Reaching for the Crescent: Aspirations of Singapore Islamic Studies Graduates and the Challenges
Norshahril Saat, Azhar Ibrahim, Noor Aisha Abdul Rahman
Paperback, 224 pages
Islamic religious teachers (asatizah) and scholars (ulama) play a significant role in providing spiritual leadership for the Singapore Malay/Muslim community. Lately, the group has been cast under the spotlight over a range of issues, from underperformance in the national examination, their ability to integrate into the broader society, exposure to radical and conservative ideas such as Salafism from the Middle East, and unemployment. Reaching for the Crescent examines a growing segment within the group, namely Islamic studies graduates, who obtained their degrees from universities in the Middle East and neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia. It identifies factors that condition the proliferation of Islamic studies graduates in Singapore, examine the dominant religious institutions they attend, the nature of Islamic education they received, and their challenges. It tackles the impact of their religious education on the spiritual life and well-being of the community. Based on qualitative and quantitative data collected, the book calls for a rethinking of a prevailing discourse of Arabization of Singapore Muslims and academic approaches that focus on madrasah education and Islam through the security lens.