A Cultural Overview of Islam and Education

Authored by: Nagwa M. Megahed

Handbook of Asian Education

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  November  2010

Print ISBN: 9780805864458
eBook ISBN: 9780203816318
Adobe ISBN: 9781136721298

10.4324/9780203816318.ch17

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Abstract

Islam emerged in the seventh century in the Arabian Peninsula in Asia. Based on the revealed message (the Qur’an) and the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (Sunnah andHadith), “Islamic” traditions were constructed in the heart of the Arab tribes’ culture but they also “transformed the politics, economy, and culture of both Arabia and a vast geographic area extending from Morocco and Spain to the islands of Southeast Asia” (Smithsonian Institution 2002, 6). The revealed religious text legacy has engendered interpretations, directed actions, and created civilizations among and across nations where Muslims have resided as the majority or minority of the population. Over the centuries, movements for “Islamic” revivalism were undertaken to purify Islam from what were perceived by leaders and advocates of such movements to be false versions or misinterpretations of “Islamic” teachings. 1 Along the road, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have chosen a position whether to defend, to understand and tolerate, or to attack some of the “Islamic” traditions and practices; issues of concern (e.g., the meaning of jihad) have varied by contexts and eras. 2 In most cases, the social construction of realities and the cultures of the Muslim world in the context of national and international political and economic dynamics was undermined in the search for a monolithic viewpoint that intended to be either against or with Islam.

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