Revitalising an eco-justice ethic of Islam by way of environmental education : implications for Islamic education

Mohamed, Najma (2012-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that Islam remains a powerful social force in the lives of many of its adherents, contemporary scholars lament the silence of Muslims on the environmental question. However, closer scrutiny reveals a burgeoning green movement amongst Muslims the world over. While scholarly works initially elucidated the scriptural basis for Islamic ecological ethics (ecoethics), efforts are now centred on translating the ecoethics of Islam into practice. The educational landscape of Islam is frequently put forward as the primary arena for imparting its ecological teachings. This thesis examines the connections between Islam, ecology and education, and investigates the revival of Islamic ecoethics by way of environmental education in the educational landscape of Islam broadly, and the maktab in particular. The maktab, the foundational educational establishment in Islam, remains underutilised despite its important place in the educational life of Muslims. A liberation ecotheology research framework was employed to display the richness of traditional resources and institutions in meeting contemporary environmental challenges. Through a conceptual analysis of sacred texts, traditions and contemporary thought on Islam, ecology and education, this thesis constructs an eco-justice ethic of Islam and draws out the pedagogical implications for implementing this ecoethic. Content analysis, of environmental education activities in the broader educational landscape of Islam, provides insights into environmental teaching and learning. Environmental education in the maktab, which plays a pivotal role in imparting the elementary teachings and values of Islam, is brought into focus by way of a curriculum review which examines the environmental elements encapsulated in two maktab curricula produced in South Africa. Implications for environmental teaching and learning in the maktab, are then extracted. This thesis affirms the important position of religious thought as a determiner of environmental action. It presents, from within a liberatory tradition of Islam, a theocentric eco-justice ethic which is based on the sovereignty of God, the responsible trusteeship of humankind and the intrinsic value of Creation. It puts forward an activist, transformative approach to environmental education, premised upon an integrated knowledge structure and educational objectives which require reflective and critical engagement with all ecological knowledge, responsible environmental action, and social transformation. And it proposes a transformative approach to environmental education to bring the liberatory intent of the Islamic environmental tradition into focus, both in the broader educational landscape of Islam, as well as the maktab. Muslims own a fair share of the global concern around the earth’s health and wellbeing. To varying degrees, they continue to draw upon religious teachings to shape their values, beliefs and attitudes towards life - including the environment. Revitalizing ecological ethics in the educational establishment of Islam provides an impetus to not only uncover Islam’s environmental tradition, but to affect Muslim awareness and action on the ecological question.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ondanks die feit dat Islam ‘n sosiale krag in die lewens van baie van sy aanhangers is, beklaag hedendaagse geleerdes die stilte van Muslims op die omgewings-vraag. Nadere ondersoek toon egter ‘n ontluikende groen beweging onder Muslims die wêreld oor. Terwyl navorsing tot dusver die skriftuurlike basis vir die Islamitiese ekologiese etiek (ekoetiek) verklaar, is pogings nou gevestig op die omskepping van hierdie ekoetiek in die praktyk. Die opvoedkundige landskap van Islam is dikwels na vore gebring as die primêre arena vir die oordra van sy ekologiese leerstellings. Hierdie tesis ondervra die verband tussen Islam, ekologie en opvoeding, en ondersoek die herlewing van die Islamitiese ekoetiek deur middel van omgewingsopvoeding in die opvoedkundige landskap van Islam in die algemeen, en die maktab in die besonder. Die maktab, die belangrikste grondlegging-stigting in Islam, bly onderbenut ten spyte van sy belangrike plek in die opvoedkundige lewe van Muslims. ‘n Bevrydings-ekoteologie navorsing raamwerk was in diens geneem om die rykdom van die tradisionele middele en instellings van die Islamietise ekoetiek na vore te bring. Deur middel van ‘n konseptuele analise van heilige tekste, tradisies en hedendaagse denke oor Islam, ekologie en opvoeding, bou hierdie tesis ‘n ekogeregtigheids etiek van Islam, en ontrek die pedagogiese implikasies vir die uitvoering van hierdie ekoetiek. Inhoud analise van omgewingsopvoedingaktiwiteite in die breër opvoedkundige landskap van Islam bied verder insigte tot omgewingsopvoeding praktyke aan. Omgewingsopvoeding in die maktab, wat ‘n belangrike rol speel in die oordra van die basiese leerstellings en waardes van Islam, is by wyse van kurrikulum-hersiening ondersoek. Hierdie hersiening ondersoek die omgewings-elemente vervat in twee maktab kurrikulums wat in Suid-Afrika geproduseer is. Implikasies vir omgewingsopvoeding in die maktab word dan ontrek. Hierdie tesis bevestig die belangrike posisie van godsdienstige denke as ‘n bepaling van omgewings-aksie. Dit bied, binne ‘n bevreiheids-tradisie in Islam, ‘n teosentriese eko-geregtigheids etiek aan wat baseer is op die opperheerskap van God, die verantwoordelike herderskap van mensdom en die innerlike waarde van die skepping. Dit poneer ‘n transformatiewe benadering tot omgewingsopevoeding wat berus op ‘n geïntegreerde kennis struktuur en opvoedkundige doelwitte wat reflektiewe en kritiese omgang met ekologiese kennis vereis; verantwoordelike omgewings-aksie; en sosiale transformasie. Dit bied ook aan dat die Islamitiese omgewings-tradisie deur middel van ‘n transformatiewe benadering tot omgewingsopvoeding, beide in die breër opvoedkundige landskap van Islam sowel as die maktab, na vore gebring kan word. Muslims besit ‘n groot deel van die wêreldwye besorgdheid oor die aarde se gesondheid en welstand. Tot wisselende grade, gaan hulle voort om hulle waardes, oortuigings en houdings teenoor die lewe, insluitend die omgewing, op godsdienstige leerstellinge te baseer. Om nuwe lewe in die ekologiese etiek van Islam in die opvoedkundige vestiging te blaas, bied ‘n geleentheid aan om nie net Islam se omgewings-tradisie te ontbloot nie, maar ook om die bewustheid en optrede van Muslims op die ekologiese vraag te beïnvloed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20280
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