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Elementary Education and Motivation in Islam: Perspectives of Medieval Muslim Scholar ...

Chapter :  Introduction
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Elementary Education and Motivation in Islam:

for adult learning and proper conduct. Hence, there exists a gap in our understanding of how elementary education functioned in medieval Muslim societies, in particular, the ways in which the motivation of children was understood by Muslim scholars.

In recognising this gap, this book examines learning and motivation in medieval Muslim societies by studying how Muslim scholars from 750 to 1400 CE viewed motivation in elementary education. This period of history saw some of the most considerable advancements in Muslim education, many of which would later form the basis for Western intellectual progress after the Dark Ages.2 By ‘Muslim education’ in this book, I am referring to the education of Muslims, both in the religious and worldly disciplines. It is more comprehensive than ‘Islamic education’, which I believe refers to an approach to education that is strictly based on the Qur'an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad.

As the first work on the topic in English, this book contributes to our wider understanding of the history of Muslim education by looking at the views of medieval Muslim scholars on ta'db and motivation and at how their thinking related to their situation. It also contributes to our appreciation of pedagogy (art of instruction), didactics (theory and practice of teaching), mathetics (science of learning), childhood psychology, and the philosophy of education as understood by Muslim scholars of the medieval period.

Because this is the first look at ta'db and motivation in medieval Muslim scholarship, my goal is mainly to provide a review and examination of the scholarly thinking in context. It builds on the research that other scholars have conducted on the history of Muslim education by focusing on the hereunto neglected area of elementary education and motivation.

Due to the interconnectedness of the various disciplines of Islam, fields such as Qur'anic exegesis, Hadith, theology, jurisprudence, and the Arabic language were also implicated in the writing of this book. No historical study of this sort would be adequate without utilising medieval Muslim sources from all these branches of learning. In addition, this book makes a small contribution to Arabic literary studies through its use of medieval texts on education written in Arabic. However, it shies