Journal for Islamic Studies

Articles

Vol. 35, 2016

"Muslims of the Spirits"-"Muslims of the Mosque": Performing Contested Ideas of Being Muslim in Northern Mozambique
Drawing on ethnographic research focusing on a group of women in Nampula city, northern Mozambique, this article interrogates the role of spirit performances in their conversion to Islam. By embarking on mimetic practices of Muslim healers (walimu) during...
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Fragile Bodies and Sensuous Spirits: Performing Womenly Virtues in a Contemporary Egyptian Brotherhood
It was 2006 when I first arrived in Cairo as a guest of an Italian couple who had converted to the Burhaniyya, which is an Egyptian-Sudanese brotherhood1 present in Europe since the nineteen-eighties. I had carried out nine months of fieldwork on this...
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"We Must All Go to the Hangar": Performing Bellah Group Membership in the Refugee Camp in Abala, Niger 1
IntroductionIn January 2012, the northern regions of Mali turned into a battlefield. This development started with violent confrontations between the Tuareg2 secessionist movement (MNLA)3 and the Malian army. It subsequently became a highly complex conflict...
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"Heard about the Good-Deed-Sayers?" Islam and Everyday Conversations on Religious Difference in Harar, Ethiopia
IntroductionOne of the most incisive policy measures implemented by the new Ethiopian government after toppling the socialist regime in 1991 has been to stipulate religious freedom in the constitution. The political change had important and highly appreciated...
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God's Name Is Not a Game: Performative Apologetics in Sufi Dhikr Performance in Senegal
A Contested Devotional PracticeIn 2009, while I conducted research in Dakar on the Fayda Tijaniyya ('Tijani flood') Sufi movement, my friend Amadou1 called me and invited me to visit him and his family in the town of Thiès. That Thursday night, he told...
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The Writings of Mauritania and the Western Sahara
The writings of Mauritania and the western Sahara, compiled by Charles C. Stewart with Sidi Ahmed Wuld Ahmed Salim, Arabic Literature of Africa vol. 5, (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2016), 2 vols.This was worth the wait. It is like a vast and deep sea...
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Introduction
Recent political events, such as violent confrontations between Muslims and Christians in northern and central regions of Nigeria, and the bloody persecution of ethno-religious minorities, such as the Yazidis in northern Iraq, suggest that religious...
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Vol. 34, 2014

Muslim Portraits: The Anti-Apartheid Struggle
Muslim Portraits: The Anti-Apartheid Struggle Goolam Vahed, Madiba Publishers, 2012.Apartheid fell and the 'rainbow nation' emerged, with the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 and the subsequent free, and open, democratic elections across South...
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'Complex Subjectivities': Don Omaruddin Mattera's Conversion to Islam, beyond a Political Reading and a Biographical Essay
IntroductionEs'kia Mphahlele's thoughtful remarks, cited above, signal at once not only the need to take Don Mattera and his work more seriously, but also the imperative to devote more critical studies to him. Even though Mattera is one of South Africa's...
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Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development
Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development Rudnyckyj, D. (2010). Ithaca and London: Cornell University PressA small flame of interest has been emerging in recent decades assessing the relationship between Islam and contemporary...
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Introduction: Islamic Activism as an Inner Journey: Thinking Religion as a Psychological Category
The public resurgence of religion in general and Islam in particular has taken multiple forms over the last decades, and scholars have grappled with the problem of trying to interpret the significance of such a resurgence for individuals, state and society....
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Biographies of Muslim Activists in South Africa 1
IntroductionIn 2009, Aishima and Salvatore reminded us that the 'intellectual trials and tribulations' that went into the making of Islamic revival have not been sufficiently studied.2 An enormous body of literature has been produced on Islamic fundamentalism...
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The Dialogical Construction of the Muslim Self: A Reading of the Life and Work of Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali
IntroductionShaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali (b. 1917) died in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 9 March 1996. He collapsed at the podium while delivering a lecture on Islam and the West, at a conference deliberating over Samuel Huntington's now infamous 'clash of...
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Processes of Engagement and Disengagement in Islamic Activism
Introduction: Transnational Radical Islamic ActivismMost research related to Islamic activism is focused on structural, metatheoretical or macro-level questions.1 Anti-terrorism research, in turn, emphasizes different measures to prevent or stop terrorism.2...
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Nurettin Topçu and Necip Fazil Kisakürek: Stories of 'Conversion' and Activism in Republican Turkey
IntroductionAlthough they are little known outside Turkey, Nurettin Topçu and Necip Fazil Kisakürek were at the forefront of Turkish Islamism in the wake of the Kemalist revolution. In the new political, social and cultural context that emerged in the...
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"I Must Strive to Rectify Myself and the People of the Whole World": Portraits of Sunni Traditionalist Activists in South Africa
IntroductionTo write about a tradition is to be in a certain narrative [in] relation to it, a relation that will vary according to whether one supports or opposes the tradition, or regards it as morally neutral. The coherence that each party finds, or...
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Vol. 33, 2013

Theorising Experience, Subjectivity and Narrative in Studies of Gender and Islam
Like many feminist initiatives, this special issue has its origins in long and nourishing conversations about abundance and absence, convergences and missed connections and the possibilities we dreamed of amid the complex terrain of feminist debates...
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Feminism, Epistemology and Experience: Critically (En)gendering the Study of Islam
AbstractResponding to Elizabeth Castelli's (200l) call to "trouble" and destabilise dominant or mainstream categories of analysis in the study of religion and gender, this paper looks at the feminist epistemological category of "experience" as it relates...
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"Speaking for Ourselves": American Muslim Women's Confessional Writings and the Problem of Alterity
AbstractThis article examines the phenomenon of American Muslim women's self-representation through the medium of autobiography post-9/ll, focusing on Sumbul Ali-Karamali's The Muslim Next Door, Asma Gull Hasan's Red, White, and Muslim and the edited...
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States of Being: Public Selves and National Privacies in Queer Muslim Autobiographies in South Africa
AbstractIn this essay, I consider apartheid's racialised exclusions as well as the gendered and sexualised silences in certain forms of national belonging articulated by the anti-apartheid struggle and the post-apartheid nation. In particular, I theorise...
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Politics, Freedoms and Spirituality in Alaa Al Aswany's Yacoubian Building
AbstractAlthough set in the 1990s and published in 2002, Alaa Al Aswany's novel The Yacoubian Building conveys the corruption and brutality that led to explosive revolutions in Egypt from 2011. Moreover, his depiction of Cairo-dwellers with diverse class,...
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Sexing Islamic Theology: Theorising Women's Experience and Gender through 'Abd-Allah and Khalifah
AbstractThis paper explores Muslim religious subjectivities as reflected in two central Islamic ideals, namely, 'abd-Allah (servant of God) and khalifah (moral agent). Drawing on the insights provided by Islamic feminists, we bring their theological...
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Re-Constructing a Religious Identity through Activism in an Islamist Movement: Experiences of Female Members of Qibla
AbstractAccording to Farid Esack, the Qibla movement was one of three Muslim "strands of justice" in the struggle against apartheid. The limited scholarship on Qibla has largely focused on its "militancy" and the charismatic personality and role of Achmad...
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Decolonising Muslim Subjectivities: A Psycho-Cultural Perspective
Mythos and LogosFor millennia, humans inhabited two psychological worlds and "languages" in tandem: the world of fact (logos), having to do with the rational and pragmatic, enabling practical functioning at the material level, and the world of meaning...
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In the Shade of Allah's Mercy: Reflections on Islam, Embodiment and Abortion
AnonymousI am a Muslim woman and I recently chose to have an abortion. I consider my religion to be one of the defining aspects of my life. I am an active member of the community in which I live, particularly in the area of women's education and empowerment....
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Lessons in Writing, Lessons in Husbandry
As an undergraduate, I was introduced to the writings of Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. Walker, in particular, inspired my imagination and made me want to read fiction by black women in South Africa, who I presumed were writing about my...
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The Worth of a Traditional Tutelage
Much has been written about traditional Muslim education in the last decade, often termed the madrasa in common parlance. Primarily, these writings have addressed the perception that madrasas are the hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and pose challenges...
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Islam and Homosexuality
Samar Habib (ed.), Islam and Homosexuality, 2 Volumes. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010. Pp. 493, $ 93.29. ISBN 9780313379000 (Hardcover)The last two decades have witnessed a burgeoning of literature, particularly academic works, on Islam and homosexuality....
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Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance
Anissa Hélie & Homa Hoodfar (eds.), Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance. London and New York: Zed Books, 2012. Pp. 346, $23.24. ISBN 9781780322865 (Paperback).Focusing on Asian and Middle Eastern contexts, Sexuality in Muslim...
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Vol. 32, 2012

Introduction
The articles in this special volume oí the Journal for Islamic Studies emerged from a conference organized at the University of Cape Town in 2011 on "Islamic Reform and Public Life in Africa." Three central themes were discussed at this meeting: reform...
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What Is 'Reform'? Approaches to a Problematic Term in African Muslim Contexts
AbstractThe term 'reform' has come to describe a large array of different and rather variegated processes of change in historical as well as contemporary academic debates. This contribution looks at the emergence of new concepts of 'reform' in Muslim...
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Sufism, Education and Politics in Contemporary Morocco
AbstractThis paper analyses the role of Sufism in education and politics in contemporary Morocco through a case-study of the Qadiriyya Budshishiyya. This Sufi order (tariqa), which was founded in the post-colonial period in the remote eastern region...
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Islamic Reform in Colonial Space: The Jihad of Shaykh Boubacar Sawadogo and French Islamic Policies in Burkina Faso, 1920-1946
This paper examines the spread of Islam in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) during French colonialism. Focusing on the Tijaniyya Shaykh, Boubacar Sawadogo, and the strategies he pursued to avoid confrontations with the French, the paper interrogates the...
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For the Saudi's Kingdom or for the Umma? Global 'Ulama' in the Dar Al-Hadith in Medina
AbstractIn this article, I illustrate how 'ulama from south Asia, west Africa and Egypt had come together in the Dar al-Hadïth College in Medina and its branch in Mecca in order to support Ibn Sa'üd's regime in teaching the Salari doctrine. The article...
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Traditional Islam and Pedagogical Change in West Africa: The Majlis and the Madrasa in Medina-Baye, Senegal
Epistemological differences between traditional and reformist trends in West African Islam are often accounted for in the uneven implementation of pedagogical changes since colonial times.1 Reformist versions of Islam have formed madrasas, characterized...
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