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PESANTREN. A type of school in Southeast Asia offering second-level training in Islamic subjects is termed pesantren on Java, surau on Sumatra, pondok on the Malay Peninsula, and pandita ("school") in the Philippines. Pesantren derives from the sixteenth century, when learning centers known as the "place of learning for the Islamic faithful (santris)," were established. Surau was a place for worship in early Southeast Asia, while pondok derives from the travelers' inns (Ar., funduq) of the Middl ...more


MADRASAH. An establishment of learning where the Islamic sciences are taught, the madrasah is a college for higher studies. During the tenth and eleventh centuries, the madrasah was devoted primarily to teaching law, and the other Islamic sciences and literary philosophical subjects were optionally taught. Today, however, the designation madrasah is ambiguous. Although originally the madrasah was created as an institution of Islamic higher learning in contrast to the kuttab or maktab, the childr ...more

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