Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The secularization of the academy thesis refers to the phenomenon of Protestant colleges and universities starting out as identifiable religious institutions of education now being places hostile, not only to Christianity, but religion in general. This has raised much discussion among leaders, faculty members, and students of religious educational institutions as to what is and what constitutes the identity of their respective institutions. It is in this context that we witness the rise in the establishment of Islamic schools in the North America. This context has generated many questions from the various stakeholders on the question of what the term ‘Islamic’ denotes in Islamic education and Islamic schools. There have been two general approaches to answering this question: a universalist approach, which seeks to identify the most basic element of what ‘Islamic’ denotes in concepts such as sacredness and God’s oneness, and a particularist approach, where the term ‘Islamic’ denotes whatever a particular school holds it to be.

This dissertation argues that both of these approaches do not adequately prevent the secularization trajectory as evidenced in the increasing sociological emphasis in Islamic schools’ mission and vision statement. It is argued that education should be viewed as the practice of self-cultivation. It is in the self an educational institution seeks to cultivate where its identity resides. The dissertation seeks to answer the question of what the term ‘Islamic’ denotes by looking at the self Islamic education seeks to cultivate. To this end, the highest good of Islamic education is developed by examining the work Tadhkirat al-sāmiʿ wa-l-mutakallim fī ādāb l-ʿālim wa-l-mutaʿāllim (A Monograph for the Auditor and the Lecturer on the Ādāb of the Teacher and the Student) by the Mamluk era educationalist, Badr al-Dīn Ibn Jamāʿah (d. 733/1333). It will be argued that according to Ibn Jamāʿah, the highest good of Islamic education is to cultivate a soul possessing adab.

Through identifying the self which Ibn Jamāʿah sees as the highest good of Islamic education, this study seeks to contribute to and extend the conversation of the identity of Islamic educational institutions in North America by retrieving the work of a major educationalist in the Islamic tradition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.