Hamka’s Education Thinking: Gender Equality in Islamic Education
Doctoral Program in Islamic Education, Postgraduate of University of Muhammadiyah, Malang East Java, Indonesia
The research entitled Gender Equality in Islamic Education is a thinking to uncover the problems related to gender equality in the scope of Islamic education particularly in Hamka’s education thinking. The goal expected to be achieved in this research was to describe Hamka’s education thinking in gender equality perspective. The research object was the Tafsir Al-Azhar and some Hamka’s other relevant works. The results show that in all aspects of Hamka’s education thinking, there were no differences in treatment, rights and obligations, and opportunities between men and women in education matters. The ultimate purpose of education is the same as the purpose of human creation, to worship to Allah. In accordance with the ultimate purpose of education, education is a right and an obligation of all human beings. The potentials possessed by men and women are the gift from Allah, which must be cultivated through education by referring to the function of human as a servant of Allah and a Khalifah on the earth. There was no gender discrimination in Hamka’s education thinking.
Gender, Islamic Education, Hamka’s Education Thinking
@ 2015 The Authors. Published by American Institute of Science. This Open Access article is under the CC BY-NC license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Al-Qur'an as the main source of Islamic teachings is the first holy book giving a dignity to women as human being when they are harassed by the great civilizations such as the Byzantine and Sassanid (Nuryanto, 2001). This holy book gives many rights to women in marriage, divorce, wealth, inheritance, etc. The Prophet of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) period is an ideal era for women's life. They can participate liberally in public life without being differentiated with men.
One main theme of Islamic teachings is the equality among human beings, either men or women, intertribal or descendant. Al-Qur'an teachings give a great attention and respect to women as what it does to men. Allah has asserted that there is no superiority in level of a nation or ethnicity over another nation or ethnicity, there is no superiority of men over women, or vice versa. All human beings are equal in the sight of Allah. The level of the real noble is determined by the level of your righteous to Allah (QS. Al-Hujurat (49): 13). Allah the Almighty gives equal opportunities and chances for men and women to pursuit achievement, superiority, and happiness with the firmness of faith realized by good deeds (QS. Al-Nahl (16): 97).
Islam rejects the views that denigrate women. The tradition of misogynist and discrimination against women is part of the Jahiliyyah civilization before Islam. The presence of Islam has crushed the practices of misogynist and discrimination, then replaced and changed with fair and humane view. Gradually, Islam restores women's autonomy as a free human being (Muhammad, 2001: 22-23). Allah made human diverse in ethnicities and nations in order to know, to love and to respect each other, not to insult and lower each other. Regardless gender, ethnicity, nation, skin color, etc., Allah has promised a good life, happiness, and noble for those who believe and have righteous to Allah. Male or female does not become a measure of faith and righteous which could increase the level and make a noble human in the sight of Allah.
Islamic education, which can be interpreted simply as an education based on the values of Islamic teachings as stated in Al-Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), should be free from injustice principles in all aspects including gender inequality or discriminative treatment against women. The characteristic of the authenticity of Islamic teachings is holistic, fair, and balanced. In the era of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the ideal era for woman's life, in which they can participate freely in public life without being differentiated with men. The concept of Islamic education which actually implies the meaning of universal concept of values such as fair, humane, opened, dynamic, etc. in line with the trait and purpose of authentic Islamic teachings as exemplified by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Islamic education system is integral, intact, and all including. The basic values of Islam are combined and integrated into the space and movement of educational activities in all patterns, levels and stages (Ismail, 2003: 10-11). In accordance with the direction, vision and mission, which are comprehensive, synergistic and integrated, Islamic education greatly appreciate the achievement on the pattern of equality (QS. Al-Qasas (28): 77). The equality principle is the characteristic of Islamic education. The equality is between the physic and spiritual, individual and society, the world and hereafter, intellectual and emotional, men and women, and so on.
After the death of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), there were many major changes in the structure of Islamic society. Those changes began from democratic power structure into an absolute monarchy system. Meanwhile, feudalistic patriarchal and hierarchical systems resurfaced to restore the men’s status quo, which previously had been crushed by Islamic reform, which occurred when the Prophet was still alive (Santi, 2002: 53). It continues in the transformation process of cultural and social values. Islamic education, which is an integral part of the Islamic system as well as the main agent of the transformation of cultural and social values, has a big influence in the transformation process and the internalization of cultural and social values, which are biased gender.
Misunderstanding in understanding Islamic teachings about gender is due to that person does not put the gender issues in Islam as a system, but he sees gender issues as an aspect of Islamic teaching separated from other Islamic teaching aspects. Someone who is about to assess Islamic teachings should see Islam as a system. People should not assess Islam only in particular aspects separated from its system. Academically it cannot be justified (Tafsir, 2008: 147). Anyone who thinks that in Al-Qur’an, there are elements of injustice, then, he should read and study as well as try to understand Al-Qur'an comprehensively. After studying again and it still feels there is injustice, then, it is necessary to realize that there is human limitation in defining the concepts of truth. Quite possibly, it was due to the mistakes of human perception in defining a concept of justice.
An interesting research conducted by scientists and researchers related to Islam is a critical research of gender equality, which brings feminists’ claims addressed to Islam. In general, those claims are not addressed directly in the texts of Al-Qur’an, but addressed to the interpretation of Al-Qur’an texts or thinking that they presume strongly influenced by gender bias because of the culture of male domination over female. Tafsir Al-Azhar work by Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah or also known as Hamka is not deviated from the assessment mentioned above. Subhan (1999: 182) through his dissertation entitled The Tafsir of Hatred: Gender Bias Study in Tafsir Al-Qur'an consider that inside Hamka’s Tafsir Al-Azhar seems there is an interpretation which is biased gender or discriminative against women. Ilyas (2006) gives a different assessment on Hamka’s work. Through his research entitled Gender Equality in Al-Qur'an: The Study of Mufassirs’ Thinking stated that Hamka’s Tafsir Al-Azhar work is free from discriminative and Misogynistic point of view. The following discussion will study about Hamka’s education thinking related to gender equality. The research aimed to describe Hamka’s education thinking in a gender perspective. The study object was Hamka’s education thinking in Tafsir Al-Azhar and some Hamka’s other works which are relevant as supporter.
2. Research Method
Based on the data collection, this research was included to literature research. The research data were obtained from relevant literature sources. The collected research data were subsequently studied to describe Hamka’s education thinking, then, analyzed by a gender equality perspective.
In accordance with the research type, the data source could be used in the research was documents; the record of past events which were text, images, or the monumental works of a person (Satori and Aan Komariyah, 2009). The object also as the main data source of this research was the Tafsir Al-Azhar and Hamka’s other relevant works. Other works related to the discussion were used as a supporting literature in this research.
The technique of data collection used the documentation technique or method. According to Arikunto (2002), the documentation technique was seeking the data about things or variables; they were books, records, transcripts, newspapers, magazines, notes, agendas and so on.
In line with the type of data that was descriptive or narrative, the technique of data analysis used non-statistical data analysis technique. The collected narrative data would be analyzed using critical analytical descriptive method or commonly known as critical analysis method, namely the method describing human’s idea with a critical analysis (Mastuhu and Deden Ridwan, 1998: 44). Considering the research object is the text demanding an understanding and appreciation in the present and future, the hermeneutical approach is used in simple definition, which is a way to interpret the text or explain the historical actor’s act (Handoko, 1987: 156). Hermeneutical approach was used in order to describe and analyze the interpretation of the author or interpreter of Al-Qur'an texts discussed in the theme of gender equality in Islamic education.
Etymologically, education in the Islamic context generally refers to tarbiyah, ta’lim and ta'dib word. Tarbiyah refers to the meaning of growing, developing, maintaining; ta'lim means teaching that is giving or conveying meaning, knowledge, and skills; ta'dib means educating, training, improving, giving the discipline, and seeking the action (Ramayulis, 2008: 14). Based on researcher’s observation, by referring to the interpretation of Al-Qur'an verses, Hamka only used two of the three terms, ta’lim dan tarbiyah.
The definition of ta’lim, as seen in Hamka’s interpretation (1998, I: 164-166) to QS. Al-Baqarah (2): 31 is the transfer process of a set of knowledge given by Allah to human (Adam). With the power of mind and its senses, people are required to master the transferred educational materials. The power of mind and the senses owned by human will face a gradual development from a very simple form to the better one. With this power, human can carry out his function as a holder of mandate from Allah and able to expose the secret of nature which remains hidden for the benefits of entire universe to prove the power of Allah. The definition of tarbiyah can be seen in Hamka’s interpretation (1998, XI: 108; XIII: 81; XXX: 308) on the QS. Al-Tawbah (9): 129 QS. Al-Ra'd (13): 16 and QS. Al-Falaq (113): 1. The use of the word rabb implies educating, organizing, maintaining and protecting. The maintenance includes the maintenance of all creatures of Allah on the earth. The emphasis tends to put forward the moral values, both vertically and horizontally.
Hamka tended to use the word ta’lim in positioning education as a process and use tarbiyah when he saw education as the transmission of values. This approach is conducted in an effort to integrate the meaning of the two words, which both contain the educational sides and pointed out by Allah in Al-Qur'an, in a harmonious thinking framework. Both of these words have differences in the emphasis, but both have relevance and complement each other.
In line with what mentioned above, from Hamka’s terminology point of view it also distinguished the meaning of education from the meaning of teaching. According to him, Islamic education was a series of efforts carried out by educators to help to create students’ character, moral, and personality, so he could differentiate between good and bad. In addition, teaching is an attempt to fill students’ intellectual with a number of knowledge. The difference between education and teaching is actually only in the definition of the words, but essentially, there is no difference. Both are an intertwined system and complement each other. Every educational process has a teaching process. The education goal and mission will be achieved through the teaching process. Likewise, teaching will have no meaning if it is not accompanied by educational process (Hamka, 1962).
Hamka’s point of view on education can be seen from his interpretation on QS Al-‘Alaq (96): 1-5) which means: Recite in the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous. Who taught by the pen. Taught man that which he knew not"(QS. Al-'Alaq (96): 1-5; Hamka, 1998, XXX: 214)
The verses of Al-Qur'an that was revealed first according to Hamka (1998, XXX: 212-213), also reminded the equality between men and women in accordance with their biological origins. Men and women are all derived from a blood clot from a lump of sperm, then, glorified by Allah with science and knowledge through education. Allah teaches various knowledge to human, revealed to them various secrets, handed over various keys to unlock the treasury of Allah with qalam.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not an intelligent person in reading. He is ummi which can be interpreted as an illiterate, cannot read and write, but Jibril kept pushing him until three times to make him reading. Although the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is not good in reading and writing, but the verses of Al-Qur'an will be taken directly by Jibril to him, taught, so he can memorize, therefore, he will be able to read it. Allah has created everything. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who is not able to read and write, later on he would be good in reading the verses revealed to him. Later, the revelations revealed will be called Al-Qur'an, which means reading. as Allah said: "Read with My Power (qudrat) and My Will (Iradat)! '' Hamka, by referring to Muhammad ‘Abduh’s statement who wrote that the content of hadith explaining that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was told three times to read, three times he also replied honestly that he was not good in reading, Jibril also hugged him tight three times to convince that since then the ability to read was already available on him. Moreover, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is al-insaan al-kamiil, a perfect man. There are more to read later, but something that he should know that the basis of all that he would read is no other than also with the name of Allah (Hamka, 1998, XXX: 215).
The verses of Al-Qur'an revealed first obviously give a high assessment to education. If the Muslims do not find clues by these verses and do not consider the steps to move forward, tear all wrapping sheaths covering their vision from science, or open the door that has been locked so they are locked in a dark chamber, because of the tightly locked by their leaders, so they grope in the darkness of stupidity. If this opening verse of this revelation does not thrill their heart, they will never get up anymore forever (Hamka, 1998, XXX: 216).
Every man and woman born into this world already is equipped by the potentials. Hamka’s Interpretation (1998, XXI: 79) about fithrah shows that he thinks flexible and modern in line with the context faced. Human’s fithrah is interpreted as a potential or a basic capability that motivate both men and women to carry out a series of activities and as a means that support the implementation of functions and duties as the servant of Allah or a leader on the earth. That means is the potentials of soul, body, and mind (Hamka, 1962: 40-47). Hamka called these human potential as ghazirah (Hamka, 1998, XIV: 274). Those three are the unity interrelated each other and should be cultivated. The dominant factor affecting the growth of fithrah is its environment. It showed that in his point of view, education is the main factor strongly influenced for the development of soul, which form human personality.
Education is one critical factor for the effectiveness of the development of intellectual insight and humans’ personality. Education is a means for the development of civilization and culture in order to become better. To build civilization and culture order, it is necessary three life activities, namely science, philosophy, and art (Hamka, 1992: 270). Those three life activities are a means that can help students to build beneficial civilization and culture for their life by emphasizing more on humankind principles. The responsibility of Islamic education generally is to help preparing and guide students to have a broad knowledge, noble, and beneficial for societal life broadly. All students, both men and women have rights to gain services in order to maximize the development of their potentials as a servant or as a khalifah on the earth. In particular, the responsibility of the educator is to generate learning interest, to know the level of students’ ability and development, generate and direct students’ potential, accommodate the social and the era demands into educational process, and interact with students, parents, and society harmoniously (Hamka, 1983: 2-3).
Hamka did not explain the form of curriculum of Islamic education in detailed. Implicitly, he offered the curriculum of Islamic education including at least two aspects: Firstly, the religious studies including Al-Qur'an, al-Sunnah, syariʻah, theology, Islamic metaphysics (tasawuf), Arabic and literature. Secondly, rational, intellectual, and philosophical studies including social studies, applied sciences and technology (Hamka, 1987: 78-86). The approach is philosophical based on the dynamics of human life requiring education curriculum changes dynamically. Revelation, mind, and experience play a role in making conclusion for the establishment of educational curriculum model able to answer various human’s problem of life (Hamka, 1987: 107-108). Islamic values become a reference for the development of students’ potential by motivating and providing guidance not only in the ritual aspect, but also in all aspects of multi-complex world life. Islamic values will give humans strength to be able to control their activities and direct them to the useful things for society.
The purpose of Islamic education according to Hamka is the same as the purpose of human creation, in accordance with QS al-Dzaariyaat (51): 56). Allah creates jinn and human is not for other reason but only for one task, namely to serve, to worship, to acknowledge that they are the servant of Allah who should obey His will. If someone really has faith to Allah, he will not let his life idle and empty from devotion to Him. Therefore, all of his life should be used to worship. That faith should be proved by righteous deeds, such as good deeds. When a person has admitted to believe in Allah, he has to believe in His Prophet. The message of Allah has been delivered through the Prophet and should be noted. Doing His command, His prohibitions should be stopped and avoided (Hamka, 1998, XXVII: 37-38).
Those views give a meaning that Islamic education substantially does not only aim to produce scholars. The purpose of built Islamic education is not only internal for students to have knowledge and know their creator, but externally it will also be able to live and reflect their knowledge for universe prosperity. Islamic education should be formulated systematically and integrally, so it can stimulate students’ fithrah optimally to achieve the ideal purpose of Islamic education.
The material development of Islamic education is oriented to the development of mind and religion. Both orientations are equally important and cannot be ignored one another because they are both co-exist and complement each other. Education only emphasizing on the development of intellectual aspect can lead students to materialistic lifestyle and immoral behavior. Furthermore, education only emphasizing the religious aspect will lead people to think old-fashionedly and neglect the dynamics of world civilization that will keep changing. The materials of Islamic Education should combine these two aspects harmoniously and equally. Educational materials based on religion will foster belief in the truth on the provision of Allah and become a value that can control the behavior. Meanwhile, the intellectual education will help students to build civilization dynamically (Hamka, 1962: 203).
The materials of Islamic education according to Hamka can be grouped into four sections: First, the religious studies such as tauhid, fiqh, tafsir, hadith, mantiq, moral, and so on. The implementation of education emphasizing religious materials is a necessity in any educational institution. Through religious material, it is expected to become a control device as well as a supporter in building students’ personality (Hamka, 1962: 204). Second, general studies such as history, philosophy, literature, mathematics, geography, biology, sociology, psychology, governmental Science, and so on (Hamka, 1992: 192-193).; Third, practical skills such as marching can make students live regularly, can organize and be organized, archery, swimming, horse riding and so on can make students’ body healthy and strong. Those implementations of education with educative nuance can support the achievement of Islamic education (Hamka, 1994: 75-82); Fourth, the arts such as musicology, painting, singing, sculpting and so on. With these studies, students will have a sense of beauty, constantly expand their mind and taste with the truth (Hamka, 1962: 201-202). "Look Allah through the window of beauty." (Hamka, 1992: 132). This sentence means through the sense of art, human can be more familiar with his Lord. This view cannot be separated from the view of human’s fithrah. One human spiritual fithrah is happy and like beautiful and harmonious things (Hamka, 1992: 79).
Through the interpretation of QS. al-Nahl (16); 125 Hamka (1998, XIV: 321-322) states that three basic educational approaches which will be relevant throughout the ages. They are al-hikmah approach means wisdom that implies a wise approach, a noble mind, sincere, and a pure heart, to attract students’ attention, al-mau'izhah al-hasanah approach means a good educational and teaching process, and Mujadalah bi allati hiya ahsan approach is debating, arguing in a good way to engage students to the right way of thinking.
In accordance with the approaches described above, Hamka mentions four types of Islamic education methods: Firstly, the discussion method of which main objective is to seek the truth. The discussion held in a democratic atmosphere, gives a freedom to every student to think, and express opinion freely and responsibly. Every different opinion is appreciated as diversity of views in seeing the study object. The dynamics of the discussion should reflect tolerance and mutual respect. This process needs to be carried out early, namely start from the education in family environment. Through this kind of method, education will enable to create a figure that has a critical and dynamic thinking (Hamka, 1962: 167-169); Secondly, field trip method introducing students to the reality, which exists in the environment in order to foster students’ social sensitivity. Hamka has implemented this method by inviting his students to climb Mount Singgalang and Mount Merapi. He also invited his students to sit under a shady tree, while explaining a lesson, especially related to Minangkabau history and tradition (Hamka, 1979: 34); thirdly, the experimental method, which is very helpful for the development of students’ motivation and creativity in responding learning materials received by students. Theory without being balanced with experience will result students’ thinking is in fantasy world. Through this experimental method, students will discover the truth of what they learn in real and acquire a lot of direct experiences from various social phenomena (Hamka, 1994: 58). Fourthly is the recitation method or giving a useful task to foster students’ responsible sense and providing opportunities for students to be able to apply the knowledge they have acquired, not only master the theory (Hamka, 1994: 56-57).
The use of these educational methods mentioned above, according to Hamka (1962: 117-118) should be adjusted to the level of students’ ability, materials, place and time, as well as the social situation and condition where education is implemented. According to Hamka, the use of method which does not consider these things can lead the educational process to failure and useless.
4. Discussion (Compared with Other Views)
Hamka’s thinking in the context of the entire education refers to the Islamic concept about human. The existence of human as a servant of Allah and as Khalifah on the earth cannot be separated from educational activities, both as subject and as object. Therefore, to discuss Hamka’s education thinking related to gender issues, it is necessary to search Hamka’s point of view first about the position of men and women in the context of human creation, which absolutely implies to his education thinking.
Hamka’s point of view about men and women can be seen from his interpretation of QS Al-Nisaa’ (4): 1 about the process of the occurrence or the origin of the first couple of human believed to be the ancestor of all human beings in this world. Allah said (QS. Al-Nisa’ (4): 1; Hamka, 1998, IV: 216), which means: "O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and multiply from both of them many men and women. Fear Allah, which you have wondering about (name) Him, and maintain the kinship. Indeed Allah is over you, an Observer."
Nafs waahidah words translated by Hamka into Indonesian "satu diri", and in his interpretation he stated "Dan daripadaNya dijadikanNya isterinya." means from this one soul also created its mate, his wife." Hamka does not mention that this one soul is Adam, although he does not deny that the majority of Mufassirs think so. Hamka also rejects firmly against the opinion that Eve was created from Adam's rib. According to Hamka, the hadith about the creation of Eve from Adam's rib cannot be interpreted textually, but must be interpreted metaphorically (Hamka, 1998, IV: 217).
According to Hamka (1998, IV: 218-219), Islam is the only religion which gives the freedom of ijtihad (sincere effort) to those who are skilled. There is no priesthood in Islam, in which pastor’s decisions are considered as the truth that must be followed. It is not wrong if there are different results of ijtihad, interpretation, or opinion. Muhammad al-Baqir is one of imams from Syi’ah community states that before Adam, our ancestors have existed thousands (millions) of Adam. Meanwhile, from the tasauf community, al-Shaykh al-Akbar ibn al-'Arabi states in futuhat, that 40,000 years before Adam, another Adam has already existed.
The discussion related to the creation of Eve from Adam's rib has been described extensively by Hamka when interpreting QS. Al-Baqarah (2): 35. Hamka reveals that those three hadiths related to the creation of Eve, then, he states that those hadiths cannot be used as a reason to say that woman especially Eve was made from Adam's rib. Those hadiths do not mention at all regarding Adam’s rib. Furthermore, he explains that the purpose of these hadiths is to be a parable in the word ‘bent’, or bending soul of woman, which is as rib. The rib is bent, if they are straightened forcibly, they will be broken. If they remain bending and not face patiently then they will keep bending or will remain bending. After describing those three hadiths, he concludes that the rib in those hadiths is a parable, not in literal meaning. According to him, it is absolutely not true to say that a woman is actually created from the rib of man or Eve was created from Adam's rib (Hamka, 1998, I: 174-175).
The purpose of human creation by Hamka (1998, XXVII: 38) is only one, to worship or serve to Allah. All human activity in this world should be centered to one purpose to achieve approval of Allah. There is no difference between men and women. Men are not exceeded over women, and vice versa. Men and women, both are created from the same essence, have the same rights and obligations, and with the same purpose as well. None of the evidence indicates that men’s potential is more superior than women’s or vice versa. Everyone, both men and women have the innate potential as a gift from Allah and that potential has to be developed.
Humans are born in freedom. They are born into the world without knowing the disparity, therefore, there are not supposed to be a slavery and discrimination. Every individual, both men and women have freedom to express their feelings and develop their potentials as a gift from Allah. Islamic education should be adjusted to the demands and the development of era, the materials of Islamic education includes science, righteous deeds, and justice (Hamka, 1990: 160). Men and women in educational context have the same rights and obligations as well as the same position. All things, which become men’s rights and obligations automatically also become women’s rights and obligations, and what men can do so can women, and what men can achieve so can women. One of basic principles in Islamic teachings is equality among human beings as the creature of Allah, men or women, race, ethnicity or ancestry. High or low level and dignity of a person can only be judged by the devotion and piety to Allah. Men and women have been granted by Him a considerable potential or ability to take responsibility and duty of life as a servant and as a Khalifah on the earth. Islamic education aims to form a comprehensive Muslim personality, develop and grow human’s potential both physically and spiritually in order to be able to do his duties as a servant and as a Khalifah on the earth. Islamic education is formulated based on the Islamic concept (Al-Qur’an) about human who always prioritize the principles of fairness and equality between physic and spiritual, the world and hereafter, individual and society, intellectual and emotional, men and women, etc.
In line with the theory of liberal feminism (Umar, 2010: 57), gender equality in Hamka’s education thinking is based on a thinking that all human beings, men and women are created equal and harmonious and the oppression one another should not occur. Women and men have specialty, but ontologically they are the same. Therefore, automatically all men’s rights are also women’s. In educational field, both men and women have equal rights, obligations, opportunities and chances. Islamic Education in gender equality perspective is an educational system referring to Islamic teaching values in which all its aspects reflect justice and equality principles between men and women, embed the values emphasizing equality of rights between men and women, and embed anti-discrimination against a particular gender.
Hamka’s interpretation on the verses about education, which become the research object, indicates that he attempts to harmonize his interpretation with the sociocultural and societal contexts in line with the development of era and science on its time. The forms, methods, and styles of interpretation, which is used, provide many opportunities for him to do so. According to Hamka, the interpretation of Al-Qur’an is divided into three parts, namely the interpretation of verses related to the laws of halal and haram which must refers to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the interpretation of verses about the secrets of natural events, and the interpretation of the verses related to the stories in ancient times (Hamka, 1998, I: 25-30). These verses related to education are included in the category of the verses concerning the secrets of natural events, which according to him to interpret such verses; Mufassir must follow the science development.
According Engineer (1994: 42) Al-Qur'an has normative and contextual aspects. Normative aspect refers to the system of values and basic principles that are general and can be applied in various contexts of place and time, such as the principle of equality and justice. Meanwhile, contextual aspect related to the revealed verses to respond the particular social problems that occur at the time when the verses were revealed. These verses can be abrogated along with the development of era; absolutely they must adjust and adapt the contexts, place, and time. Hamka places the verses of education as this study object as a part of contextual verses. It is not surprising that in his interpretation, ijtihad aspect is more shown. Moreover, there are his earnest efforts to align his interpretation with the development of era and to respond social problems that arise in his time and try to provide a solution.
The Hamka’s view and attention on the woman position related to education can also be seen from his concern in watching women’s educational condition in the early twentieth century. According to Hamka, Islam positions men and women in equal position and level. Not only men should lead the women, but women can also lead men (Hamka, 1996: 8) when it is necessary and the requirements to become a leader exist inside women. There is no discrimination in Islamic teachings against men or women. Both are required to study in line with their fithrah, to develop their potential in order to carry out their duty of life as a servant or Khalifah on the earth, however, women’s condition at that time was still considered worrying. Their position in education still did not acquire a deserve treatment. These conditions cause the women’s soul depressed and suffering (Hamka, 1962: 175).
The gender gap in education has been a major factor affecting other fields. The gender gap in national education environment institutionally can be seen at the equal learning opportunity issue, curriculum, and majors and courses (Suryadi and Ecep Idris, 2004: 154). There should be an effort to incorporate elements of gender equality in the expansion and equity of educational opportunities, renewal curriculum which is the diversification of curriculum to serve the diversity of students, improve the quality of educational institutions to strengthen effective and efficient education system in dealing with the development of science and technology.
Hamka’s education thinking may still relevant enough to be studied in order to contribute to the structure of national education systems in order to prepare for the order of future faithful and righteous society, have science and technology insight, and gender justice. Through his thinking on Islamic education, he shows the education pattern of gender equality and the harmonious relevance between religious studies and general sciences. He criticizes the Islamic education pattern, which is still traditional at that time. The existence of religion is to not only legitimize the existing social system, but also need to consider and control human’s behavior. Social behavior will be more meaningful when the implemented education also consider and nurture the dynamics of students’ fithrah which has gender equality and integrate the development of religious studies and general sciences proportionally.
The approach carried out by Hamka is a sociological functional approach, which is necessary by society at that time. The effectiveness of his thinking is intended as an attempt to break the rigidity of traditional education pattern, and aims to inspire ghirah and the dynamics of Muslim thinking at that time. His education thinking attempts to orient people to the new dynamic orientation through contextual approach as the education system developed by the West without leaving the foundation of religious teachings. Hamka realizes that traditional Islamic education will be difficult to survive without modernization. The modernization of Islamic education from the perspective of cultural and institutional development is a necessity. Without it, human would not be able to build a civilization and answer the development of his era proportionally (Azra, 1999: 39).
Hamka’s education thinking is still general and does not give a concrete step of educational operationalization, but the substance of education thinking he build is an approach to an ideal education pattern, especially in preparing the younger future generation which have knowledge and righteous. Islamic education construction does not aim solely for the transformation of cultural and religious values. Moreover, education is expected to be able to bring students to have employment opportunities in line with their capabilities. This kind of approach gives hope that the output of educational institutions can live harmoniously and utilize their knowledge maximally in all aspects of their life (Hannah, 1978: 67).
The ultimate goal of education according to Hamka is to serve to Allah. The implementation of that dedication is the implementation of life duties, both as a servant of Allah and as a khalifah on the earth. Every human being, either man or woman has been granted by Allah the potential to carry out the duties of life. The potential has to be cultivated to enhance the duties of life. The education system should be formatted systematically and proportionately by referring to students’ fithrah concept and its function on the earth. There should be no restriction to both men and women to study and develop their potential. They should be given an equal opportunity to acquire education. There is no distinction of rights and obligations as well as the opportunity for students, both men and women except based on their own choice.
Through his thinking, Hamka has implemented the contextualization of Islamic teachings flexibly and universally. He has implemented a reconstruction of thinking through efforts to change the orientation of dogmatic and verbal approach to a dynamic reality-oriented approach. His education thinking is quite flexible and accommodating by making the universality of Islam teachings as a barometer is an approach to an ideal educational pattern in an effort to prepare the future generation who has intellectual as well as moral strength, knowledgeable, noble, and gender justice.
There is no use of term gender in Hamka’s education thinking. His interpretation and thinking does not refer directly as a rational explanation concerning gender equality. It is certainly understandable because when he wrote Tafsir Al-Azhar, the term gender was not popular and even did not emerge in Indonesia. It does not mean that his interpretation and thinking cannot be analyzed from gender equality perspective because all issues related to the balance or equality of rights and obligations between men and women can be analyzed from the gender equality perspective. After conducting a critical study to Hamka’s education thinking by referring to Tafsir Al-Azhar and some of his works, it can be concluded that Hamka’s education thinking is free from Misogynist and discriminative point of view against women. Hamka thinks that education is a right and obligation of all human beings. According to him, the purpose of education is the same as the purpose of human creation, to worship to Allah. The implementation of dedication is the implementation of the duties of life as a servant and as a Khalifah on the earth.. Every human being, both men and women have been granted the potential to carry out that duty. That potential must be cultivated through education to enhance the devotion to Allah. Therefore, there should be no restriction to both men and women to acquire education. They should be given equal opportunities in education matters. There is no distinction of rights, obligations, and opportunities for students, both men and women except based on their own choice.