Madrasa Discourses Equip Tomorrow’s Islamic Scholars With Scientific Literacy

Those who come to the program from traditional schools have little to no scientific literacy. “Some of them might perhaps know what the periodic table or an atom or an electron is,” Mahan Mirza said. “But we start with next to nothing.” Their knowledge of classical Islam’s long engagement with philosophy, reasoning, and science, he said, gives them a strong grounding on which to build. “Those kinds of things are already integrated into practical theology,” Mirza explained. “But students don’t really recognize them as science anymore, because they consider them part of the Islamic intellectual tradition.” The Madrasa Discourses team uses what it calls an “elicitive” approach. “We work from within the tradition and help them recognize the scientific reasoning already embedded within the tradition,” Mirza said.

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