Document Type : Research article


PhD in TEFL, Assistant Professor of English Department, Alzahra University


Upon the continuing spread of English as the global language, there have been dissenting voices, albeit not resounding ones, from Muslim scholars lamenting the hegemony of Western patterns of thoughts and the relegation or denigration of Islamic ideology, values, and culture in education in general and English Language Teaching (ELT) curricular and pedagogic thinking in particular. Nonetheless, despite the current qualms, the practice of reviving language teachings based on Islamic sources and the socio-religious concerns of Muslim communities is still infrequent.Feeling the necessity of designing educational materials, I narrate an experience of composing nursery rhymes targeted at introducing body organs and their divine rights to young English learners through deriving inspiration from Islamic references like the Sublime Qur’an and Imam Sajjad’s Treaties on Rights (Risalat al-Huquq). I hope the modest experience would be inspirational for other language teachers and materials developers interested in carving out identity and ownership in foreign language teaching.


AbuSulayman, A. A. (1995). Islamization of knowledge: General principles and work plan. Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought.
Al-Attas, S. M. N. (1993). Islam and secularism. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization.
Alavi, H. R. (2013). Islamic educational goals, methods, and content, with emphasis on Shia’ faith. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 22, 4–20.
Al-Faruqi, I. R. (1986). Toward Islamic English. Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought.
Ali, H. M. M. (2001). Islamic correctness in language use. Muslim Education Quarterly, 19(1), 45-59.
Ali, H. M. M. (2007). Islamic terms in contemporary English. English Today, 23(2), 32-38.
Ashraf, S. A. (1988). A view of education: An Islamic perspective. In B. O’Keeffe (Ed.), Schools for tomorrow: Building walls or building bridges (pp. 69-79). Sussex, UK: The Falmer Press.
Ataee, M. R., & Mazloom, F. (2013). English language teaching curriculum in Iran: Planning and practice. The Curriculum Journal 24(3), 389–411.
Bland, J. (2013). Children’s literature and learner empowerment. Children and teenagers in English language education. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
Canagarajah, S. & Said, S. B. (2011). Linguistic imperialism. In J. Simon (Ed), The Routledge handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 388-400). New York: Routledge.
Canagarajah, S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Casewit, S. D (1985). Teaching English as a foreign language in Muslim countries. Muslim Education Quarterly, 2(2), 4-24.
Dahmardeh, M. (2009). Communicative textbooks: English language textbooks in Iranian secondary school. Linguistik Online, 4(9), 45-61.
George W. Bush Institute. (2010). Strategic public diplomacy: Testimony before the senate committee on foreign relations at a hearing on “the future of U.S. public diplomacy”. Texas: J. K. Glassman.
Ghahremani Ghajar, S. (2009). Secrets of the turtle. Unpublished manuscript. Centre for International Scientific Studies and Collaboration, Tehran: Iran.
Ghahremani Ghajar, S., & Poursaduqi, S. (2016). Hidden imposed war: Dezful surrounded by foreign words. Language Research, 8(21), 115-131.
Ghani, A., & Ibrahim, Y. (2005). I Can Series. Baltimore, Maryland: Islamic Foundation.
Hasan, M. M. (2014). Islam’s encounter with English and Ismail al-Faruqi’s concept of Islamic English: A postcolonial reading. The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 31(2), 1-21.
Heidari Naraqi, A. M. (2014). Imam Sajjad’s treaties on rights: Naraqi commentary. Qom, Iran: Mahdi Naraqi Publications.
Hudson, P. (2011). Beef and lamb, chicken and H** censorship and vocabulary teaching in Arabia. In A. Anderson, & R. Sheehan (Eds.) Foundations for the future: Focus on vocabulary (pp. 125–35). Abu Dhabi, UAE: HCT Press.
Kaosar Ahmed, M. (2014). Perspectives on the discourse of Islamization of education. American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(1), 43-53. doi:10.11634/232907811402449.
Karmani, S. (2005a). English, ‘terror’ and Islam. Applied Linguistics, 26(2), 262-267.Doi:10. 1093/applin/ami006.
Karmani, S. (2005b). Petro-linguistics: The emerging nexus between oil, English, and Islam. Language Identity and Education, 4(1), 87-102. doi:10.1207/s15327701jlie0402_2.
Karmani, S. (2005c). TESOL in a time of terror: Toward an Islamic perspective on applied linguistics. TESOL Quarterly, 39(4), 739-748. doi:10.2307/3588534.
Karmani, S. (2006). Good Muslims speak English. Critical Discourse Studies, 3(1), 103-105. doi:10.1080/17405900600589374.
Karmani, S., & Pennycook, A. (2005). Islam, English, and 9/11. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 4(2), 157-172. doi: 10.1207/s15327701jlie0402_6.
Kazemi, A., Asadi Aidinlou, N., & Davatgari Asl, H. (2017). Manifestations of globalization and linguistic imperialism in English language teaching and materials preparation: Ideology in the international ELT textbook. Research in English Language Pedagogy, 5(2), 223-246.
Keshavarz, M. H. & Akbari Malek, L. (2009). Critical discourse analysis of ELT textbooks. Iranian EFL Journal, 5, 6-19.
Khajavi Y., & Abbasian, R. (2011). English language teaching, national identity and globalization in Iran: The case of public schools. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(10), 181-186.
Khan, H. (2012). Golden domes and silver lanterns: A Muslim book of colors. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Lallmamode, P., & Zalika, A. (2009). Awareness of Islamic English among Muslim students in Malysia. Paper presented at the Language and Culture: Creating and Fostering Global Communities, Malaysia.
Mahboob, A. (2009). English as an Islamic language: A case study of Pakistani English. World Englishes, 28(2), 175–189.
Memon, N. (2011). What Islamic school teachers want: Towards developing an Islamic teacher education programme. British Journal of Religious Education, 33(2), 285–298.
Mirhosseini, S. A. & Rouzbeh, H. (Eds.). (2015). Instances of Islamophobia: Demonizing the Muslim ‘other’. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Mohd-Asraf, R. (2005). English and Islam: A clash of civilizations? Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 4(2), 103-118.
Muslim, A, B., Nafisah, N., & Damayanti, I. L. (2009, May). Locality and self-identity: Local story inclusion in Indonesian English text books. Paper presented at Solls Intec International Conference, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia.
Othman , Kh., & Lotfie, M. M. (2013). Students’ perspective on incorporating Arabic words in the teaching of English to Muslim learners. Arab World English Journal, 4(1), 108–123.
Parsaiyan, S. F., Moslem Azar, S., Moslem Azar, S., Zarrinfar, F. (2018). Using religious stories in designing English materials for young language learners. Paper presented at the First National Conference on Fundamental Researches in Language and Literature Studies, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran.
Parsaiyan, S.F., Ghahremani-Ghajar, S., Salahimoghaddam, S., Janahmadi, F. (2015). Inquiring “tree of life” at home: Persian literature in English classes. English Teaching: Practice and Critique Journal, 21 (3), 89-109.
Parsaiyan, S.F., Ghahremani-Ghajar, S., Salahimoghaddam, S., Janahmadi, F. (2014). "You give me thousand green breathings…": Crafting literary arts in English language classrooms. Teaching & Learning: The Journal of Natural Inquiry and Reflective Practice, 28 (2), 49-61.
Parsaiyan, S.F., Ghahremani-Ghajar, S., Salahimoghaddam, S., Janahmadi, F. (2016). From spectator to composer: the roses and rocks in the life of a language teacher. Language Teaching Research, 20 (2), 196-208.
Peiravi, A., & Morgan, L. Z. (2002). A divine perspective on rights: A commentary on Imam Sajjad’s “the treatise of rights” by Imam Ali Ibn al-Husayn as-Sajjad (AS)(Trans). Qum: Ansariyan Publications.
Pennycook, A. (2017). The cultural politics of English as an international language. London, UK: Routledge.
Pishghadam, R., & Zabihi, R. (2012). Crossing the threshold of Iranian TEFL. Applied Research in English, 1(1), 57-71.
Pourkalhor, O. & Tavakoli, M. (2017). Nursery Rhymes and Language Learning: Issues and Pedagogical Implications. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies, 5(1), 111- 116.
Prosic-Santovac, D. (2007). Negative pedagogical messages in mother goose nursery rhymes. In V. Lopicic & B. Misic-Ilic (Eds.), Language, literature, politics. (pp. 425-438). Nis, Serbia: Faculty of Philosophy.
Prosic-Santovac, D. (2015). Making the match: Traditional nursery rhymes and teaching English to modern children. CLELE Journal, 3(1), 25-48.
Richards, J. (2001). Curriculum development in language education. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Sedgwick, F. (1997). Read my mind: Young children, poetry and learning. New York:Routledge.
Shafi, M. (1983). Teaching of English as a foreign language: The Islamic approach. Muslim Education Quarterly, 1(1), 33-41.
Shariatmadari, A. (2011). Islamic education. Tehran, Iran: Amir Kabir.
Shin, H., & Kubota R. (2008). Post-colonialism and globalization in language education. In B. Spolsky & F. Hult (Eds). The handbook of educational linguistics, (pp. 206-219). New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
Taki, S. (2008). International and local curricula: The question of ideology. Language Teaching Research, 12(1), 127-142.
Tomlinson, B. (Ed.). (2013). Applied linguistics and materials development. London: Continuum.
Tomlinson, B., & Masuhara, H. (2018). The complete guide to the theory and practice of materials development for language learning. Chichester, New Hampshire: Wiley.
Vahidi Sadr, M., & Heidari, Gh. (2013). School of Imam Sajjad (A). Qom, Iran: Jamal Publications.
Varghese, M. M., & Johnston, B. (2007). Evangelical Christians and English language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1), 5-31.
Vásquez, A., Hansen, A. L. & Smith, P. C. (2010). Teaching language arts to English language learners. New York: Routledge.
Walbridge, J. (2006). Libraries in the Islamic world. In G. M. Eberhart (Ed.), The whole library handbook 4 (pp. 503-507). Chicago: American Library Association.
Whitman, S. (2011). Under the Ramadan moon. Chicago: Albert Whitman & Company.
Zaki, Y. (1982). The teaching of Islam in schools: A Muslim viewpoint. British Journal of Religious Education, 5(1), 33-38.