UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Learning taqwa : a mother's search for stories for her daughter Mir, Rabia G.


This thesis attempts to answer a deceivingly simple question: Which stories can I share with my daughter? Stories that do not reproduce the alienation of my formal education, nor the fear and prescriptiveness of my informal education, nor the desires of wealth accumulation that end up defining all relationships. I analyze my formal education through the lens of epistemic coloniality in order to investigate the sense of inferiority it perpetuated in me. I also delve into various scholarly perspectives of Islamic liberation theology (ILT) and how it differs from traditional theology. ILT allows religious education to move beyond the realm of fear of hell and the incentives of heaven. ILT proposes a praxis for social and political change. I propose taqwa as a grounding framework for my stories. Taqwa, which means God consciousness, proposes an orientation in consciousness that decenters one’s ego. Taqwa allows for a starkly different relationship than the relationship that is embedded in our current education system. It expands the purview of religious accountability by bringing in matters of structural harm. It also demands an evaluation of the desires of one’s own heart. In this thesis I critically examine the desire for wealth accumulation in our lives. Taqwa allows for a space for continuous struggle. This continuous struggle challenges complacency and sedentary thinking. Taqwa does not allow for the prescriptiveness endemic in the religious and non-religious education that I received. Taqwa is not a prescriptive solution for social maladies, but rather a tool for embedding humility, enabling radical love, and steering oneself in a socio-political emancipatory practice.

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