Religion is considered to be the most important foundation of education. It has a great effect and influence on the education system of a nation Religion means “people’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of the Deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life. It is also defined as, “a set of strongly held beliefs” values and attitudes that somebody lives by.” The above definitions show that religion plays important role in the life of man. Almost all human beings are attached to a religion in some way, or another. So, we cannot deny the fact that religious beliefs greatly affect education, and in tarn education plays pivotal role in presenting religion in its pure shape and transferring it to other generations.
Religion has been the most civilizing force in the history of mankind. It teaches moral values for the benefit of humanity. The same is true of an education system in a religious society. So, both religion and education have the same function. Both are interdependent and necessary for one another. Education will be effective if it is based on the principles of religion. A famous educationist Ross emphasizes that religion plays, an important role in the lives of people and that education must have a religious foundation if it to guide us out of present ills and dissatisfaction of the society.
Homer has been of the greatest moral teachers in ancient Greece. His books ‘Iliad’ and Odyssey are considered by the Greeks as the greatest sources of morality and virtues. That is why they include these books in their curriculum to inculcate virtues such as piety, hospitality and courage etc. in the pupils and students.
Socrate was also in favour of including religion in curriculum because he was an advocate of morality. Aristotle said, “to possess knowledge about morals is not enough, it is important that it should also be practiced.”
The most famous Greek philosopher, Plato, recognized the importance of fables (short stories with some moral lesson) in the education of young children. These Moral tales leave good impression on the mind of children. He said that anything having no virtue or good should not be included in the curriculum. The Roman youth was also taught to develop the virtuous, utilities such as honesty, temperance and patience etc. the Jews drew their religious education from the Mosaic Law.
Christianity also stresses on religious education. To impart religious knowledge was the duty of the church in the Christian era. Though, in the eighteenth century there was a secular moment in education which stressed on the secular education not based on religion. But soon after, that in nineteenth century a movement was started in U.S.A. for religious education. The main motive of this movement was “to inspire the educational forces of our country with the religious ideas and ideals.
The Islamic era is the golden era in this respect. Muslim rulers ail over the world have established religious institutions. Moreover, Islamic studies have been one of the compulsory subjects in any Islamic State. The above discussion shows that religion has been the base of education in maximum civilizations of the world. Therefore, the foundations of our educational system should be Islamic teachings.