Journal for Islamic Studies - latest Issue
Volume 34, Issue 1, 2014
Author Andrea BrigagliaSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 3 –11 (2014)More Less
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. There is unanimity amongst most scholars of religion that late modern and post-modern religious revival does not entail a return to traditional roots, but a number of subtle and profound transformations, which occur at the level of both individual and collective meaning. Much more, however, has been written on the social and political significance of these transformations than on their personal, psychological dimension.
Author Abdulkader TayobSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 12 –42 (2014)More Less
This article analyses the life-trajectories of three Islamic activists in South Africa. It is focused on their journeys through activism over several decades, using life-story models from William James and al-Ghazali. These are stories of individuals who established or joined the Muslim Youth Movement (est. 1970) at one time or another and played some role in its long history. These stories include accounts of conversion, doubt and significant engagements in pursuit of an activist life. The biographies reveal a glimpse of the journeys that countless others, in South Africa and beyond, have taken in pursuit of an authentic Islamic life.
The dialogical construction of the Muslim Self : a reading of the life and work of Shaykh Muḥammad Al-GhazālīAuthor Aslam Farouk-AlliSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 43 –69 (2014)More Less
This paper examines the life and work of Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1917-1996), an Egyptian reformist scholar, locating his intellectual output within the framework of the broader socio-political context in which he came into being and emphasising both the psychological and social aspects that have impacted upon the formation of his identity. The theoretical framework of this study relies upon Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of dialogical discourse and approaches identity formation as a process of 'ideological becoming.' The paper examines al-Ghazālī's formative period, outlining his upbringing and thereafter traces his intellectual mentorship in the formal educational environment that subsequently moulded him into a prolific scholar and energetic social activist. Al-Ghazālī's intellectual bent is then interrogated and light is cast upon his salafi reform agenda. The paper concludes by assessing al-Ghazālī's impact upon Muslim society, emphasising his influence upon an entire generation of Islamist scholars and activists and argues that he has played an essential role in shaping the modern social imaginary; a concept that has been elaborated upon by the philosopher Charles Taylor and upon which this study draws.
Author Aini LinjakumpuSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 70 –97 (2014)More Less
Political dimensions of Islam have a powerful presence in the transnational public sphere. However, the importance of the personal dimension in Islamist engagement has been underestimated. This article will look at how political action and activism are constructed in the activists' lives at the individual level, examining in particular the involvement and exit of three activists from radical Islamist movements in diasporic situations in Europe and in the USA. The concepts of engagement and disengagement are applied in the analysis. The article argues that political actions and processes are related to personal experiences and emotions. Emotions provide motivation and direction to political actions: emotions influence choices, and emotional reactions are a result of choices made. In this sense, belonging to a political group is a thoroughly emotional experience.
Nurettin Topçu and Necip Fazıl Kısakürek : stories of 'conversion' and activism in Republican TurkeyAuthor Michelangelo GuidaSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 98 –117 (2014)More Less
In the 1940s, Islam started to re-emerge in the Turkish public sphere after the secular reforms of the Kemalist revolution. Two public intellectuals, Nurettin Topçu and Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, played a decisive role in modelling Islamic activism in the new Republican environment. This paper will focus on these two intellectuals' activism and personal stories of intra-faith conversion, as well as their encounters with the Naqshbandi Sufi order, which survived the official ban on religious orders because of its informal structures and practices. On the one hand, the Naqshbandi practices inspired in these two authors a new methodology to propagate religion within the strict limits of secular Turkey. On the other hand, the new 'modern' intellectual environment also forced Islamist intellectuals to change their way of advocating religiosity through academically accepted standards and values.
"I must strive to rectify myself and the people of the whole world" : portraits of Sunni traditionalist activists in South AfricaAuthor Auwais RafudeenSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 118 –152 (2014)More Less
From its headquarters in Karachi, the traditionalist Sunni movement, Dawate Islami, has spread to a number of other countries and in 1996 it founded a branch in South Africa. South Africa, in turn, has witnessed a mushrooming of Dawate Islami centres in various towns and cities throughout the country and has been the base for further expansion of the movement to other parts of Africa.
What drives the members to the movement? How were they inducted as members? This paper explores these questions through portraits of two senior South African activists: Mufti Abdun Nabi Hamidi and Amirudeen Kajee. Drawing on the notions of 'practices' 'virtues' and 'states of the self' inspired by the work of Talal Asad, this paper also seeks to provide a framework for understanding the nature of the activists' belonging and commitment to the movement.
'Complex subjectivities' : Don Omaruddin Mattera's conversion to Islam, beyond a political reading and a biographical essayAuthor Tahir Fuzile SitotoSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 153 –176 (2014)More Less
Known invariably as the 'Bard of liberation,' or more lately as 'the poet of compassion,' it is rather odd that Don Mattera remains an enigma in South African scholarship. Without claiming to offer a comprehensive biographical account of Don Mattera, the specific aim of this essay is to make sense of Mattera's conversion to Islam as well as his encounter with resurgent Muslim organizations. Foregrounding his autobiographical voice, sense of agency and self, the essay ventures to challenge a prevailing tendency in academic literature that often interprets Black and African conversion to Islam in strictly political terms. Hence while the essay acknowledges the dialectical tension between the political and spiritual in Mattera's religious journey, it contends that any reading or interpretation of Don Mattera's encounter with Islam that dismisses the spiritual dimension of his conversion would be grossly mistaken.
Author Ken ChitwoodSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 177 –180 (2014)More Less
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 Africa in 1994; these elections followed multi-party negotiations between multiple political organizations that had recently been decriminalized. Muslims played key roles not only during the formative period of post-apartheid South Africa, but also in the struggle against the apartheid regime. Even today, in the midst of South Africa's re-emergence onto the global scene and against the backdrop of transnational Islamic discourses Muslims - even as minorities - continue to influence the shaping of South Africa. This context provides the frame of reference for Vahed's work, which compiles various narratives and stories of Islamic leaders in the struggle to assert non-racial politics in South Africa.
Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development, D. Rudnyckyj : book reviewAuthor Ra Tiedemann-NkabindeSource: Journal for Islamic Studies 34, pp 181 –185 (2014)More Less
A small flame of interest has been emerging in recent decades assessing the relationship between Islam and contemporary economic phenomena. Until now this topic has been discarded in a neglected vault, sealed by the lingering dismissal of the incompatibility of Islam and capitalism, largely owing to the writings of Max Weber however, there is now a resurgence of interest. No doubt spurred by an explosion of attention directed towards focal points such as Islam and development, Islamic banking and finance, and geopolitical shifts threatened by the Arab Spring social scientists, policy makers and journalists have begun to reassess Islam and economics. Daromir Rudnyckyj's Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development fits within this mould, although charting a new course in its analyses of Islam and neoliberalism in the global south. This book builds on the emerging sub-fields of economic anthropology and the anthropology of globalization while offering an original contribution through its introduction of Islam as a focus.