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Madrasa

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Madrasa

    Arabic madrasah. Establishment of learning where the Islamic sciences are taught; a college for higher studies. During the tenth and eleventh centuries the madrasa was devoted primarily to teaching law; the other Islamic sciences and philosophical subjects were optionally taught. At earlier stages instruction in the madrasa was linked with the mosque. With the advent of colonialism in Muslim countries, the introduction of Western curricula and teaching, and subsequent independence movements, madrasas experienced tremendous changes, varying throughout the Muslim world. In Turkey, most madrasas (medreses) were closed and state schools opened; at al-Azhar, secular faculties were introduced. After the introduction of a Western-influenced education system in Iran, the maktab or Quranic school declined; not until after the Iranian revolution ( 1979 ) did hozeh (religious schools) experience a revival. While originally the madrasa was contrasted with the kuttab or maktab, the children's schools in the Middle East, currently the term madrasa is sometimes used for establishments for elementary or secondary education, or any schools below university level for Quranic teaching. In recent years a significant Muslim migration from the Indian subcontinent to England, from North Africa to France, and from Turkey to Germany has been accompanied by the establishment of Muslim religious schools called madrasas for the European-born children of Muslim immigrants.

    See also Education: Educational Institutions

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