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Title: Malaysian Muslims' critical engagement with the Imam Muda Islamic reality TV show as informal Islamic education
Author: Patahol Wasli, Mohamad Muhidin bin
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 3657
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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In 2010, Malaysia introduced an Islamic reality television show in search of Young Imams, entitled Imam Muda (IM), which aired on the Astro Oasis TV network. IM draws on Islamic content knowledge in a South-East Asian cultural context. The show raises hermeneutical and educational questions related to the representation of Muslim identities and practices in the modern world, due to the possibility of inauthentic viewer interpretations. This thesis argues that the show’s Islamic contents may function as a form of informal Islamic Education. Yet, not enough consideration has been made of Imam Muda’s impact on the spiritual judgmental rationality of its target audience — Malaysian Muslims — whose views are in themselves diverse due to different Islamic educational experiences. Spiritual judgmental rationality reveals the possibility of a transcendental understanding of the self in communication with the TV show and the religion of Islam. Therefore, this thesis seeks to examine Malaysian Muslims’ engagement with Imam Muda, season three, in an informal setting, using qualitative data collection methods such as participant observations, focus group discussions and viewing reflections. The participants’ reactions are described based on their responses to the manifested contents, and their reflections are thematised according to data gained from semi-structured discussions. The viewing reflections assist in explaining the behaviours recorded in the observations. The study suggests that under-labouring the framework of Islamic Critical Realism could be fruitful to better understand the nature of Islamic reality TV as a function of informal Islamic Education. More specifically, the findings suggest that Islamic reality TV can serve an educational function by providing beneficial entertainment via an informal learning experience. This learning takes place when participants critically engage with the content. The thesis also makes a novel contribution to knowledge by refining spiritual judgmental rationality in the Islamic Critical Realist framework through variation theory and transcendental realism, to understand the dialectical interplay between young Imams’ representations in Islamic reality television shows, and the interpretations of Malaysian Muslim viewers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available