The jihadist threat has refocused attention on the content of religious teaching. How and where Muslims are trained

This article was published in Oasis 29. Read the table of contents

Last update: 2022-04-22 10:01:44

Cover of the biannual journal of the Oasis International Foundation, Year 15, No. 29, September 2019




Training Minds, not Policemen, Michele Brignone





A New Generation of Imams in Morocco, Salim Hmimnat

Beginning in 2005, the Maghrebi kingdom launched a programme for training religious guides. This evolved into the Muhammad Vi Institute for Teaching of Imams, Murshidīn and Murshidāt in 2015. Its objective is to fight extremism but it also constitutes an instrument of foreign policy.


The Reform of Al-Azhar's Textbooks: a Political Issue, Ahmad Wagih

With the rise of jihadist terrorism, politicians and intellectuals have pointed fingers at Cairo's mosque-university, which has been accused of spreading the germs of extremism through its teaching methods.


Islam as a School Subject, Ignazio de Francesco

Despite the advent of the web, analysing school textbooks is still highly instructive for seeking to understand how faith is passed on to young people. So argues Ignazio de Francesco, author of a study on the texts used to teach Islamic religious education in Jordan.


The Divine Reality: Goal of the Sufi Teaching, Alexandre Papas

Religious knowledge is a central feature of Islamic mysticism. "Classic" education is only one stage, however. True knowledge is the esoteric knowledge, acquired by following precise rules of conduct under the guidance of a spiritual master.


A Prophetic Method for Educating the Umma, Youssef Mounsif

Taking a personal reading of the Qur’an and the Sunna as his starting point, the Moroccan thinker ‘Abd al-Salām Yāsīn has developed a training programme with a dual purpose: individual spiritual improvement and accomplishment of the community of believers’ mission to bring Islam’s message to fulfilment on earth.


Past and Present in Shi‘ite Religious Schools, Alessandro Cancian

In Shi'ism, transmission of knowledge occurs principally through the hawza. This institution has changed over the centuries to become, now, a specialist centre for higher education marked by increasing internationalization.


Islamic Faculties in the Balkans: A Model for Europe?, Enes Karić

After 1992, the need for imams and persons qualified to teach Islam increased in the countries created by the breakup of Yugoslavia. Various centres of higher education were established to meet this need but, right from the moment of their foundation, they have had to reckon with the difficult reality of the war. Some of these institutions are now aiming to become a point of reference for Muslim communities in Western Europe as well.




It isn’t True Science if it isn’t Open to God, Michele Brignone


The Salvific Power of Knowledge, Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas 

The Islamic world has absorbed a purely utilitarian idea of knowledge from the West. Muslims must rethink the very concept of knowledge, taking an integral conception of the human being and his/her relation with God as their starting point.


The Umma’s Rebirth Begins in Universities, Ismail al-Faruqi

The causes of the Muslim world's decline are primarily intellectual in nature. If Muslims are to emerge from their state of crisis, they must free themselves of Western influence and redefine knowledge according to an Islamic perspective.




A Journey in Search of the Madrasa, Baptiste Brodard

After being called into question by reformist currents, traditional Islam is now meeting with a renewed interest. It is not uncommon for European Muslims, too, to make their way to a Muslim country in order to receive a religious instruction that follows ancestral methods.





The University that Wants to Train an Army of Preachers, Michele Brignone 

Spreading Wahhabism through Saudi teaching institutions.


Women Seeking “True” Islam, Chiara Pellegrino

Salafism's fascination for British Muslim women.


The Good Muslim’s Missionary Vocation, Gabriele Maria Masi

The Islamic missionary movement Tabligh Jama'at: its practices and social discourse.


The Cave Sura, Symbol of the Sufi Journey, Viviana Schiavo

The Sufi spiritual journey explained by eleven commentaries on the Qur'an.


Fathers Wrestling with their Children’s Mal de Vivre, Emma Neri

Upbringing, family relations and identity at the centre of films on both sides of the Mediterranean.






Michele Brignone


Scientific Editor

Martino Diez


Managing Editor

Chiara Pellegrino


Editorial Staff

Viviana Schiavo


Editorial Consultants

Rifaat Bader

Marco Bardazzi

Bernardo Cervellera

Camille Eid

Rafic Greiche

Claudio Lurati


Graphic Design and Layout

Massimiliano Frangi


Translation by the Editorial Staff


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This edition of Oasis was realized with the support of Fondazione Cariplo