Children of Islam. Concepts of Childhood in Medieval Muslim by A. Gil'adi

By A. Gil'adi

This booklet is the results of the 1st entire study, conducted in the framework of Islamic experiences, on early life in medieval Muslim society. It offers with the pictures of youngsters, with adults' attitudes in the direction of them, and with thoughts of early life as mirrored in criminal, theological, philosophical, moral and scientific writings in addition to works of belles lettres. The reports incorporated during this quantity are in response to the historical-philological technique enriched through a comparative strategy in the direction of the topic.

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Extra info for Children of Islam. Concepts of Childhood in Medieval Muslim Society

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This survey which seems to rely, at least to a certain extent, on earlier Islamic medical writings themselves influenced by the Hippocratic sub-division of childh o o d into four parts - reflects the awareness of the complexity of childhood a n d of the gradual development of children. 2 5 Tuhfat al-Mawdud — an Islamic Childrearing Manual 23 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya is particularly interested in two phases of the child's development which are significant from the religious p o i n t of view, namely, the stage in which the child starts to distinguish between good a n d evil (Arabic: tamyiz),26 a n d that of puberty.

16 Tuhfat al-Mawdud — an Islamic Childrearing Manual 21 But even when pediatric a n d childrearing manuals d o n o t mirror actual life they can provide a record of how the society viewed children - their virtues a n d vices, their n e e d s a n d p r o p e r goals, their capacities a n d their weakness, their place in the overall scheme of h u m a n life, society, a n d often 'the life to c o m e ' . In other words, the manuals provide an accurate measure of the i m p o r t a n t issues relating to children a n d their development, as viewed by elite groups within the society as a whole.

896) as a paradigm of the Sufi m e t h o d of child education. 1 2 T h e chapter seems therefore to be proposing a m e t h o d of early training for children that is intended in due course to facilitate their progress along the Sufi way of life. Later we shall r e t u r n to this brief yet interesting chapter whose c o n t e n t is a m o d e l of medieval Muslim educational thought. O n the whole, however, matters of children a n d childh o o d receive relatively little emphasis in al-Ghazali's writings.

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