Addressing the rupture between religious and social sciences in Arab universities, this book provides a critical assessment of the curricula of Shariah and Islamic Studies departments across the Arab World, arguing for increased interdisciplinary dialogue.

Based on over 250 interviews with university students and teachers, this study is the sum of five years of field research observing the curricula and teaching styles of colleges in the Shariah sciences. The author provides critical insight into these curricula by focusing on case studies in Lebanon and Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait and Qatar, and in Malaysia. In doing so, the book aims to answer the following questions:

  • What is the aim of religious education?
  • Does it aim to create people who specialize solely in religious affairs, or does it aim to form the student according to a comprehensive human framework?
  • What is the nature of the relationship between the social sciences and the Shariah sciences?

The book concludes by examining three pioneering institutions which have introduced alternative curricula in teaching Shariah studies.

The book has wide geographic and ideological coverage, and will appeal to university students, academics, and policy analysts working across a range of disciplines, including the philosophy of knowledge, Islamic law and education, and sociology.

chapter |11 pages


part I|113 pages

Theoretical Approaches and Contexts

chapter 1|34 pages

Shariah Education

Its History, Crisis and Approaches

chapter 2|52 pages

The Arab Religious Field

chapter 3|25 pages

The Islamization of Knowledge

Appraisal and Alternative

part II|97 pages

Curricula of Shariah Programs in the Arab World

chapter 4|24 pages

Curricula of Shariah Programs in Lebanon

Dominance of the Traditionalist Tendency

chapter 5|21 pages

Shariah Education in Jordan

Traditionalism in a Complicated Religious Field

chapter 6|18 pages

University Shariah Education in Kuwait

Dominance of the Salafi Approach

chapter 7|32 pages

Curricula of Shariah Programs and Islamic Studies in Morocco

Maqasid al-Shariah Approach

part III|43 pages

Alternative Models

chapter 8|19 pages

Reviving the Ethical in the Shariah Sciences

The Case of the College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University

chapter 9|22 pages

From Streamlining to Mainstreaming “Islamization of Knowledge”

The Case of the International Islamic University of Malaysia

part IV|31 pages

Reality, Rupture and Alternative

chapter 10|14 pages

Problems Shared by Shariah Colleges

chapter |15 pages


Towards Methodological Alternatives in Connecting the Shariah Sciences to the Social Sciences