Dr Jawad Qureshi: Islamic Studies as a Practice

Madrasah Conference

This paper contributes to discussions on questions of method involved in Islamic Studies and builds on the work of Talal Asad and Alasdair MacIntyre in conceiving of Islam as a discursive tradition. My argument is that the mode of studying the Islamic sciences as carried out in the madrasas and traditional study circles represents a distinct practice. The conception of practice that I draw on explicitly is that of MacIntyre from his After Virtue, and using the writings of Asad I explore some of the dimensions of this practice, focusing on embodiment and the sense of self that is cultivated thereby. In the second half of the paper, I turn to the Modern Academic study of religion, Islam in particular. While scholarship has characterized the Orientalist enterprise in a variety of ways, in this paper I argue that Orientalism, like the practice of Islam in the madrasas, too is a practice. As a practice, the Modern Academic study of Islam has distinct forms of embodiment and senses of self that it seeks to cultivate vis-à-vis its object of study. Thinking along with MacIntyre, I explore distinct ways in which the modern academic study of Islam presents a challenge to (and is challenged by) the practice of Islam in the madrasas.

Keep up to date with our work

You're now subscribed
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By clicking Sign Up you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.