A truly human society cannot be achieved “if its highest aim consists in mere survival, progress or expansion, but it has to realize the significance of man in this life.” (Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi)
The ancient Greeks knew that education has to be a conscious process. You cannot embark on this process unless you are able to offer a role model of man, a generic model in its universal meaning and normative function.
The educated man is the man of Futuwwa. Futuwwa is applied in coexistence with others. Generosity, patience, honour and all other elevated, noble qualities are only to be found within a community/Jamaat. Its men and women have the responsibility to transmit their knowledge to the following generations, they have to be educating them by their behaviour.
The school has to provide the necessary pedagogical process in order to construct this comprehensive human being, which always has to be part of a social context. Cohesion, common aims and close collaboration between family, school and the community around are indispensable for the child to receive an Islamic education.
Al Andalus School sees itself as heir of the vast traditional Islamic teaching in its entire dimension. It also sees itself as a bridge between this Islamic teaching tradition and the occidental legacy of writers like Goethe, Heidegger or Ernst Jünger, who for their part have transmitted teachings which shape our project on a daily base.
In this sense we study and apply every useful teaching method, which respects the most important aim of our education: the essential unity of existence.
The core of Al Andalus School is Iman, the belief in the Creator of the universe and in the example of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him).
Al Andalus School se reconoce heredera de la vasta enseñanza tradicional islámica en toda su dimensión, y puente entre ésta y el legado occidental que nos ha llegado a través de aquellos autores que, como Goethe, Heidegger o Jünger, inspiran grandemente nuestro proyecto.
En este sentido, estudiamos y nos servimos de todos aquellos métodos pedagógicos contrastados que respetan el fundamento absoluto de nuestra enseñanza: la unidad esencial de la existencia.
El núcleo de Al Andalus School reside en el Imán, la creencia en el Creador del Universo, y en el ejemplo del Mensajero de Allah, s.a.w.s.
Model of Human Being
The Al Andalus School follows a model based on the noble qualities of character of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his Sunna.
The sum of different characteristics of the most natural form of man can be found in the model of the prophets. Their seal is our beloved Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him.
From his words in the Hadith – “I have only been sent to perfect good character.” – we deduct the motto of our school, the declaration of our intentions, and the rules of our conduct. We love him, we mention him a lot and feel closely connected to him, him being our clear reference of human existence, may Allah’s peace and blessing always be upon him.
The good formation of the individual and social personality of a youth are established while acquiring the qualities of character, which form a universal model of how to be and how to interact in the world. This will be a person’s reference and guide during his/her life.
The school has to allow the sprouting of the germ of a wholesome human being. It has to convey to each youth the hope of perfection, the ambition to improve oneself every day. This does not stop with the end of the school age, but it is a general attitude of all believers, “from the cradle to the grave”.
This constant process has to cover five aspects:
Since the end of the Second World War a decline of education and instruction has taken place in Europe. During this course of time education has undergone a gradual and complete conversion to now being one of the great dogmas, which sustain the ruling political, financial and technological conglomerate. The world we live in is the clear proof of the result of this deterioration and victim of this system. In words of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir As-Sufi:
‘Education has ceased to be a programme where you learn about life, history, languages and the scientific method, in order to become a programme to prepare the individuals to serve the economic market, ‘business’, i.e. the elite of the slave class.
We are witnessing a Darwinian descent towards a barbarism, which indicates the beginning of the end of the species. (…) The reason is the collapse of human relations, of family, of transmission, of values. It is the reinvention of masculinity and femininity. It is the destruction of the infant’s connection between mother and child. It is the indifference towards the animal kingdom and the awareness that the human being is its protector.’
It is evident that we find ourselves in the agony of a dying world. The school of the future has to be part of the birth of a new era. It cannot continue to accept as unquestioned truths the paradigms, which have led humanity and the earth itself to degradation and destruction. It is the responsibility of our European Muslim community to establish a firm base of education grounded on the Deen of Islam, establishing its firm place in this society.
Although the first reason to establish a school is to protect our children, it is evident that there is no better protection than the one the Millat (way) of the Muslim Umma and the way of life a Muslim society offers. It is the quintessential realm of health and education.
We also know that it is not possible to establish a good Muslim school as long we are not engaged in changing the social process. This ensures the flowering of nobility. Adab (courtesy) is the indispensable element for a return of the living Deen: the correct behaviour with ourselves, with our children and with all levels of society, from the youngest to the oldest ones.
Our school is therefore not a matter of imparting “religious classes”. It is about Millat, about identity; we need to re-establish indispensable references – the mirror where we may see ourselves – respect and esteem as fundamental links. We need to approach the ideal of uniting theory and practice, which has been the historical reality in the Muslim tradition, thus reaching: useful knowledge. It is not an intellectual question; it entails a new way to harmonize the vital energies of feelings and love.
The close cooperation between school and parents is fundamental to share common criteria, values, and expectations, necessary to achieve the best educational training for youths. This collaboration will also serve as a shield of protection against the dominant lack of principles in the present society in which we live. A good opinion and appreciation of each other’s efforts and responsibilities are indispensable, in order to reinforce each other and to fulfil their functions as parents and teachers. “Each one in his place is able to educate”.
The school always has to be aware that the family is the first place of education. It also is the duty of the school to remind the parents about the importance of their role in the successful development of their children and the serious consequences if they neglect their unique responsibilities.
The teacher has to assess the family’s history of each child, which joins our school. He has to see the child beginning from its roots, in its intimate link with its family history and its social circumstances. Thus the teacher has to respect and encourage the ‘educational’ sphere of the child’s family and the child’s social life in its natural environment: parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, close and distant relatives, friends, neighbours etc.
And the base is in Adab, in establishing courtesy, a certain balance in relations at all levels, at any time and any place: the pupils respect other children in the same way as they respect the elders. The Adab between parents and children, between siblings, between brother and sister, between both sexes is essential.
One of the great challenges of our project lies precisely in finding and putting into practice the most appropriate form of family participation, when it comes to organization, control, management and sustainability of the school, in addition to the family’s direct involvement in the process of education.
Being aware of the profound link that children have with their parents, the close relationship between school and family represents an important pillar of Al Andalus School. In the words of Dr. Muhammad Dalmau: “Parents are the first in spreading light into the existential sphere of the child. The teacher is the second.”
School Community and Society
Following the historic example of Muslims, the character of our school model is open and closely connected with the place where it is located. The nature of the Deen of Islam is open, organic, universal and applicable in any situation. Therefore the Al Andalus School is intended to be an ‘open school’, i.e. the opposite of operating within a bubble. Well integrated in the area we establish close relations with our neighbours (with all kinds of associations, officials and private entities) and make it clear who we are and how we live. Like this we will contribute to society, since the values and the knowledge of the tradition that we assume and represent, contain valid responses to the challenges of this time.
Our educational centre represents an extraordinary opportunity to learn how to coexist with others. It is a truly educational city, a medina, in which society neither destroys the individual, nor is the individual a danger to society. “Society has to be able to give us access to our own inner life”, to quote the words of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi. “A truly human society cannot be achieved unless the society’s commitment is not only directed towards its survival, progress or expansion, but rather towards the realization of man’s meaning in life.”