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Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd's philosophy on Islam and education

Katharina Völker

pp. 17-28

This essay explores the philosophical thought of Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd and its significance for reforming the tasks and processes of learning about Islam, learning from Islam and teaching about Islam. A brief biography introduces Abu Zayd, his intellectual context as well as his major works. The second section leads through exemplary Muslim attempts at reformation within the field of education. This is followed by Abu Zayd's philosophical efforts in the reform debate. The fourth part shows how Abu Zayd bases his reform project on the central notion of the human character of the Quran, and the application of educational hermeneutics. Here we see how Abu Zayd's concepts cater for a student-oriented hermeneutic instruction of religion that promotes competence-oriented learning. A pedagogy informed by Abu Zayd's philosophy will enhance student empowerment and self-responsibility, equipping the youth to shape their socio-political surrounding. Given the concrete challenge for the state to provide Islam education to millions of Muslims currently living in Germany, Abu Zayd's vision can assist in crafting a curriculum that provides both educational content and method. By rejecting the possibility of absolute religious truths, Abu Zayd's hermeneutic opens the door for respectful inter-religious and inter-denominational learning. The final thoughts of this chapter reflect on Abu Zayd's contribution to current Muslim scholarship.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-72761-5_3

Full citation:

Völker, K. (2018)., Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd's philosophy on Islam and education, in P. Smeyers (ed.), International handbook of philosophy of education, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 17-28.

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