Salomon investigates Sudan at a crucial moment in its history—balanced between unity and partition, secular and religious politics, peace and war—when those who desired an Islamic state were rethinking the political form under which they had lived for nearly a generation. Countering the dominant discourse, Salomon depicts contemporary Islamic politics not as a response to secularism and Westernization but as a node in a much longer conversation within Islamic thought, augmented and reappropriated as state projects of Islamic reform became objects of debate and controversy.
Among the first books to delve into the making of the modern Islamic state, For Love of the Prophet reveals both novel political ideals and new articulations of Islam as it is rethought through the lens of the nation.
Bowen focuses on three specific shariʿa councils: the oldest and most developed, in London; a Midlands community led by a Sufi saint and barrister; and a Birmingham-based council in which women play a leading role. Bowen shows that each of these councils represents a prolonged, unique experiment in meeting Muslims' needs in a Western country. He also discusses how the councils have become a flash point in British public debates even as they adapt to the English legal environment.
On British Islam highlights British Muslims' efforts to create institutions that make sense in both Islamic and British terms. This balancing act is rarely acknowledged in Britain—or elsewhere—but it is urgent that we understand it if we are to build new ways of living together.
'In this timely and original book, Ashraf Hoque takes us beneath the headlines to hear from voices often spoken ‘of’ rather than ‘to’. Rich in both ethnographic data and theoretically informed analysis, Being Young, Male and Muslim in Luton marks a very welcome contribution.'
Professor Nasar Meer FAcSS, University of Edinburgh.
Irfan Ahmad conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork at a school in the town of Aligarh, among student activists at Aligarh Muslim University, at a madrasa in Azamgarh, and during Jamaat's participation in elections in 2002. He deftly traces Jamaat's changing position in relation to India's secular democracy and the group's gradual ideological shift toward religious pluralism and tolerance. Ahmad demonstrates how the rise of militant Hindu nationalism since the 1980s--evident in the destruction of the Babri mosque and widespread violence against Muslims--led to SIMI's radicalization, its rejection of pluralism, and its call for jihad.
Islamism and Democracy in India argues that when secular democracy is responsive to the traditions and aspirations of its Muslim citizens, Muslims in turn embrace pluralism and democracy. But when democracy becomes majoritarian and exclusionary, Muslims turn radical.
Drawing on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in Amman, Sarah A. Tobin demonstrates that Muslims combine their interests in exerting a visible Islam with the opportunities and challenges of advanced capitalism in an urban setting, which ultimately results in the cultivation of a "neoliberal Islamic piety." Neoliberal piety, Tobin contends, is created by both Islamizing economic practices and economizing Islamic piety, and is done in ways that reflect a modern, cosmopolitan style and aesthetic, revealing a keen interest in displays of authenticity on the part of the actors. Tobin highlights sites at which economic life and Islamic virtue intersect: Ramadan, the hijab, Islamic economics, Islamic banking, and consumption. Each case reflects the shift from conditions and contexts of highly regulated and legalized moral behaviors to greater levels of uncertainty and indeterminacy. In its ethnographic richness, this book shows that actors make normative claims of an authentic, real Islam in economic practice and measure them against standards that derive from Islamic law, other sources of knowledge, and the pragmatics of everyday life.
In What Is Islam?, Shahab Ahmed presents a bold new conceptualization of Islam that challenges dominant understandings grounded in the categories of "religion" and "culture" or those that privilege law and scripture. He argues that these modes of thinking obstruct us from understanding Islam, distorting it, diminishing it, and rendering it incoherent.
What Is Islam? formulates a new conceptual language for analyzing Islam. It presents a new paradigm of how Muslims have historically understood divine revelation—one that enables us to understand how and why Muslims through history have embraced values such as exploration, ambiguity, aestheticization, polyvalence, and relativism, as well as practices such as figural art, music, and even wine drinking as Islamic. It also puts forward a new understanding of the historical constitution of Islamic law and its relationship to philosophical ethics and political theory.
A book that is certain to provoke debate and significantly alter our understanding of Islam, What Is Islam? reveals how Muslims have historically conceived of and lived with Islam as norms and truths that are at once contradictory yet coherent.