ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Arshad AlamSubscribe to Arshad Alam

Orientalism and Refashioning of Muslim Selves

Who Is a Muslim? Orientalism and Literary Populisms by Maryam Wasif Khan, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2021; pp x + 257, `995 (hardcover).

Contextualising Muslim Identity: Ansaris, Deobandis, Barelwis

This paper argues against a monolithic, essentialised reading of the Indian Muslim identity. Drawing from research in Mubarakpur, Azamgarh, it highlights the various schisms within the Muslim identity. Telling the story of identity through the eyes of lower caste Muslims, the paper shows that caste, class and maslaki affiliations remain important markers of identity within Muslim society. The very notion of "Islamic identity" is itself a matter of fierce interpretative debate among the Muslims. Drawing on evidence from madrasas, the paper argues that the "other" within the madrasa is not a Hindu but a fellow Muslim from another maslak.

Science in Madrasas

In an effort to bring madrasa students into the educational mainstream, madrasas are being encouraged to introduce more modern subjects, such as science, into their curricula. But as this article argues, debates over the introduction of modern subjects in madrasas have been unable to appreciate the essential dichotomy between 'ilm' and 'fann', the twin strands of knowledge around which madrasa education is based. Other kinds of knowledge, including science, are thus, simply considered as 'add-ons' to this core knowledge. What is absent is even an attempt to synthesise diverse knowledge strands.

Understanding Madrasas

The modern madrasas established during colonial times aimed to guard the private sphere of Muslims from modernist intrusions and within the private sphere they engaged in hegemonic representation of the Muslim masses. Contemporary madrasas continue to use the colonial dichotomy of public and private spheres to resist state intrusions in their pursuit of a particular kind of religious education. Introducing modern education in madrasas would defeat their very purpose.

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