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History and Context:


Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation began as a network of Muslim homeschooling mothers in the UK who were seeking to give their children an authentic but contemporary Islamic education. This led to the establishment of schools and other projects underpinned by research stemming from our desire to develop pedagogy and curricula from Prophetic teaching methods; prompting an academic research drawing on classical Islamic scholarship and contemporary research to meet the needs of Muslim children living in 21st century Britain. Shakhsiyah Research and Resources produces research papers and curricular resources that are available to other educators.


This work is headed by Farah Ahmed, Director of Education and Research at Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation.




Farah Ahmed MEd (Cantab), PGCE (IOE), BA hons Philosophy
Farah Ahmed is currently Visiting Research Associate at the Institute of Education and Director of Education and Research at Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation. She has a B.A Honours in Philosophy, PGCE in Secondary English, MEd in Educational Research and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. She has over 20 years experience teaching in and leading Islamic schools in the UK and has developed courses for teachers on Islamic philosophies of education: pedagogy and practices. She is the author of ‘Principles of Shakhsiyah Education’ and the 2005 Halaqah Curriculum. She is a founding trustee of Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation and mother of three children.


Research Interests:


My research interests are in models of holistic Islamic education that attempt to appropriate contemporary pedagogy into traditional Islamic educational paradigms. As a practitioner-researcher my research looks at how UK Muslim educators are addressing issues of cultural relevance in two ways; the relevance of traditional Islamic education to the modern context and the relevance of mainstream education to the needs of Muslim pupils. My PhD is looking at the use of halaqah (Islamic dialogic circle-time) to develop autonomy in Muslim children. I am also leading a long-term action research project in Shakhsiyah Schools  developing halaqah as pedagogy and as curriculum. In the past I have looked at how teachers conceptualize 'holistic Islamic education' as they attempt to synthesize Islamic and contemporary educational approaches. I explored their understanding of education as tarbiyah (upbringing / character education) and how they attempt to engage in tarbiyah as teachers in full-time Islamic schools. I have also completed some work on developing culturally relevant research methodologies in this study. My current project involves looking at autonomy and oracy in the practice of halaqah (a type of circle-time) as a form of dialogic pedagogy. In comparing the Islamic educational theory of Naquib al Attas with Vygotskian sociocultural theory, I aim to explore how halaqah can contribute to research on enhancing the quality of classroom talk for learning and learner autonomy.


Other Members of the Team include:


Foziya Reddy
Nadia Ameen
Tahreem Sabir
Sajeada Ahmed
Hawwa Mbombo

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