for discussion) in conjunction with a narrow concept of ta’dib as ‘moral discipline’ divorced from personal spiritual development. In addition to establishing a ‘community of inquiry’ based on the full range of cognitive/ethical/dialogic faculties, the ‘perceptive’ faculties need to be revived, in the Qur’anic sense of “hearing, sight and hearts” with which the human being is endowed. There can be no authentic education without dhawq , the faculty of ‘tasting’, whether this means using the senses empirically to learn from direct observation, or in the higher sense (as used by Al-Ghazali) to refer to ‘spiritual savouring’, or direct experience of haqq as (in his view) the only way to yaqin or spiritual certitude. The English word ‘sapience’ (wisdom) expresses the direct connection between wisdom and tasting, since it is related etymologically to the word ‘savour’ (taste). The development of higher faculties of perception (albab), or ‘seeing with the heart’, is linked to higher cognitive faculties such as tadabbur (pondering), tafakkur (deep thinking, reflection, and contemplation), and tawassum (observation and understanding of the signs of nature). Unfortunately, these higher faculties are systematically neglected in most forms of education, including Western systems of schooling, as well as those forms of ‘Islamic’ education based on ta’lim + ta’dib.”  Jeremy Henzell-Thomas.

I envisage this blog to be much like a whirling dervesh; being both local and universal, drawing circles beyond circles. The center  being rooted in the Islamic spiritual tradition while at the same time recognizing the universal wisdom contained within all traditions. This is a community run blog for educators and parents to share a space to express their experiences, insights and questions; where issues to do with parenting and education both in our communities and society at large can be addressed within a spiritual context.

To contribute a post please email saqib.safdar@gmail.com. You may wish to sign up through the home page to receive new updates via email for this blog or join us on facebook Tarbeyah-An exploration of spirituality in parenting and education.

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  1. Asalamu Alaykum dear,

    My dearest friend and sister shared this blog with me recently and I must say I am very impressed and moreover, delighted to see such a wonderful platform!! I absolutely agree with everything I read above and I look forward reading more of your posts!

    Thank you and May God bless you (and all)

    Ma’salamma,
    Shaidi

  2. I am a single mother of four young children, happily on the road to peaceful and mindful parenting. Thank you for your inspiration offered so freely here. God bless you in your own journey of love.

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