ACQUISITION AND UTILIZATION OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION; MEANS OF REMEDIATING MORAL DECADENCE AMONG MUSLIM YOUTHS
INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Truthfulness and moral value are good qualities desirable in all human beings. These qualities make one’s life worth living although there is erosion of moral values due to materialistic greed. In Nigeria today, there is rapid moral decadence cutting across adults, youths and kids in all sectors of the society.Delinquent behaviourshave de-generated the psyche of people in the society to the extent that people have lost faith in the capacity of the government to uphold morals and justice. People are no longer committed as self employees,civil servants, laborer in private institutions, even as teacher, or students. All codes of conduct as far as their areas are concerned are paper work; commitment and dedication are of no significance as for public locations are concerned. Majority are after their selfish ends.
Moreover, outside schools and government institutions, there are increases in instances such as robbery, trickery, begging touting and all sorts of misfit behaviour in our societies. Analysis findings have shown that majority of men and women found in these acts are mostly school dropouts, youngsters from broken homes and unemployed graduates of various
institutions at diverse levels. Therefore, this calls for appropriate implementation of religious and ethical education in our schools. If curricular on religions, social and ethical education are well planned and developed and at the same time correctly implemented most of the above stated moral decadence would, if not completely eradicated be reduced to the minimal (Toyib, 2009).
Moral decadence in Nigeria has generated a lot of problems in all sectors of our society resulting in the slow pace of development in the country. The moral decadence ranges from examination malpractices, stealing bribery and corruption, sexual promiscuity, social mal- adjustment, insubordination, disrespect to the constituted authority and to the rules of law. All these immoral behaviours possibly contributed to declining economic and educational standard, resulting in importation of strange social behaviours into our society. This in turn has actually gone deep into the life style of men and women in the society thereby generating fear, unpatriotic, feelings, disunity, lack of faith in the development and progress of the country, distrust towards leaders and unguided behavior in the mind of the ones with conscience who would have loved to uphold high moral standards. Those who gain from these immoral attitudes prefer them to continue. For that reason, there is need for appropriate orientation to be given to the young ones. This will eradicate the moral decadence in our society, thereby creating room for development. This can only be completed by our educational sectors by means of the school which at the grassroots, matters most in the instance of development (www.wikipedia.free. encyclopedia.com).
The curriculum in our schools, both elementary and secondary and programmes in general that would be tailored towards the achievement of both the moral and academic aspects of education are yet to be achieved fully in our educational system. This is due to society’s reliance on paper qualification. This has deflated ethical fulfillment of education in the life of our youth.
It is vital to note that man’s relationship with others should follow certain moral codes that would enhance a peaceful and a well ordered life, a life that would promote harmony and cooperation that would reduce social ills as well as uplift man’s mental capabilities and put his mind in healthy condition. This aspect which Islam refers to as Ihsan (good deed) covers all aspects of human Endeavour: political, social, economic, national and international life. Exhibition of these moral qualities form the basis or essence of humanity itself. These qualities according to Mawdudi (2004) are:
Self-control, generousity, mercy, sympathy, a sense of justice, breadth of vision, truthfulness, trust-worthiness, integrity, respect for pledges and commitments, fair-mindedness, moderation,
courtesy, purity and discipline.
In contrast to the above, Islam abhors those vices such as hatred, rancor, cheating and encroachment on the right of others. Also, murder, theft, extortion, fornication, usury, lying, backbiting, taking of intoxicants and consumption of harmful foods are condemned. In other words, man owes to his fellow man, certain moral responsibilities that would be geared towards the enhancement of the individual and the societal goal as a recipe for a peaceful life, bearing in mind always that such good deed is a divine commandment from the Lord, whom he loves, obeys and cherishes. It goes without saying that man’s spiritual fraternity with God and seeking moral well being of others are central elements to Islamic religion’s teaching, philosophy and practice (Toyib, 2009:3).
Secular society, perhaps in the name of freedom of choice, is unwilling to condemn or prevent the spread of moral degradation; and even when it tries to it is unable to because of human limitations of knowledge, reasoning and wisdom. Such society goes in circles chasing the symptoms and dressing up the outcomes rather than addressing the root cause. In our times, examples of this phenomenon abound; like immodesty, adultery, cohabitation, teenage pregnancies, alcoholic consumption, drug abuse, pornography, homosexuality, political thugery, disobedience to parents and to constituted authority, etc. (http://alislam.org/e/998.official.wesite.of.ahmadiyyah-muslim-community-Prevention of moral degradation in light of Islamic
However, looking critically at the present situation in Nigeria; the rate of moral/character degeneration especially among adolescent and youth is quite alarming. This according to Toyib (2009:3):
Is against the background that the passion for religion among Nigerians both young and old has given rise to increase in number of mosques and churches established; increased followership and increase in the level of Da‘wah activities, evangelism and religious education at both primary and secondary school system. In fact, one may be tempted to assume that while all these religious institutions and their activities are growing in arithmetic progression; the rate of vices especially among Nigerian youth is growing in geometric progression (although this view is not empirical but obvious). To compliment the efforts of these religious groups, successive governments in Nigeria and especially the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo administration had established various extra-ministerial agencies like Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
(NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug
Administration and Control among others to checkmate this menace. This trend speaks volumes of the degree of vices that have permeated the entire life of the average Nigeria citizen.
As a student of Islamic Studies, constant contemplation on these disturbing phenomena informed this writers’ decision at taking a closer look at their primary constituency to see how far the Islamic Studies as the foundation of religious education has gone in its effort at developing and imparting in Muslim students both moral and character development.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is no doubt that moral degeneration and character laxity especially among the Muslim students have become the bane of the contemporary Nigerian society. These problems have eaten deep into the fabric of all aspects of our national life, social, political, cultural or economic. The anti-social behaviours which are the manifestation of this moral and character decay have been worrisome to successive governments in power as to elicit incessant calls on religious groups to intensify efforts in their missionary activities to combat this menace.
However, placing these efforts (particularly that of Islamic education which is the researcher’s focus of study) against the rate of crime in the country is smack of contradictions.
These contradictions have now provoked some fundamental inquiry to: Whether Islamic Education as focal of teaching and learning is still playing these roles effectively? Whether the approach of the Islamic education teachers to teaching and counseling could no longer meet the contemporary reality of the moral and character degeneration in the society? Whether, in view of the above, one could be tempted to assume that the Islamic education teacher have failed in his primary duties of safe-guarding his students, and by extension, the nation against the scourge of moral and character bankruptcy? All these burning issues are the basic problems which this research work intends to address.
Furthermore, Islamic education is mainly aims at balance growth personality of an individual morally, linguistically, socially, religiously and help a man toward the attainment of goals. Islamic education aims primarily to sharpen the life of a man to be able to differentiate between what is right and the wrong.These are the issues this rsearch work will critically look upon.
1.3 Research Questions
Questions raised in this academic discourse are as follows:
1. Does the approach of the Islamic education teachers in teaching and counseling still meet the contemporary reality of the moral/character degeneration in the society?
2. What are the factors that influence the Muslim students’ moral/character development?
3. Does school as formal education serves the only way of inculcating moral/character on students?
4. What are the contributions of Islamic system of education in imparting morals in students?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
This research work is embarked upon with the following objectives:
i. To establish the potency of Islamic education as a subject that is capable of instilling moral/character training into the Muslim youths.
ii. To examine whether the Islamic Studies Curriculum as the centre of teaching and learning is still playing these roles effectively.
iii. To determine whether the Curriculum contents are being properly implemented.
iv. To examine whether the approach of the Islamic system of education still meet the contemporary reality of the moral and character degeneration in the society.
v. To examine the impact in the moral and character development of the Muslim youths?
vi. To suggest ways of bridging the gap between the Curriculum contents and the current happenings in the society. vii. To suggest workable solutions on the development of moral and character building in Muslim youths.
1.5 Significance of the study
An elementary dictum in human social relations indicates that the individuals make the society. If a society is good, peaceful and orderly, it is through the instrumentality of these individuals that made up that society. To maintain a peaceful and orderly society therefore, moral and character development through the instrumentality of religious education of its citizens are of paramount importance. Placing this within the context of Nigeria as a nation presupposes that the country should expect the exhibition of certain positive traits from her citizens that would make them good members of Nigeria society. God’s consciousness and moral character developments through proper religious education are the prerequisites in this regard. As members of Nigeria larger society and one of its major stakeholders, the Muslims, through the Islamic studies as a subject have a lot to contribute to heighten stakeholders awareness of the importance of character development programmes in local public schools to the continued success and stability of Nigerian society; and to encourage the establishment and improvement of character development programmes in secondary schools. Therefore, an exposition on the impact of Islamic studies on the moral and character development of Muslim students in this area is quite significant.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation
This work covers the activities of selected secondary schools in Sokoto. The activities are those that are specifically meant for the moral and character upliftment of the Muslim students. It therefore covers all secondary school students in Sokoto metropolis where Islamic studies as a subject are offered. These are: Nady Academy Nursery and Primary School, Gwiwa Lowcost Sokoto, Sultan Maccido Secondary School Sokoto, Tarbiya Caliphate AcademyPrimary and
Secondary School, Arkila Sokoto, Asma’u Girls Islamic Secondary School Sokoto, Iman International School Sokoto. Apart from the review of literature which is a library based research, this work is basically a field research and as is characteristic of all academic works of this nature. Financial constraints are serious impediments. However, this does not in any form affect the quality of the work
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Moral decadence: It is connected with the principles or standards of good behaviour of what is right and wrong, and with the difference between good and evil.
Character: the particular combination of qualities that makes someone a particular kind of person. It also means a combination of qualities such as good virtues that are admired and regarded as valuable.
Development: It entails the gradual growth of something, so that it becomes bigger or more advanced
Curriculum: Curriculum is defined as all the desirable learning experiences: cognitive, psychomotor and affective, planned for the learners under the direction of the school to achieve educational goals and procedures, strategies, and materials employed for effective reconstruction of such experience.
Islamic studies: Islamic studies can be defined as the totality of learning experiences, which centre on the relationship between man and his creator and between man and his fellow men.
Muslim youths: Muslim youths can be defined as a group of Muslims who are so young especially the time before one become an adult and born in the religion of Islam.