Scholars of Faith: South Asian Women and the Embodiment of Religious Knowledge

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Scholars of Faith

South Asian Muslim Women and the Embodiment of Religious Knowledge

Usha Sanyal

Since the late twentieth century, new institutions of Islamic learning for South Asian women and girls have emerged rapidly, particularly in urban areas and in the diaspora. This book reflects upon the increased access of Muslim girls and women to religious education and the purposes to which they seek to put their learning.

Scholars of Faith is based on ethnographic fieldwork in two institutions of religious learning: the Jami'a Nur madrasa in Shahjahanpur, North India, and Al-Huda International, an NGO that offers online courses on Islam, especially the Qur'an. In this monograph, Sanyal argues that Islamic religious education in the early twenty-first century — particularly for women — is thoroughly 'modern' and that this modernity, reflected in both old and new interpretations of religious texts, allows young South Asian women to evaluate their place in traditional structures of patriarchal authority in the public and private spheres in novel ways.