Challenges in higher education and the role of Muslim cultures and civilisations in developing a new paradigm in education

Marodsilton Muborakshoeva


This paper explores the challenges modern Muslim scholars face when acquiring and producing knowledge and when thinking about what they can borrow and revive from the educational approaches of Muslim scholars of the Middle Ages in order to come up with a new paradigm of learning in education. Some of these challenges are the gaps between secular and religious education, marginalisation of various types of learning and the dominance of one mode of learning - especially the dominance of western-based epistemology and ethical principles in education, struggling to choose between competing and often contradictory paradigms, not knowing much about one’s own cultural and civilizational legacy and what it could offer to resolve these issues, etc. Some scholars started researching these challenges, yet it is very rare that a combined library research and field work is conducted to examine such issues. In this research, drawing on the analysis of relevant literature and qualitative interviews conducted with prominent scholars, we aim to shed light on some of these challenges and provide solutions to them. The seriousness of these challenges and searching for ways to resolve them compels us to look back and critically examine what educational approaches were used by Muslim scholars and pedagogues in the Middle Ages and what happened to those approaches in the modern times. Critical examination of such legacy is very important so that we avoid the temptation of just regurgitating those achievements in terms of Muslims’ world view about education and epistemology in the past and creatively revive those according to the needs of modern times.


Islamic legacy; epistemology; knowledge acquisition; modes of learning; ethical principles and values

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