Journal for Islamic Studies - Volume 27, Issue 1, 2007
Volume 27, Issue 1, 2007
Author Abdulkader TayobSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 1 –15 (2007)More Less
The concept of Muslim publics has been helpful in delineating at least two distinct aspects of modern Islamic developments. The first, and the most successful of such applications, has been the idea that Muslim publics provided the spaces for the construction of new and modern identities. These have been the conceptual and physical sites for the flourishing trends of Sufis, feminists, Wahhabis, traditionalists, Islamists and progressives.
Author Roman LoimeierSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 16 –38 (2007)More Less
Although being a major feature of Zanzibar's everyday life, the baraza has so far largely escaped attention of academic discussion. Public or semi-public places where people of a house, of a neighbourhood or even a larger social configuration meet to sit and chat, to spend time, drink coffee and discuss politics, religion, football or other quotidian issues are certainly found in many societies. Yet, Zanzibar's baraza are so omnipresent that it is hard to imagine the island without them. At the same time, baraza life is not easy to grasp. Although there are set rules of baraza etiquette, they are not a permanent "institution" but may disappear as quickly as they have come into existence. This contribution discusses some of the major features of baraza life and the spatial organization of the baraza, in particular, and to establish thereby something like a baraza "sociology".
Evoking moral community, fragmenting Muslim discourse : sermon audio-recordings and the reconfiguration of public debate in MaliAuthor Dorothea E. SchulzSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 39 –72 (2007)More Less
The article explores the processes that have allowed Islam to gain great appeal as a community-building idiom in Mali since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1991. Drawing on the mediatic performances of the charismatic preacher Sharif Haidara, the article analyzes how new media technologies facilitate and play into Islam's new prominence and how they influence the particular ways in which Islam is presented in the public sphere. It examines the particular ways audio recording technologies intervene in and complicate the terms of interaction between political regimes and their critics, and thus change the place of religion in postcolonial state politics. Rather than interpret this process as a "resurgence" and threat of religion to secular nation state politics, the article emphasizes the paradoxical effects "small", decentralized media have on the constitution of moral community. Audio recordings enable the move to public prominence of a variety of interpreters of Islam who seek to articulate an Islamic normativity as the basis of the common good. Paradoxically, the same processes that enhance the possibilities of Muslims of various backgrounds and pedigree to participate in public debate simultaneously undermine their appeal to Islamic scholarly consensus. While these processes strengthen these Muslims' possibilities to speak in public, they weaken their capacities to speak as the public, a claim that is pivotal to their quest for collective moral renewal.
'In my father's house' - gender, Islam and the construction of a gendered public sphere in Darfur, SudanAuthor Karin WillemseSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 73 –115 (2007)More Less
One of the main goals of the Islamist government of Sudan that came to power in 1989 was to construct an Islamic public sphere. In this project women were cast predominantly as mothers and wives outside the public space. At the same time the emphasis on gender segregation in public places necessitated the involvement of women, like female teachers, to act on behalf of the government in creating gendered Islamic public spaces. The article focuses on single female teachers in Kebkabiya, a small town in Darfur to examine how. They negotiated the Islamist moral discourse in order to construct alternative female subject positions in the public sphere. Formal education was considered a precondition for being a good (female) Muslim. However, single female teachers clearly defied the ideal of the married Muslim woman, as projected by the dominant Islamist discourse. It is argued that the veil, the mode of address, and the boarding house constituted important conditions of this negotiation. The enactment of the identity of the educated professional by these single female teachers exposed the shifting and permeable nature of the boundaries of the public sphere, which problematizes notions such as the 'private' and the 'public'.
Author Goolam VahedSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 116 –149 (2007)More Less
The Islamic presence in South Africa dates over three centuries. Islam has mostly been the private affair of Muslims who lived in harmony with non-Muslims in "Indian" or "Coloured" public spaces, and engaged with them in political struggles against various White minority regimes. Islam has been brought into the national public sphere more manifestly in democratic South Africa. The activities of the vigilante group People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) in the Western Cape, 9/11 and the "War on Terror", and heightened salience of Islam as a religious and cultural force in the lives of ordinary Muslims have increased its public visibility to a level disproportionate to population numbers. The veil, beard, dress are all visible denoters of Muslims identity. Boundaries are being (re)constructed around various points of contact : between men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and the state, Islam and secularism, and so on. This drawing of boundaries is not a movement of protest but one aimed at reinforcing religiocultural identity as part of a broader process of religious revival. This paper explores the intense exposure and reaction of the small Muslim community to the public gaze. It also examines divisions among Muslims on a range of issues, calling into question the notion of "Muslim community".
Identity politics and public disputation : a Baha'i missionary as a Muslim modernist in South AfricaAuthor Shamil JeppieSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 150 –172 (2007)More Less
This paper focuses on the Arabic Study Circle and the role of its most influential member Joseph Perdu. It shows how the public life of the organization could not continue to bear the ambiguity of the identity of Perdu. Ultimately, there were attempts to 'expose' the 'real' Perdu and therefore the 'real' Arabic Study Circle. This essay raises the question of public performances of identity and their relations to private pursuits of identity.
The Radio Kaduna tafsir (1978-1992) and the construction of public images of Muslim scholars in the Nigerian mediaAuthor Andrea BrigagliaSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 173 –210 (2007)More Less
This paper looks at a public contest over Qur'anic interpretation that accompanied the emergence of Nigerian reformist activism in the late 1970s. This contest was staged on national radio at regular intervals during the months of Ramadan over several years. The events allowed a public negotiation of the issues involved by the then polarizing fracture between 'Sufi' and 'anti-Sufi' Nigerian Muslims. In addition to the demands of the familiar doctrinal polemic register, the religious scholars who participated in these programs were thrown into a new, challenging arena. The paper focuses separately on the three major protagonists involved at different stages as 'Radio Kaduna exegetes' (Shaykh Abu Bakr Gumi, Shaykh 'Umar Sanda, Shaykh Tahir Bauchi), outlines their scholarly careers, their doctrinal inclination and their favored themes. It concludes by highlighting how the success of the Radio Kaduna tafsir contest rested on the degree to which it staged critical cultural negotiations that engaged the society in a variety of ways.
Author Abdoulaye SounayeSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 211 –239 (2007)More Less
Recent developments in Niger have shown a growing presence of Islamic symbols in the public space in civil society organizations, and within government and political circles. The case under consideration here is the reform in 2004 that required magistrates presiding over electoral commissions to take an oath according to their religious conviction. For most of these civil servants the law meant being sworn in on the Qur'an, but the initiative resulted in a controversy between different factions : civil society organizations seeking to preserve the secular nature of state institutions; and state officials and political parties who argued that the law would contribute to free and fair electoral processes. Putting this controversy in a broader context, I suggest looking at the genealogy of the instrumentalization of the Qur'an in Niger's sociopolitical history, and also the identity politics to which state officials are increasingly compelled to respond. I also argue that the provision for religious symbolism in a state system which, until now has claimed its secularity, is dictated by a political utilitarianism focusing on the need for new compulsory rituals, and translates into an accommodationism that plays with the religious identity of the administration. In emphasizing the new functionality, meanings and symbolic value of Islam in general, and the Qur'an in particular, the paper highlights the complexity of the management of the line of demarcation between the religious and the secular in the light of recent constitutional and legal changes in Niger.
Author Eric Morier-GenoudSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 27, pp 239 –275 (2007)More Less
This article look at Islam and politics in Mozambique. Islam has experienced there an exemplary turnabout since the late 1980s. It has been transformed from a marginalised, and at time oppressed, religion into a socially and publicly important faith. What have been the consequences of this transformation? How did Muslims make use of their progress? And what was the reaction of those in political power? Did Muslims integrate into the elite in power, and can one consequently identify a reconfiguration of the national hegemonic bloc? The article demonstrates that while Muslims were integrated in various political institutions after 1994, the party in power evicted all militant religious men from its party and from political positions after the year 2000. It only retained secular Muslims in its ranks. The text evaluates the impact of this change and raises the hypothesis of a consequent secularization of politics.