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Expressing Post-Secular Citizenship

A Madrasa, an Ethic and a Comprehensive Doctrine

Zahraa McDonald

According to Habermas, the contemporary public sphere is post-secular. In other words, the continuing presence of religious communities within a secular society is indisputable. However, the significance of this is not entirely clear, despite intensive discussion by social scientists, journalists, policymakers and politicians regarding the role of religion in the public sphere. Understanding contemporary religious phenomena requires serious academic and public engagement.
Drawing on theoretical approaches from sociology (Max Weber), philosophy (John Rawls) and religious studies (Abdulkader Tayob), this book analyses empirical data from the study of a madrasa in South Africa in order to explore the important question of how individuals may engage in the public sphere as members of religious communities.
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Chapter Four: Madrasa Warda: An association of the Deobandi education movement



Madrasa Warda: An association of the Deobandi education movement

4.1  Introduction

Chapter One asserts that individuals’ engagement in the public sphere as members of religious communities could be conceptualised drawing on John Rawls’s construct of comprehensive doctrines. The framework developed in Chapter Two suggests that Islamic education at Deobandi institutions would contribute to a comprehensive doctrine if it established a religious ethic in a Weberian sense. Chapter Three applied this framework to literature on the Deobandi education movement, finding that a religious ethic is established within associated institutions. Literature presented in Chapter Three, following the framework in Chapter Two, further reveals that the doctrine on which a religious ethic is premised is not one dimensional. In particular, while canonical, dogmatic and vernacular writings are essential for establishing a religious ethic, all individuals that comply to behaviour patterns associated with the ethic do not engage with all related texts to the same extent. Indications are that textual engagement corresponds to the religious education institution attended. In the following chapters empirical data is presented seeking to unpack the relationship between textual engagement, religious education institutions and the religious ethic.

The primary aim of this chapter is to introduce Madrasa Warda, discussing the history and nature of the institution. The chapter comprises an introduction to the major stakeholders and curriculum. The data affirms associations with the Deobandi education movement. The chapter argues ← 53 | 54 → that despite the addition of secular education, saving the...

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