IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Educational thought in Muslim contexts: Classical texts and their contemporary relevance

Special Reading group series 2016

In 2016, during his fellowship with CREME, Dr Ayman Agbaria led two special reading groups, each of six weeks in duration. The reading groups focused on educational thought and practice through a close reading of classical texts from Muslim history.

The weekly sessions, based on the English language translations of seminal texts in the Muslim education tradition, were open to all. In total, two 6 week courses were run, which were attended by students, scholars, educators, community leaders, and civil society activists interested in Muslim education, the history of ideas and the history of Muslim societies and literature. 

The texts discussed included:

  • al-Jahiz (d.869): From Book of Teachers (Kitab al-Mu'allimin)
  • Ikhwan al-Safa: The Seventh Epistle: On the Scientific Arts and What They Aim at
  • al-Farabi (d.950): Selections from The Virtuous City (Ara' ahl al-Madinah al-Fadila)
  • Ibn Miskawayh (d.1030): From the Second Discourse of The Refinement of Character
  • al-Ghazali (d.1111): O Son!, and the introduction of Ihya' Ulum al-Din (The Revival of Religious Sciences)
  • Ibn Tufail (d.1185): The end of the tale of Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
  • Ibn Khaldun (d.1406): Selections from The Muqaddimah

Engaging with and through these texts, the reading groups deliberated over several significant issues, including identity, character, leadership, dialogue, reflexivity, and praxis in educational thought and practice.

About Dr Ayman Agbaria

Dr Ayman Agbaria is a Palestinian scholar from Haifa University and a visiting scholar at CREME, IOE. He is a senior lecturer in the department of leadership and policy in education at the University of Haifa. Dr Agbaria holds a dual doctoral degree in educational theory and policy, and international and comparative education from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, he completed post-doctoral studies at Cambridge University. He specialises in education amongst ethnic and religious minorities.

In recognition of his extensive involvement in Palestinian civil society organizations in Israel as a human rights activist, Dr Agbaria has appeared three times on Haaretz's list of the fifty most influential people in education in Israel.

Additionally, he is a widely anthologised poet and playwright. His poems have been translated into several languages and three of his plays have been staged. Dr Agbaria's recent publications include: Agbaria, A. (2015). Cloth Clips (poetry). Haifa: Raya; Alexander, H., & Agbaria, A. (Eds.). (2012). Character and citizenship: Religious schooling in liberal democracies. New York: Routledge Press; Agbaria, A. (Ed.). (2013). Teacher Education in the Palestinian Society in Israel: Institutional Practices and Educational Policy. Tel Aviv: Resling. (Hebrew) Jabareen, Y., & Agbaria, A. (2010). Education on hold: Israeli government and civil society initiatives to improve Arab education in Israel. Haifa: University of Haifa. (Hebrew).