What is a Madrasa? By Professor Ebrahim Moosa: Book Review

hāroonsidāt

In The Name of God, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful

What is a Madrasa?

By Professor Ebrahim Moosa

Review by Haroon Ibn Ebrahim Sidat

Given the context of spurious accusations of links to terrorism and the “us versus them” dynamic being played out in the West, this is a rare contribution from an “insider,” as it were, of madrasas in South Asia. Moosa challenges sensationalist stereotypical narratives by providing a nuanced and richly textured account of the place and importance of madrasas in Islam both historically and in the contemporary moment. Madrasas refer to the institutions of higher lslamic learning in South Asia and are equivalent to seminaries, where religious functionaries and experts in Islamic law and theology are trained. Blending with his own life experiences, Moosa lays bare his objective at the outset; the book “is a primer about the role madrasas play in the cultural, intellectual, and…

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