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Foreign Cultures 70: Islam & Contemporary Muslim Societies

Final Exam Study Guide


Usman dan Fodio (d. 1817)

ճ Member of nomadic Fulani tribe in West Aftica, born in Hausa city-state of Gobir.
ճ In Gobir, there was:
1. Tension between the ulama and local rulers who seemed to tolerate syncretistic
practices: belief in spirits, fetish worship; they also lived a luxuriant lifestyle.
2. Tension between nomads/merchants and rulers over heavy taxation
ճ Dan Fodio believes that tolerating mixed practices is worse than disbelief. Hausa rulers
had failed to rule in accordance with Sharia. He battled the paganism/animism of the
region and called for reforms of existing Islam as a part of the conservative movement.
Stresses Maliki madhab, or strict adherence to Sharia as interpreted by the Maliki school
of law.
ճ Proselytized among common people—extend Islam as a religion of the people, not just of
ulama. Created amirs (general-governors) who are both spiritual and temporal rulers.
ճ He was persecuted in Gobir, escaped, and in 1807 launches a jihad against King of Gobir.
He draws support from oppressed peasant class, calls for new social order.
ճ Took over several city states, founds the Sokoto Caliphate.
ճ Inspired similar religion-based jihads in other parts of West Africa in the 19th century,
some against French colonialists.

Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)

ճ Indian Muslim poet-philosopher, wrote in Urdu and Persian
o Intellectual father of Pakistan – the official national poet
o Influenced by European thinkers, esp. Nietzsche
ճ Pan-Islamist as well as anti-colonial Indian patriot
o Critic of nationalism and of secularism (believed that it was not just a religion but
a political and legal philosophical as well)
o Proposed the idea of a Muslim state separate from India – heavily influenced
ճ Envisaged a new, intellectually and spiritually invigorated Muslim individual
ճ His work “The Message of the East” said that the West was becoming overly materialistic
– and the answer would come from the spirituality of the East.
ճ Criticized for emphasizing that Muslim communities were incompatible with other
religious communities.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938)

(Ataturk means “Father of the Turks”)
I Powerful military leader who opposed Turkish Caliphate
ճ Member of Young Turk—a group of army officers who demanded that constitutional rule
be restored in Turkey.
II Founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.
ճ Strong nationalist
ճ Iconic figure in Turkish nationalist identity
III Heavily influential in his idea of what Turkey should be is Ziya Gokalp (1876-1924)
ճ Three key ideas
 Turkification
Զ exaltation of Turkish Culture
Զ Reidentification of what it means to be Turkish is strongly based on ethnic lines
 Islamization
Զ Return to pristine intellectual freedom of early Islam;
Զ Taqlid to be rejected—reject control of interpretation by ulama.
Զ Islam to be de-Arabized and become religion of Turks in Turkish forms.
 Modernization
Զ Wholesale Westernization of Turkey.
Զ Turkey should use Western models because paradigms are in West. Nothing
wrong with using Western models.
IV Ataturk exiled Abdul Majid II, last Caliph d. 1944 in Paris
V His religious schools and courts swept away, replaced by courts enforcing legal code, state
training of Ulama, sufi orders and shrines abolished and turned into Museums. Arabic script
changed to roman letters. Arabic calendar changed to Gregorian calendar. Constitutional
changes were made to laicize Turkish state. Secularism. Religious is not political; it is
personal. All religious symbols banned from public life.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1875-1948)

I Indian politician, educated in England. Non-practicing Shia Muslim
II Believed British rule was important for India in many ways (education, modernization, etc),
he wanted more political freedom (but not necessarily outright freedom).
III His downfall began with the ascension of Gandhi. They were very different – Gandhi did not
wear European dress, he was very spiritual, and tried to speak only Indian languages. Jinnah
left India for a while after he became disillusioned with Indian Muslim politics
IV In 1934 he returned to India to lead the re-united Muslim League. He became intrigued with
the idea of “Pakistan” – a separate, Muslim state. He was worried that Muslims, a minority
in India, would lose their rights.
V In 1947 Pakistan was formed. Jinnah became the first Governor-general. He saw Pakistan as
“Muslim” nation – Muslim in cultural terms not religious. Tried to form a largely secular
state - called Kafir-I Azam – “The Great Infidel” by his detractors. Attempted to follow a
westernized style of democracy.

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792)

I 18th century ultraconservative evangelist, founded Wahabbi ideology
ճ Puritanical Islam
ճ Rid Islam of corruptions that had crept into the religion
 mysticism, intercession, rationalism, intellectualism
 Exhibited extreme hostility to all forms of intellectualism, mysticism, and
sectarianism, within Islam => corrupt innovations borne out of un-Islamic influences
 Considered any form of moral thought that was not entirely dependent on the text as
a form of self-idolatry
 Treated humanistic fields of knowledge as evil
 Thought it was necessary to return to a presumed pristine, simple and straightforward
 Rejected any attempt to interpret the Divine law from a historical, contextual
perspective and treated most of Islamic history as a corruption or aberration
 Visitation of tomb shrines
 Controversial Sufi practices like song and dance
 Accommodation of non-Islamic practices-compromising monotheism
ճ Resisted indeterminacy of modern age by escaping to a strict literalism in which the text
became sole source of legitimacy
ճ declared heretic for unconventional methods of interpreting Quranic texts and his
ճ Beliefs
 Rejects taqlid (the “blind following” of the ulama)
Զ Intolerant of long-established Islamic practice of considering a long variety of
schools of thought and attempted to narrow the range of issues upon which
Muslims may legitimately disagree
 Supremacy of Quran,
Զ stressed how first generation of Muslims interpreted it,
Զ literal interpretation
Զ decontextualize texts
 Theological paradigms
Զ Anti-rationalism, rejection of the doctrine of intercession, reliance on isolated
hadith in the deduction of laws, prohibition of music, mechanics of prayers
 Pedantic doctrines
Զ Permission of prayer beads, whether one may wipe one’s neck during the
ablutions before a prayer, female attendance at funerals
Զ Some of his doctrines detailed in “Book of Monotheism”: Kitab al-Tawhid, non-
Muslims are those who in practice compromise monotheism: why prophet
Muhammad’s (intercessor) birthday not celebrated in Saudi Arabia
 Other characteristics
Զ Very patriarchal worldview; no public role for women; strict segregation
Զ Rejection of all historical and cultural developments, esp. after the first two
hundred years
Զ Destruction of important historical monuments (tombs of prophet’s companions,
his wife) of religious significance
ճ Emergence of Salafi groups
ճ He had an obsessive concern with the doctrine of shirk (sin of polytheism)
 Muslims could commit particular acts that would expose the impurity of his belief in
God and Islam, such acts betray a willingness to engage in shirk, and result in taking
a person out of the fold of Islam
 Practice of takfir (accusing Muslims of heresy and of being infidels)
 Hostility to human practice that would excite the imagination or bolster creativity
Զ Only frivolous people would be fond of arts => constitutes a step toward kufr
(becoming an infidel) because it leads to heretical thoughts
ճ He was hostile to non-Muslims (Jews and Christians), believed it was completely
immaterial to care about what non-Muslims thought of Islam
ճ He espoused a self-sufficient and closed system of belief that has no reason to engage or
interact with the other, except from a position of dominance => universal moral value are
irrelevant to the Islamic mission
II Reasons for his reforms
ճ Internal: corrupt and imperfect practice of Islam
ճ External: imperial and colonial rule had led to loss of political power
ճ Islamic groups like the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been influenced by Wahabbi thought
ճ Gets in alliance with chief of Saud clan, Muhammad ib Saud, and allowed for them to get
political power, rose in rebellion against Ottoman Empire
ճ Late 19th, early 20th: Treaties and recognition with British and Americans based on need
of excess oil; oil revenue provided financial resources to gain legitimacy among non-
Wahhabi ulama, esp. those who had questioned the basis of Wahhabi theology and non-
conventional methods of interpretation: previously marginal, trying to become the
ճ Harnessed and cultivated by Western powers as an ideology to combat communism and
Middle East and elsewhere: defense and arms treaties
ճ Saudi Rulers as “Custodians of the Two Sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina”) legitimized
role as leading Muslim rulers
ճ Ideology as much a product of political and economic considerations as of religious
dogma: not purely religious.
ճ Petrodollars also used to spread influence among Muslim communities in poverty-
stricken regions: built new schools, scholarships, and mosques
ճ Word Muslim League: based in Mecca, Saudi-founded to promote this vision
ճ Four main factors for Wahhabism’s survival in contemporary Islam
ճ By rebelling against Ottomans, Wahhabism appealed to emerging ideologies of Arab
nationalism in the 18th c. By saying they were an occupying power, they set a precedent
for notion of Arab self-determination and autonomy
ճ Rejected the cumulative weight of historical baggage, insisted on a return to the
precedents of rightly-guided early generations, intuitively liberating for Muslim
reformers since it meant rebirth of itijihad, the return to the de novo examination and
determination of legal issues unencumbered by accretions of precedents and inherited
ճ Saudi Arabia’s unique position as the guardian of the two holy sites of Mecca and Medina
(regulation of orthodoxy at pilgrimage)
ճ Discovery and exploitation of oil provided Saudi Arabia with high liquidity

Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989)

ճ traditional education in Qom; taught in seminaries there until exiled to Najaf (Iraq) in
ճ Iran in 1960-1970s perceived as heading towards a Western style secular nationalism =>
fears that Iran was losing its religious identity
ճ Shah perceived as threat to Islamic identity by Ulama; to Iranian nation and culture by
lay intellectuals and socialists (worried about distribution of oil wealth, Westernized elite)
ճ Shah’s White Revolution: attended to implement a wide-ranging modernization program
ճ Growing autocratic rule and uncritical pace of modernization
ճ Primarily benefited urban areas and new modern middle class, did not include political
ճ Nixon doctrine of 1972: Iranian as guardian of Gulf =>Americanization of Iran
ճ Shah of Iran perceived as latter-day Ataturk: dragging his people into modernity
IV Political
ճ Conservative reformist of Iran and religious leader.
ճ Symbol and guide of the revolution
ճ Early outspoken critic of Shah, remained outspoken even in exile (began in1960s),
solidified his role as conscience of Islam and the Iranian people
ճ Lived in exile until return from France in 1979
ճ Speeches and writings were smuggled and widely distributed through the mullah-mosque
ճ Books
 Kash al-Asrar (1941): criticizes the Pahlavi (Shah) state
 Hukumat al-Islam (1969, while still in exile): exposition of the doctrine of velayat-i
faqih: “rule by the jurisprudent” => political rule by the religious scholar
 New development in Shia thought. Until this point, the Shia ulama had never seen
their role as a political one => used to being the opposition of whomever was in
ճ Stated that in the absence of the hidden Imam, ulama could hold political authority
ճ He appealed to traditional Shia history: he compared the Shah toYazid, who was
responsible for killing Hussein: appealed to struggle between good vs. evil; symbolism of
Shiism exploited
ճ He condemned Western imperialism, Westernization of Muslim societies, and Israel
(which he regarded as outpost of American neocolonialism)
ճ Conservative in education, worldview, and lifestyle
ճ His lectures reiterated inseparability of Islam and politics
ճ His doctrine of jurist rule asserted that an Islamic govt. is one based upon Islamic law,
most qualified are those learned in Islamic texts
V Types of reform
ճ Early 20th century: imitative => attempts to imitate Western models: Islamic institutions
perceived as being “backward” and “outdated”
ճ After Iranian Rev. in 1979 => Islamic: interprets Islam as a political ideology, usually for
a nation state

ճ Khomeini and the religious clerics by themselves could not have pulled off the Iranian
Revolution: Needed wide spectrum of support from secularist, leftists, socialists
ճ Mid 1970s: increasingly repressive measure of Shaw induced a resistance movement
organized under umbrella of Islam, calling new political and social order
ճ Movement comprised of secularists, Islamic activists, liberal democrats, Marxists
ճ Revolutionary Spectrum
 Center movement: Mehdi Bazargan and Liberation Movement of Iran => promoted
democratization and liberalization, also strong socialist message
 Left: Ali Shariati, socialist in his interpretation of Shiism (Alid Shiism: social justice,
looking after poor and needy): appealed to women and youth
 Right: Islamic Republican Party: led by Khomeini and his clerics
ճ Alliance evolved between the religiously oriented classes and modern intellectuals from
shared concerns over political freedom, danger of economic and military dependence on
ճ Revolution did not start as religious one: deep social, political and economic causes
ճ Turning point: Islamic scholars become heads of state, role of religion in Middle E. is
ճ Emergence of theocracy in Iran, redefined Iran in Islamic terms; idealized version of
Islam in attempts to create heaven on earth
ճ After fall of the Shah, sharp differences among revolutionary factions surfaced
 Role of clergy and religious law is questioned
ճ Khomeini prevailed: consolidated power in govt., parliament, judiciary, military,
Revolutionary Guards, the press and media
ճ Censorship of press, ideological control of university curricula, prohibitions on alcohol,
gambling, drug use, and sexual offenses were enforced
ճ As head of the Islamic Republic, Khomeini defined nature and limits of Iran’s Islamic
identity and ideology, oversaw its implementation
ճ He advocated a universal Islamic revolution to liberate all the oppressed, used to justify
the incitement of revolts in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq => ultimate goal was to have
Islamic nations unify as one power

Malcolm X (1965)
I Most famous convert Malcolm Little (converted in prison). Upon joining the Nation called
himself Malcolm X (X symbolized that he was an ex-smoker, ex-drinker, ex-slave, ex-
ճ Gives a speech in which identifies Islam = religion of black people, Christianity = white
 Response to KKK and its association with Christianity to promote white supremacy
II In 1964 breaks with the Nation
ճ Questions Elijah’s ethical views (Elijah had affairs with many women)
ճ Pilgrimage to Mecca challenges racial stereotyping
 discovers that races can come together
 the problem is not race, the problem is American society
III Founded Muslim Mosque Inc
ճ changes name to El-Hajj (indicates he was on the pilgrimage) Malik el-Shabazz
ճ Starts to preach conservative Sunni Islam
ճ Redefines what it is to be Muslim, not in racial terms
ճ Understands his own group is one within a larger Islamic family
 Moves to multiracial, multicultural ideology
IV Assassinated in 1965; 2 members of Nation of Islam (probably against the shift of the Nation
and understanding of races coming together) were convicted of crime

Eljah Muhammad
ճ 1934 - Elijah Muhammad (Elijah Poole before) takes over leadership of Nation of Islam
after founder disappears
 Considers Black nation to be a nation of Islam
 Was thought to be last messenger of God, not Muhammad, in Nation
ճ Elijah Muhammad identifies himself as a prophet and Fard to be Allah
 Interpreting symbols differently than traditional sense
ճ Temple of Islam, schools, Fruit of Islam, paramilitary force: strict behavior/dress code
 Strong social network
 Dress code: western 3-piece suit, bowtie, no alcohol, no drugs
II His organization: Nation of Islam
ճ Preached that blacks weren’t Americans and had no loyalty to state (blacks were Muslims
first and foremost)
ճ Race based ideology of nationalism; anti-white
ճ African Americans separate nation; demanded separate piece of land for their nation
ճ Principal objective to restore dignity and self-confidence via equality, justice, freedom,
III Has affairs which drives away famous convert of his group, Malcolm X
IV Son takes over Nation of Islam, but views it in different way than father

Muhummad Abduh:
I Egyptian religious scholar, reformer, and Islamic rationalist
ճ Studied at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo
II Founder of Islamic modernism and nationalism
ճ Wanted to liberate Muslims from colonialism
ճ Led 19th century movement to modernize Muslim institutions.
III Strongly influenced by Sufism and his mentor al-Afghani
IV Advocated Pan-Islamism to resist European colonialism
V Studied under Jamal al-din al-Afghani
ճ In 1884, he moved to Paris to help al-Afghani publish The Firmest Bond, which
advocated Muslim unity against Western imperialism
VI He argued that humans can in principle know good and evil by reason alone (Itjihad-
independent thinking), but most failed to do so.
VII Promoted the idea of salafiyya (pious forefathers).
ճ Salafism asserts that the Islam of the forefathers was rational and practical; sought
inspiration in the example of virtuous early Muslims.
VIIICalled for a return of early Islam and reinterpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna to adapt to
modern times.
ճ Laws should be updated and serve interest of common good.
IX Believed that borrowing some western ideas was okay
ճ Advocated the integration of Western sciences with local sciences at the University
X Returned to Egypt in 1888 and became a judge on the National Courts
ճ Eleven years later he became Grand Mufti
ճ Used his position to champion liberal reforms in Islamic law, administration and
XI His followers, mostly consisting of teachers and lawyers, continued with stronger anti-
Western ideas
ճ They set the tone for Egypt’s strong liberal nationalism until the revolt
XII His work, Risalat al-Tauhid (The Theology of Unity), is the most important portrayal of his

Aga Khan IV:

I The current Imam of the Ismaili Nizari sect of Islam
II He is the 49th Imam, bypassed his father and uncle who were next in succession after his
grandfather died. It was in the grandfather’s will that he wanted a young man who had grown
up in this new age of science and who could bring a new outlook to the title/office.
III Aga Khan, “Present Imam,” is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through the
Prophet’s daughter, Fatima.
IV Ismailis
ճ Second largest part of the Shia community, after Twelvers
ճ Disagreement with the Twelvers arose over succession of sixth Imam
 Ismailis believed it should be eldest son of the sixth Imam and Twelvers chose to
follow a younger son
 Twelvers emphasize exoteric aspects of religion, and the esoteric goes with Isamilism
ճ Usually speaking about the Nizari Ismaili community
 Always have a living Imam
 The Nizari are a very westernized sect of Muslims
 Nizari today have a strong emphasis on education, self-reliance, and philanthropy
V He is founder and chairman of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
ճ Operates in social and economic development, focusing on Third World countries;
especially those with large Ismaili populations
 Agencies do not discriminate against who they serve
ճ Build orphanages, hospitals, and educational institutions; tries to improve living
conditions and opportunities
ճ Try to help poor become self-reliant
ճ Also have a Cultural Trust giving out awards for achievements in Islamic architecture
ճ Try to give Islam social conscience through institutional action.

Jamal al-Din al-Afghani

I Modernist Muslim reformer, anti-colonial activist, at times pan-Islamic, at times nationalist
II Spent early years in India; much influenced by the modernist views of Sayyid Ahmad Khan
III Co-founded “Salafi” movement with Egyptian Muhammad Abduh; derives from the phrase
“the pious ancestors”
ճ seeks to reform Islam by referring to the lives and teachings of the Prophet and his
ճ did not mean recreating that period literally but making use of the vigor and spirit of the
reformist times
ճ criticized the Ulama of responding to challenge of Western supremacy either passively or
by retreating into greater conservatism
ճ blamed the decline of Islam on fatalism, passivity and decadence
ճ criticized Sufism for its “other-worldly” attitude
ճ Strong critic of taqlid; “blind imitation” of the ulama; Islam is religion of reason
ճ saw a European threat to Islamic identity, believed that only a united and morally revived
Muslim community would be able to rise above the threat
IV Reforms
ճ Religious
 Claimed the problem was the “gates of ijtihad had been closed and this allowed the
Western world to overtake the Muslim world”
 Ijtihad—independent interpretation of legal sources, Quran, and Sunnah.
ճ Social
 Advocated social activism
 Modernization was necessary and compatible with Islam
 Emphasize science and reason, but from an Islamic position
Զ science not a European phenomenon but had older roots in Islam
Զ Western secularization and materialism erode religion, but the contemporary
Islamic world had developed an anti-scientific attitude—not from religion but
from political despotism
V Timeline
ճ 1866-8: tried to persuade the Afghan rule to ally with Russia against Britain
ճ 1868: went to Istanbul and joined reformers but his lectures were so controversial that he
was thrown out
ճ 1871: went to Cairo, collaborate with Muhammad Abduh
ճ 1879-1882: Refutation of the Materialists:
ճ 1882-5: lived in Paris, publishing Arabic periodical The Strongest Link which attacked
the British and promoted reformist attitudes
ճ 1885: traveled to Iran and Russia to persuade the Shah of Iran to ally with the Russians
against the British
ճ Called for deposition of Shah or Iran

Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898)

I Indian Muslim modernist thinker, social reformer, and educationalist.
II Beliefs
ճ Religious
 Elimination of “taqlid” or blind imitation of medieval Muslim interpretations of the
Qur’ran and Sunnah.
 Everyone should have their own ijtihad, or independent reasoning.
ճ Political
 Accepted colonialism
 He also emphasized the need for Indian Muslims to adapt to colonial rule
ճ Scientific
 Science and reason are compatible with Islam.
Զ As an insult he was described as a “Nechari” or naturist.
ճ Educational
 Founded the Muhammaden Anglo-Oriental College in 1875 that was supposed to
offer both a traditional Muslim and Western education.
 The College ended up being more British and less Islamic but successfully created
self-confident young Muslims with values of community and leadership skills.

Sayyid Qutb (d 1966)

I Writer, poet, and activist in Muslim Brotherhood
II Religious
ճ Advocates strict a historical approach to Qur’an
ճ No need for interpretation and contextualization.
 His reading of certain texts regarded as ”reprehensible innovation” by Ulama.
Զ He changed meaning of Quranic text that said, “If any fail to judge by (the light
of) what God has revealed, they are unbelievers” to “if any fail to RULE…”
because he root of judge and rule are the same in Arabic.
Զ His interpretation sanctioned collective action to dismiss a ruler who failed to
apply God’s revelation; people are authorized to rise in rebellion and replace
leaders who fail them.
ճ Qur’an contains all the solutions for the problems of human society. It is a
comprehensive guide to all aspects of life.
III Radicalization
ճ Use of violence
 After stint in prison where witnessed torture of Muslim Brotherhood inmates, came
to believe in using violence against government if it was used against his
IV Political
ճ Western leaders and their supporters live in a state of jahiliya (ignorance) which pervades
contemporary life of Muslim societies.
ճ The West is spiritually bankrupt

Amina Wadud Muhsin

I African American Muslim feminist scholar
II Challenges male patriarchal readings of the Qur’an
ճ Women have suffered at the hands of male interpretations of religion
ճ The Qur’an does not discriminate
ճ How does gender socialization affect text interpretation
III Caused controversy when she led a Friday prayer for a group of Muslims in New York City;
controversial because mixed-gender prayers are usually done by men
IV We read a chapter from her book, page 302 in sourcebook; her primary point is that certain
phrases and terms have been misinterpreted to imply that men are superior to women. She
explains several Arabic words and how they are used and interpreted etc.
ճ The Arabic word faddala in 4:34; faddala is Allah’s preference of certain creations over
ճ This verse has typically been used to show male superiority
ճ However, closer analysis shows that this particular passage only refers to the males
material wealth superiority, meaning that men get more inheritance than women, but this
makes sense since men are supposed to support women since women must bear the
burden of child birth
ճ There is no evidence that God prefers men over women because of physical or
intellectual superiority
V “When the Quran is viewed in its entirety and not atomistically, the concern for the role of
woman in society and the potential she has, would necessarily by broadened from the
demeaning and meaningless existence which renders her no greater than a procreating animal
able to function only as a domestic servant.”
VI She strongly discourages the decontexualization of specific Arabic words when reading the
Quran. It must be read holistically.


1) "The prayer was in two halves like a kola-nut; the first, a plea for salvation, was
recited in Arabic, the language consecrated by God. The second was spoken in
Malinke, because it dealt with material things: giving thanks for sustenance, for
health, for having eluded the bad luck and evil spells that scorch the black man
blacker under the suns of Independence; asking for a mind and hear free of cares
and temptations, and filled with peace today, tomorrow and always."

The Sons of Independence, by Ahmadou Dourouma. Page 16.

This passage is in the middle of a passage where the main character, Fama, had just gone
to the Julas’ mosque to pray. He was in charge of calling the faithful to prayer, and he had just
done so in the minaret. This passage describes the way that he prays. His prayers were for health
and sustenance, but mainly for his wife Salimata. The couple had problems conceiving – a
problem because Fama was the last in a line of African royalty. There is a stark contrast,
however, between the prayers of Fama and Salimata. Fama seems to be a “pure” Muslim, but
Salimata combines the prayers of Islam with Sufism and local practices. She followed all of the
Islam – praying five times a day, giving alms, fasting during Ramadan. She also tried “magic
spells, marabouts (equivalent to a Suffi Sheikh), medicines, sacrificial offerings.” She would tie
amulets to the bed, smear ointments on herself, burn incenses, and drink brews designed to make
her pregnant. Fama viewed some this as sacrilegious. The book describes later her friendship
with the Marabout Hadji Abdullahi. He tried spells to help her – spells to raise the dead, invoke
spirits, and invoke God. The marabout had her sacrifice a cock to call upon their ancestors,
spirits, and God.
The book describes throughout the “Malinke duplicity” (72) – “Everyone publicly
proclaims himself a devout Muslim, but everyone privately fears the fetish.” When Fama
returned to his home village, he had to spend the night in the familial hut, accompanied by objects
that were supposed to dispel the old inhabitant’s spirit (while the Koran said that, once dead, a
spirit left forever, custom said that sacrifices were needed to ward off “spirits and shades”). In
Fama’s old village, there was a man (Balla) who was the local Fetish priest – when Islam failed
the local inhabitants, they would go to Balla to cast evil spells on others. Another example is
Salimata - she had experienced female circumcision – not an Islamic tradition, but an ancient
tradition designed to ward off the spirits.
This book shows how Islam is integrated into local areas – it is changed to match the
local culture.

2) "'The Western materialists hate us,' Ali said. 'Papa, how could you love something which
hates you?'

'What is the answer then?' Parvez said miserably, 'According to you.'

Ali didn't need to think. He addressed his father fluently, as if Parvez were a rowdy crowd
that had to be quelled and convinced. The Law of Islam would rule the world: the skin of
the infidel would burn off again and again; the Jews and Christers would be routed. The
West was a sink of hypocrites, adulterers, homosexuals, drug-takers and prostitutes."

Hanif Kureishi’s “My Son the Fanatic” is a short story replete with implications and
contradictions. In the depictions of a Muslim father and son who call England home, it presents
two opposing sides of the experiences of immigrants or individuals who do not share the same
cultural background as the rest of society. Simultaneously, it offers two distinct personal reactions
to the many difficulties and challenges posed by Western values. Balking at narrative
conventions, Kureishi refuses to present yet another story in which a rebellious youth resists the
conservative values and principles of his parents. Instead, Parvez, the father, leads the life of a
younger man, exhibits a juvenile and carefree temperament, and disobeys the basic tenets of his
religion. Ali, the humorless son, ascribes to a severely conservative branch of Islam and
condemns the actions and moral transgressions of his father. In the personalities and lifestyles of
the two characters, the writer implies that both modes of being are the direct results of the cultural
challenges inflicted upon the characters by Western society. Their lifestyles are the ways in which
they confront the difficulties of a land that is not truly their home. “They preferred to work at
night, the roads were clearer and the money better. They slept during the day, avoiding their
wives,” the reader is informed of Parvez and his fellow taxi drivers. English society is obviously
not a welcoming one. The father’s preference to work under the cover of the night and to ignore
the daily realities of the day paints him as someone who prefers to deny or ignore his life’s
problems. His alcoholic tendencies are in accordance with this view of the character. Parvez is a
man who constantly attempts to mask the insecurities that have resulted from his marginalized
state in Western society. “His dreams of doing well in England would have come true. Where had
he gone wrong?” the writer describes the father’s constant preoccupation with staying afloat in a
foreign world. The incessant questioning of his mistakes evinces his deep insecurities. He keeps
close a close vigil of a son who he fears is being corrupted by English society. Parvez’s personal
answer to the struggles of living in a foreign land is the rejection of the religion of his parents and
his attempt to assimilate. His predilection for vices, his close acquaintances with prostitutes, and
his consumption of pork are all inclinations that violate the laws of his parents’ religion. His
efforts to assimilate by conforming to stereotypically Western activities and vices provide
comfort and solace in an unwelcoming land.
Diametrically opposed to his father’s dealing with Western society, Ali’s proposes a
defiant response to the unkindness of a society that treats him as a foreigner despite not being one
Although not explicitly stated, Ali appears to have been born in England and yet fervently
condemns his fathers attempts at integration. “Papa, how can you love something which hates
you?” he asks and at the same time indicates that his experiences as a young Muslim and non-
white man growing up in Western society have been marked by intolerance and
misunderstandings. His affirmation that “Western education cultivates an anti-religious attitude”
makes clear that his newly found religious and conservative convictions are reactionary. His
views are the products of his dealings with a narrow-minded English society. Whereas his father
has chosen to assimilate, Ali instead attacks the society that rejects him. “The West was a sink of
hypocrites, adulterers, homosexuals, drug-takers and prostitutes,” is his repudiation of English
society. In the characters of Parvez and Ali, the damages resulting from prejudiced societies are
apparent. Although their worldviews might differ, they are both highly insecure men without a
nation to call home. Their exiled state compels one to reject his origins and causes the other to
become as bigoted as the society he denounces.

3) “The tensions between the pragmatic and ethical perspectives, both forming part of
Islam, can be detected even in the Quran, and both perspectives have left their mark on
some of the formal rulings on women and marriage made in the ensuing period. Thus some
Quranic verses regarding marriage and women appear to qualify and undercut others that
seemingly establish marriage as a hierarchical institution unequivocally privileging men.
Among the former are the verses that read: 'Wives have rights corresponding to those
which husband have, in equitable reciprocity' (Sura 2:229). Similarly, verses such as those
that admonish men, if polygamous, to treat their wives equally and that go on to declare
that husbands would not be able to do so--using a form of the Arabic negative connoting
permanent impossibility--are open to being read to mean that men should not be

o Context: One tension within Islam is equality between the genders

o Does wearing a veil or being a house-wife mean the woman is below her husband?
o Quran was interpreted by men who lived in societies which had innate inequality
between the genders
 Therefore, Islam doesn’t oppress women; the fact that the interpreters of the
past = men oppressed women
o Meaning: Now to erase that interpretation the Quran is being reinterpreted by modern society
o The quote that wives have equal rights as men has been focused on -- this allows
women to use the word of God (which Muslim men might use to oppress women) in
their favor to fight oppression/inequality
o Interpretation against Polygamy
 The use of the Arabic negative: Men cannot treat their wives equally and thus
shouldn’t be polygamous
• This is the modern ethical view
 Old pragmatic view: Have several wives to provide them with financial
support, or so man can have children if wife= infertile by marrying another
o These understandings seem to go against other verses that were interpreted to show
that marriage privileged men
o Theme: Interpretation results in the practice of the religion; however, this interpretation is
based on context: time, location, by whom; an interpretation resulting from a certain context
does not mirror all of Islam

4) “When God commanded Satan: Bow down before Adam, Satan answered: I will not bow
down before any other than Thee. Of all the dwellers in Heaven there was no champion of
God’s Unity so strict as Satan. Moses met Satan on the side of Sinai, and asked of him:
“Satan, why wouldst thou not bow down?” “Because I believed that only One is to be
adored,” said Satan. “Disregarding God’s command?” “That was Trial.” Satan said, “and
not Command.”
• Sufism
o Different way to express view religion
o Makes things in religion beautiful, expresses zeal for religion
o Ultimate goal is to reach divine unity
o Compared to forms of mysticism
 Seek personal experience with God
 Believe in Itjihad-individual interpretation- of Islam
o Poetry is very symbolic
 Wine=divine love
 Drunkenness=mystical intoxication
o Sufism seek a more spiritual connection with God
o Selfless love of god
o Practices are closely associated to arts, dance, music, poetry
o Some claim it is not intrinsically Islamic and are borrowed from other religions
o Some see it as the essence of Islam
 It’s the “good” Islam the one that should be promoted; instead of
Wahhabi Islam

o Written by al-Hallaj-- Muhammad’s People

 Al-Hallaj’s was obsessed with martyrdom and killed himself to show his
love for God
o Al-Hallaj describes Satan as the fallen lover of God
o Satan’s “love for Him is pure love” (pg. 238 coursepack)
o Describes Satan’s love for God as the ultimate love
 Satan would endure banishment, pain, and suffering for the pure love he
has for God
 Would not bow down to Adam because only the Divine deserves to be
bowed down to
 Satan was God’s most devoted servant
5) "At last his mother was able to talk. Invoking God's help she said: 'May God protect you,
my son! May he keep you sane! This is something other than medicine. This is the blessing of
Umm Hashim.' Like an angry bull before which a red cloth was being waved, Ismail
thundered, 'It's your Umm Hashim here who will rob the girl of her sight. You will see how I
shall treat her, and how at my hands she will get the cure she sought in vain from Umm
Hashim.' [She replied] 'There is many a person, my son, who believes in the power and
blessing of the oil of Umm Hashim, the protecteress of the weak and the disabled. They tried it
and God cured them. We have all our life relied upon God and her. We have always believed in
her miracles.'"

Excerpt from The Saint’s Lamp by Yahya Haqqi

Ismail is a young Egyptian man who was raised by his conservative, very religious family around
the temple of Umm Hashim. His parents send him to England to study medicine for seven years;
when he returns, his faith has been replaced by a complete trust in Western science.

In this excerpt, Ismail has just returned and he views his homeland with a Western eye. His
mother treats his fiancé and cousin, Fatima’s diseased eyes with holy oil from the lamp of Umm
Hashim. Ismail, who recognizes the disease and knows that hot oil will make the disease worse
rather than better. In this scene, he and his mother fight over who has the right cure—traditional
faith or Western science.

This question of faith versus science is at the core of anti-colonial nationalist and revival
movements. Egypt saw a rise of Islamist revival movements by leaders such as Hassan al-Banna,
who founded the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Banna’s approach is to reject Western ideas and to use
Islam as a political ideology for reform. Western ideas corrupt the morality of Egyptian society.

Haqqi takes a more moderate approach. He believes that religion is at the root of the Egyptian
identity. Unlike al-Banna, he believes that the West does not have a monopoly on reason and
science. Egypt should embrace science. Science without faith will not survive in Egypt.
However, science fortified by faith will heal Egypt, as it did Fatima.

1. "To say 'and Muhammad is the Messenger of God' is to commit oneself to a belief, not
about the person of Muhammad, but about the validity of what he brought. The personality
of Muhammad is essentially irrelevant." Discuss why and how you feel this to be an
accurate or inaccurate generalization in view of the role of the Prophet Muhammad in
varied aspects of the Islamic tradition (e.g. Islamic jurisprudence, Shi'i Islam, Sufism,
modern reform movements, popular and/or folk practices, personal piety). Be specific,
supporting your discussion with examples.

SALAFI – The original Muslims, the first followers of Muhammad. Salafism is a reform
movement trying to get Islam back to what it was in the first two centuries – they reject
everything since as “foreign invasions.” This emphasizes the importance of Muhammad, as they
follow those who knew Muhammad (thus, it is not just what he said that was important, but his
personality as well). Important figure - Ibn al-Taimiyya (1328) (20 NOV lecture)

Prophet Muhammad’s roles – (04 OCT lecture)

-As exemplar, role model, the ideal
-“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful model (uswatun hasana) for any
who hopes in God and the hereafter and remembers Allah much (Qur’an 33:21).
-Object of adoration and veneration, an emotional attachment
-Figure of Muhammad internalized into the psyche
-Belief in Muhammad’s prophethood becomes central to Muslim identity – those who
contend Muhammad’s prophethood are “out of the circle”
-The prophet’s birthday is celebrated with songs, sweet meats, or recalling the 99 names
of God. It is a big celebration

-“The ways of the prophet” –written in Hadith
-In Sunni Islam – the Ulama, or religious authority, use sunnah (through Hadith) to
determine Shari’ah, or Islamic law. Some examples are in Islamic hygiene rules – nothing is
written in the Qu’ran about these rules, but they are derived from Hadith (what the prophet did).
Some go so far as to try to brush their teeth like the prophet did. Sunnis use Hadith from the
prophet’s companions rather than from his family.
-In Sh’ia Islam – Shi’ites follow the family of Muhammad, rather than his companions.
One could probably argue that, in this respect, the personality of Muhammad is transmitted
through his family.

-Verses in the Qu’ran emphasize that Muhammad is not important in and of himself, but
only in transmitting the message of God.

-Professing love for Muhammad
-Trying to please Muhammad
-Image of bride-to-be and marriage with Muhammad (romance as allegory)

-Suffism is the mystical side of Islam – trying to obtain a direct connection with God, not
through the Qur’an or Hadith. Many forms are used – song, dance, recitation, etc.
-In this sense, Muhammad’s personality is irrelevant – they are not trying to connect to
God through Muhammad, but are trying to obtain a direct connection.

In a nutshell – you can argue either way. Muhammad is often important in folk culture, and
Hadith is certainly important for Islamic jurisprudence. At the same time, the Qur’an is not of
Muhammad, but of God – thus he is not important, and in many religious practices Muhammad is
nothing but a messenger. As the Prof Asani has tried to stress – Islam is not one thing, it changes
in political/cultural/historical context, and the personality of Muhammad changes with it.

3. What has been called 'sharia-minded’ piety has often been held up by most Muslim ‘ulama –
both Sunni and Shi’i alike – as normative for Muslims, in contrast to Sufi and/or popular
forms of piety. They have equated the Islam of Sunni and Shi’i theological and legal
interpretations with “true” Islam. Correspondingly, they have treated Sufi piety on the one
hand, and popular practices (saint veneration, tomb visitation, the incorporation of elements
from local culture) on the other, as aberrations from "true Islam." What is the basis of this
debate? How does each group formulate its arguments in support of its positions on what
constitutes "true Islam"? Discuss as specifically as you can citing material you have studied
during the semester.

Sufism arose as an ascetic movement dismayed at the luxurious lifestyle of the Umayyad courts,
which emphasized worldly enjoyment. It was also a response to the increasing formalism and
religious legalism in the 8th and 9th centuries. Islam was increasingly becoming a set of laws and
regulations determined by a class of religious scholars, the ulama. Sufism rose in contrast to
“sharia-minded” piety.

Sufi masters challenged the ulama and political authorities. After reconciliation of Sufism with
Sunni and Shia islam, Sufi practices spread like wildfire, especially at popular level. By the 18th
century, most expressions of Muslim life influenced by Sufism.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, revival movements blame incorrect practice for the political and
socio-economic weakness in modern Muslim countries. They draw up stricter standards for what
is correct practice and try define what is and what is not Islam.

As we saw in the Wedding of Zein, Sufism can be seen as the purest form of Islam, where people
focus on spirituality and not the routine of Islam. Sufism has been used as a reactive force
against the existing religious institutions.

Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia (Sunnis…sort of)

Campaign for purification of Muslim practice, and questioned the authority of the ulama. He
rooted for literal and decontextualized readings of the Quran, rather than using reason. They also
strongly used the doctrine of takfir (declaring a Muslim to be an infidel if they do not follow
correct practice). Shia and Sufi practice heretical. Sufi practices compromise monotheism, and
reinterpret core Islamic ideas. (Please see controversies below.)

Hassan Al-Banna, Egyptian social reformer and founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Was a Sufi
master, and incorporated Sufi hierarchy in the Brotherhood (forbade dissent, had complete
authority over followers). Believed that Egyptian ulama had strayed from the straight path and
proselytized in coffeehouses to reach the masses. Islam is an integrated and comprehensive
system to be understood exclusively from religious texts (Quran and Sunnah). He aimed to
reinforce Islamic knowledge and culture, rebuild the Muslim community, and redress the balance
of power between Muslim countries and the West.

Iran (Shia)
In Iran, the nation-state tries to control its religious institutions. It tries to define “Islam”
and the one correct interpretation of religious texts. It also invents a historical, “pure” form of
Islam implemented at a perfect time (golden age) in the past.
The state formulates Shari’ah as “Islamic Law.” Pre-modern conceptions of shariah
recognized its fluid nature; plurality associated with a variety of communities of interpretations.
However, faced with encroaching westernization and secularization and the advent of modernity,
Muslim reformers and administrators sought to cast Shariah into a Western constitution-like
mold. Contemporary concept of shariah as a divinely ordained, monolithic, rigid, unchanging
and immutable body of laws encompassing lives and actions of Muslims is by and large a
creation of the 19th century.
The state does not recognize Sufi sources of authority, nor the Sufi approach to religion.

How it can be viewed as aberrations from “true” Islam.

Controversy: unity with God. For example, Al-Hallaj, Sufi master, said “Ana’l Haqq”, or “I am
the reality.” He reinterpreted tawid, “unity of God” as “oneness with God.” He sought to be
unified with God by eliminating the human ego. Once the human ego is gone, there is only God
so you are united with God. The same divine essence permeates everything in the material world.
Critics say that he is deliberately misinterpreting tawhid, the concept of monotheism, or “oneness
of God” as “oneness with God.”

Controversy: compromise of monotheism. Sufi saints or “God-friends” are people who can
intercede on behalf of devotees. He or she conveys barakah, or “spiritual blessing, power.” Thus,
people build shrines around the tombs of saints. According to popular practice, praying by the
tombs of these God-friends can strengthen your appeal go God. They do not lose their power
after death because they have been united with God. This raises questions of monotheism—if
you pray to God-friends for intercession, are you worshipping false idols?

Controversy: popular shrines. In Pakistan, Hindu women visiting shrine. Is Sufism Islamic?
Critics say: Mostly women who visit tomb-shrines. They are uneducated and are not practicing
Islam correctly.

Controversy: music and dance. Although the Quran does not explicitly forbid music, by qiyas,
anything that has an intoxicating effect and takes away rationality, the ability to distinguish
between right and wrong, should be banned. Thus, music is dangerous and ought to be banned.
In Sufism, music is spiritual and allows us to access the world of the spirit or soul. In fact, some
say that music has a strong impact on people because it reminds the soul of the time before birth
when it was united with God. Example: contemporary Pakistan Sufi rock band, Junoon.

4. Is self-identification as a Muslim in the United States and Europe a declaration that one is
an outsider to American or European societies? Answer this question by comparing and
contrasting at least three individual Muslims and/or Muslim communities discussed in the
secondary and primary source readings as well as in lectures.

• Introduction
o Question of identity and the race of religion / Question of integration vs
o Declaring oneself Muslim is not necessarily a self-declaration of not being an
American or European
 Some Muslims don’t identify themselves as Muslim first
 For some it is: e.g. Malcolm X because they see themselves as
Muslim first
 For others, it is not, but society sees them as outsiders via this
o America is diverse by nature and has a lot of immigrants, so we’re more
accepting than Europe of Muslims
 9/11, though, caused some to see Muslims as outsiders that hurt the
 Europe is a pluralist in make-up but not in spirit.
• Europe doesn’t have history of diff. religious groups living
side by side
• No tradition of immigration
• Idea of being something (e.g. German) via ethnic
• integration vs. assimilation into European society while being Muslim –difficult
o Youth trying to be accepted since many don’t feel they have a country
• 2 ways to go about this of religion vs. culture
o a) Islam needs to be reinterpreted within European context
 distinction between religion and cultural identity
o b) Islam is perceived as being wedded to historical jurisprudential framework
• Cultural expressions are important to “Islamic” identity
• Cannot participate in western/European culture and be truly
• Malcolm X
o By declaring himself a Muslim within the Nation of Islam he basically
declared that he did not belong to America
 The followers of the initial Nation saw themselves as Black
Muslims, not Americans
• To him, American passport “signifies the exact opposite of
what Islam stands for” (autobio)
 However, they did not follow the typical Islamic patterns of prayer,
the five pillars, knowing Arabic, etc
o After Malcolm X’s pilgrimage, he realized that all races could be Muslim and
decided that separatism away from the white man was not necessary
o His following of Islam as those at Mecca (w/ the 5 pillars and prayer, and
promotion of Islamic brotherhood) actually became a declaration that he was
not an American outsider because he did not hate on the white man anymore,
just on the structure of American society itself
• Muslims in France
o Overall: Islam = foreign religion that is a threat to French culture
 Many suggest acculturation (vs. multicultural approach as in US),
but some others do argue they should develop a distinct French
Muslim identity
• Regardless, Muslim citizens are seen as Muslim first, then
French (if even)
o France has largest Muslim population in Europe
o Muslims declaring themselves so is not a declaration of being an outsider
 However, without integrating, the French system sees it so (because
they see Islam as a threat to their own identity)
• Outlawed the wearing of headscarf by Muslim female
o Said it violated secular constitution/tradition
 Also, there’s antiforeign rhetoric
• Accusations of stealing French jobs
• Support increase for idea to force the expulsion of 3 million
immigrants, and priority for native French in jobs, housing,
welfare benefits
 Gov. crushed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) parliamentary and
municipal sweep, saying Islamists were using elections to “hijack
• Ali (son) in “My Son the Fanatic”
o Overall Idea: By declaring himself Muslim, Ali sees himself as an outsider of
his oppressive country
 Similar to Malcolm X who saw himself as Muslim against
oppressive white supremacy
o After he finds Islam, he begins to give up his possessions and the secular way
of life
 He loses understanding that others may believe otherwise
• Father drinks, but says to father: “Drinking is forbidden.”
 Becomes an outsider; quote directed toward Parvez, father: “You are
too implicated in Western civilzation.”
• Parvez’s response: “But we live here.”  emphasizes how
Parvez feels about Islam (read below)
 Sees Muslims vs. West
• “The Western materialists hate us…how can you love
• Refers to “us” and “our people” = Muslims
• Ali: “Western education cultivates an anti-religious attitude”
o Parvez (father)
 Is not Muslim and therefore believes he is part of the culture (has
• Believes that he is enjoying life his way
• Orders wife to cook pork: “You’re not in the village now,
this is England. We have to fit in!”
• Belief: Because he did not follow Islam, because one does
not need to follow Islam in England, he had integrated
• Britain – Hanif Kureishi
o In “The Rainbow Sign”: “The British complained incessantly that the
Pakistanis wouldn’t assimilate. This meant they wanted the Pakistanis to be
exactly like them.” (76)
 Question: Can one be Muslim without the implication of being an
• Must the declaration follow society’s direction (so if they
don’t believe, can’t declare Muslim to be part of society), or
must it only be self-justified?
o Felt that he had to give up Muslim identity to fit in European mainstream
 Faced an inability to integrate and didn’t want to assimilate
• Therefore, separatism seemed good
o Going against the world that doesn’t accept you
 Similar to Malcolm X and Ali
o Ultimately rejects this because could still identify
with England

Part IV: Essay

Cultural Studies Approach: religion as a phenomenon depending on historical context; is dynamic

and constantly changing
-Historical, political, economic, social, literary, artistic, etc
-Conceptions are dynamic; as contexts evolve and change, religious ideas and institutions change
-One context you’re forced to wear hijad (Afghanistan) and in others you’re forbidden (Turkey)
-Religion cannot be used in isolation as a factor of explanation; it must be used carefully in the
context of its complex interaction with socio-political, historical and cultural factors
-Barbara’s Kitchen: in a kitchen you put in different ingredients
-Person will cook ingredients on their own tastes, their cultural backgrounds (French chef, French
-Point is: you can think about religious traditions that have common ingredients; the ways in
which these common ideas are interpreted vary tremendously


Factors leading to the rise of renewal/reform Movements
-Internal to Muslim societies
-Corrupt and improper practice of Islam rampant
-Visitation of tomb-shrines
-Controversial Sufi practices involving music and dance, accommodation of non-Islamic
practices—compromising monotheism (tawhid)
-Issue of gender: visiting tomb-shrines is popular among women (not educated and
therefore not practicing Islam correctly
-External Factors
-Imperial/colonial rule (loss of political power and whole ideology where every aspect of
society is being transformed; transform colonial subject into its own society)
-Christian missionaries
-Western Popular culture
-The impact of industrialization/modernization (industrialization of Europe had great
consequences socially with women and them needing to work)
-Cold War: fight against communism, the West, and the Soviet union played a part in
determining some of these movements

-Back to the Fundamentals Reform Movement: seek reinterpretation of the Quran and Sunnah
using a variety of interpretative tools; spectrum of movements can range from being ultra
conservative to liberal/progressive; old ways are inappropriate for modern times (the ulama of
past times can’t be used); depending on the tools used, you can come up with either very liberal
interpretations or ultra conservative viewpoints

“Back to the Fundamentals” Reform

-Muwahhidun “monotheists” of Arabia
-Popularly known as the Wahhabi after their founder Muhammad ibn al Wahhab (1703-1792)
-Campaign for “purification” of Muslim practice in Najd, Arabia
-Alliance with chief of Saud clan, Muhammad ibn Saud (1752); rose in rebellion against Ottoman
-Saud-Wahhabi alliance results in the emergence of Saudi Arabia in the 20th century
-Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab: family of learned religious scholars; first studies under his
father, a renowned qadi (judge)
-Questioned authority of ulama; declared “heretic” for his unconventional methods of
interpreting texts and his intolerance
-Literal and decontextualized readings of the Quran
-Inspired by writings of Ibn Taimiyya (1328)
-Ibn al-Taimiyya: supremacy of Quran, sunnah and the teachings of the salaf; early Muslims of
the first generation; emergence of Salafi groups
-Literalism in reading text; scope of reason strictly limited
-Against notion of taqlid “blind following” of ulama
-Doctrine of takfir-declaring a Muslim to be an infidel; distinguishing Islam from non-Islam
-Issued fatwa that Mongol rulers were infidels, Muslims in name only
-Invoked by various Islamist groups to declare rules, regimes to be unIslamic and/or apostate
-Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab: Declared Shia to be heretics (tomb of Ali in Najaf and Husain
at Karbala)
-Sufi practices also heretical
-Kitab al-Tawhid “Book of Monotheism”
-Declared jihad on all those who by word or act violated doctrine of monotheism (belief in
intercession “unIslamic”); any Muslim who violated monotheism can be excommunicated
-Destruction of tombs and shrines
-Christians and Jews infidels (in contrast to traditional Islamic teaching as “people of the book”
-Patriarchal world-view: no public role for women; strict segretation
-Music banned; customary Egyptian band during pilgrmage stopped
-Religious police
-Rejection of all cultural and historical development after the first two hundred years as being
-Destruction of important historical monuments
-Rise of Wahhabi ideology: legitimized by control over oil wealth; treaties and recognition with
British and Americans
-Harnessed and cultivated by Western powers as an ideology to combat communism in Middle
East and elsewhere; defense and arms treaties
-Saudi rules as “custodians of the Two Sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina)”
-Oil revenue provided financial resources to gain legit among non-Wahhabi ulama, especially
those who had questions the basis of Wahhabi theology and non-traditional methods of
-Petrodillars also used to spread influence among Muslim communities in poverty stricken
regions; scholarships, schools, mosques, etc
-World Muslim League

EUROPE! (Historical Context)

-Spain: 1492 Ferdinand and Isabel brought much of Spain under their rule (conquest from Arab
rule)—Muslims forced to convert or driven out (period of Inquisition)
-1992: similar type of phenomenon taking place in another part of Europe—indigenous group of
Muslims declared non-European and being threatened
-Attempt to ethnically cleanse: Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Croatia (ethnically the same people, yet
they have differing religions)
-Muslims: cultural terms-> cultural and political identity
-Muslims: practicing Islam
-Another example of a European society unable to come to terms with differences
-What does it mean to be European? What role does religion have?
-Historically, Europe does not have traditions of integrating different ethnic and religious groups
-No longstanding traditions of immigration
-Citizenship defined in cultural/racial terms; “you have become like us” Turkish second/third
generation immigrants could not become citizens until recently
-Must have cultural aspect as well as racial aspect
-Europe is pluralist in make-up but not in spirit
-Does being American mean following a particular cultural expression or dose it just mean being
loyal to the state but being able to practice whatever religion and whatever culture you may

Ethnic Make-up of dominant immigrant Muslims

-France: North Africans (Moroccans, Algerians, Tunisians) and West Africans (Senegalese)
-Muslim experiences marked by echoes of racism, fundamentalism, fears of terrorism
-Beginning in 1980s period of intense socio-economic marginalization; Muslim immigrants often
hardest hit economically; among N African neighborhoods in France, Bangladeshi ghettos in
London, Pakistanis in Bradford 40-50% unemployment
-Disillusioned and disenfranchised younger generation; struggling to be accepted
-Sense of alienation accentuated by perception that state is strongly prejudiced against Muslims
-Rearticulation of identity in transnational terms rather than national terms

Being Muslim in Europe

-Two difference articulations of what it means to be Muslim specifically the relation between
religion and culture
a) Attempts to critically historicize Islam, fiqh, shariah etc as being conditioned by political and
economic contingencies; Islam needs to be reinterpreted within European context; calls for the
distinction between…

Prof Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
-Binary vision has to be replaced by unversalism
-Europe as dar al-Shahadah (where one is allowed to practice one’s fath)
-Muslims cannot define identity through “otherness”
-Islam not tied to any particular culture; has to be defined from within spiritual/moral attitudes
towards God, not against the other
-Cultural baggage has to be abandoned, allowing distinctive European forms to emerge

b)Islam is perceived as being wedded to historical jurisprudential framework (shariah)

-Cultural expressions are important to “Islamic” identity
-Cannot participate in Western/European culture and be truly Muslim
-Hizb ul Tahrir—strong recruiting efforts on campuses; appeal to marginalized
-Calls for the re-establishment of the caliphate and “Islamic” state
-Alternate Muslim Parliament in Britain

America is the land of Immigrants: Muslim Presence in America not much different from the
presence of other religious communities
-Why come to America?
-Jobs: upward socio-economic mobility
-Forced migration: slavery
-Political, religious, social persecution
-Aesthetic Reasons

-Muslim Cultures in the U.S.

-African American traditions
-Immigrant traditions (early 20th century, very strong after 1965 when there’s a change in
U.S. immigration law; race removed as a factor in determining immigration quota in the U.S.)
-Muslims came over during the time of Spanish Colonial Rule in America: 1543 Spanish crown
issued an edith; Muslims who came over from Spain had to be expelled (wanted them expelled
from the colonies because they were being expelled from Spain)
-As many as at least ten percent of the African slaves came from Muslim backgrounds
-Many of these Muslim slaves were highly literate. Their literacy clearly set them apart from the
rest of the slaves (and most of their owners)
-Most of these Muslims remain anonymous or are little more than names in slave-property lists.
But much evidence of the Muslim presence has survived
-Omar ibn Said (1770-1864): slave who was fluent in reading and writing Arabic
-Born in Western African in the Muslim state of Futa Toro; enslaved in South Carolina
-1819 a white Protestant NC wrote to Francis Scott Key to request an Arabic translation of the
Bible for Omar

Factors Contributing to the Growth of Islam among African American communities

-Social and political climate in the early 20th century especially with regard to race relations;
1891-1911 1831-2500 lynchings; Atlanta riots 1906
-Social and political climate among African American communities; high unemployment; lack of
civil rights
-“Islamic” retentions passed on through generations (storytelling, naming, churches on Georgia’s
Sapelo island facing east)
-Immigration by Muslims to the U.S.

Muslims in America: The Quest for a New Medinah

-America is the land of Immigrants: Muslim
-Big change in immigration patterns become more global after World War II
-This is where you start seeing more influx (after 1965 change in immigration law: race-based
quotas changed); opened up other parts of the world
-Changes in immigration laws in 1965 resulted in a radical tranformation of racial make-up
immigration to the US
-Muslim communities in US most culturally and religiously diverse than in any other nation
-More than 1200 mosques; ½ founded in the last 20 years
-12-30% of American Muslims are “converts”
-5-7 Million Muslims living in the US

Barbara’s Kitchen. Same ingredients, put in different places, come up with completely different

Issue of political and spiritual authority

Split between Sunnis and Shias. Sunnis, compromising the majority, often have the political
authority. They believe that God favors the strong. Shias, minority, and often persecuted, have a
strong culture of worldly suffering that brings salvation in the afterlife. For example, they point
to Karbala and Imam Husayn as the Shias, whose religion is based on leadership from the
descendents of Ali, have had to come up with reasons for the disappearance of their Imams, to
escape persecution.

Who rules? Khomeini introduces rule by the religious scholar to legitimize his political office.