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Narrative is a pervasive style in all genres of Islamic literature. Authors of popular and scholarly texts have employed narrative to record sacred history but also to expound upon difficult points of doctrine, illustrate correct modes of behavior, and incite wayward believers to attend to the guidance of revelation. Consequently storytelling is ubiquitous in Islamic culture and is a vital part of the experience of Islam. The use of such stories to facilitate comprehension, enhance experience, and command ethical behavior has precedence in the Qur’an itself where the narratives of the Prophets are presented as lessons that appeal to the literary faculties of the human mind. The 18th century Indian polymath Sh̲āh Walī Allāh argued that Qur’anic narrative and the narrative form of time itself were universally conducive to the comprehension of abstract concepts that would otherwise remain inaccessible to all but the Prophets who possess more subtle faculties. To date, however, authors of Islamic curricula in the West have overlooked the cognitive function of narrative and the traditional uses of storytelling in Islamic education. If teachers in the America Muslim community want to ensure the proliferation of Islamic doctrine and ethics, not just custom and ritual, they must revive the narrative pedagogy of the Qur’an. Towards that goal I have proposed a series of text-books that narrate the stories of the Prophets to teach the core subjects of a traditional Islamic education
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Riccio, Anthony Michael III, "The Abrahamic Mind: Narrative Cognition in Islamic Education" (2013). Senior Projects Spring 2013. 198.
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