Journal for Islamic Studies - Volume 28, Issue 1, 2008
Volume 28, Issue 1, 2008
Piety, responsibility, subjectivity - changing moral economies of gender relations in contemporary Muslim Africa : introductionSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 28, pp 2 –8 (2008)More Less
This special issue brings together four case studies that explore, from a comparative angle, the interrelation between current trends towards moral renewal in Muslim Africa on the one hand, and transformations of gender relations on the other. The case studies illustrate that current attempts to return to more 'authentic' interpretations of Islam are effected partly through substantial reconfigurations of prevailing gender norms and practices.
Author Marloes JansonSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 28, pp 9 –36 (2008)More Less
Over the years, the Tabl¥gh¥ Jam>at has expanded into what is probably the largest Islamic movement of contemporary times. Despite its enormous influence, scholars have paid almost no attention to the movement in sub-Saharan Africa. This article focuses on The Gambia, which has grown into a flourishing centre of Tabl¥gh¥ activities in West Africa during the last decade. Whereas Gambian Tabl¥gh¥s understand Tabl¥gh¥ doctrine as a return to the original teachings of Islam, and as such to a traditional patriarchal gender ideology, the effect of their interventions is that they redefine prevailing divisions between female and male spheres of moral practice. By setting out on missionary tours (khur'j), Tabl¥gh¥ women have gained greater prominence in the public sphere, a sphere generally considered 'male'. In order to provide them with more time to perform missionary work, male Tabl¥gh¥s have taken over part of their wives' domestic workload. This reconfiguration of gender roles is studied as the outcome of a reorientation to a new form of piety as a means of realising a virtuous life that brings one closer to God.
Author Karin Van NieuwkerkSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 28, pp 37 –65 (2008)More Less
This article examines the interrelationship between the piety movement and the phenomenon of 'repentant' singers, dancers and actresses in Egypt. A broad piety current that existed underneath the militant Islamists has recently come to the fore. This 'post-Islamist' movement is less overtly political in its aims and emphasises the cultivation of the pious self. Repentant artists were at the vanguard of this new pious trend in Egypt. As public figures and stars, their religious turn was followed by millions. They have been important in propagating piety and veiling amongst higher-class women who were largely secularised. Three life stories of artists will illustrate their passage from art to repentance and devotion. They have become active in charity and preaching, particularly among the well-to-do. Despite their withdrawal from publicity, they have achieved a new public appearance and relevance. The repentant artists have influenced the opening of new avenues for female pious publicness.
Author Dorothea E. SchulzSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 28, pp 66 –93 (2008)More Less
This article takes the Islamic moral renewal in contemporary Mali as a starting place to examine the paradoxical repercussions that Muslim women's involvement in this movement yields for them. Women play a leading role in publicly formulating and enacting a notion of personal piety and religious responsibility through feminized symbolic and material forms of public piety. Their concern is to renew society and self in accordance with the authentic teachings of Islam, yet their endeavour to extend to others their invitation to move closer to God yields deeply contradictory results. In spite of their appeal to unity and shared moral concerns, the particular activities and forms of public presence that Muslim women choose opens up multiple venues for the reassertion of difference not only between leaders and their followers, but also among members of a Muslim women's group. Moreover, Muslim women's emphasis on the significance of proper ritual to collective well-being leaves them in a double bind. Their public performance of ritual allows them to push the limits of conventional understandings of political practice. Simultaneously, however, this very insistence on public ritual makes them vulnerable to criticism by other Muslim groups and to marginalisation in public debate.
Author Samuli SchielkeSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 28, pp 94 –126 (2008)More Less
Sufi rituals have historically been more open to women than other Islamic religious practices such as prayer in the mosques, legal scholarship, and preaching. While the past decades have seen some, albeit modest, opening of the latter fields for female participation, even leadership, in the Sufi milieu, the participation of women has been subjected to strong criticism and pressure at the same time. Two interrelated yet contradicting trends, one of a moralist opposition to women's public participation in religious rituals, and another of increasing female presence in the professional and public sphere on the condition of a moral and civic discipline, shape the possibilities of action for Sufi women. Highlighting the importance of class distinctions for the relationship of gender and religious practice, this article traces the styles of leadership and participation that make a significant presence of women possible, the factors that make it precarious, and the strategies that women in position of authority employ to justify their role.