Muhammad Iqbal’s Conception of Ijtihad and Its Implications for Democratic Education

  • Nuraan DavidsEmail author
  • Yusef Waghid


In this chapter, we analyse Iqbal’s understanding of the practice of ijtihad that is inherently spiritual. In other words, implicit in his understanding and practice is the notion that people are not just open and reflective about the human relations in becoming—that is, relations of cooperation, coexistence and recognition of one another. Also, what Iqbal’s exposition of the practice of ijtihad encourages are forms of living whereby people become deeply (i.e., spiritually) concerned about their own, perhaps unwarranted practices. Introspection and a commitment towards identifying their deficiencies would become enabling practices to enhance human co-belonging and recognition of one another for the reason that people are prepared to take into critical scrutiny what they hold to be true. Their spiritual recognition that their own practices might be deeply flawed and in need of reparations is a profound recognition of ijtihadi proportions. That is, when people have internalised the fallibility of their own practices would they become more open to new re-beginnings. In this way, democratic education becomes a practice of immense spiritual propensity in the sense that people would be prepared and willing to amend distortions associated with their own indigenous ways of being and acting.


Ijtihad (intellectual exertion) Human co-belonging Spirituality Fallibility 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education Policy StudiesStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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