Can Foucault liberate madrasa knowledge from commodification practices?: A critical engagement with Ebrahim Moosa?s concept of madrasa knowledge

29 Oct 2020

Ebrahim Moosa?s notion of madrasa knowledge is expounded in his book What is a Madrasa? (2015). Madrasa knowledge is understood to be performed on the Muslim mind and body for purposes of salvation. Moosa argues that madrasa knowledge needs reforming to include knowledge of everyday living and intercultural dialogue. Contiguous to Moosa?s notion of ?salvation practices?, I argue, are ?consumption practices?, i.e. commodification, another dimension of salvation. The growth of disci- plinary power and creation of docile bodies are vital requirements for capitalism (Dreyfus and Rabinow 1983). Madrasa knowledge plays a disciplinary role when transforming the body as object into a Muslim subject. The main purpose of dis- cipline is to increase individuals? mastery over their bodies. As madrasa knowledge is performed on the body, it expresses itself as disciplinary power when bio-power exerts agency in everyday life, as when the body becomes a consumer to fulfil its salvation and economic needs. Given an extended enunciation of salvation practices as inclusive of consumption practices, I pose the question: Can madrasa knowledge be liberated from commodification through critical pedagogy? Although Moosa?s book is not dedicated to pedagogy per se, he offers pedagogical solutions to address reform and the unequal epistemological relationship between Western and mad- rasa knowledge. Foucault?s (1995) notion of bio-power and Habermas? (1972) notion of critical theory are employed to assess how critical pedagogy can liberate madrasa knowledge from rampant commodification