Perhaps our work today is just a first sketch of the lines on which others later, more prepared, insha’Allah, draw up precise strokes. But as Muslims we cannot stop taking responsibility – since it is an urgent need at the same time – we have to take the question of education into our hands.
Firstly, as a measure of mere survival, because we can not continue to leave our children in the hands of a system that cuts off their entire development, offering them a poor model of what a human being is, being far from the noble parameters of the high Din of Islam. We have to correct the mistakes of the past and must be careful that young people receive a correct transmission of Din from childhood on.
Secondly, because, once operating from that basis of protection, it is necessary to establish a path of improvement and elevation, where the term ‘excellence’, so easily used today, is much more than a simple outstanding level in the narrow set of subjects, valued by this mercantilist society, which currently conditions education in its entirety.
And finally, aiming for the formation of new generations of responsible leadership, we cannot separate gaining the Garden from the responsibility which we have as “Khalifs of Allah” in this world.
It is essential to redirect the mercantilist orientation of our age, imparted as humanist indoctrination and slogans, in order to recover the school of personal example and genuine human relationships. This is inevitably connected to two aspects that feed and strengthen each other and that cannot be separated: the formation of a healthy individual identity and the construction of a just society.
Muslim societies in Europe must recover the educative character of a Muslim society: the generalization of a non-mass teaching; respect and Adab (courtesy of the heart); the pedagogical role of the different natural educators: the family, the relatives, the neighbours … We must also recover the role of the teacher in its deepest sense. Societies are strengthened and revived through the rejuvenating energy of each new generation, which represents a new opportunity, and a hope to restore the Din of Islam.
Our schools and educational projects must be such, that our children are in them like fish in water. The matter is not placing the adjective “Islamic” next to the term “school”, but to establish a truly liberating and transforming school that allows each young person to be in his element, and to connect our youth with knowledge, with all the knowledge, without losing a bit of Unity.
It is our responsibility to recover the Tawhid in teaching, the inseparable relationship between Imam and knowledge, between knowledge and useful knowledge; a teaching that is always education, i.e. the full sense of the Greek Paideia.
The cream of all educational process is finally the education of the spirit. Therefore Futuwwah (chivalry) stands out as our highest aspiration: the restoration of the highest qualities of nobility.
The city of Granada is the place where the largest community of native Spanish Muslims has come together to establish the Deen of Islam, after an interlude of 500 years. During the last 30 years this community has been one of the most active centres of Muslims in Spain. It not only attracted new Spanish converts but also a significant number of Muslims from other countries. Granada is also a place where a growing number of immigrant Muslims, mainly from Northern and Western Africa, has settled.
Since its beginning one of the most important needs of the Muslim Community of Granada has been the establishment of schools that can provide a healthy and correct education for the growing numbers of Muslim children.
Since 1990 the Islamic Community in Spain (an officially registered foundation) has undertaken the education of children, mainly on a primary level. This happened through initiatives of the families, who wanted to educate their children by Muslim teachers, who, apart from teaching academic skills, were also able to transmit the values of Islam and the nobility of human character.
But right from the beginning the Muslims in Spain had the intention to embark on projects, which would lead to the construction of centres of education, responding to the increasing numbers of Muslim students living in Granada. Apart from these students this project should also cater for young Muslims coming from other cities in Spain, as well as from abroad.
Now the time has come for the Muslim Community, its leaders and the involved Muslim teachers to put into practice the accumulated experience of all these years.
After the inauguration of the new Mosque of Granada in July 2003, a moment of strength and maturity for the establishment of Islam in Spain, we now focus on education as being the essential priority for the protection and growth of the Deen through the new generations of Muslims of all origins.
Creation and maintaining centres of education.
We intend the establishment of a Primary and a Secondary School, a Higher Education Entrance Qualification and Vocational Education, as well as University Education, once its time has come. They shall be centers of formation and culture within a dynamic interrelationship with their social environment and their families, in accordance with the principles of the Islamic educational tradition and in tune with the highest principles of the Western European tradition.
The model of the school is comprehensive, aimed at the development of the human being in all its aspects: intelectual, spiritual, in health, behaviour and determination.
Our school not only welcomes the diverse ethnic and cultural roots of people – it sees them as valuable assets. They will strengthen the connections, which are common to all people: the sense of belonging to one’s community and to the Spanish society as a whole.
One of our main aims – apart from perfecting their skills in their mother tongue – is that they acquire foreign languages (Spanish, English, as well as French and German), the development of basic skills in different professions, as well as the use of new information technologies and communication tools. Our students shall acquire an emotional equilibrium, resulting in the capacity to successfully confront the challenges of life, being capable to take decisions, assuming personal responsibility and a commitment to serve society.
All this shall take place in a frame of behaviour, which is being characterized by the high values of nobility and courtesy, which have been transmitted through centuries.
Al-Andalus Foundation for Education
P.O. Box 674. 18010