For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State

Princeton University Press
Free sample

For some, the idea of an Islamic state serves to fulfill aspirations for cultural sovereignty and new forms of ethical political practice. For others, it violates the proper domains of both religion and politics. Yet, while there has been much discussion of the idea and ideals of the Islamic state, its possibilities and impossibilities, surprisingly little has been written about how this political formation is lived. For Love of the Prophet looks at the Republic of Sudan's twenty-five-year experiment with Islamic statehood. Focusing not on state institutions, but rather on the daily life that goes on in their shadows, Noah Salomon’s careful ethnography examines the lasting effects of state Islamization on Sudanese society through a study of the individuals and organizations working in its midst.

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.

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About the author

Noah Salomon is assistant professor of religion at Carleton College.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 25, 2016
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781400884292
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Africa / General
Political Science / World / African
Religion / Islam / General
Religion / Islam / Rituals & Practice
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Anthropology / Physical
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
Social Science / Islamic Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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 What is it like to be a young Muslim man in post-7/7 Britain, and what impact do wider political factors have on the multifaceted identities of young Muslim men? Drawn from the author’s ethnographic research of British-born Muslim men in the English town of Luton, Being Young, Male and Muslim in Luton explores the everyday lives of the young men and, in particular, how their identity as Muslims has shaped the way they interact with each other, the local community and the wider world.Through a study of religious values, the pressures of masculinity, the complexities of family and social life, and attitudes towards work and leisure, Ashraf Hoque argues that young Muslims in Luton are subverting what it means to be ‘British’ through consciously prioritising and re-articulating self-confessed ‘Muslim identities’ in novel and dynamic ways that suit their experiences as a post-colonial diaspora. Employing extensive participant observation and rich interview content, Hoque paints a detailed picture of young Muslims living in a town consistently associated in the popular media with terrorist activity and as a hotbed for radicalisation. He challenges widely held assumptions about cultural segregation, gender relations and personal liberty in Muslim communities, and gives voice to an emerging generation of Muslims who view Britain as their home and are very much invested in the long-term future of the country and their permanent place within it. 
This short and accessible book will be of interest to students seeking grounding in Islam and Muslim communities in diaspora, and scholars from an array of social science and humanities backgrounds including Anthropology, Sociology of Religion, Political Science, Urban Studies and Cultural Studies.

Praise for Being Young, Male and Muslim in Luton

'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.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is the most influential Islamist organization in India today. Founded in 1941 by Syed Abul Ala Maududi with the aim of spreading Islamic values in the subcontinent, Jamaat and its young offshoot, the Student Islamic Movement of India or SIMI, have been watched closely by Indian security services since September 11. In particular, SIMI has been accused of being behind terrorist bombings. This book is the first in-depth examination of India's Jamaat-e-Islami and SIMI, exploring political Islam's complex relationship with democracy and providing a rare window into the Islamist trajectory in a Muslim-minority context.

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.

Working and living as an authentic Muslim—comporting oneself in an Islamically appropriate way—in the global economy can be very challenging. How do middle-class Muslims living in the Middle East navigate contemporary economic demands in a distinctly Islamic way? What are the impacts of these efforts on their Islamic piety? To what authority does one turn when questions arise? What happens when the answers vary and there is little or no consensus? To answer these questions, Everyday Piety examines the intersection of globalization and Islamic religious life in the city of Amman, Jordan.

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.

What is Islam? How do we grasp a human and historical phenomenon characterized by such variety and contradiction? What is "Islamic" about Islamic philosophy or Islamic art? Should we speak of Islam or of islams? Should we distinguish the Islamic (the religious) from the Islamicate (the cultural)? Or should we abandon "Islamic" altogether as an analytical term?

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.

An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom in Afghanistan that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl.

In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child--a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.

The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.

At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.
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