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Being Muslim in South AsiaDiversity and Daily Life$
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Robin Jeffrey and Sen Ronojoy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092063.001.0001

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‘Ilm and the Individual

‘Ilm and the Individual

Religious Education and Religious Ideas in Pakistan

Chapter:
(p.161) Chapter Eight ‘Ilm and the Individual
Source:
Being Muslim in South Asia
Author(s):

Matthew J. Nelson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092063.003.0008

Scholars with an interest in the formation of religious ideas in Pakistan—including, especially, ideas about the management of sectarian and doctrinal difference—often stress the role of educational institutions. This largely conceptual chapter uses an account of various educational institutions (both state and non-state) to move away from an ‘institutional’ emphasis in favour of an appreciation for the ideational autonomy of Muslim ‘individuals’. I argue that doctrinal expression should be seen as partly demand-driven, drawing attention to the ways in which individuals cobble together their own ideas from cross-cutting educational influences. I draw on a truncated history of educational options in South Asia as well as numerous interviews conducted in Pakistan. My argument challenges prevailing approaches to the formation of religious-cum-political ideas, moving away from an emphasis on the discursive parameters of Islam or the determinative influence of formal institutions toward a deeper appreciation for the relative autonomy of individual Muslim agents.

Keywords:   Pakistan, education, religious education, schools, acquisition of beliefs, religious ideas

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