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Religions 2018, 9(10), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100314

Between Tradition and Transition: An Islamic Seminary, or Dar al-Uloom in Modern Britain

Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, John Percival Building, Cardiff University, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU, UK
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract

Based on detailed ethnographic fieldwork, this article provides an insider account of life inside a British Dar al-Uloom, or a traditional Islamic religious seminary, for the first time. Given that Dar al-Ulooms play an important role in the British Muslim landscape in providing training for religious leadership, the article argues that, far from the Dar al-Uloom tradition being static, it is undergoing continuous adaptation and change. After mapping the historical and geographical lineage of the modern Dar al-Uloom, the article explores its pedagogy. The postural tradition and adab (broadly translated as comportment or code of behavior) embody the notion of humility, as the classroom has become the locale for balancing a curriculum with depth and coverage, especially given the challenges young Muslims in Britain are facing. The current students of the Dar al-Uloom will become imams and faith leaders primarily responsible for addressing the changing needs of young Muslims. What has emerged is a traditional Dar al-Uloom that is in a dialogical relationship both with the modern world outside of it and within it. There is the need to embody a ‘tarbiyyatic pedagogy’ that is one that emphasises the student-teacher relationship where the student is transformed in the process of learning while interpreting Islam through the lens of the Deobandi universe. Ultimately, it will be the younger generation of teachers who determine the particular trajectory of the Dar al-Uloom. View Full-Text
Keywords: Deoband; Dar al-Uloom; pedagogy; tradition; ethnography; Islamic education; tarbiyyah; British Muslims Deoband; Dar al-Uloom; pedagogy; tradition; ethnography; Islamic education; tarbiyyah; British Muslims
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Sidat, H. Between Tradition and Transition: An Islamic Seminary, or Dar al-Uloom in Modern Britain. Religions 2018, 9, 314.

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