The Moral Economy of the Madrasa: Islam and Education Today, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Moral Economy of the Madrasa

Islam and Education Today, 1st Edition

Edited by Keiko Sakurai, Fariba Adelkhah


164 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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The revival of madrasas in the 1980s coincided with the rise of political Islam and soon became associated with the "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West. This volume examines the rapid expansion of madrasas across Asia and the Middle East and analyses their role in society within their local, national and global context.

Based on anthropological investigations in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, and Pakistan, the chapters take a new approach to the issue, examining the recent phenomenon of women in madrasas; Hui Muslims in China; relations between the Iran’s Shia seminary after the 1979-Islamic revolution and Shia in Pakistan and Afghanistan; and South Asian madrasas. Emphasis is placed on the increased presence of women in these institutions, and the reciprocal interactions between secular and religious schools in those countries. Taking into account social, political and demographic changes within the region, the authors show how madrasas have been successful in responding to the educational demand of the people and how they have been modernized their style to cope with a changing environment.

A timely contribution to a subject with great international appeal, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of international politics, political Islam, Middle East and Asian studies and anthropology.


"The participants of this collection artfully bring together dimensions of madrasa schooling through a vigorous gathering of historical, statistical, and qualitative data." - Charis Boutieri, Kings College London; Journal of International and Global Studies

"The authors have made an admirable, and for the most part effective, attempt to explore facets of Islamic education that other studies have typically overlooked." - Brannon D. Ingram; Cont Islam 7:263–266 (2013).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Moral Economy of the Madrasa: Islam and Education Today Fariba Adelkhah and Keiko Sakurai 2. The Rise of the New Madrasas and the Decline of Tribal Leadership in FATA, Pakistan So Yamane 3. Women’s Empowerment and Iranian-style Seminaries in Iran and Pakistan Keiko Sakurai 4. Contested Notions of being 'Muslim': Madrasas, Ulama and the Authenticity of Islamic Schooling in Bangladesh Humayan Kabir 5. Islamic Education in China: The Challenge of Educating Hui Women Masumi Matsumoto and Atsuko Shimbo 6. Religious Dependency in Afghanistan: Shia Madrasas as a Religious Mode of Social Assertion? Fariba Adelkhah 7. Epilogue Dale F. Eickelman

About the Author/Editors

Keiko Sakurai is Professor in the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda University, Tokyo. The author of two books on Iran and a book on the Shia, her major interest lies in the analysis of the social change in contemporary Iran, with the special focus on the role of education.

Fariba Adelkhah is Senior Research Fellow at Sciences Po in Paris. An anthropologist, her main research interests focus on the relationships and interplay between social changes and political transformations throughout the second half of the 20th century in Iran. She has written a number of books on Islam and Iran, and her current research deals with the Iranian Diaspora.

About the Series

New Horizons in Islamic Studies

The series New Horizons in Islamic Studies presents the fruitful results of Islamic Area Studies Project conducted in Japan during the years 1997-2001. The readers will find multifarious, useful achievements gained through international joint research with high technology of geographic information system about Islamic religion and civilization, particularly emphasizing comparative and historical approaches.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Education
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies