Cover

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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraphs

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Contents

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Figures, Illustrations, and Map

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Note on Transliteration and Translation

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p. xi

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Prologue: Inside Madrasas

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pp. 1-12

One spring morning a few years ago, I walked through the town of Deoband, home to India’s most famous Sunni Muslim seminary. A clean-shaven man, his face glowing with sarcasm, called out to me. “Looking for terrorists?” he asked in Urdu. Swiftly and instinctively I protested...

Part I. Lived Experience

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1. A Novice

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pp. 15-30

Mumbai, still known as Bombay in 1975, was a bewildering city for an eighteen-year-old young adult from Cape Town, South Africa. Nothing prepared me for the intimidating throng of beggars and street urchins outside the airport, the countless people sleeping on sidewalks, and the...

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2. Wake, Wash, Pray

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pp. 31-46

Wednesday, April 23, 1975: “The start of our four months in India. We slept after reading two rakʿas [formal Muslim prayers]. After fajr [predawn prayers] and ishraq [optional after-sunrise prayers] we slept again. This was at Khar mosque in Bandra, Bombay...

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3. Becoming Scholars

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pp. 47-74

In January of 2011, there was an international media buzz about Darul Uloom Deoband in North India, the first campus of the Deoband movement, which was established in 1867. The buzz arose because Mawlana Ghulam Vastanvi was appointed vice-chancellor (or president) of this influential...

Part II. History and Contexts

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4. Birth of the Contemporary Madrasa

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pp. 77-107

“Whoever resides in India and ties the sacramental robes of learning will inevitably head for the Farangi Mahall,” the noted scholar and historian Shibli Nuʿmani writes romantically after a visit to the great North Indian city of Lucknow in 1896. “When I paid a visit to the shrine of Mulla...

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5. Texts and Authors

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pp. 108-121

In the course of one day, a student would read a grammar text authored by an Egyptian author of the seventeenth century, a logic text written by an Indian author in the eighteenth century, and a book on prophetic traditions prepared by a central Asian scholar in the ninth century...

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6. From a Republic of Letters to a Republic of Piety

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pp. 122-142

The eighteenth-century scholar Mulla Nizamuddin did far more than just provide a curriculum to train Muslim scholars in colonial India. He reinvigorated a learned community, and his efforts birthed, for modern India, a new iteration of what I call a Muslim Republic of Letters...

Part III. Politics of Knowledge

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7. Preserving the Prophet’s Legacy

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pp. 145-175

Mufti Muhammad Taqi ʿUsmani is a distinguished traditional Pakistani scholar affiliated to the Deoband school in Pakistan. Like his equally renowned father, Mufti Muhammad Shafiʿ, Taqi ʿUsmani is a mufti, an expert authorized to issue scholarly opinions (fatwas) on matters related...

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8. Believe, Learn, Know

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pp. 176-204

“Come in; sit down. It has been a long time.” Mawlana ʿAbdul Khaliq Madrasi welcomes me with a broad smile after I briefly introduce myself and jog his memory with names of my cohort.1 I came unannounced to Deoband, where he is now a deputy vice-chancellor at the...

Part IV. Madrasas in Global Context

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9. Talking about Madrasas

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pp. 207-218

In the twenty-first century Western imaginary, countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran, and perhaps most Muslim majority countries, are viewed as the iconic symbols of Muslim otherness. As a people, according to this imaginary that is sustained by some sectors of scholarship...

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10. The Future of Madrasas

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pp. 219-232

In a meditation titled “Education: Old and New,” comparing madrasa education with modern education, the literary-minded genius and proinnovation traditionalist thinker Shibli Nuʿmani (d. 1914) poses the following questions. “Are one of these two systems superfluous?” “Are these...

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11. Letter to Policy Makers

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pp. 233-240

Often policy makers execute decisions based on media impressions or faulty intelligence reports. If I were to explain the role of the madrasas in Muslim religious life and advise the president of the United States and members of the U.S. Congress or any government around the world...

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12. Letters to My Teachers

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pp. 241-249

Almost four decades ago, I landed on the shores of India, a wonder-struck youth from South Africa in search of the truths of Islam. I stubbornly shunned South African universities offering Islamic studies. I decried them as inauthentic, a view I would come to reconsider years later...

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Epilogue

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pp. 250-254

South Asia’s madrasa tradition presents potential opportunities for a serious renewal of religious scholarship, if such a moment is seized. For if serious reforms are not implemented then I fear the negative features of the current madrasa system will at some point in the future reach...

Glossary

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pp. 255-258

Notes

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pp. 259-268

Bibliography

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pp. 269-276

Acknowledgments

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pp. 277-278

Index

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pp. 279-290

Other Works in the Series

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