The Equilibrium of Islamic Education: Has Muslim Women's Education Preserved the Religion?
Barazangi, Nimat Hafez
I focus on issues of equilibrium in Muslim women's education to understand the tension between the ideals and practice and its ramifications for Islamic and Muslims' education in the United States. I argue that one maintainer of Muslim women's low effectiveness, perpetuated across new generations of Muslims, is the general perception that women are the preservers of culture and religion by proxy. The issue before us: How is it possible for a morally dependent individual to instill the character of autonomous spiritual and intellectual Muslim who can integrate effectively in a "pluralistic" society? In addition to the various degrees of perceptions and misconceptions about Islam, religious tolerance and Multiculturalism, the problem is mainly of perceiving women, particularly Muslim women as morally dependent and, hence, socially and politically irrelevant or non-central to issues of Islamic education. With the exception of few, the majority of Muslim women are neither involved in the educational decsion-making of the Muslim community nor of this nation. Often perceived as preservers of customary practices instead of agents of cultural change and contributors to inter-cultural understanding, Muslim women and their Islamic higher learning has been marginalized.
Copyright 1998, Nimat Hafez Barazangi. This is a pre-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in the edited journal Religion and Education following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available through Religion and Education: http://fp.uni.edu/jrae/islamicissuetoc.htm. See also: http://www.eself-learning-arabic.cornell.edu/publications.htm#2
Religion And Education
Equilibrium in Islamic education; Ideals and parctice; Moral autonomy; Pluralistic education
Previously Published As
Religion And Education, 25, 1 & 2, (Winter 1998), 5-19