Thursday, April 5, 2018



Nor Zalmiah Jahidin
Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin Gombak


1.      Introduction

Integrated Islamic education has been in existence for more than 30 years. It offers an alternative to the existing national education system whereby besides the national curriculum Islamic studies curriculum comprising subjects such as aqidah (belief), ibadah (worship), sirah (way of the Prophet SAW) and akhlaq (character) are also incorporated. Aside from these, Arabic language and al Qur’an (tilawah, tajwid and Hifz) also form part of Islamic studies curriculum. Most importantly, the students in these schools are made to comprehend and internalize Islam as a way of life and form the worldview of Islam as their framework of thought. This is further reinforced by creating Islamic biah (environment) allowing Islamic social ethics and manners to be nurtured and practiced. Some other forms of Islamic education emphasize on tahfidz (memorization of al Qur’an) and a few academic subjects while some others offer purely Islamic studies subjects taught in Arabic or Malay whose curriculum varies accordingly.

Throughout 30 years in operation, Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin (PPAA) has introduced some modifications and changes in the curriculum sporadically. Beginning with 2001, under the proposal of PROJEK MERKURI (Merubah Kurikulum) some changes were introduced (Projek Merkuri, 2001). Most significantly is that all Islamic studies subjects are taught as a single subject, Tasawwur Islami (Worldview of Islam) (PPAA Curriculum Committee, 2002). This is a conscious effort to mold students’ comprehension of Islam as a complete way of life versus it being taught in a fragmented form (Saari Sungib, 1998), which is also in line with the approach adopted by Daud Tawhidi in his Tarbiyah (Character Building) Project (2000-6). Worth mentioning are two other changes namely instruction of subjects is in accordance with Islamic perspective (Nor Zalmiah Jahidin, 1999 & 2011, Ruzainah, 2004) and the adoption of a new curriculum for Arabic language, Bahasa Arab Fitrah in 2014.

With the emergence of the 21st century, the Malaysian Education Ministry slowly concurs with the changing tide. In 2014 in line with their Educational Development Plan (Plan Pembangunan Pendidikan - PPP) Malaysia (2013 – 2025), pioneer schools were selected to slowly implement 21st century education in Teaching and Learning (TnL) as well as other requirements for the success of 21st century education such as teachers’ preparation and infrastructure.  In 2015, 21st century education is extended to many more schools throughout the country and by 2016 21st century classroom fully becomes a culture.

Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin views positively towards the move, its benefits to Teaching and Learning (TnL) and most importantly its ability to equip and prepare the students for the 21st century such as ‘the challenges that they have to face, the skills they have to acquire, and the attitude they have to adopt’ (AATS’s Flyer, 2015).

2.      21st Century Education

‘Teaching in a 21st century classroom means a transition from a teacher-centered, memorization-based methodology to a student-centered, experiential and knowledge-based, diverse learning methodology through global media and technological means’ (Jabatan Pendidikan Johor, 2014). 21st century classroom facilitates a learning environment for students to work collaboratively on projects with people around the world and to guide them rather than lecturing to students as was the case in the classroom of the 20th century. 21st century classrooms will likely move to non-traditional locations such as outdoor spaces whereby learning will take place anywhere be it at the canteen, park, library, school visits, social community services, outdoor programs, clubs and societies activities and et cetera.  

On top of that, 21st century education involves acquiring skills in numeracy, ICT, scientific, financial, cultural and civic literacies and competencies in creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving in addition to nurturing certain character qualities appropriate to face the challenges of the 21st century such as curiosity, initiative, persistence, adaptability, leadership, social and cultural awareness (Jenny Soffel, 2016). 21st century education is, ‘flexible, creative, challenging and complex and it addresses a rapidly changing world as well as filled with fantastic new problems and exciting new possibilities’ (Shane Mason, In sum, ‘we are preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist, using technologies have not yet been invented in order to solve problems we do not even know are problems yet’ (Karl Fisch,

2.1. Islamic Education and the 21st Century

Islam is open to anything that brings maslahah (benefit) to the community, which is the essence of Shari’ah (Islamic Law) in order to guarantee maqasid al Shari’ah (higher objective of Shari’ah) is achieved.  Aptly, ‘Shari’ah is interested in the preservation and enhancement of all dimensions of human and ecological existence’ (Dakwah Institute of Nigeria, 2015). The general purpose of Shari’ah is to establish justice, show rahmah (mercy), bring goodness and exercise hikmah (wisdom) whereas maqasid al Shari’ah is concerned with the preservation of : i. Din (Religion of Islam), ii. nafs (life), iii. ‘aql (intellect), iv. Progeny, v. wealth and vi. honor (Jasser Audah, 2009). To put it simply, providing education falls under the preservation of ‘aql and honor and so is its means (the curriculum) is permitted as long as it does not conflict with the Islamic principles. With respect to managing lives in dunya (world), it is further supported by a Hadith (saying of the Prophet SAW) wherein he reiterated that ‘you know better with respect to the worldly affairs’. This is further reinforced by the statement of the fourth Caliph of Islam and a Sahabah (companion), Ali RA wherein he says, ‘educate your child according to his time’. A survey of history of Islamic education agrees on the fact that Islamic education is not rigid as it develops with time from its inception until the present (Nor Zalmiah & Hamidah Mat, 2014).

3.      Al Amin Tropicana School (AATS) : 21st Century Integrated Islamic Education

Al Amin Tropicana School was established in 2015 starting with student’s enrolment of only 50 in AATS and 25 in Al Amin Tropicana Early Childhood Center (AATECC). The school is located at No. 1 & 3 Jalan Nautika B U20/B, 40160, Shah Alam, Selangor. An English medium Integrated Islamic education is becoming popular among the young educated working parents whereby the system provides one stop solution for their children’s education as seem fit for the Muslims of the 21st century. In support, the Board of Directors and Governors envisions that the school should be able to produce young Muslims well versed with their Islamic roots and are able to convey the message in the language of the day that is English language. Thus, AATS becomes the first English medium integrated Islamic school under the full ownership of Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin Berhad (PPAAB).

For any dynamic organization, its policy makers, leadership and management as well as educators continually exert and research the most suitable curriculum and its instruction that fit their ideals. During a retreat in early 2013, one of Al Amin Board of Governors’ outcome is to study the prevalent, latest and most appropriate curriculum and its instruction for students of this century. Methods and programs such as thematic, Montessori, Finland, Singapore, United States and British Education program, Gulen’s method and International Primary Curriculum became the objects of study.

Elements from each of those educational programs fulfil and attract the Board’s attention with respect to future curriculum and its instruction.  Features such as 21st century objectives (world, student, skill), thematic, big ideas, goals (personal, subject and international), learning process or structure (sound principles, rigorous, up to date, enjoyable, time saving, comprehensive), interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, unit of work, learning style (collaborative, exploratory, mastery, inquiry, research and record) and last but not least assessment for learning best fit our description of future curriculum and instruction (Nor Zalmiah & Hamidah, 2014).

By adopting those ideas, the Board hope to develop students into multi-perspectival, adaptable, resilient, internationally-minded, communicators, moral, thoughtful, co-operative, respectful, enquirers and FAST [fatanah (wisdom), amanah (trustworthy), siddiq (truthful), tabligh (convey)] personalities through learning activities which are meaningful or exciting, enriching or engaging, energetic or active, reflective, independent, innovative, effective and making connection. 

Having laid the above, PPAA’s curriculum committee next formulated and documented some pertinent foundations for AATS and AATECC.

3.1. 21st Century Integrated Islamic Education at AATS

3.1.1.      AATS Curriculum

AATS curriculum ensures that elements of J-TASK [J – Jasadi (physical) quotient, T – Tawhidi (spiritual) quotient, A – Aqli (intelectual) quotient, S – Syu’uri (emotional) quotient, K – Khuluqi (character) quotient] are incorporated in :

·         The National Curriculum, KSSR

·          The International Syllabus

·         The ISLAH Curriculum : Tasawwur Islami, Al Qur’an & Al Hadith studies, Languages (Arabic & Mandarin), Social Studies (History, Geography, Anthropology, Sociology)

3.1.2.      Concept

·         Thematic

3.1.3.      Methodology

·         International Primary Curriculum (IPC) Learning Process

·         Montessori

3.1.4.      Element across Curriculum

·         Inculcation of Tawhid across curriculum

3.2. AATS Principles and Values


 (Saidina Ali RA)

3.2.2.      AATS believes that we have to prepare the students for the world that we live in with respect to :

·         the challenges that they have to face

·         the skills they have to acquire

·         the attitude they have to adopt

3.3. AATS Tagline


3.4. AATS Philosophy

·         A comprehensive and on-going educational effort yet dynamic based on al-Qur’an and al-Sunnah with the aim to develop human potential as ‘abid and khalifah capable of establishing a sound civilization in this world and

·         attaining happiness in the Hereafter

3.5. AATS Vision

·         A leading pioneer in 21st Century Integrated Education

3.6. AATS Mission

3.6.1.      To produce students of integrity and competence with the ability to initiate change in the family and community

3.6.2.      To contribute towards the establishment of a prosperous civilization

3.7. AATS Goals

3.7.1.      obtain appropriate and sufficient academic standards to pursue tertiary education

3.7.2.      perform obligatory ibadah correctly and have aqidah shahihah

3.7.3.      exhibit and internalise their understanding of Islam as a complete way of life

3.7.4.      sufficiently carry out their roles as ‘abid and khalifah benefiting themselves and others

3.7.5.      Display leadership qualities in team and are able to communicate ideas effectively among their peers and adults


3.8. AATS Higher Objective : Personal, Subject, Ummatic

3.8.1.      Personal Goals

·         Mardatillah : seeking Allah’s pleasure

·         Ihsan : striving for excellence

·         Ithar : preferring others above oneself

·         Islah : embracing transformation

·         FAST - Fatanah : wisdom, Amanah : trustworthy, Siddiq : truthful, Tabligh : Convey


3.8.2.      Subject Goals

·         Abide by the objectives of each subject

3.8.3.      Universal, Ummatic Goals

·         Concerns with achieving an international perspective of the theme being taught

3.9. Principles in TnL

3.9.1.      Children and students should be encouraged to inculcate the spirit of inquiry and explore.  

3.9.2.      The characteristics of active students should include among others wonder, plan, investigate, discover, reflect, share and act.  

3.9.3.      Spiritual and Character Education should emphasize on inculcating faith, knowing roles and responsibilities, encouraging goodness, refraining from prohibited acts, feelings, attitude and way of life and developing skills in al Qur‟an. 

3.9.4.      Adoption of challenging and inspirational ideas. 

3.9.5.      Effective TnL should be meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and TnL Islamic studies should be active, interactive and interesting 

3.9.6.      TnL should focus on developing HOTS, indepths knowledge and related to the real world 

3.9.7.      Measurement and evaluation should be organized, in accordance to standard and quality, continuous and fair.     

(Tawhidi, 2001-6  & PPAAB, 2002) 

3.10.         Features of AATS Curriculum

AATS curriculum is designed such that it is comprehensive and holistic thus constitutes elements of JTASK namely Jasadi (physical), Tawhidi (belief in Oneness of Allah : spiritual), Aqli (intellectual), Syu’uri (emotional) and Khuluqi (character).  Having considered the proposed future Islamic studies curriculum and its instruction, AATS curriculum adopts the followings: 

3.10.1.  The curriculum content should prepare the students with the knowledge, skills and attitude, which are necessary to face contemporary challenges. 

3.10.2.  TnL of Islamic studies should employ styles, tools and technology that fit 21st century and generation.  

3.10.3.  Students should be made to understand Islam as a civilization vis a vis religion, culture or even way of life hence TnL adopts interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach. 

3.10.4.  Students should be made aware that Islam is rahmatan li’l ‘alamin thus language and cultural barriers should be addressed and programs or activities for that purpose should be made available for them. 

3.10.5.  Most importantly, students should play their roles as ‘ibad and khulafa’ equipped with worldview of Islam as framework that enables them to provide solutions to contemporary challenges and problems. 

3.11.        AATS Learning Goals

AATS learning goals are comprised of subject, personal and universal or ummatic. Personal goal comprises :

·         Mardhatillah (seeking Allah’s pleasure) in salimul aqidah (true faith) and shahihul ibadah (valid worship)

·         Ihsan (striving for excellence)  in qawiyyul jism (physical fitness), matinul khuluq (firm character) and mujahadatun linnafs (striving for Allah’s sake)

·         Ithar (preferring others above oneself) in muthaqqaful fikr (intellect), harithun ‘ala waqtihi (time management), and nafi’un lighairihi (benefit others)

·         Islah (embracing transformation) in qadirun ‘ala kasb (ability to earn) and munazzamun fi syu’unihi (well organized).

3.12.        AATS Extra Curriculum

·         KHALIFAH Program @ Al Amin Leadership Program

·         ADAB Program @ Al Amin Tarbiah Program

·         HUFADZ Program @ Al Amin Tahfidz Program

4. Challenges and Opportunities or Way Forward of Integrated Islamic Education in the 21st Century

            4.1. Challenges

The ensure the success of Integrated Islamic Education in the 21st Century, many quarters
have to be involved in its planning, administrating, executing and evaluating. It’s a world
of challenge, fast moving and somewhat foreign. Every aspect of our lives somehow or
other is affected and need readjustment or alignment. In the educational aspect, the
upmost importance is a number of modules need proper planning and to be implemented
to all quarters involved particularly the stakeholders. Some of which are : challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, education of Gen Y, Z, Alpha and their needs, education of the 21st century, equipping teachers with the right attitude w.r.t TnL of 21st century, nurturing characteristic of learners of the 21st century, designing effective curriculum for the 21st century, planning strategies, methods and techniques of TnL in the 21st century, methods of evaluation and assessment in the 21st century, enhancing appropriate skills and attitudes for 21st century challenges and last but not least  designing classroom and infrastructure for 21st century learning.

Having a group of thinking alike mind is an advantage and able to assure the success of
this integrated Islamic education system.  

4.2. Opportunities or Way Forward

One with a positive attitude treats or welcomes every instant as an opportunity. The same goes with what education in the 21st century has to offer. Looking at the dynamics of things, the proprietors of Islamic education should be able to gear the business of the whole Islamic education to their benefit. These involves namely


4.2.1.      Planning and designing  a sound curriculum which is

      Appropriate for the 21st century

      Tawhidic based  – so as to be able to internalize Islam as a way of life

      Transmitted within the worldview of Islam

      Universally appealing and able to attract and cater the non- Muslims

4.2.2.      To produce students possessing

      Learning skills : collaboration, creative, critical, communication

      Attitude : resilient, adaptable, multi  perspectival

      International or ummatic mindedness

      Tawhidi Quotient :  IIIM (mardatillah, ihsan, ithar, islah ) & FAST (fatanah, amanah siddiq, tabligh) – characteristic of a muttaqi

      Worldview of Islam framework so as to be able to offer the right solution in all walks of life as a specialist muttaqi

4.2.3.      To prepare and equip the working force with characteristics of

      amanah, risk taker, adaptability and collaboration, visionary & leadership quality, being a role model, able to communicate, lifelong learners, ability to establish  a learning community of professional


4.2.4.      To equip the infrastructure :

      ICT facilities, 21st century classroom arrangement, suitable class decoration, other facilities for learning beyond classroom

5.            Aspiration

Education being the main vehicle of civilization, undoubtedly somehow or rather has a share in molding a civilization. A sound and prosperous civilization has to be portrayed by its healthy systems in her politic and administration, social and spiritual, environment, health and food, economy and finance, culture and education, architecture and town/city planning et cetera. On that note the products of 21st century integrated Islamic education should be able to contribute positively towards building this kind of civilization. As specialists of the future with a good grasp of worldview of Islam as framework of thought and action, they should be able to offer expertice and solution to the challenges and complexities of 21st century.


*Paper published in conjuction with Pusat Pendidikan Al-Amin’s 30th Anniversary  in 2016.

6.            References    

Audah, Jasser. 2008. Maqasid al-Shari’ah : A Beginner’s Guide. London & Washington : IIIT

Curriculum Committee Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin, 2001. Projek MERKURI.
Unpublished Document

Dakwah Institute of Nigeria, 2015. Shari’ah Intelligence : The Basic Principles and Objectives of Islamic Jurisprudence. Interactive Dakwah Training : Kuala Lumpur

-----------------------------------------------------------------------, 2002. Sukatan Pelajaran Tasawwur Islami : SRIAA & SMIAA. Unpublished Document : PPAA

Daud Tauhidi. 2001-6. The Tarbiyah Project : A Holistic Vision of Islamic Education

Sektor pengurusan Akademik, 2014. Pembelajaran dan Pengajaran Abad 21. Jabatan

Pendidikan Johor.

Jenny Soffel, 2016. ‘What are the 21st –century skills every student needs’ in World Economic Forum retrieved on 27 April 2016 at

Nor Zalmiah Jahidin & Hamidah Mat, 2014. Future Islamic Studies Curriculum and Its Instruction : A Glimpse at Al Amin Integrated Islamic Curriculum (AIIC). Oasis International Conference on Islamic Education (OICIE2014) on 5 November 2014 at PWTC, Kuala Lumpur Positioning and Repositioning Islamic Education 

Nor Zalmiah Jahidin, 1999. Islamisasi Pendidikan Di Sekolah : Prospek Dan Masalah (Islamisation of Education : Prospect and Problem), Jurnal Pendidikan Islam (IPI-ABIM), Kuala Lumpur, 8(4) : 43 – 54

………………………, 2001. Dinamika Kurikulum SRI-SMI : Antara Ideal dan Realiti. [Dynamics of SRI-SMI (Islamic Primary Schools-Secondary Islamic Schools) Curriculum : Ideals versus Realities]. (Unpublished paperwork presented at Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin).

……………………….., 2009. Treatment of Knowledge : The Case of Al-Biruni and Ibn Battuta. Unpublished PhD Thesis : ISTAC, IIUM.


Ruzainah Ishak. 2004.The English Curriculum of Sekolah Menengah Islam Al Amin : A Critical Analysis. Unpublished Master Thesis : IIUM

Sungib, Saari. 2001. Model Baru dan Komponen Utama dalam Kurikulum Al Amin :
Satu Anjakan ke arah Fokus Melahirkan Angkatan Salih wa Muslih
[A New Model and Components in Al Amin Curriculum : A Paradigm Shift in the Focus to Produce Salih wa Muslih Generation]. (Unpublished paperwork presented at Pusat Pendidikan Al Amin