AN OUTLINE OF EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM DEVELOPED IN MUSLIM BENGAL UNDER THE TURKO-AFGHAN SULTANATE (1204-1576)

Md. Thowhidul Islam

Abstract


Abstract

The first verse of the Holy Qur’an indicates that education is an integral part of Islam. Since then, educational development has been a parallel to the development of Muslim society. From the beginning of the Muslim conquest of Bengal by the Turks in the early 13th century, the society had also witnessed the rapid development of a new educational system. Before Islam in Bengal, The Buddhist and Brahmanic religious centres mainly served as educational centres. Cultivation of knowledge was instructed through the Sanskrit language and limited only to the upper classes people. But the scenario got a change under the Muslims both- Turko-Afghan Sultanate (1204-1576 A.D.) and the Mughals (1576-1757 A.D.). The period witnessed a rapid advancement in the educational field, which changed the traditional system. The Rulers patronized the spread of education considering it as their religious obligation. Besides Sultans, the Sufis, Ulamas, Nobles, Chieftains-all contributed in this regard. Masjids and Madrasahs mainly served as centre of Muslim education. In the Masjids, informal teaching was offered in all branches of Islamic studies, from elementary to the highest level. The Imams of the Masjids were acknowledged teachers of the community. Madrasahs were the most important institution, where formal education was instructed. Maktabs were used for primary education, which were organized either in the Masjids or private houses. Majilises were developed around individual scholars as higher educational centres such as the learning centre of Shaikh Jalaluddin Tabrizi at Deotala, Shaikh Sharfuddin Abu Tawama at Sonargaon, Dhaka etc. There was co-education at primary level, but the higher education for women was limited only to the higher & high-middle class families. Different branches of Islamic Sciences such as Tafsir, Hadith, fiqh-Jurisprudence, logic together with many diverse subjects such as natural sciences, mathematics, medicine, agriculture, astronomy, geography and Arabic & Persian languages and literature were taught in these institutions. To maintain these educational institutions, the rulers provided state patronage, granted rent-free lands as endowment. Thus, a very new and diversified educational system flourished in the society of Bengal under the Muslim rulers, which opened learning facilities for all the people, founding many educational institutions throughout the country. The paper is mainly aimed at discovering the nature and dimensions of educational system, which developed particularly during the Turko-Afghan Muslim Sultanate (1204-1576 A.D.) in Bengal and identify how the system can contribute to improve the present educational system of the country.

Keywords: Turko-Afghan Sultanate, Bengal, Educational development.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11113/umran2017.4n2.107

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