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Faithful Education

Madrassahs in South Asia

Ali Riaz

Publication Year: 2008

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, discussions on ties between Islamic religious education institutions, namely madrassahs, and transnational terrorist groups have featured prominently in the Western media. In the frenzied coverage of events, however, vital questions have been overlooked: What do we know about the madrassahs? Should Western policy-makers be alarmed by the recent increase in the number of these institutions in Muslim countries? Is there any connection between them and the "global jihad"? Ali Riaz responds to these questions through an in-depth examination of the madrassahs in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. The first book to examine these institutions and their roles in relation to current international politics, Faithful Education will be of interest to policy-makers, researchers, political analysts, and media-pundits. It will also be important reading for undergraduate and graduate students of political science, international affairs, history, South Asian studies, religious studies, and journalism.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

List of Maps and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

This book is the result of a long journey––intellectual, temporal, and spatial. It took so many years and so many conversations to gather data and write this book that it is not easy to remember all the individuals who contributed to its content; neither is it possible to recount all the events through which information has been gathered and my ideas have been shaped. From digging...

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Introduction. Why Study Madrassahs?: Understanding the Importance of Islamic Seminaries

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pp. 1-19

Educational institutions called madrassahs have been a feature of Muslim societies for centuries, yet the word madrassah was almost nonexistent in the Western lexicon, particularly in public discourse, until September 2001. After 9/11 the U.S. media took special interest in madrassahs, and referred to these institutions as citadels of militancy, or factories of jihad. In a very short...

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Chapter 1. Madrassahs: Little Known, Much Discussed

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pp. 20-51

Although none of the nineteen hijackers who rammed passenger planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 came from Islamic educational institutions, media attention turned to madrassahs immediately after the terror attacks. The U.S. media insisted that Islamic religious schools were partly to blame, for they instill hatred in the minds of young people who ...

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Chapter 2. The Genesis and the Trajectories

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pp. 52-78

Educational systems do not emerge abruptly. It takes centuries for a system to appear, grow, spread, institutionalize, and thrive. This is particularly true of the madrassah education system, for three reasons: first, because of its intrinsic link to Islam—a universal religion that spread through various means to a vast area over hundreds of years. In the process there appeared many schools of ...

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Chapter 3. Pakistan: The Madrassah as a Mirror of Society

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pp. 79-115

The defining features of madrassahs in contemporary Pakistan are their close connections with political activism, their transformation into institutions of indoctrination from predominantly educational institutions, and their inter-play with national and international politics. An intimate relationship between madrassahs and politics is not new in South Asia, as the history of madrassah...

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Chapter 4. Bangladesh: A Tale of Two Systems

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pp. 116-161

Madrassahs have been in existence in Bangladesh for a long time. As discussed in chapter 2, Islamic educational institutions began to emerge with the arrival of Sufis and saints, perhaps as early as eighth century, but the invasion of Ikhtiyar bin Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1197 paved the way for institutionalization of madrassahs. Since then madrassahs have become part of the educational ...

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Chapter 5. India: Diversity and Changes in Madrassahs

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pp. 162-189

The region that constitutes present-day India was the heartland of Muslim revivalism during colonial rule (1757–1947). One of the key institutions that contributed to this revivalism was the madrassah. The fountainhead of one of the most discussed strands of madrassah education, the Deobandi tradition, began and is still located in Uttar Pradesh, India. Nearby, the Darul Uloom ...

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Chapter 6: Reforming Madrassahs

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pp. 190-221

In recent years, reform has become one of the central elements of discussion concerning madrassahs. Media analyses and policy discourses, especially in the West, present a simple and linear equation—the problem is security threats, the causes are the madrassahs, and reform is the panacea. Whether or not they subscribe to this perceived causal relationship, governments and civil societies...

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Chapter 7. Where To?

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pp. 222-226

Four major issues have emerged out of the discussion on madrassahs in general and particularly the South Asian madrassahs: transmission of religious knowledge to the next generation, addressing the problems of curricula, stemming the proliferation of unregulated madrassahs, and decoupling the nexus of madrassahs and militancy. These four issues dominate the madrassah scene ...

Notes

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pp. 227-258

Bibliography

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pp. 259-278

Index

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pp. 279-289

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About the Author

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p. 291-291

Ali Riaz is a professor and chair of the department of politics and government at Illinois State University. He previously taught at universities in Bangladesh and England, and worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London. His publications include Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web (2008), Paradise Lost? State Failure in Nepal (with Subho Basu, 2007), ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780813545622
E-ISBN-10: 0813545625
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813543451
Print-ISBN-10: 0813543452

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 1 map
Publication Year: 2008

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Subject Headings

  • Madrasahs -- South Asia.
  • Islamic religious education -- South Asia.
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