Tag Archives: Nigeria

Transmission of Learning in Ilorin: A History of Islamic Education 1897-2012

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Sakariyau Alabi Aliyu.

Sakariyau Alabi Aliyu is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for History at the University of Leiden (Netherlands). His research interests include muslim education (particularly in the Nigerian context), Nigerian intellectual history and the philosophy of history.

Established as a citadel of Islam in the nineteenth century, Ilorin came under the colonial hegemony of the British at the end of the nineteenth century. Thenceforth the history of Islamic education became an unending dynamic of engagement with the challenges that the rival system of Western education has posed to Islamic education. Starting in the colonial period within Ilorin and lasting into the early decades of independence, also from outside Ilorin, the ulama responded to this challenge mainly in three ways, corresponding to schools of thought of Islamic education in Ilorin.

First, there is the tolerant Adabiyyah School favoring western education in conjunction with Islamic education, then there is the Zumratu Muminina (makondoro) school that was strictly against western education. The third school, Markaziyya, privileged Arabic/Islamic education as a standalone system; it tolerated Western education only independent from the Islamic system. From the colonial period thenceforth Islamic education followed this trifurcate system to a greater or lesser extent, even when a scholar does not categorically belong to any of these schools.

Although the ultimate aim of a positive hereafter for Islamic education, against material benefit, plays a crucial role in limiting the material strength of the system, this thesis argues that society’s attitude towards the system, absence of state support and the financial wherewithal unlike the Western system has been a major hindrance to progress in the system. Despite this limited capacity the scholars have been unrelenting, continuously adapting the system to the needs of the society, for example by transforming of the traditional Quranic schools into madaris from the colonial period, reforming the methods, curriculum and routes to be followed to running of the two systems with their madaris (sing. madrasah), especially since the government withdrawal from the provision of Western education from the late twentieth century. More than is credited to them the scholars have actually contributed to the development of western education even as the attention given to the Western system of education by the government and the society has been detrimental to its own development.

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Migration of African Muslim Students to West-Malaysia

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Frauke-Katrin Kandale.

Frauke-Katrin Kandale is a postdoctoral researcher in the transdisciplinary research project “Africa’s Asian Option” and a lecturer at the department of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt. Her current research investigates the migration of African students to West-Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley.

Malaysia as a Muslim majority society experiences an influx of students and migrants from different African countries. Compared to other preferred destinations for study and living, as the UK or US, growing numbers of African students opt for Malaysia due to comparably easy accessibility of entry visas and affordable living costs. Especially after September 11, 2001, Malaysia positioned itself as an alternative study destination for those international students from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa who were not able to enter North American universities because of their Islamic religion. For the Malaysian private higher education sector, African students from upper middle class backgrounds turned out to be a well-paying target group. Approximately 25 000 African students are currently enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education in Malaysia. The Islamic religion, as well as English as the language of instruction, become important pull-factors when choosing Malaysia for study.

Although Malaysia is a multireligious and multiethnic society, African students are still a new phenomenon. Thus, they are sometimes labelled as Awang Hitam (black guy) actively engaged in the black market and in dark businesses. In this process of Othering, African migrants are being stereotyped as bogeyman by the Malaysian media. This paper will give insights in the lives and the coping strategies of young Africans from Nigeria and Sudan studying and working in the Klang Valley.