Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Curriculum Studies


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Joseph Gardner, PhD

Second Advisor

Gonzalo Obelleiro, PhD


This paper argues that Islamic schools in the United States should return to the traditional Islamic practices of tarbiyah and tasawwuf to cultivate a critically engaged cosmopolitan Muslim-American identity in order to contribute to an ideal democratic society. Tarbiyah is the practice of nurturing the innate characteristics in people. Taswwuf is constant self-reflection to understand oneself. Tasawwuf is a personal practice, whereas tarbiyah is dealing with others. Tasawwuf can lead students to recognizing their capacities and tarbiyah can lead educators to nurturing those capacities to their fruition. I explore the role immigrant populations have played in some Islamic schools in inhibiting the development of a sound Muslim-American identity by considering their nostalgic view of their home culture as superior to American culture. Some immigrant Muslim populations in the United States yearn to sustain nostalgic collective memories through ritual performances that revere their presumed “superior hegemonic culture” as almost sacred. This reverence creates the notion that American culture challenges the collective memory, therefore it is seen as profane. I argue that Islamic schools should dismantle these rituals that are in place in order to create spaces that encourage the synthesis of an Islamic identity with an American identity to cultivate a critically engaged cosmopolitan Muslim-American identity.