Religious education and hermeneutics: The case of teaching about Islam

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This article attempts to do three things: the first is an exploration of the ways in which Islam is presented in an essentialist way (with a focus on religious education (RE) in England and Wales), leading to stereotypes and unsubstantiated generalisations that are then embedded in resources and agreed syllabi, secondly, it provides a critique of essentialism, and finally a case is made for the role of hermeneutics in the teaching and learning of Islam. We argue that a hermeneutical approach is a sound way to both conceptualise the phenomenon of Islam and a pedagogical opening to make sense of it, that may help overcome some of the weaknesses of the current ways of teaching about Islam.

Publication (Name of Journal)

British Journal of Religious Education