Ware, Rudolph T. III.: The walking Qur'an: Islamic education, embodied knowledge, and history in West Africa

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Author: S.A. Harmon
Date: Feb. 2015
Publisher: American Library Association CHOICE
Document Type: Book review; Brief article
Length: 255 words
Lexile Measure: 1350L

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Ware, Rudolph T, III., The walking Qur'an: Islamic education, embodied knowledge, and history in West Africa. North Carolina, 2014. 330p bibl Index afp ISBN 9781469614311 pbk, $32.95; ISBN 9781469614328 ebook, $29.99



2013-51122 CIP

In this important book on Islamic education in West Africa, especially Senegambia, Ware (Michigan) argues that traditional Quranic education is based on the principle of "embodied knowledge," which is rooted in rote memorization of scripture--the "walking Qur'an." He discusses early Islamic methods of learning, claiming the embodied knowledge tradition has roots in medieval Islamic education in the Middle East as well as in West Africa. The author explains how this tradition of embodied knowledge was abandoned in the Islamic heartlands and challenged in colonial Senegambia, and partially replaced with forms of pedagogy that were products of the European Enlightenment. Ware notes the contradiction between the adoption of modernist European educational methods by the Salafists, who otherwise claimed to be restoring a pure form of Islam uncluttered by innovation. By linking the still-persisting Senegambian practice of embodied knowledge with classical Islamic tradition, he questions the assault on "traditional" forms of Islamic education in Senegambia perpetrated by French authorities as well as by reformist Muslims influenced by Salafism, which saw West African Islam as rudimentary, primitive, and needing to be replaced by modern methods of instruction. Nevertheless, traditional forms of Islamic education survive and thrive in West Africa, even as they have been abandoned in much of the Islamic world. Summing Up: *** Highly recommended. Graduate students/faculty.--S. A. Harmon, Pittsburg State University

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A416400946