Bastions of the Believers: Madrasas and Islamic Education in India

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Item Code: IDF043
Author: Yoginder Sikand
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 9780144000203
Pages: 395
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.8" X 5.1"
Weight 300 gm
Book Description
From the Jacket :

The emergence of radical Islamist movements in various parts of the world, the rise and fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the 9/11 attacks, widespread vilification spearheaded by Hindutva groups - all these and more have made madrasas a much talked about institution. Focusing on the madrass of India, Bastions of the Believers seeks to critically interrogate sensationalist and stereotypical images of the madrasas by highlighting their diversity and the complex social roles that they play in the lives of many Muslims.

Madrasas, as a rule, represent a conservative form of theology and jurisprudence that is, in many ways, ill-suited to a modern, pluralistic society. Much of what is taught in madrasas is outdated and unscientific (the Deoband madrasa, for instance, still insists that the sun revolves around the earth, and it has special seating arrangements for invisible jinns). Yet, obscurantism need not necessarily lead to militancy and hostility against others. For instance, in the decades leading to India's independence, the Deobandis, representing an extreme form of religious conservatism, insisted on Hindu-Muslim amity and a joint struggle for a free and united India. It is this integrated view of madrasas and a more liberal and open understanding of Islam, and indeed of all faiths, which Yoginder Sikand seeks to promote-for he believes this is one of the principal duties confronting committed believers if we have to learn to live together despite our differences.

Bastions of the Believers covers a wide range of thought-provoking issues-from the origins and development of the institution to critiques of madrasa curricula and the alleged links between madrasas and Islamist militancy-making this a must-read for all those interested in creating and preserving a just social order.

About the Author:

Yoginder Sikand did his M.Phil. in sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and his Ph.D. in history from the University of London. He completed his post-doctoral work on 'Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations in Contemporary India' at the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden, the Netherlands. He has written several articles on Islam and Muslims in contemporary India and has previously published Sacred Spaces: Exploring Traditions of Shared Faith in India (Penguin, 2003) and Muslims in India since 1947: Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations (Routledge Curzon, 2004).

He is currently a freelance researcher based in Bangalore.


Foreword by Francis Robinsonix
1.'ILM and Islam: The Early Islamic Scholarly Tradition1
2.Madrasas in India: Historical Evolution32
3.Madrasas in Independent India93
4.Madrasas and the Agenda of Reform140
5.Reformed Madrasas and New Form of Islamic Education194
6.Madrasas and Militancy224

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