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Muslim Education b.ed notes | Muslim Education in Medieval India

Muslim Education b.ed notes | Muslim Education in Medieval India


In Medieval period primary education was organized mainly in maktabs and higher education in madarsas.

Apart from these it was also organized in Khankahs, Dargahs, Kuran schools, Persian schools, Persian Quran schools and Arabic schools.

1. Maktab :

  • The word Maktab is taken from the Arabic word Qutab - which means a place where reading and writing is taught.
  • In medieval period these maktabs were generally located in mosques and were mostly single teacher institutions.
  • Though purdah system was in vogue, but the girls and the boys studied together in maktabs.

  • Students were admitted in maktabs at the age of four years, four months and four days.
  • At the time of admission, Bismillah Khani ceremony was solemnized.
  • The student wa presented before the teacher in new clothes.
  • The teacher made student repeat some verse of Quran Sharif.
  • In case of inability to repeat the verses, the teacher asked the student to pronounce Bismillah.
  • The student was then admitted in maktab.
  • In maktab every student was made to learn verses of Quran Sharif, Islamic religion, Arabic, Persian and mathematics.


2. Madarsa :

  • The word Madarsa is taken from the Arabic word 'Daras' which means to deliver or convey speech.
  • Generally, higher education during medieval period was imparted through speech or lecture, therefore the institutions where teaching was carried out by lecture method were designated as Madarsas.
  • Madarsas in the medieval period were mostly located either in State capital or in big cities.
  • Contemporary Kings and Emperors supported a lot in the formation of madarsas, their buildings, libraries and hostels, etc.
  • These madarsas were multi teacher institutions. Their teachers were paid handsome salary from the State exchequer.

  • Ibn-Battuta in his memoir has mentioned that most of these madarsas had big libraries.
  • These libraries contained large number of books on Islamic religion, Arabic and Persiasn literature, etc.
  • There were well furnished teachers' dwellings and students hostels apart from parks, lakes and sport grounds for entertainment.
  • Non vegetarian foods were served to the students in hostels.

  • In Medieval period, the entire expenditure of madarsas was borne by the State but they were completely managed by the teachers.
  • Different committees consisting of teachers were found to look after the different activities of madarsas.
  • No examination was conducted in the medieval period.
  • On the completion of education, students were declared passed only on the recommendation of the teachers.
  • Those who specialized in Islamic religion were called Aamil, in Arabic and Persian literature were called Kabil whereas those who specialized in philosophy were called fazil.
  • However, only the Kabil were appointed at high posts in administration.


3. Khankah :

These were the centres of primary education.

Only Muslim children were admitted in these institutions.

Their expenditure was met from the money received in donations.

4. Dargah: These were also the centres of primary education.

Only Muslim children were admitted in Dargahs.

5. Quran Schools : These were the centres of religious education.

Only Quran Sharif was taught in these schools.

6. Persian Schools :

These were the centres of higher learning where specially Persian language and Islamic culture were taught.

Hindus and Muslims both were educated in administrative work.

7. Persian-Quran Schools : These were the centres of religious education. Persiar language and Quran Sharif were also taught in these schools.

8. Arabic Schools : These were the centres of higher education in which only Arabic language and literature were taught.



In the Muslim system of education different teaching methods were adopted to teach different subjects at different levels:

1. Imitation, Practice and Memorization Method :

  • This method of teaching was adopted, specifically at the primary level.
  • The teachers (ustad) recited the verses of Quran Sharif, the alphabets and the table loudly and the students (shagird) imitated them in groups and memorized them.
  • The education of pronunciation and good handwriting was imparted by this method.
  • Ain-i-Akbari mention that materials used for writing were wooden slate, ink and pen made from wild grass (sarkanda).
  • The teachers did demonstrate the students how to write, the students did imitate them and by practice improved their handwriting.
  • At the primary level special attention was paid on proper pronunciation, good handwriting and rote learning.

2. Speech, Lecture and Explanation Method :

  • The term madrasa means to deliver speech.
  • At the higher level, generally speech and lecture methods of teaching were used therefore the higher education institutions were called madarsa.
  • The developed form of speech is called lecture and its success depends upon the explanation of facts and concepts used in the lecture.
  • The theoretical subjects in madarsas were taught generally by a combination of the above mentioned three methods.


3. Logic Method :

This method was used to teach subjects like philosophy and logic.

However, the method of logic used in muslim education was somewhat different from the method of logic used in Vedic education or Buddhist education.

Special importance was given to direct examples and Islamic theories in Muslim education.

4. Self Study Method :

Muslim emperors spent lavishly on the preparation of hand writing manuscripts of important texts.

They also constructed huge libraries for the storage and preservation of these manuscripts.

As a result, opportunity for self-study was made available to the students.

5. Demonstration, Experiment and Practice Method:

This method is the developed form of imitation method.

It was used in activity oriented subjects-arts, skills and other vocations.

The teachers did demonstrate the act, the students did observe, tried to understand its nature of working, practised it and did learn it.



If we observe the Muslim system of education without any prejudice we come across many of its demerits.

Its basis was narrow and it was full prejudices.

Its demerits may be presented as follows:

1. Discrimination in Economic Assistance :

It is quite right that Muslim emperors took keen interest in the progress of education and got a number of maktabs and madarsas constructed.

They also provided monetary aid to these institutions.

But it is also true that except the Mughal emperor Akbar, none of the Muslim emperors ever gave any aid to Hindu educational institutions.

Today we cannot advocate such a prejudicial view.

2. Attack on the Contemporary Indian Education :

In the medieval period except Akbar all the Muslim emperors were fanatic.

They organized an education system dominated by Islamic religion and culture.

Leave aside any help or aid, they even tried to destroy the Hindu educational institutions.

The very first Muslim ruler Qutub-ud-din Aibak, immediately after ascending the throne, got the world famous Buddhist Universities of Nalanda and Vikramsila destroyed with the help of his army commander Bakhtiyar Khilzi.

Muslim emperors also tried to attack the Brahmanic education system but somehow they survived.

3. Main aim of Education to Propagate Islamic Religion and Culture :

In Medieval period almost all the Muslim emperors emphasized on the propagation of Islamic religion and culture.

As a result the education of Islamic religion and culture was made compulsory in every maktab and madarsa.

This was contrary to the emotions and feelings of the majority, Hindus.

At present, such a bigoted view is almost intolerable.


4. Disregard to Indian Languages, Literature, Religion and Philosophy :

None of the maktabs or madarsas, established prior to the Mughal emperor.

Akbar, imparted education either of Indian languages or literature.

In such a situation the education of Indian religion and philosophy was almost unthinkable.

Military education at the higher level was also based on Islamic system, even the medical education was based on Unan system.

Although Akbar did organize education of Indian languages, literature, religion and philosophy in some madarsas but they were again proscribed by the fanatic Aurangazeb.

This was the biggest drawback of Muslim system of education.

5. Foreign Languages as the Medium of Education:

The medium of instruction in all the maktabs and madarsas established during Medieval period were Arabic and Persian (foreign languages).

Every child therefore had to learn these languages right from the beginning.

For the Indians, learning Persian and Arabic was an extra burden.

It was also considered as below dignity to learn these languages.

As a result, majority of the population failed to get benefit from this education.

Only those Hindus seeking high post in administration learnt these languages.

Due to this education could not be made available to masses.

Meaning of Vedic Education Period

Education during Vedic period in India