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Religious Education and the Rhetoric of Reform: The Madrasa in British India and Pakistan

  • Muhammad Qasim Zaman (a1)
    • Published online: 01 April 1999

The madrasa is one of the many institutions which have seen recurrent attempts at reform in Muslim societies during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since the eleventh century, when it first emerged as the principal institution of higher Islamic learning, the madrasa has undergone many changes, adapting in varying degrees to local cultures and changing times.On the madrasa in medieval Islam, see George Makdisi, The Rise of Colleges (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981); Jonathan Berkey, The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo: A Social History of Islamic Education (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992); Michael Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus 1190–1350 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). Given the centrality of this institution in the preservation and production of knowledge as well as in the formation of the religious elite, the madrasa is crucial to the construction of religious authority. Profound changes in Muslim societies in modern times have not necessarily marginalized this institution, but such changes have frequently raised questions about the position and function of the madrasa in society and of the ‘ulama reared in it, about whether this institution ought to be reformed, and if so, to what end, how, and by whom.

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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