Fazlur Rahman, Islamic Philosophy of Education and the Islamisation of Knowledge

  • Yusef WaghidEmail author
  • Nuraan Davids
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Scholars of Islamic Philosophy of Education widely consider Fazlur Rahman (1919–1988) as one of the most distinguished Muslim philosophers of the twentieth century. His most well-known works include Avicenna’s Psychology (1949), Prophecy in Islam: Philosophy and Orthodoxy (1979a), Islamic Methodology in History (1965), Major Themes of the Qur’an (1980), and Islam and Modernity (1982) – which offer significant insights into his theories on education. Fazlur Rahman is probably best known for his thesis on an Islamisation of knowledge, which has provided a significant contribution to his understanding of an Islamic philosophy of education. Proponents of an Islamisation of knowledge consider it as a counter response to what is perceived as the influence of western secularism. In this respect, and from Rahman’s perspective, an Islamisation of knowledge is key to reform in Islamic education, and hence, to the Muslim community. This chapter, therefore, commences with an overview of Rahman’s thesis on Islamic philosophy of education, by paying particular attention to his contention for an Islamisation of knowledge. This is followed by a critique of Rahman’s Islamisation approach and concludes with a consideration of the implications for contemporary debates in philosophy of education.


Fazlur Rahman Islamisation of knowledge Islamic philosophy of education 


  1. Abushouk, A. I. (2008). World history from an Islamic perspective: The experience of the International Islamic University of Malaysia. In P. Manning (Ed.), Global practice in world history (pp. 39–52). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Attas, S. M. N. (1991). The concept of knowledge in Islam: A framework for an Islamic philosophy of education. Kuala Lumpur: The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation.Google Scholar
  3. Al-Attas, S. M. N. (1993). Islam and secularism. Kuala Lumpur: The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation.Google Scholar
  4. Al-Attas, S. M. N. (2005). Islam and secularism. Journal of Islamic Philosophy, 1, 11–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Al-Faruqi, I. R. (1982). Islamization of knowledge: The general principles and the workplan. Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought.Google Scholar
  6. Bakar, O. (2009). Religious reform and the controversy surrounding Islamisation in Malaysia. In S. F. Al-Attas (Ed.), Muslim reform in Southeast Asia: Perspectives from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore (pp. 31–45). Singapore: Muslim Ugama Islam Singapura.Google Scholar
  7. Halstead, J. M. (2004). An Islamic concept of education. Comparative Education, 40(4), 517–529. UK: University of Plymouth.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hashim, R. (1996). Educational dualism in Malaysia: Implications for theory and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hashim, R., & Rossidy, I. (2000). Islamization of knowledge: A comparative analysis of the conceptions of Al-Attas and Al-Faruqi. Intellectual Discourse, 8(1), 19–44.Google Scholar
  10. Hwang, J. C. (2008). Education and social cohesion in Malaysia and Indonesia. In B. S. Turner (Ed.), Religious diversity and civil society: A comparative analysis (pp. 143–166). Oxford: The Bardwell Press.Google Scholar
  11. Levers, L. Z. (2006). Ideology and change in Iranian education. In R. Griffin (Ed.), Education in the Muslim world: Different perspectives (pp. 149–190). Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  12. Rahman, F. (1949). Avicenna’s psychology. Oxford: University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  13. Rahman, F. (1965). Islamic methodology in history. Karachi: Central Institute of Islamic Research.Google Scholar
  14. Rahman, F. (1979a). Prophecy in Islam: Philosophy and orthodoxy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  15. Rahman, F. (1979b). Islam (2nd ed.). Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Rahman, F. (1980). Major themes of the Qur’an. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Rahman, F. (1982). Islam and modernity: Transformation of an intellectual tradition. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Rahman, F. (2011). Islamization of knowledge: A response. Islamic Studies, 50(3/4), 449–457.Google Scholar
  19. Shaw, K. (2006). Muslim education in the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia: Selected issues. In R. Griffin (Ed.), Education in the Muslim world: Different perspectives (pp. 26–41). Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  20. Waghid, Y., & Davids, N. (2016). Islamization and democratization of knowledge in post-colonial Muslim-oriented contexts. In N. A. Memon & M. Zaman (Eds.), Philosophies of Islamic education: Historical perspectives and emerging discourses (pp. 220–235). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Wan Daud, W. M. N. (1997). Islamization of contemporary knowledge: A brief comparison between al-Attas and Fazlur Rahman. Al-Shajarah: Journal of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), 2(1), 1–19.Google Scholar
  22. Wan Daud, W. M. N. (2009). Dewesternization and Islamization: Their epistemic framework and final purpose. Paper presented at the international conference on Islamic University Education, 27–30 September 2009, Kazan. Russia: Kazan.Google Scholar
  23. Zain, S., Ahmad, Z., Ismail, A. F., Salah, M., Mohamad, S. A., Hasbullah, N. F., & Toha, S. F. (2016). Development of integrated curriculum and teaching materials for science/engineering courses. Journal of Education and Social Sciences, 4(June), 18–25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education Policy StudiesStellenbosch UniversityCape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations