Kitab al-Alim wal Gulam & Modern Pedagogy

Introduction: Allah almighty states in Quran: “Allah brought you forth from your mother’s wombs knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and hearts, might u do shukr”.

Allah has bestowed men with Aql to acquire al Ilm. But he is not able to do that without a teacher or guide who helps him learning. For that Allah has sent his rusul as he states: “We have sent to you a messenger from among you, who recite upon you Our a’ya’t and (give taharat to you , and teaches you the book (Quran) and hikmah, and teaches you which you don’t know”. And he teach him with wahy , and his wasi said that “the al Ilm that Adam A.S was come with is in Mohammad S.A and his Progeny” This kalam of him enlightens that al Ilm came with Adam A.S . Allah has sent them for the purpose of education, and education is life long process, it should have a proper system, by which a student standard raise level by level.

The kitab Alim wal Ghulam is a replica of the above system.

Education is given equally due importance by the people of the world regardless of their faith and believes there has been developed a number of philosophies and pedagogies over the centuries. This thesis aims to emphasize the literary master piece Alim wal Ghulam as a complete pedagogy when confronts to the above systems.Along with this Kitab al A’alim al Gulam owes it own Sunnah Salehsa.

The following are some different concepts and philosophies about education:

Idealism[1] comes from the great Greek philosophers like Socrates and Plato, according to this school ideas are the ultimate reality, there for the aim of education is to seek knowledge rather than creating it. Search for truth and character development of the learners are the main goals of it, Where as the teacher is to serve as a guide. Socrates use “Dialectical Method” a process where ideas are put into battle against each other, with the most significant idea winning the battle to sharpen and purify men’s thoughts. Plato followed the path of his teacher Socrates and defined ideas as the only knowledge of “Archetypes”[2] or the “forms” that leads to the virtue since these include ideas such as beauty, justice or goodness which are true realities. Idealist education involves depth of learning, a holistic approach that involves teaching the whole rather than its parts.

Realism: According to the Realists school reality “exists independent of the human mind”[3]. The definitive reality is the world of physical objects. The focal point is the objects where truth is objective-“what can be observed”­­3­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­and it is independent of ideas. The aim of education to enable the learners to explore the world through inquiry hence scientific method is supported as the way to enlighten. Aristotle emphasized on understanding the ultimate and unchanged form before the object itself. For example, a rose exists whether or not a person is aware of it. A rose can exist in the mind without being physically present, but ultimately, the rose shares properties with all other roses and flowers, although one rose may be red and another peach coloured­3.

Existentialism is the philosophy that places emphasis on individual existence, freedom, and choice. Existentialism stresses the individuality of existence, and the problems that arise with said existence. Because there is so much diversity in the philosophy of existentialism, a concrete definition is hard to put down. Certain themes are common to almost all existential writing, which helps mark the writing as such. The term itself suggests one major theme, the stress on concrete, individual existence, and on subjectivity, individual freedom and choice[4].

Pragmatism or progressivism: John Dewy is the proponent of Pragmatism or progressivism; he seeks inquiry and experiencing as the key to learning. According to Dewy experience is a mean to an end as well as an end in itself[5]. Human experience is the key element to learning, which aims to seek understanding, coordinating environment into whole, teaching through inquiry and promoting personal growth and democracy.

kitab al A’alim al Gulam: Syedna Taher Saifuddin R.A deliberates in this speech: “Abu Qasim R.A, the one sent to Yemen for of zuhur organized the system of spreading al Ilm there, and mentioned some principles of it in the kitab al A’alim al Gulam.”[6]

The Book al-Alim wal-Gulam (The Master and The Disciple) shows a practical aspect of the theoretical aspect of teacher-student educational relationship and communication. Enlightened by this perspective, the teachers and student can follow the fatemi principles of educational communication. As this starts with the question of how should an Alim be thanked that he must be obeyed.

The reflection of this can severally seemed in the book, especially when the A’alim described Gulam the way of spending money in sabil ul Allah, the Gulam immediately present this total possession in front of the A’alim on the other hand A’alim’s compassion can be easily understood by the addressing style of the Alim to Gulam. ‘يابني’ which means my beloved child, and the limit of it can be assumed, that the Gulam called him ‘father’.

This divine method of teaching and seeking Al Ilm (knowledge) helps a learner to apply much of he/she has been taught as it becomes habitual to him/her, this theory is also known as simple non-associative learning.

So the aim of this methodology in Fatemi literature is to lead the learner toward the achievement of highest peak of al Ilm and it is impossible unless through proper channel as Allah almighty has created them, from level to level until he reaches his final destiny of being with the ‘insan e mutlaq’[7].

To conclude- the code of success in educational development is not the “text book” but is the relationship and communication between student and teacher. Hudaat Kiram S.A have set us such criteria which develops the holistic personality of a student not academically but socially and personally and religiously.

May Allah bless Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin a long and healthy life, till the Day of Judgment. Ameen


1.      al Quran al Karim

2.      Kitab ul A’alim wal Gulam

3.      al Khotobat al Munirah

4.       Doll, C. R. (1986). Curriculum development (5th ed.). Sydney: Prentice Hall

5.       The Republic. (2002). Retrieved from

6.       Cohen, L. M. N. School of thought. Retrieved from

7.        Metallica. (1997). My little corner of existentialism. Retrieved from

8.        Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and education. Macmillan


[1] Doll, C. R. (1986). Curriculum development (5th ed.). Sydney: Prentice Hall

[2] The Republic. (2002). Retrieved from

[3] Cohen, L. M. N. School of thought. Retrieved from

[4] Metallica. (1997). My little corner of existentialism. Retrieved from

[5] Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and education. Macmillan.

[6] Al Khotobat al Munirah, 1380, al Jamea tus Saifiyah

[7] The term has been driven from Ikhwan-us- Safa reflected as a complete human being which according to Fatemi perspective is Imam-uz- Zaman

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