The Sociological and Linguistic Review on Malik Binnabi’s New Theory of Education for the Contemporary Muslim world.


Rosfazila Binti Abd. Rahman

Akademi Islam, KUIS.

Abdul Razif Bin Zaini

Fakulti Bahasa Moden & Komunikasi, KUIS.

Malik Bennabi (1905-1973) is one of the most important Muslim thinkers in the modern world. Even, regarding the concept of history and civilization, he is considered the greatest Muslim thinker since the time of Ibn Khaldun. Muhammad Tahir al-Mesawi regards him as one of the few original thinkers the Muslim ummah has produced in the twentieth century. Throughout his life, Bennabi had tried to search for the root of problem and backwardness faced by the Muslim ummah. He observed and analyzed history to understand the law behind the rise and fall of civilizations.       Although his academic background was engineering, all of his books are relate to social science, culture, history or civilization. Therefore, it is more appropriate to consider him as a sociologist and a social scientist rather than as a natural scientist. He exercised his intellectual efforts during his life to search and to understand the rules that govern the social phenomena of civilization. Thus, his thought is always relevant to various fields in social sciences. Through this paper we will discuss his thought and concept on his new theory of education for the contemporary Muslim word from the Sociological and Linguistic perspectives.







Algerian Malik Bennabi was born in Constantine. Highly regarded as the most eminent scholar, and thinker, of Post World War II Algeria, and one of the foremost intellectuals of the modern Muslim world. Educated in Paris and Algiers in engineering, he later based himself in Cairo, where he spent much of his time toiling through fields of history, philosophy and sociology.

In 1963, upon returning to Algeria, he witnessed modern science and technological civilizations unfold before his very eyes. This has spurred him to reflect on the question of culture in the early nineteenth century. His approach was simple; not parroting what had been discovered before his time, but rather, searching for what constitutes the essence of culture and the birth of civilization.

Malek Bennabi  (1905 – 1973) wrote about human society, particularly Muslim society with a focus on the reasons behind the fall of Muslim society.

From one of his works, “Les Conditions de la Renaissance” (1948), he defined culture as the mode of being and becoming of a people. This includes aesthetic, ethical, pragmatic, and technical values. When these contents have been clearly defined, only then could various formulations of ideas be born. The birth of new ideas equals to a dynamic society that leads to the movement of vibrancy of a new civilization.

In another book, “The Question of Culture” (1954), he said, the organization of society, its life and movement, indeed, its deterioration and stagnation, all have a functional relation with the system of ideas found in that society. If that system were to change in one way or another, all other social characteristics would follow suit and adapt in the same direction. Ideas, as a whole, form an important part of the means of development in a given society. The various stages of development in such a society are indeed different forms of its intellectual developments. If one of those stages corresponds to what is called “renaissance”, it will mean that society at that stage is enjoying a wonderful system of ideas; a system that can provide a suitable solution to each of the vital problems in that particular society. He added that ideas influence the life of a given society in two different ways; either they are factors of growth of social life, or on the contrary, the role of factors of contagion, thus rendering social growth rather difficult or even impossible.

Malik Bennabi’s academic background was engineering. However, all of his books are relate to social science, culture, history or civilization. Thus, he was being considered as a sociologist and a social scientist rather than as a natural scientist. He exercised his intellectual efforts during his life to search and to understand the rules that govern the social phenomena of civilization.


Views of Bennabi


Regarding the social condition of his people and the “superiority” of the West during his lifetime, Bennabi chooses his own independent attitude towards it. He criticizes the Muslims who tended to examine Western culture and civilization from two extreme viewpoints: either holy and pure, or profane and corrupt (Dr. Fawzia Bariun, 1993). He himself neither feels superior nor inferior to the West. The rise of Western civilization and the decline of Muslims society are seen by him in their normal historical context. He is optimistic for the possibility of Muslims renaissance and tries to find the systematic way and means to achieve it.

Bennabi believes that Muslims can repeat their historical cycle and rise again. For this, the decayed characteristic of the post-Almohads man should be studied scientifically and then to be avoided. To focus on external factors is not a solution for him. In explaining the problem of colonization in the Muslim world, for example, Bennabi believes that independence is not the answer of it, as long as the “colonizability” in the Muslim world is still exists. Moreover, to solve the problem of the ummah, the Islamic spirit should be utilized again to discipline and to control the instinct of the individuals in the Muslim society. In implementing this, ones should always be aware to direct their efforts to civilization.

Civilization has a central position in Bennabi’s system of thought. He creates his own equation for civilization:


Man (Insan) + Soil (Turab) + Time (Waqt) = Civilization (Hadarah)


According to Bennabi, Man, Soil and Time cannot by themselves creating civilization. They need religion, or spiritual ideas, as a catalyst to make the equation functions properly. Religion stimulates the spirit to elevate society above its stagnant condition. Religion was a prerequisite for all civilizations, an element assimilated by society before any civilizational cycle could begin. And again, in addressing the decline world of post-Almohads man, he maintains that the situation will remain unless a total and profound change occurred in the spirit of Muslims. Such a change, which will focus mainly in the realm of ideas, was the only way to restore the individual’s ability to create civilization.

Among the tree elements, man is the most significant one. He is the major factor of civilization, the primary society device. If he moves, society and history move, but if he pauses, society and history pause. Man has a reciprocal relationship with his civilization. Man is the constructor of civilization, but man is also a product of civilization, since he is indebted to it for the ideas and objects at its disposal. Thus, the great challenge faces by the Muslims now is to create people who would be capable of utilizing soil, time and their own creativity to reach their great goals in history (Malik Bennabi, 1998) .

Individual and society develop its history through the interaction of three social categories: the realm of things or objects (‘alam al-ashya‘), the realm of persons (‘alam al-ashkhas) and the realm of ideas (‘alam al-afkar) (Malik Bennabi, 1998). To develop culture and civilization, we need to move from realm of things to the realm of ideas. Ideas are the most important aspect in creating culture and civilization. The post-Almohads Muslim society has been failed because it has the tendency to control people’s life to a “thingness” or materialism.


Bennabi notices that the dilemma of the underdeveloped countries is not their lack of things, but their poverty of ideas. They promote a “thingness civilization” (hadara shahiyya) based on accumulation (takdis) of products and material things. This will not be able to raise their civilization, since products can never create a civilization. In fact, Bennabi maintains, it is the civilization that gives birth to its products (Dr. Fawzia Bariun, 1993) , and idea has a central position in developing civilization.


He gives an example about the destruction of Germany during the Second World War and how it lost “the realm of things” for a while. But, Germany could develop its “realm of things” soon after that, because its civilization develops in the realm of ideas (Malik Bennabi, 1998). This is one of the evidences how ideas help in developing civilization and creating products.

The absence and stagnation of ideas seriously affects the realm of things, but if the material realm is for any reason destroyed, the ideas, the real national wealth, will not suffer destruction. Any attempt for the reconstruction of Muslim culture must, then, begin with examining and filtering the Muslim’s stock of ideas. This process will lead to rediscovering Islamic civilization.


Bennabi detects two types of Muslim’s stock of ideas: “natural ideas” (al-afkar al-matbu‘a) and “invented ideas” (al-afkar al-maudu‘a). The first represents the culture’s authenticity and its original moral system. In Muslim historical development, it stemmed from Islam in the early Islamic era. The second were apparently emerged after Siffin, during the cultural and material flourishing of Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo. They represented ideas intentionally borrowed by the culture. Both types of ideas are assimilated by the culture and integrated into it.


At one time, these “invented ideas” could have been ‘deadly ideas” (afkar qatila), which damaging because they are separated from their cultural and historical context. These ideas are randomly copied from other culture without consideration of their contradiction with the “natural ideas”. The “dead ideas” are those inherited from the era of decadence and are never purified or oriented. Thus, as each society has a graveyard for its dead people, Bennabi explains, so too it has another for its dead ideas – the ideas that no longer have a social role. Ideas as such are not a source of culture, that is to say, an element capable of specifying certain behavior and a way of life(Malik Bennabi, 1998).


Bennabi also believes that ideas could be sound and true but ineffective, such as Islam as a true religion in the contemporary Muslim world. Contemporary Muslims become less affected and inspired by its message. On the other side, ideas could be greatly effective but false. Some ideas are proved wrong by history, such as the legend that earth is supported by two horns of a bull, but have a great influence on people’s mind.

Malik Bennabi’s new theory of education for the contemporary Muslim World.

This part represents the writing of Omar Nakib on Malik Bennabi’s approach to educational problem in the Muslim world, towards a new theory of education for the contemporary Muslim world. The writing focuses on the evaluation of Malik Bennabi’s contribution to the enrichment of Islamic educational thought in general. The implications and recommendations are relevant to theorizing for contemporary Islamic education or to produce another perspective in resolving the problem of education in the Muslim world.

Malik bennabi’s contribution to resolving the educational problem in the Muslim world.

The most outstanding contribution of Malik Bennabi’s works is that he has provided Islamic education with a new approach to conceptualize the educational problem in the Muslim world. He emphasized that the educational problem in the Muslim world is civilizational in nature that is, a problem of civilization. Thus, the historical development of the Muslim world is the necessity of Malik Bennabi’s approach.

The approach of Malik Bennabi may be considered as a project to promote a new culture and build a civilization. The study has shown that Malik Bennabi’s approach to studying the problems of civilization in the Muslim world has actually produced a wealth of enduring ideas and views that may be used as basis for ant attempt of civilizational renaissance in the Muslim world.

Bennabi has develop an integrated approach which a distinction lies in the methodology he used and the issues he tackled while analyzing the problems of civilization in the Muslim world, particularly his conceptualization of the nature and an educational matter in its essence. His approach can be considered as a significant move towards a new methodology to approach Muslim’s problems (Omar Nakib, 2006).

Islam as a frame of reference for educating man

Malik Bennabi adopts Islam as the principal frame of reference to formulate not only his educational ideas but also the whole methodological approach to studying the problems of civilization in the Muslim world. For this reason, his works were essentially aiming to reposition religion in its natural position in human life and the Muslim world in particular. The adoption of religion in any project that concerns the human condition would not appear as an amazing issue since the religiosity of human being is an innate nature. From this perspective, Malik Bennabi’s efforts were to emphasize the need to reconsider such reality in any attempt that relates to human problems. As a matter of fact, he was seeking to make religion regain its original position in human life and then resume its function in the history of mankind as a factor of orientation, control and adaptation. In other word, religion is a factor of educating man based in his innate religiosity (Omar Nakib, 2006).

Nature of Malik Bennabi’s educational ideas.

It can be asserted that though he was not known as an educator who addressed education from  a purely academic perspective, he was able to suggest some enduring ideas to solve the educational problem in the Muslim world. His methodological approach to studying the problems of the Muslim world is significant and being acknowledged.

From the civilizational perspective, education for Malik Bennabi is the central factor that ensures the actualization of the civilizational project. Indeed, education would lose its significance, the justifications for its existence and the requirements of its continuity unless it is approached from this perspective (Omar Nakib, 2006).

Position of human factor in Malik Bennabi’s work

Malik Bennabi’s analysis of the historical development of the Islamic civilization showed that the principle factor that gave rise to the problems of the Muslim world is the human factor. Thus, Malik Bennabi’s attempt was a confirmation of such an idea and an attempt to elucidate the latent practical dimension of the Quranic treatment of human nature and its problems in the different stages of its historical existence. For this reason, Malik Bennabi’s conceptualization appears to be adequate and comprehensive because he saw the human factor as the essential element of the problem as well as its different manifestation in all walks of Muslim life (Omar Nakib, 2006). According to Malik Bennabi, the main problem is the refining of the Muslim personality while the religious idea, the social relation network, the problem of culture, and the problem of efficiency are just the elements of the problem and not the problem itself.

Conceptualization of the educational problem

It is the need to an accurate understanding of the problems in the Muslim countries. Such an approach is an attempt to overcome partitioned views that show the inability of the Muslim mind to conceptualize the Muslim world’s problems in a systematic and comprehensive manner. So, those partitioned views continue to deal with the symptoms instead of the real problem. The concept of the whole Ummah enables the Muslim conscience to regain its belief. Muslims belong to one nation and not a separated being into many countries.

The conceptualization of the Muslim world’s problems is the need for systematic thinking that would lead to a comprehensive understanding of the problem being tackled and its elements in terms of nature, causes, manifestation consequences and remedies. It is an attempt to eradicate the prevailing mentality of atomism, which has characterized Muslim thinking for many centuries (Omar Nakib, 2006).

While conceptualized the Muslim world’s problem as a whole problem of civilization, Malik Bennabi mentioned the human factor as central concern. This is an attempt to show that such a factor is the fundamental element of any attempt to revive and breathe new life into Muslim civilization. The starting point is the refinement of the Muslim personality.

Undoubtedly, the emphasis of Malik Bennabi on the human factor denotes the importance of education and its position in his methodological approach to the study of the problems of civilization in the Muslim world. Additionally, education is essentially based on the notion of the religious idea and orientation. Such an approach may be considered as one of the most outstanding contribution of Malik Bennabi to the enrichment of contemporary Islamic thought.

Malik Bennabi’s conceptualization of the educational problem was marked by a holistic view that provided a real diagnosis of the Muslim dilemma. His association between the concept of education and the mission of society in history from a Quranic perspective distinguished him. He saw education not only as a process of building human personality with a set of limited aims and objectives, but also as a process of civilizing the human being. That is, imparting to human existence its historical significance where the Quranic meanings of sanctity, honor and conferment of human specie are carefully observed. The conceptualization of the educational problem through the focus on the civilization dimension is a view based on an adequate understanding of the canons of human history and the law that govern the rise and fall of civilizations(Omar Nakib, 2006).

Base on the above, Malik Bennabi’s emphasis on the necessity of the civilizational perspective to conceptualize the educational problem reflects his intelligent association between philosophy of civilization and the philosophy of education. For these considerations, Malik Bennabi seems to be successful in his conceptualization of the educational problem in the Muslim world in such a manner.

Conception of Education

Malik Bennabi sees the conception of education as a means to actualize the meanings of civilization in human life that is to civilize man. He specifically mentioned the function of education as the attempt to meet all the needs of the individual’s personality and those of society as well and the inclusion of the essential elements of the process of education, aims, subject and means. To Malik Bennabi, education is the prerequisite that must precede the building of civilization (Omar Nakib, 2006). This is a kind of association between education and civilization. While education is an end to be achieved, education is the project through which civilization will be achieved.


Key educational concepts

In order to get a comprehensive perception about the whole body of the process of educating the individual, one must first grasp the meanings of those concepts and then examine how together they form the body of the process of education. A reflection on those concepts may lead one realize that they also form, in other way, the three structures of the process of education; aims, subject and means (Omar Nakib, 2006).

Philosophical foundations of education

Malik Bennabi’s ideas and views on education, in their essence, seek to achieve the appropriate change in the Muslim countries to gather the necessary conditions to resume the historical mission. In this respect, his development of the philosophical foundations of education was undertaken through the application of a systematic psycho-educational analysis of the major element in the Muslim dilemma, which is the human factor. He was seeking to explain how that disintegration of the Muslim personality occurred so that the Muslim man lost his civilizational elan and become unable to achieve any oeuvre civilizatrice. On account of that, all the philosophical foundations have been treated from this perspective (Omar Nakib, 2006). In sum, the philosophical foundations of Malik Bennabi are those concerned with theorizing for educational practice and treatment of such foundations has been characterized by its comprehensiveness, which encompassed the major elements of each foundation. Such a characteristic is vital for the type of educational change the actualization of which he was calling for to achieve civilizational project of reform in the Muslim world. The foundations are a nature of man, nature of society, nature of knowledge, and nature of the aims of education.

Malik Bennabi has approached education from what Moore (1974) calls the general theory of education, which emphasizes the general recommendations that aim to achieve a certain type of desired man or society. The adopted aim of such a process confirms this view, refining the Muslim personality to enable the Muslim to resume his historical mission and regain his natural position in history.

Sociological Review

Malik bennabi has made a considerable contribution to the enrichment of Islamic educational thought by suggesting a range of rich and enduring ideas that may contribute to the solution of the Muslim dilemma.

Three parameters are crucial to gasp the nature of Malik bennabi’s approach to the educational problem in the Muslim world; religion as a cosmic phenomenon, Islam as the principal frame of reference and the Islamic problem as civilizational in nature.

The methodological approach to studying the problem of civilizational adopted by Malik Bennabi  had an explicit impact on defining the concept of education in that he considers the civilizational dimension as its essential feature.

Man is the central factor in the study of the problem of civilization in the Muslim world. The central element in the Islamic problem is the backward Muslim man. So, the educational problem, which emerges, is how to renovate the Muslim man in order to enable him resume his historical mission.

The definition of education is the process of civilizing the human being and imparting a historical significance to his existence.

Malik Bennabi has provided Islamic education with a new approach to conceptualize the educational problem and education as a project to promote a new culture and build a civilization. This approach considers the Islamic problem as being civilizational in nature but nevertheless, an educational matter.

At this juncture it is important to acknowledge that this study has revealed Malik Binnabi’s thought: the methodological approach to studying the problems of civilization in the Muslim world. And especially his approach to conceptualizing the educational problem. Hence, his study also emphasized the importance of methodology when approaching any academic issues.

The study shown that since Malik bennabi’s thoughts encompass a wealth of enduring educational insights and ideas, such insights and ideas can be used as a basis for theorizing on the contemporary Islamic education.

As a matter of fact, any educational policy in the Muslim countries should direct its effort to the conceptualization of the problem but in function with three parameters as a basis to develop an educational system that will enable the ummah to resume its mission in human history. These parameters are:

  1. The civilizational stage in which the Muslim world exists.
  2. The position of the Muslim world in history.
  3. The principal frame of reference that should be adopted.

Change is a social phenomenon and education is its essence and vital component. From this perspective, educational problems emerge as one of the important concerns of any attempt towards social change. The problem is considered the most important challenge faced by the Muslim world today. Many attempts have been made through history of the Muslim world to achieve the needed form. But these efforts were motivated by devotion rather than by methodological thinking, and according to Malik Bennabi this has contributed little to help the Muslim conscience regain its awareness. Hence, Muslim are not facing a problem of how to understand the nature elements of an existing culture, but a problem of how to promote and construct a new culture prescribed by Islam as the principal frame of reference (Omar Nakib, 2006).

Linguistic Review

Linguistic is a study of the nature and structure of language. It traditionally encompasses semantics, syntax, and phonology. Synchronic linguistic studies aim to describe a language as it exists at a given time; diachronic studies trace a language’s historical development

With the rise of historical linguistics in the 19th century, linguistics became a science. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Ferdinand de Saussure established the structuralist school of linguistics (see structuralism), which analyzed actual speech to learn about the underlying structure of language. In the 1950s Noam Chomsky challenged the structuralist program, arguing that linguistics should study native speakers’ unconscious knowledge of their language (competence), not the language they actually produce (performance). His general approach, known as transformational generative grammar, was extensively revised in subsequent decades as the extended standard theory, the principles-and-parameters (government-binding) approach, and the minimalist program. Other grammatical theories developed from the 1960s were generalized phrase structure grammar, lexical-functional grammar, relational grammar, and cognitive grammar. Chomsky’s emphasis on linguistic competence greatly stimulated the development of the related disciplines of psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. Other related fields are anthropological linguistics, computational linguistics, mathematical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and the philosophy of language (

Malik Bennabi’s autobiography tells us about his linguistic background and strength. Malik was born in the city of Constantine in the Eastern part of Algeria on January 1st, 1905, of a poor family and a very conservative Algerian culture.

After birth, Malik’s family moved to Tébessa where he enrolled in a primary and lower secondary education, happily he succeeded in the ‘Examination of Grants’ (an exam made specifically for students whose families can’t afford to pay for their education) and was rewarded a grant to continue his studies in the city of Constantine. There he spent the first year of study (1921-1922) in an environment full of patriotism and thoughts of reform after the First World War. Malik studied in the same school as nationalist feeling professors, who taught in Arabic and planted in him the seed of national unity and love. Contrarily, he also studied at the hands of racist French professors, who made him feel and understand the pain of French colonialism and their goal of depersonalization from anything Islamic and Arabic , as well as distorting the history of the country.

After graduating from high school and finishing four years of study, in June 1925, Malik had an eagerness to go to France in order to further his education and expand on his knowledge. Therefore he and his friend Waqawao got on a ship from skikda to Marseille, in search of work. They found work at a cement factory in Noterdame – lorette, where they had to carry heavy 50Kg bags. Later switching to work at a juice factory, soon after disillusioned he realized that there is nothing for him in France and so he returned to Algeria.

After returning, Malik found a position in the Courthouse of Aflo, a city to the south of Algeria, in March 1927. In Aflo, was the school where he realised that the virtues of the great knowledge of the Algerian people were still sound and unaffected, such as before the colonialism tide swept in, wreaking havoc.

After spending one year there, Malik returned to Tebessa in March 1928 and went into business with his brother-in-law, which ended up causing him severe stress because his partner and brother-in-law had a family in need of food. (why?)This brought up the idea of travelling abroad again, but in a more reasonable and better planned manner. This time, his mother said to him: “Go to Paris and continue your studies” that’s when his father added: “Know that Ibn Stiti studied a year at the School of Oriental languages, after completing his studies at the same school as you, he then enrolled in the Faculty of Law. We’ll send you what you need (money) every month”.

Three days later, Malik took the next ship from Annaba to Marseille, and from there he went to Paris by train, until he arrived at Lyon Station on the morning of September 1930, declaring that he will not return, in the manner of the summer of 1925.

This time the journey was a serious educational journey, a journey in which Malik had an ambition to study in “the Institute of Oriental Studies in Paris” hoping to graduate as a lawyer. He prepared well for the enrolment exam. Thus he took the exam full of confidence of success, but the result was disappointing, he reported: “I was called by the Director of the Institute, in the dignified calmness of his office, he informed me of the unlikelihood of being accepted to his faculty no matter how many times I tried, his words made it very clear to me: The entry to the Institute of Oriental Studies, to the Algerian Muslim, is not based on a scientific measure, but on a political one. The words of the director came down on my ambitions as the guillotine would go down on a condemned’s neck…. On that day, not only was my hope broken, but I felt that the dream of my mother and my father had crashed on the rock.”

Malik started afresh by amending his goals and objectives, so he enrolled into the School of Engineering Faculty of Wireless, not far from the (Institute of Oriental languages), which would make his intentions seem purely technical and scientific instead of being judicial and political.

Malik was engrossed in his study and intellectual life. In 1935 he graduated as an electrical engineer making him the first Algerian electrical engineer. At this time he started pursuing his dream of writing and started writing articles about the issues surrounding the Islamic world and in the year (1946) he published his first book “The phenomenon Quranic”. Between year 1948 and 1955, he published articles in the “Republic of Algeria” and “the young Muslim” newspapers. He wrote close to 300 articles, through which his school of thought grew bigger and became more popular in the Arab world. He married a French woman and chose to reside in France, but frequently visited Algeria with his French Muslim wife (Khadija). During those years he also published two books, “The conditions for rebirth” in 1948 and “The problem of ideas in the Muslim World” in 1954.

Although Malik was part of the Algerian revolution and played an important part in standing against the French occupation, he moved to Cairo after the announcement of the armed revolution in Algeria (1954) after he was denied being sent to the Algerian-Tunisian borders to help with the war. In Egypt, he earned the respect of fellow thinkers and philosophers. From then on, his work started to flourish and gain popularity in Algeria and in the Arab world. After the independence of Algeria, he returned home and was appointed Director of Higher Education, which back then was confined to (the University of Algiers) until he resigned in 1967, wanting to focus on his writing. Starting with the first part of his memoirs entitled the “Memoirs of this century’s witness” which was published first in French, then translated into Arabic by Marwan Alguenwati in year 1969. Shortly after and under the same main heading, he added the second part, which was published in 1970 and he used the name of (the student) in the title to relate to the part of his life when he studied in France starting in 1930. Part III remains as a manuscript after his death in 31-10-1973.

At the end of his life, Malik suffered great strain and pain in his eyes and head after falling down a set of stairs at his home. Despite treatment abroad he remained affected by this incident and on October 31st, 1973 Malik Bennabi, scholar of civilization, and the most renowned Muslim thinker of our time, died in Algiers leaving behind work designed specifically to help thinkers of the twenty-first century create a new road leading to the convergence of many different civilizations, including the formation of a “humanitarian civilization”.

His Books:

Place of Publication

Year of Publication

Title of Publication




الظاهرة القرآنية




لبيك ( رواية )




شروط النهضة




وجهة العالم الإسلامي




فكرة الإفريقية الآسيوية




النجدة … الشعب الجزائري يباد




حديث في البناء الجديد




مشكلة الثقافة




الصراع الفكري في البلاد المستعمرة




الصعوبات – علاقة النمو في المجتمع العربي




الإستعمار يلجأ إلى الإغتيال بوسائل العلم




فكرة كمنويلث إسلامي




تأملات في المجتمع العربي




في مهب المعركة




ميلاد مجتمع



آفاق جزائرية




مذكرات شاهد القرن ( القسم الأول )




إنتاج المستشرقين و أثره في الفكر الإسلامي الحديث




مذكرات شاهد القرن ( القسم الثاني – الطالب )




مشكلة الأفكار في العالم الإسلامي




المسلم في عالم الإقتصاد




دور المسلم و رسالته في الثلث الأخير من القرن العشرين




بين الرشاد و التيه


(مجالس دمشق ( مجموعة محاضرات باللغة العربية


What first draws one’s attention when reading Bennabi’s works is the availability of a penetrating decisive mentality in all his writings, therefore he did not attribute backwardness to the lack of physical and conveying aspects, but due to its poorness for thoughts. This view is clear in particular in the way he uses available means, in an amount various in activity and in his inability to find other ones and in particular in his style when presenting his problems or not to them at all, when he gives up any interest even when feeling reluctant to raise it.


If not the most significant one at all. Bennabi used the word (chaos) to indicate two cases. The first is the general crisis our state and societies face which includes all fields of the society. The second sense of (chaos) refers to the hazard that waits for us because chaos and disorder sweep everything. Nobody can get rid of its danger. Destruction lurks for these communities unless they are aware of their situation and the risks that surround them. In writing, he rarely uses quotations. He interacted with many thoughts, but produced his own original one. However, he was greatly influenced by Ibn Khaldun and Arnold Toynbee on the idea of civilization. We can see many similarities in their thoughts, but Bennabi got advantages from many scientific inventions in his era and he could develop the ideas into his own scheme.


To explain his theory, Bennabi has created his own terms: such as post-Almohads man, rajul al-fitra, rajul kharij al-hadara, colinizability, and etc. These words or terms were not other than names he created to explain certain ideas. For him, the use of names is necessary to make clear conceptual explanations within their cultural context. Bennabi has his own explanation about the process of how a word or name emerges into its existence in the realm of human knowledge.

Bennabi is quite careful in choosing terminology. For example, he chooses the term soil (turab) rather than substance or matter (madda). He avoids the term matter (madda) because in ethics it opposes the spirit; in science it contrasts with energy; and in philosophy it is against idealism. Besides that, it has materialistic tendency (Dr. Fawzia Bariun, 1993). However, what is the meaning of soil here?

The word soil (turab) could be interpreted from an Islamic point of view as the earth, the globe or the universe that God has created for mankind to discover, utilize and develop. It emphasizes the concept of vicegerency (istikhlaf) that involves man’s responsibility to utilize this world and develop it within the limitation of his lifetime (Dr. Fawzia Bariun, 1993).

The word soil means in its broader sense all raw materials. It includes land, the main resource of man’s food and nourishment. All human civilization started with agriculture and utilization of natural resources is essential to human existence. It also has socio-political meaning, which implies ownership, requires technical control and provides social guarantees and security (al-dam anat al-ijtima’iyya). It means also love of homeland and hope for its prosperity.




Malik Bennabi’s academic background was engineering. However, all of his books are relate to social science, culture, history or civilization. Thus, he was being considered as a sociologist and a social scientist rather than as a natural scientist. He exercised his intellectual efforts during his life to search and to understand the rules that govern the social phenomena of civilization.

Malik Bennabi was a philosopher and a creative thinker. He was also the owner of a deep theory in the cultural structure. His ideas concentrated on the essential matters in the Islamic world. He studied the problems of renaissance, culture, colonization and subordination in all his works and in all their concepts. Bennabi in his all works was interested in the attempt of knowing why the Islamic societies dissented from the modern culture cycle.


The first merit in Malik Bennabi’s thinking is his comprehensiveness. His thinking is not limited to some molecules and neglects the others, but it is comprehensive thinking looking at things in a whole through their molecules. And he locks at molecules through whole thinking that gathers and unifies them in an arranged order. The second distinguished merit is his inclination of assessing the western civilization. In addition to his personal experience, he doesn’t refuse the west and its civilization and he doesn’t accept it with all its errors. But to comprehend this culture being regarded as a component of many formations and not mere one static thing, as many Islamic thinkers did so.




Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman, Crisis in the Muslim Mind, Virginia: International   Institute of Islamic Thought, 1993.

Ageron, Charles-Robert. Modern Algeria: A History from 1830- to the Present. LondonL

Husrts and Company. 1991.

Al-Quraisyiy, Dr. Ali. Malik Binnabi dan Pergolakan Sosial, vol. 1. Kuala Lumpur:

Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia. 1996.

Bariun, Dr. Fawzia. Malik Bennabi: His Life and Theory of Civilization. Kuala Lumpur:

Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia. 1993.

Bennabi, Malik. Islam dalam Sejarah dan Masyarakat (originally Vocation de l’Islam).

Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia. 1991.

Bennabi, Malik. On the Origin of Human Society. London: The Open Press. 1998.

Bennabi, Malik. The Problem of Ideas in the Muslim World. Selangor Darul Ehsan:

Budaya Ilmu Sdn. Bhd. 1994.

Bennabi, Malik. The Question of Culture. Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Book Trust. 2003.

Daniele Joly, The French Communist Party and the Algerian War, Hampshire: Macmillan Press     ltd., 1991.

Dr. Ali al-Quraisyiy divides Bennabi’s biography from this time up till the end of his life into       three period: Period of Paris (1930-1956), Period of Cairo (1956-1963), and Period of    Algeria (1963-1973). For this please see Dr. Ali al-Quraisyiy, Malik Binnabi dan         Pergolakan Sosial, vol. 1, Kuala Lumpur: Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia, 1996.

Joly, Daniele. The French Communist Party and the Algerian War. Hampshire:

Macmillan Press ltd. 1991.

Omar Nakib, 2006, Malik Bennabi’s Approach to the Educational Problem  in  the Muslim            World, Kolej Universiti Islam Selangor, Bangi.

Ruedy, John. Modern Algeria: The Origin and Development of a Nation. Indianapolis:

Indiana University Press. 1992.

Sulayman, Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu. Crisis in the Muslim Mind. Virginia: International

Institute of Islamic Thought. 1993.

In the introduction of Malik Bennabi, The Problem of Ideas in the Muslim World, Selangor         Darul Ehsan: Budaya Ilmu Sdn. Bhd., 1994.

Modern Algeria: The Origin and Development of a Nation, Indianapolis: Indiana University         Press, 1992.

The outbreak of the Algerian War happened for the first time on 1 November 1954. Charles-        Robert Ageron, Modern Algeria: A History from 1830- to the Present, LondonL Husrts      and Company, 1991.

The paper is being presented at:

2nd selangor international conference on islamic education 2011


islamic education:contributing to the world

19th-21st December 2011

Equotorial Hotel, bangi-Outrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia


3 thoughts on “The Sociological and Linguistic Review on Malik Binnabi’s New Theory of Education for the Contemporary Muslim world.

  1. Omar Nakib says:

    Dear Ustaz Abdurrauzif
    I hope you are fine.
    Thank you for your interest in Malik Bennabi’s Thought. While reading your article I found many interesting ideas that should be more elaborated in order to deepen our understanding of this great Muslim thinker. However, I would like to take your attention to some remarks that may enrich your attempt and impart more significance to it. In general, I felt more confused while reading your paper so I could not realize the difference between your own ideas and mine since you mention my book as your principal reference in this article. The reason, as I suppose, is that you did not mention the references clearly and according the academic regulations to writing a scholar article, i.e. quotations, (Author’s full name, Year, Page). Also, for the case of the principal title of the article as well as for the sub-titles of the paragraphs, any reader would found them confusing. As a matter of fact, I would like to ask you to reconsider the re-writing of the paper according to the techniques of academic writing so as to make it more clearer for the reader. The same remark can be done for the bibliography.
    My regards

    Assc. Pr Dr. Omar Nakib*
    Department of Philosophy
    National High School for Teachers’ Education
    University of Algiers

    * Author of the afore-mentioned study on Malik Bennabi’s Approach to the Educational Problem in the Muslim World.

    • rosfazila says:

      salam prof.
      it is our pleasure to have you reading our humble article which is actually a full review on your writings on Malek Binnabi. Due to my regret of not having your writing regarding the matter online prolonged me to publish my review on wordpress, so that the ideas may flourish. we apologize for not having a so-called appropriate academic style of writing on the article which is we admit to prepare it in a short period of time.but we guarantee still it is having purely ideas of yours with minimal views from sociology & linguistics. we do hope to fulfill your suggestions and really appreciate your comments.

      thank you, wassalam.

      rosefazila abd rahman (Phd Sociology & anthropology)
      International Islamic Univesity College of Selangor (KUIS)

  2. Omar Nakib says:

    Dear Colleague,
    Thanks for your re-comments. I really appreciate your sincerity and willingness to cooperate and review any of our academic efforts to improve our standard. I would like to encourage you to pursue you investigation into Malik Bennabi’s thought concerning the human affairs particularly the civilzational crisis and its educational core dimension for the sake of resolving our persistent dilemma in the Muslim lands. Hence, I do express my willingness to cooperate with you all to achieve such a project.

    Assc. Pr. Dr Omar Nakib
    University of Algiers

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