What makes Tarbiyyah, Tarbiyyah? Before You Throw the Words Around Make Sure They Fit These 10 Characteristics.
In the Arabic language, Tarbiyyah is a derivation closely related to education, improvement, development, growth, maintenance, and care.
Muslim scholars and Islamic movements describe Tarbiyyah to contain and manifest the following 10 characteristics:
1. Divine (al-Tarbiyyah al-Rabbaniyyah) — The source, the goal, and the approach must be divine and not unethical, sinful or displeasing to Allah.
2. Comprehensive (al-Tarbiyyah al-Syumuliyyah) — Encompasses all the cognitive, the affective, and the psychomotor. Any shortfall would result in imbalanced outcomes.
3. Moderate (al-Tarbiyyah al-Wasatiyyah) — Not prioritising one over another. E.g: Seeking of knowledge is imperative, so is Tazkiyya, Ibadah, Da’wah, leadership, Zikr, physical activities etc.
4. Humane (al-Tarbiyyah al-Insaaniyyah) — Recognising and acknowledging the ebb and flow of human spirit and emotional conditions.
5. In phases (al-Tarbiyyah al-Manhajiyyah) — Performing one’s current tasks in stages, phase by phase, not in haste, and without jumping to premature conclusions.
6. Continuous (al-Tarbiyyah al-Mustamirrah) — Tarbiyah is a never-ending process and everyone should keep on improving. Even the most senior in age and in the work of Tarbiyyah may be liable to making mistakes.
7. Positively encouraging (al-Tarbiyyah al-Ijabiyyah) — Focusing on the positive self and building its capacity for further growth and success.
8. Realistic and Flexible (al-Tarbiyyah al-Waqi’iyyah wa al-Murunah) — Applicable and doable in his or her particular context of life. The world and its human generations change, and so should the implementation of Tarbiyyah.
9. Moving (al-Tarbiyyah al-Harakiyyah) — action-oriented, moving and changing with time in terms of the groundwork. Tarbiyyah shouldn’t stop at the theoretical and reflectional levels.
10. Concrete and Well-rooted (al-Tarbiyyah al-Daqiqah wa al-’Amiqah) — Not merely about beautiful words, symbols and grandeur, Tarbiyyah should be able to transcend the abstracts and penetrate the hearts.
So, have we done the Tarbiyyah?