Special Issue "Islamic Education in Contemporary World: Traditions, Rearticulations & Transformation"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Abdullah Sahin Website E-Mail
Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, U.K.
Interests: Philosophical, Theological and Empirical Foundations of Islamic Education; Pedagogy and identity formation; Islamic Empirical and Practical Theology; European Muslim Diaspora; Educational Reform in Muslim Societies; Islam within Inclusive RE

Special Issue Information

Islamic Education is an emerging interdisciplinary field of research, teaching and professional development within the Western academia. There are now state-sponsored ‘Islamic Religious Pedagogy’ departments at major universities in continental Europe. The motive behind this new interest appears to be largely political, reflecting the policy makers’ attempt to address the rise of religious extremism and the desire to engineer a ‘European Islamic religious authority’ through ‘officially’ training Muslim faith leaders and teachers. Such a top to bottom approach, however, has resulted in the creation of an academic discipline without proper theoretical integrity, methodological rigour and pedagogic diversity.  

Lack of conceptual clarity is evident in frequent unqualified depictions of the field as ‘Muslim Education’, ‘Muslims in Education’ or ‘Islamic Religious Pedagogy’ and even simply as ‘Religious Education’. Furthermore, Islamic Education has often been confused with ‘Islamic Studies’, a Western framing of the study of Islam that came out of the Eurocentric discourse of Orientalism and which is still not free from controversies. In Islam, the notion of ‘tarbiyah’ offers an imagination of education as an inclusive, holistic and embodied process of facilitating human flourishing that goes beyond the confines of a cognitive focus implied by the word ‘study’ or a mere religious/moral instruction and training.

The modern ‘Islamic’ definitions of education have emerged at the backdrop to a strong reaction to what is perceived to be ‘materialistic’ secular Western education introduced during the post-colonial modernization process in newly established European-style Muslim nations. It appears that the desire to ‘Islamize’ Western science and knowledge systems has largely shaped these attempts that originate in a deeper reactionary politics of resentment informing the Islamic revival and reform movements. It was mainly due to the self-censoring climate of political correctness after the 9/11 that the idea appeared to have suddenly been abandoned. Currently, a more politically pleasing word, ‘integration’, seems to be frequently invoked within the discourse on educational reform in global Muslim societies.

To develop integrated models of Islamic Education within the context of contemporary Muslim societies requires the presence of a critical dialogue with the diverse traditions of education in Islam as well as modern educational theories and pedagogic models. There is a large gap in the existing literature addressing these crucial issues. Most of the literature, largely produced by Western anthropologists, ethnographers and historians since the turn of the last century, stressed, often with admiration, the ‘embodied oral/ aural features’ as well as the ‘impressive textual literacy’ within traditional forms of Islamic Education. This empathetic line of research has also shown deep awareness of the challenges facing Muslim societies in meaningfully and effectively reconciling their educational/religious heritage with their fast-changing lived reality that has been increasingly dominated by Western secularism and its economic, social and cultural institutions.

Within the highly politized context of the post-9/11 world together with the rise of religious extremism, researchers adopting a political analysis framework focused their attention, with a deep scepticism, on traditional forms of Islamic nurture and schooling such as Madrassas within the context of South Asia and ‘Pondok Pesantren’ in South East Asia. Such researchers largely claim the presence of a widespread culture of ‘indoctrination’ in these institutions which shape extremist mindsets. But, depictions of indigenous educational practices within Muslim societies as a cultural capital or hindrance in facilitating positive change require critical reassessment. However, what is beyond dispute is that the traditional and Western cultures of education have failed to be reconciled and integrated. As a direct consequence, Muslim societies continue producing generations of young people with dual mindsets and often with an experience of a ‘dual alienation’ within the reality of a persisting culture of religious and secular authoritarianism. Absence of a dynamic educational culture greatly hinders wider social, political and economic reforms vital for addressing concerns over human rights, corruption, poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, intolerance towards religious and ethnic diversity within Muslim societies. The dynamics behind the failure of fundamental internal educational reform need an urgent critical and realistic assessment.

Islamic Education in the Muslim minority context of the West/Europe where there is now the established presence of a culturally and ethnically diverse Muslim diaspora, reflects a similar set of challenges, albeit with an experience of deeper intensity. Traditional Islamic educational institutions largely transplanted from the first generation immigrants’ countries of origin have been established to reproduce identity narratives in the lives of young Muslims. Furthermore, young people’s religious agency has increasingly been shaped by prolific popular online Islamic Education activities where an exploitative form of ‘Islamic cyber religious/spiritual authority’ is spreading fast. The reality of inter-generational change, the capacity of formal/informal Islamic Education in facilitating competent knowledge and understanding of Islam (Islamic literacy), mature faith development and acting as a cultural capital are areas of scholarly interest and concern for both Muslim communities and the wider society.

The rapidly growing sector of Islamic schooling as well as traditional seminaries (dar al-uluum/ hawaza) and hybrid Muslim higher education institutions face similar concerns; lack of evidence-based practice, as well as inadequate curriculum development, teacher training provision, management and leadership. The power relations within these institutions and the politics of secular suspicion towards Islamic schooling need further analysis. The representation of Islam/Muslims within mainstream schooling and Muslim parents’ involvement with the education of their children, ostensibly a civic democratic right that a liberal state encourages - as highlighted in the infamous Trojan Horse Affair in the UK - demonstrate another layer of contestation regarding Islamic Education in secular public space.

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this volume is to bring together some of the most current and ground-breaking theoretical and empirical work that engages with the above outlined intersecting critical issues in contemporary Islamic Education. I am inviting you to consider writing a paper addressing the gaps highlighted within the current literature in the field by drawing on one of the following key themes:

  • Empirical research designs in Islamic Education;
  • Critical dialogue between Islamic and modern educational theories;
  • Educational Hermeneutics in Muslim thought;
  • Intuition, spirituality and imagination in Islamic Education;
  • Innovative perspectives on curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in formal/informal Islamic Education;
  • Integrated experiences of learning and teaching in Islamic Education;
  • Islamic literacy and values of interreligious, intra-faith and intercultural understanding;
  • Politics of modern Islamic schooling;
  • Islam within secular schooling and diverse models of Religious Education;
  • Muslim theological education and female/male faith leadership training;
  • Mainstreaming Muslim seminaries in the West;
  • Widening accesses to higher education within European/Western Muslim diaspora;
  • Islamic Education and religious extremism;
  • Online Islamic Education and emergence of Islamic ‘cyber religious/spiritual authorities’;
  • Educational reform and democratization in Muslim societies;
  • Islamic Education, social integration and civic engagement;
  • Migration, transnational Islamic movements and Islamic Education;
  • Islamic Education, citizenship and reproduction of national identities;
  • Music and sex education in Islamic Education;
  • Historical thinking and political literacy in Islamic curriculum;
  • Science, Islamic educational ethics and the environment;
  • Political economy of Islamic Education.

If you agree to participate in this special issue, I ask you please to send us a tentative title and a short abstract (max. 200 words) by 31 January 2018. When you send the abstract, please make explicit the central question(s) and the methods/methodologies you will employ in exploring the issues raised.

Dr. Abdullah Sahin
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Islamic Education
  • Interfaith/Intercultural Education
  • Inclusive Religious Education
  • Education Studies
  • Muslim Seminaries/Higher Education Institutions
  • Educational Reform in Muslim Societies
  • Islamic Schooling and Social Cohesion
  • Islamic Pedagogy and faith formation
  • Islamic Empirical Theology

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Memorising and Reciting a Text without Understanding Its Meaning: A Multi-Faceted Consideration of This Practice with Particular Reference to the Qur’an
Religions 2019, 10(7), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070425 - 11 Jul 2019
Abstract
The joint activities of memorising and reciting the Arabic Qur’an are deeply embedded within Islamic tradition, culture and educational practice. Despite this, for many western non-Muslims, particularly those engaged in educational activity themselves, to learn that memorisation of the Arabic text of the [...] Read more.
The joint activities of memorising and reciting the Arabic Qur’an are deeply embedded within Islamic tradition, culture and educational practice. Despite this, for many western non-Muslims, particularly those engaged in educational activity themselves, to learn that memorisation of the Arabic text of the Qur’an does not always—or, indeed, often—go hand-in-hand with understanding the meaning of the words can come as both a surprise and a shock. It is not uncommon to hear a response from such people to the effect that to memorise texts without understanding their meaning is pointless. There is also sometimes the implication that such practice in anachronistic: ‘behind the times’, as it were, and thus not worthy of serious consideration. This article is framed as a ‘general’ riposte to such a dismissive response in that its motivation lies not in straightforward apologetics (that is, defending the practice of memorisation without qualification and at all costs), but, rather, in bringing together a number of key elements (or factors) that cumulatively carry sufficient weight to challenge such a raw response, or at least to give pause for thought and promote a more informed consideration. Following a brief introduction that locates Qur’an memorisation and recitation within Islamic faith and practice, five facets will be explored: first, the growing recognition that there is not just one legitimate form of literacy but, rather, a plurality of literacies; second, the ambiguity within the concept of ‘meaning’ itself; third, an acknowledgement that memorisation has not only held an esteemed place in western history, but remains valued in some aspects of contemporary life and culture; fourth, a recognition of the emotional power of high-quality recitation, irrespective of a literal comprehension of the words being recited; and, finally, the growing body of research evidence that suggests that the involvement of Muslim children and young people in Qur’anic memorisation and recitation might very well equip them with valuable social and educational capital. The article will end with a brief personal account showing the complex position that a contemporary British Muslim ‘insider’—as individual, teacher and parent—has adopted towards his own and others’ practice of memorising the Qur’an. This account has been included to show that, within the Muslim community itself, different opinions are held about the weight and meaning to be placed on memorisation in general and on Qur’anic memorisation and recitation in particular. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Pedagogies in Becoming Muslim: Contemporary Insights from Islamic Traditions on Teaching, Learning, and Developing
Religions 2018, 9(11), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110367 - 18 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In light of calls to examine, elaborate, and improve pedagogies in teaching and learning Islam, thematic analysis was conducted on literature in English on pedagogies derived from the primary-source texts, the Qur’an and Sunnah. Three themes were constructed, each capturing a distinct pedagogic [...] Read more.
In light of calls to examine, elaborate, and improve pedagogies in teaching and learning Islam, thematic analysis was conducted on literature in English on pedagogies derived from the primary-source texts, the Qur’an and Sunnah. Three themes were constructed, each capturing a distinct pedagogic principle, to suggest an expansive framework of principled, flexible, situated, holistic, and transformative pedagogies. First, Relational Pedagogies center learning and developing in warm human relationships. Second, Pedagogies of Mutual Engagement include doing, speaking, and inquiring together in participatory processes of making meaning. Third, Pedagogies of Conscious Awareness aim to make visible purposes, reasons, and principles behind Islamic practices. These three themes were then used as sensitizing concepts in examining data gathered in a sociocultural study on Muslim educators’ perspectives and practices at a mosque school in Canada. Reflections of the themes in the data—and contradictions—suggest that educators passionately but partially draw from primary-source pedagogies to inform their praxis in a pedagogic diaspora where interpretation and application vary. Further research is required to examine whether the developmental potential of these primary-source pedagogies might be optimized when they are employed together, as a balanced group, and how they might address pedagogical criticisms in teaching and learning Islam. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Critical Issues in Islamic Education Studies: Rethinking Islamic and Western Liberal Secular Values of Education
Religions 2018, 9(11), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110335 - 30 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper examines two sets of interrelated issues informing contemporary discussions on Islam and education that take place within both Muslim majority and minority contexts. The first set of issues concerns the academic conceptualisation of the study of education within diverse historical and [...] Read more.
This paper examines two sets of interrelated issues informing contemporary discussions on Islam and education that take place within both Muslim majority and minority contexts. The first set of issues concerns the academic conceptualisation of the study of education within diverse historical and contemporary Islamic cultural, intellectual, political, theological and spiritual traditions. After a critical examination of the current literature, the paper suggests that ‘Islamic Education Studies’ offers a distinctive academic framing that incorporates an interdisciplinary empirical and scholarly inquiry strategy capable of generating a body of knowledge and understanding guiding the professional practice and policy development in the field. Lack of conceptual clarity in various current depictions of the field, including ‘Muslim Education’, ‘Islamic Pedagogy’, ‘Islamic Nurture’ and ‘Islamic Religious Pedagogy’, is outlined and the frequent confusion of Islamic Education with Islamic Studies is critiqued. The field of Islamic Education Studies has theological and educational foundations and integrates interdisciplinary methodological designs in Social Sciences and Humanities. The second part of the inquiry draws attention to the lack of new theoretical insights and critical perspectives in Islamic Education. The pedagogic practice in diverse Muslim formal and informal educational settings does not show much variation and mostly is engaged with re-inscribing the existing power relations shaping the society. The juxtaposition of inherited Islamic and borrowed or enforced Western secular educational cultures appears to be largely forming mutually exclusive, antagonistic and often rigid ‘foreclosed’ minds within contemporary Muslim societies. The impact of the educational culture and educational institutions on the formation of resentful Islamic religiosities and the reproduction of authoritarian leadership within the wider mainstream Muslim communities have not been adequately explored. The study stresses the need to have a paradigm shift in addressing this widely acknowledged educational crisis. The formation of a transformative educational culture remains the key to being able to facilitate reflective and critical Muslim religiosities, and positive socio-economic and political change in Muslim majority and minority societies. This inquiry explores a significant aspect of this crisis by re-examining the degree to which Islamic and Western, liberal, secular conceptions and values of education remain irreconcilably divergent or open to a convergent dialogue of exchange, reciprocity and complementarity. The originality of the paper lies in offering a critical rethinking of Islamic Education through mapping the main relevant literature and identifying and engaging with the central theoretical issues while suggesting a new academic framing of the field and its interdisciplinary research agenda. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Facing the Issues Raised in Psalm 1 through Thinking and Feeling: Applying the SIFT Approach to Biblical Hermeneutics among Muslim Educators
Religions 2018, 9(10), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100323 - 21 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
A group of 22 Muslim educators participating in a residential Islamic Education summer school were invited to explore their individual preferences for thinking and feeling (the two functions of the Jungian judging process). They were then invited to work in three groups (seven [...] Read more.
A group of 22 Muslim educators participating in a residential Islamic Education summer school were invited to explore their individual preferences for thinking and feeling (the two functions of the Jungian judging process). They were then invited to work in three groups (seven clear thinking types, eight clear feeling types, and seven individuals less clear of their preference) to discuss Psalm 1. Clear differences emerged between the ways in which thinking types and feeling types handled the judgement metred out to the wicked in the Psalm. The feeling types were disturbed by the portrayal of God in Psalm 1 and sought ways to mitigate the stark message. The thinking types confronted the dangers to which this image of God could lead and sought pedagogic strategies for dealing with these dangers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Between Tradition and Transition: An Islamic Seminary, or Dar al-Uloom in Modern Britain
Religions 2018, 9(10), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100314 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Challenging Moderate Muslims: Indonesia’s Muslim Schools in the Midst of Religious Conservatism
Religions 2018, 9(10), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100310 - 11 Oct 2018
Abstract
Muslim schools are an important element of education in Indonesia. The school was in place long before Indonesia’s independence in 1945. Schools educate Indonesian Muslim children to understand and practice religion while promoting a sense of nationalism. Thanks to Muslim schools, Indonesian Muslims [...] Read more.
Muslim schools are an important element of education in Indonesia. The school was in place long before Indonesia’s independence in 1945. Schools educate Indonesian Muslim children to understand and practice religion while promoting a sense of nationalism. Thanks to Muslim schools, Indonesian Muslims are recognized as being moderate. Recently, however, the moderate nature of Indonesian Islam is challenged by the spirit of conservative Islam. The question is how Muslim schools play their roles in the discourse of moderate versus conservative Muslims. This study identified five issues that are largely discussed among Indonesian Muslims: Islam and state, Muslims–non Muslims relations, non-mainstream Islam, gender, and media. Knowing that there is a strong relationship between society and education, i.e., religious education, it is important to see the relationship between schools and society including how the current conservative trend in Indonesian Islam is being taught at schools. This study explored how the curriculum of (Islamic) religious education potentially contributes toward the development of Indonesian conservative Muslims and how religious education teachers view sensitive issues concerning conservative Islam. To answer these questions, the analysis of religious education curricula and the interviewing of teachers serve as the primary methods of data collection. Four religious education teachers from different provinces of Indonesia were interviewed to reveal their opinions on various religion-related issues. This paper discusses how Islamic education in Indonesia has been designed to present moderate Islam but, at the same time, faces a number of challenges that try to turn religious education into conservative religious doctrines. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Experience of Victimisation among Muslim Adolescents in the UK: The Effect of Psychological and Religious Factors
Religions 2018, 9(8), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080243 - 10 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study set out to explore the levels of victimisation experienced by Muslim adolescents in the UK, the extent to which victimisation is conceptualised in religious terms, and the extent to which individual differences in the experience of victimisation is related to personal [...] Read more.
This study set out to explore the levels of victimisation experienced by Muslim adolescents in the UK, the extent to which victimisation is conceptualised in religious terms, and the extent to which individual differences in the experience of victimisation is related to personal factors, psychological factors and religious factors. Data provided by 335 13- to 15-year-old Muslim students from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales demonstrated that one in four Muslim students (25%) reported being bullied because of their religion. These students saw their religious identity as being a more important cause of their victimisation than their ethnicity, their colour, or their name. Male and female Muslim students were equally vulnerable to victimisation. Psychological and religious variables predicted individual differences in vulnerability to victimisation among Muslim students. Full article
Back to TopTop