The ‘Islamic’ in Islamic Education: Assessing the Discourse

By Mr Farid Panjwani

This is an edited version of an article which was originally published in Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teacher College, Columbia University, Vol. 7(1), online at:

The paper assesses the dominant discourse on Islam and education that argues for an education derived from an exclusively ‘Islamic’ vision. In addition to exploring the historical roots of this discourse, the paper analyses it with respect to its (i) arguments for an Islamic vision of education, (ii) conception of Islam, and (iii) proposals for the implementation of such a vision. The paper argues that, at all three levels, the discourse suffers from serious conceptual, empirical and pragmatic weaknesses. It proposes that in seeking to overcome these weaknesses, the discourse will have to reconceptualise several elements, including its conception of Islam and its approach to the history of Muslims.

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