Item Details

Guides to Faith: Conscriptionist Education and Islamic Thought

Issue: Vol 12 No. 1-2 (2016) Special Issue: Muslim Women, Activism, and Contexts of Religious Authority

Journal: Comparative Islamic Studies

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Islamic Studies

DOI: 10.1558/cis.36176


In this article, I examine how the project of modern mass education conscripts and alters older understandings of knowledge, vocation, and politics in Islamic thought. First, I explore how reformist ʿulamāʾ such as Rifāʿa Rāfiʿ al-Ṭahṭāwī (1801–1873) and Muḥammad ʿAbduh (1849–1905) understood education as a universal human right and a moral, religious, and political obligation. I contrast these modern arguments with those of Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (1058–1111), who says that while all Muslims need to understand their faith, only the few who will serve as religious authorities need to spend many years in formal study. I contrast these two to show how understandings of the self and the community have changed subject to progressive power.

Author: Timothy Gutmann

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