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Education in Islamic Education - Secular Education And The Revival Of Traditional Islamic Learning

university press religious muslim

On account of the struggle between secular and Islamic ideologies throughout much of the twentieth century, global socioeconomic, political, cultural, and environmental challenges, and a new politicization of Islam in large parts of the Muslim World since the 1970s, (populist) discourses over the meaning of "modernity" have had a serious impact on the concept of Islamic education. These complex developments seem to have provided the ground for a revival of "traditional" Islamic (that is, religious) education in new guises in recent years.

In addition to well-known and reputable secular universities in the Muslim world, based on internationally accepted educational principles, institutionalized Islamic learning today is associated above all with the traditionally highly respected centers of religious scholarship in Cairo, Mecca, Medina, Najaf, Qom, and Hyderabad. New international Islamic universities were established, for instance, in Islamabad, Pakistan (1980), and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1983), both also admitting women.

More specialized religious learning and the training of imams is taking place in seminaries and colleges—the madaris; singular., madrasa—with each branch of the Islamic faith having its own chain of such institutions. This notion would exclude certain institutions (in Southeast Asia) apparently misusing the name of the madrasa for purposes other than religious. In essence different from those latter, the academically oriented madrasa of our days understands itself as an heir to the medieval college, and to the industrious spirit and the tradition of fourteen hundred years of Islamic learning.

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Sebastian Günther

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