Teaching Classic Islamic Texts in Modern Settings: The In-Class Struggle
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An assumption is often made that there is a link between extremism and the study of some classical Islamic texts. This article examines that claim by exploring the influence of classical Islamic texts on the extreme behaviour of Muslim students. Analysing the journals of twelve American Muslim students, wherein they recorded their responses to selected authentic texts, this study unexpectedly finds that the active thinking of 60 percent of the students was not significantly stimulated after studying these texts. The 40 percent of students who were stimulated were those who had pre-existing knowledge and experiences developed within Western educational and intellectual traditions rather than Islamic traditions. Thus, it would appear that much of the contemporary criticism of classical texts is in fact misplaced—any text can work remarkably well given the proper methods of teaching and environment. Criticism, if any, should be levelled at the broader, specific political and/or intellectual ferment within which texts are positioned.
- 2018 - Volume 35 - Issue 2 [6 items ]