Muslim education in Kenya with special reference to Madrash system in Nairobi
Maina, Newton Kahumbi
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This study is an attempt to investigate the role of the madrasa system in Muslim education in Kenya. The study seeks to show how religion determines one of the aspects of Muslim life, that is, education. It is noted that the Holy Qur'an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) determine and guide the philosophy of Muslim education. Indeed, it is shown that Muslims are not opposed to any type of education provided that educations do not contradict the principles and teachings of Islam, which are enshrined in the Qur'an and Hadithi. This means that the educational backwardness of Muslims within a particular place and time should be explained and understood from their socio-cultural milieu and not from the teaching of Islamic religion per se. In that connection, the educational backwardness of the Muslims in Kenya should be partly attributed to the colonial educational legacy. The study maintains that the colonial educational policies contributed to the marginalisation of Muslims in education. The study further shows that during the colonial period, Muslims did response is attributed to the fear of conversion to Christianity which made the Muslims to shun Missions schools which were seen as instruments of Christianity. Positive response of Muslims to Western education was marginally seen when the colonial government established schools which were not under missionary control. But the impetus to western education came with the introduction of Qur'anic teaching in the curriculum of government schools. This introduction coincided with a growing consciousness for Western education. This was due to the material benefits that went with some degree of Western education. But western education challenged the cultural and religious base of the Muslims as a tool for the promotion of western cultural values and influence. The madrasa was therefore developed to fulfill the Muslims educational needs, to safeguard their religious values and cultural heritage. Islam does not dichotomies education into religious and secular, though knowledge comprises revealed knowledge and acquired knowledge. In practice the revealed knowledge gives birth to religious education while acquired knowledge gives birth to secular education. For a Muslim, religious education is acquired in a madrasa whereas secular education is acquired in a madrasa whereas secular education is acquired in a secular school. Madrasa education is by and large; concerned with moral training the madrasa promotes the spirit of Islam. This is the role that the madrasa as an education institution is identified with. The study identifies and examines some of the challenges which face the madrasa system. Accordingly secular education offers the greatest challenge to the madrasa. But in spite of that secular education cannot replace the role of the madrasa in moral and religious training. Various ways in which the future role of the madrasa could be ensured have been examined. Noting that Muslims should give equal weight to both religious and secular education concludes the study. The importance of madrasa is underlined by its religious and moral training of its students. For moral and religious training to be carried out effectively, the madrasa system needs to be streamlined in various aspects which have been found wanting. It is therefore, noted that, the integration of religious (Islamic) education with secular (modern) Muslim education and for the continued survival of the madrasa system.