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