Journal for Islamic Studies - Volume 30, Issue 1, 2010
Volume 30, Issue 1, 2010
The gender segregation (ikhtil?t) debate in Saudi Arabia : reform and the clash between 'Ulam?' and liberalsAuthor Roel MeijerSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 2 –32 (2010)More Less
Gender segregation, the forbiddance of ikhtil?t (mixing of sexes) has been one of the defining features of Saudi Arabia. Saudi law enforces the separation of men and women in the public sphere, with the result that women have their own exclusive public spaces in schools, universities, charitable organizations, hospitals, restaurants, and government offices. As several researchers have pointed out this is partly an invented tradition. Since the 1970s conservatism has actively been promoted by the state. Music was banned from public spaces, television viewing was controlled. It was the forbidding of ikhtil?t which was consistently promoted by the revivalist Ṡahwa movement, conservative 'ulam?' and the religious police who enforced public moral behaviour. After 9/11 and especially after the attacks by al-Qaeda on the Peninsula on Saudi soil in 2003-4, the trend has turned against Wahhabism as a conservative force. For many liberal Saudi intellectuals, Wahhabism has an ambivalent relationship with violence, hampers social and economic development and is an impediment to the necessary openness towards both the Western world but also to major parts of the Islamic world which regards Wahhabism as intolerant. The trend to restrict the overbearing power of religion and the social supervision of the official clerics is noticeable in the gradual reduction of various restrictions on women. In 2002 women were allowed to apply for an ID card and in 2007 they were permitted to study law. Gender mixing is becoming more widespread. For instance, ikhtil?t has recently been permitted at exhibitions and book fairs. The pace of reform has increased after Prince 'Abdall?h became king in August 2005. His reforms have led to intense debates between the conservative 'ulam?' who dominate the internet and the reformist opinion makers who control the so-called liberal press. Although the struggle is about reform in general and clerical control over society, the main confrontation has focused on the issue of ikhtil?t.
"God loves me" : the theological content and context of early pious and Sufi women's sayings on loveAuthor Laury SilversSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 33 –59 (2010)More Less
Sufi sayings on divine love are expressed as deeply personal revelations of intimate experiences with the object of their attachment. However, no matter how personal an expression of such intimacy may be, when it is communicated, the lover's expression is constrained by the language and culture of her or his day. Maria Dakake has found that [pious and] Sufi women from the seventh to the thirteenth century shared a common language of domesticity in describing their intimacy with God. In her article, "Guest of the Inmost Heart," Dakake argues convincingly that common gendered social constraints have resulted in an articulation of women's experience of divine love in a language of domesticity.
Author Ibrahim R. AdebayoSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 60 –77 (2010)More Less
Since its arrival in Yorubaland, Islam has spread like burning fire during harmattan. Many factors were considered and one that has not been given much attention is the role the traditional rulers played. Many kings were (and are still now) believed to be the chief priests of their domains and custodians of their traditional local culture. This is not in line with the teaching of Islam which preaches absolute tawhid (monotheism), hence this factor has been neglected by some Muslim historians. Some of these royal fathers, whether they embraced Islam or not, have impacted the spread of the religion within their domains. This paper thus examines the roles played by these traditional rulers in the spread of Islam in Yorubaland with particular reference to Osun State. It explores the relationship between the rulers and their respective Muslim communities, and the impact they had on Islam and traditional society.
Author Zahra M.S. AyubiSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 78 –102 (2010)More Less
Drawing on interviews with divorced American Muslim women, I will discuss the range of ways Muslim women in the U.S. incorporate Islamic law into their lives and how they negotiate the religious and legal aspects of their divorces. A common challenge my interlocutors faced in divorce was establishing an access to Islamic divorce and a divorce on equitable terms. Using their understanding of Islamic law as a standard for justice, my interlocutors employed both civil law and religio-legal strategies to re-define the terms of Islamic divorce for themselves. Their experiences demonstrate a need for reform in American Muslim divorce ethics and Islamic legal thought.
Author Naasiha AbrahamsSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 103 –105 (2010)More Less
Islam has been in existence on the shores of East Africa for centuries. However, up until the end of the nineteenth century, most people of the interior were not Muslims. The situation has changed dramatically over the last century, and in present day southeast Tanzania, approximately eighty per cent of the population are now Muslim. What are the motivating factors leading to this conversion and how did this affect ritual practice, social relationships and the negotiation of space? These are the questions Felicitas Becker seeks to answer in her ambitious and carefully constructed book.
Author Nina HoelSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 105 –109 (2010)More Less
Margot Badran is one of the leading commentators on feminism in Islam, documenting its emergence and development in the intersecting spheres of the secular and the religious. During the past two decades she has published numerous articles that offer significant subtitle of Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences, directs our attention towards the precariousness of these categories and also indicate the possibilities for various configurations of these feminisms in different social contexts within which changing relations of power operate.
Islam and Biological Evolution : Exploring Classical Sources and Methodologies, David Solomon Jalajel : book reviewAuthor Anwar Suleman MallSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 109 –112 (2010)More Less
What is Islam's position towards the Darwinian theory of evolution? Is it neutral, against or for evolution? These are some of the big and bold questions David Solomon Jalajel explores within the framework of classical Sunni Islamic scholarship. Those familiar with the subject will know that there is a lack of consensus amongst Muslims on this matter and Muslims who generally find evolutionary theory unacceptable and in contradiction to their beliefs belong to both classical and modern traditions. Jalajel believes that opposition to evolution in the Muslim world is due to ignorance of evolutionary principles, an assumed association of evolution with atheism and an assumption that the theory contradicts the Qur'an.
Source: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 112 –114 (2010)More Less
This is an excellent ethnography of an Islamic trend that has remained prominent in the public eye. Ahmad's study of Islamism in India, particularly represented by Jamaat-e-Islami (est. 1941), traces its history and its transformation within a political context that differed significantly from its original foundation in colonial India. The book gives a human face to a movement that has been associated with a vast range of political movements in recent times; from the radical movement of al-Qaeda led by Osama Ben Laden, to the democratic tendencies among Islamists in Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia and Malaysia. Ahmad shows that Indian Islamists were internally divided and embraced the extremes of both radicalism and democratization. More importantly, he showed that the purist Islamist ideology enumerated by its founder Maulana Maududi was open to transformation.
Author Shaheed TayobSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 115 –117 (2010)More Less
Meccanomics explores the growing middle class in the Muslim world and their propensity to consume, and assert conservative values. Nasr uses evidence of significant progress in commerce and freedom that have been made in the Islamic world, and ties that progress to an emerging Muslim middle class that is more interested in stability and trade than war and religion.
The book comprises of ten chapters. Each chapter introduces the reader to an emerging middle class that is developing the economic clout that is essential for inevitable liberalisation.
Author Joseph WanderaSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 117 –120 (2010)More Less
In Freedom and Orthodoxy, Majid presents a strong argument for demolishing of what he sees as "the homogenizing tendencies" (religious, cultural and economic) of Western universalism. Majid argues that the world must move towards understanding various cultural and religious identities and foster dialogue in order to avoid serious conflict. For Majid, the crippling economic inequality and cultural imperialism evident in the world today has potential for causing a conflict much worse than 9/11.
Author Ursula GuntherSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 121 –123 (2010)More Less
Muhammad Arkoun, cultural border-crosser and pioneer in critical Islamic Studies and new Islamic readings, died in Paris at age 82 on 14 September 2010. A central figure in contemporary Islamic conscioussness has left the stage. A significant voice has faded. His was a voice that challenged all peers - regardless of their faith - to a shift in perspective, opening the door to the Unthought, and to long-overdue questions.
Source: Journal for Islamic Studies 30, pp 124 –125 (2010)More Less
Abū Zayd left a lasting legacy on the Qur'ān that will continue to be of interest to all those interested in its history, its meaning and its reception. He was born in a small village near Tanta called Quhafa. There, he memorized this Qur'ān as part of his basic education, and also acquired a technical education in telecommunications. He continued his studies at Cairo University at a mature age; obtaining a BA (Arabic Studies) in 1972, MA in 1977 and finally a Phd in 1981 in Islamic Studies. While most of his studies were completed at Cairo University, he also spent time at the American University in Cairo (1975-1977) and the Center for Middle East Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia USA (1978-1979).