Islam placed a high value on education, and, as the faith spread among diverse peoples, education became an important channel through which to create a universal and cohesive social order. By the middle of the 9th century, knowledge was divided into three categories: the Islamic sciences, the philosophical and natural sciences Greek knowledge , and the literary arts. Early Muslim education emphasized practical studies, such as the application of technological expertise to the development of irrigation systems, architectural innovations , textiles, iron and steel products, earthenware, and leather products; the manufacture of paper and gunpowder; the advancement of commerce; and the maintenance of a merchant marine.
After the 11th century, however, denominational interests dominated higher learning , and the Islamic sciences achieved preeminence.
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Greek knowledge was studied in private, if at all, and the literary arts diminished in significance as educational policies encouraging academic freedom and new learning were replaced by a closed system characterized by an intolerance toward scientific innovations, secular subjects, and creative scholarship.
This denominational system spread throughout eastern Islam from Transoxania roughly, modern-day Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and southwest Kazakhstan to Egypt, with some 75 schools in existence between about and The system of education in the Muslim world was unintegrated and undifferentiated. All the schools taught essentially the same subjects. The more advanced a student, the closer he was seated to the teacher.
The mosque circles varied in approach, course content, size, and quality of teaching , but the method of instruction usually emphasized lectures and memorization. Teachers were, as a rule, looked upon as masters of scholarship, and their lectures were meticulously recorded in notebooks. Students often made long journeys to join the circle of a great teacher. Elementary schools maktab , or kuttab , in which pupils learned to read and write, date to the pre-Islamic period in the Arab world.
After the advent of Islam, these schools developed into centres for instruction in elementary Islamic subjects. Some schools also included in their curriculum the study of poetry, elementary arithmetic, penmanship, ethics manners , and elementary grammar. Maktab s were quite common in almost every town or village in the Middle East , Africa, Sicily, and Spain.
Schools conducted in royal palaces taught not only the curriculum of the maktab s but also social and cultural studies designed to prepare the pupil for higher education , for service in the government of the caliphs, or for polite society. The exact content of the curriculum was specified by the ruler, but oratory , history , tradition, formal ethics , poetry, and the art of good conversation were often included.
Instruction usually continued long after the pupils had passed elementary age. Scholars and students spent many hours in these bookshop schools browsing, examining, and studying available books or purchasing favourite selections for their private libraries.
Book dealers traveled to famous bookstores in search of rare manuscripts for purchase and resale to collectors and scholars and thus contributed to the spread of learning. Fundamental to Muslim education though the circle schools, the maktab s, and the palace schools were, they embodied definite educational limitations. Their curricula were limited; they could not always attract well-trained teachers; physical facilities were not always conducive to a congenial educational environment; and conflicts between religious and secular aims in these schools were almost irreconcilable.
Most importantly, these schools could not meet the growing need for trained personnel or provide sufficient educational opportunities for those who wished to continue their studies. These pressures led to the creation of a new type of school, the madrasa , which became the crown and glory of medieval Muslim education. The madrasa was an outgrowth of the masjid, a type of mosque college dating to the 8th century.
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The differences between these two institutions are still being studied, but most scholars believe that the masjid was also a place of worship and that, unlike the madrasa, its endowment supported only the faculty and not the students as well. Immigration, interculturel livres, 79 revues dans cette categorie Voir tous les livres.
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