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Islamization of Disciplines: Towards an indigenous educational system

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The past two decades has witnessed the mushrooming of Islamic schools in Europe, the United States and South Africa. Initially these schools were concerned essentially with providing an Islamic ethos for learners. More recently, however, they have begun to focus on the process of Islamization. The Islamization project was initiated in the United States by Muslim academics including Isma’il al-Faruqi, Syed Husain Nasr and Fazlur Rahman as a response to the secularisation of Muslim society, including its educational insitutions. In essence Islamization means including Islamic disciplines in the curriculum, providing an Islamic perspective on issues in the syllabi and locating, where possible, secularized disciplines within the Islamic weltanschauung. Six international conferences have been held to date at different locations in the Muslim World. The first five generated conceptual papers on the Islamic approach to knowledge and education and inspired academics to write research papers on their disciplines from an Islamic perspective. Most of these have been published in the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. The three universities which were established to drive the process have had varying degrees of success. The sixth conference which was held in South Africa took the form of workshops where South African teachers and international academics were brought together to generate Islamised syllabi for the major school disciplines. This article attempts to explain the rationale for Islamic schools and their attempts at Islamization of disciplines. In my view, this is an important development in the context of demands for the revival of indigenous knowledge systems.

Keywords: Islamic ethos; Islamization; Muslim education; South Africa; indigenous knowledge systems

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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