Home > Blog > Multiple Intelligence at School [Part 1]

Are you smart? When confronted with the question like this, usually we have two answers. Yes and No.

We either think that we are smart in everything or we are not. What if you have a different perspective this year? Questions about what kind of smartness that we all have in us? We would like to believe that we all have some kind of talent, some kind of smartness to excel in this life and hereafter, insha Allah.

Through this series, we will explore new frontiers, new parameters and new paradigm on how we can define smartness in children. A lot of times, great talent is wasted when children are not told on what area they can excel in. Imagine telling Imam Sudais that he must be a dentist! We would have lost a great scholar and a wonderful Imam.


The smartness is not about getting good grades, doing well on test, or memorizing things. For the past 100 years, IQ has been an indicator of how smart people are. IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient and it is a measure of how someone scores on a test. The test has you to solve math problems, define words, create designs, repeat numbers from memory and do other tasks. Maybe, you have also taken an IQ test! Today, as education has evolved, experts tell us that besides IQ, what also matters is your EQ.

EQ stands for Emotional Intelligence. So when you hire a new teacher or when you recruit an employee, you look at the emotional quotient of a person and determine if a person has a right attitude for the job and not just skills and the talent.

Since we are working with regards to Islamic studies and Islamic environment, we also have one more quotient to add to this. It’s called SQ. SQ stands for Spiritual Quotient. This is a measure of you connecting with the Creator. Are your ideas in sync to the ultimate goal of benefiting your Aakhirah (hereafter)? Is your work according to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger SAWS? Thus, all in all, we are looking at three new quotients with regards to our education: IQ, EQ and SQ.

So far, we have highlighted the basis of where we stand with regards to Islamic education. Now let’s explore how to culminate all of these into our specific topic of “Multiple Intelligence”.

The theory of Multiple Intelligence was first proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner from the Harvard University, USA. The MI theory in short, suggests that there exists a lot more different ways and not just the standardized test to measure a person’s ‘smartness’.

So how do you measure a child ability to paint, to climb a mountain, deliver a fantastic speech, observe nature or discover a new land? We will take examples from modern science to Islamic literature to explain the theory of Multiple Intelligence.

Had Alexander Fleming not kept a cluttered desk, he would have never discovered penicillin. Isn’t that the first message we instruct our teenagers – ‘put everything in order’. Perhaps in the randomness, they have a better idea where the things are stored! Thus, we can change our instructional method rather than trying to change the child without knowing their nature.

We need to bring out the latent talent in every child, not necessary in the way you see the world but in the manner in which they see the world.

Blog_Sep01_insideThere may be a child who loves to see the world of paintings and colors, looking at the sky and nature; this is also an intelligence. We have forgotten to even look up to appreciate the night sky!

The one who gives adhaan will have the longest neck of the Day of Judgement, as mentioned in the hadeeth of our Prophet SAWS. So essentially, this is an encouragement to one who has a good voice to go and give adhaan. This is not detected from the textbox intelligence test that we have in our schools. In our field of Multiple Intelligence theory, such a learner would be skilled in ‘rhythmic intelligence’ or rhythmic learner.

The purpose of the article is to bring out a change in our schools and our testing system to make parents more cognizant where every child’s talent is celebrated. The question to ask now is not ‘Are you smart?’, rather, the right question should beL “How are you smart?”


  1. IQ test are no more an indicator of person’s intelligence;
  2. Speak to you teens in a language they understand;
  3. SQ [Spiritual Quotient] is a new indicator for a Muslim;
  4. Everyone is smart in his / her own way.

In the next part of this series, we will explore the impact of multiple intelligence in our daily lives insha’Allah.




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31 Responses

  1. aasiabatool82@yahoo.com'

    I am very excited to know this. I was looking through your website and was wondering if your curriculum would be applicable in a home school setting?

    Jazakum Allahu khairan!!-its like I have got my hands on gold that might benefit our children greatly insha-Allah, ameen

    1. Yes Sister – the curriculum is based on Multiple Intelligence and can be adopted to home schooling.
      A word on caution on home schooling is we must engage our children in real time activity and not make it cyber-schooling.

      I have seen very talented children competing with the best through efforts of parents, teachers and community in Home schooling.

  2. faizak71@yahoo.com'

    Mashallah! Our critical thinking and right approach towards our next gen. can only take them towards their destination. Critical observation and years of experience can only brig out such a wonderful article.
    Find a child in yourself and believe me you can always explore the world from the eyes of a child and bring out more of smart learners of this Duniya and Aakhirah. Inshallah!
    Waiting for the next article.

  3. hroomana@hotmail.com'

    The question to ask as the author puts it aptly is : How are we smart? and not “How smart are we?” because it is in the answer to the first question lies our potential to serve humanity …

  4. AAlyemany@hotmail.com'

    VERY TRUE. Less “memorization” and more understanding, and ACTING on that knowledge. We have Muslim kids from all over the globe who are taught to memorize the whole Quran without understanding anything it says! Another thing we need to do is think of Islam in every topic (bring back morality into education). We need our own teaching methods of psychology, biology, science, physics etc… Without the added luggage/propaganda of the secularists/atheists who are trying to hijack these fields by tying certain ideas to these subjects.

  5. iruma@hotmail.co.uk'

    Very nice article. Human beings are an entire ocean, not a drop in an ocean. Humans got multiple intelligence which cannot only be measured with any IQ tests.

  6. chairasaja@gmail.com'

    very good article, i never tought children before, but this year i’m with them, n from now i learn how teach them. this is surprising me. knowing their intelligence is not an easy thing, but it’s interesting.
    It helps me so much… thank you

  7. geno_pegaso@hotmail.com'
    maria tellez

    This is very interesting information because most of the time we only think that intelect it is important to develop what we are and we forget about other two elements to make a balance on oursekves :emotions and spirituality…
    Having this knowledge we can provide it to our kids and help them to develop their skills and used them correctly this way we will have better generations to keep going ….
    Thanks a lot and I will be waiting for part 2 and next ones

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  12. sahera.jamal@gmail.com'

    Br. Dawood,

    Jazakallah Khairan for an awesome article. Made me think differently and change my approach and perspective towards understanding my childrens’ abilities. Your article is a ‘must read’ for every mother. Subhanallah!!

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