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For Love of the Prophet

An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State

Noah Salomon

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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Forging Islamic Power and Place

The Legacy of Shaykh Daud bin ‘Abd Allah al-Fatani in Mecca and Southeast Asia

Francis R. Bradley

Forging Islamic Power and Place/ charts the nineteenth-century rise of a vast network of Islamic scholars stretching across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to Arabia. Following the political and military collapse of the tiny Sultanate of Patani in what is now southern Thailand and northern Malaysia, a displaced community of scholars led by Shaykh Dā'ūd bin 'Abd Allāh al-Faānī regrouped in Mecca. In the years that followed, al-Faānī composed more than forty works that came to form the basis for a new, text-based type of Islamic practice. Via a network of scholars, students, and scribes, al-Faānī 's writings made their way back to Southeast Asia, becoming the core texts of emerging pondok (Islamic schools) throughout the region. Islamic scholars thus came to be the primary power brokers in the construction of a new moral community, setting forth an intellectual wave that spurred cultural identity, literacy, and a religious practice that grew ever more central to daily life. In Forging Islamic Power and Place Francis Bradley analyzes the important role of this vibrant Patani knowledge network in the formation of Islamic institutions of learning in Southeast Asia. He makes use of an impressive range of sources, including official colonial documents, traveler accounts, missionary writings, and above all a trove of handwritten manuscripts in Malay and Arabic, what remains of one of the most fertile zones of knowledge production anywhere in the Islamic world at the time. Writing against prevailing notions of Southeast Asia as the passive recipient of the Islamic traditions of the Middle East, Bradley shows how a politically marginalized community engineered its own cultural renaissance via the moral virility of the Islamic scholarly tradition and the power of the written word. He highlights how, in an age of rising colonial power, these knowledge producers moved largely unnoticed and unhindered between Southeast Asia and the Middle East carrying out sweeping cultural and religious change. His focus on Thailand's so-called "deep south," which has been marginalized in scholarly studies until recent times, helps lay the groundwork for a new generation of scholarship on the region and furthers our understanding of the present-day crisis in southern Thailand. The study of Islam in Southeast Asia has been most often relegated to the realm of religious studies, and historians have considered the development of the nation as the single-most important historiographical problem in the region. By focusing on the role of human agency and the logistics of knowledge transmission, this book transforms our understanding of the long and complex history of the flow of religious knowledge between the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

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From Empire to Empire

Jerusalem Between Ottoman and British Rule

Abigail Jacobson

The history of Jerusalem as traditionally depicted is the quintessential history of conflict and strife, of ethnic tension, and of incompatible national narratives and visions. It is also a history of dramatic changes and moments, one of the most radical ones being the replacement of the Ottoman regime with British rule in December 1917. From Empire to Empire challenges these two major dichotomies, ethnic and temporal, which shaped the history of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. It links the experiences of two ethnic communities living in Palestine, Jews and Arabs, as well as bridging two historical periods, the Ottoman and British administrations. Drawing upon a variety of sources, Jacobson demonstrates how political and social alliances are dynamic, context-dependent, and purpose-driven. She also highlights the critical role of foreign intervention, governmental and nongovernmental, in forming local political alliances and in shaping the political reality of Palestine during the crisis of World War I and the transition between regimes.

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From Sufism to Ahmadiyya

A Muslim Minority Movement in South Asia

Adil Hussain Khan

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community represents the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), a charismatic leader whose claims of spiritual authority brought him into conflict with most other Muslim leaders of the time. The controversial movement originated in rural India in the latter part of the 19th century and is best known for challenging current conceptions of Islamic orthodoxy. Despite missionary success and expansion throughout the world, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and parts of Africa, Ahmadis have effectively been banned from Pakistan. Adil Hussain Khan traces the origins of Ahmadi Islam from a small Sufi-style brotherhood to a major transnational organization, which many Muslims believe to be beyond the pale of Islam.

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Gender, Sainthood, and Everyday Practice in South Asian Shi’ism

Karen G. Ruffle

In this work, Ruffle examines traditional hagiographical texts and ritual performances of the Shi’i Muslims of Hyderabad, India, and demonstrates how understandings of sainthood, everyday religious rituals, and gender interact to shape the lives of Shi’i women & men. Taking as her focus the annual ceremonies commemorating the lamentable story of Fatimah Kubra and Qasem (whose unconsummated battlefield marriage was followed 3 days later by Qasem's death in battle), which comprises a literary tradition of central importance in the Islamic world, Ruffle shows how these practices of idealization and veneration (of Qasem and of Fatimah and other saintly women in the story) produce social and religious role models whom Shi’i Muslims aim to imitate in their daily lives. People undertake this practice of saintly imitation, Ruffle argues, to improve their personal religious practice and, on a broader social level, to help generate and reinforce group identity and shared ethics and sensibilities. The study is especially notable for its emphasis on women’s religious practice in everyday life and for its contribution to the understanding of gender and hagiography.

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Globalization and Its Counter-forces in Southeast Asia

Terence Chong

This volume is a collection of essays from a diverse group of scholars. Collectively, they present a multidimensional perspective of globalization in Southeast Asia. They delve into the political, economic, security, social, and cultural dimensions of globalization and local responses, offering evidence of complex interfacing between the global and the local, thus championing the need for a multidisciplinary approach to globalization studies. This volume depicts globalization as an uneven and, sometimes, undesired process, and resists the temptation for easy conclusions to the challenges facing the region today.

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Globalization and National Autonomy

The Experience of Malaysia

Joan M Nelson, Jacob Meerman and Abdul Rahman Haji Embong

Malaysia has long had an ambivalent relationship to globalization. A shining example of export-led growth and the positive role for foreign investment, the country's political leadership has also expressed skepticism about the prevailing international political and economic order. In this compelling collection, Nelson, Meerman and Rahman Embong bring together a group of Malaysian and foreign scholars to dissect the effects of globalization on Malaysian development over the long-run. They consider the full spectrum of issues from economic and social policy to new challenges from transnational Islam, and are unafraid of voicing skepticism where the effects of globalization are overblown. Malaysia is surprisingly understudied in comparative context; this volume remedies that, and provides an overview of a country undergoing important political change.--Stephan Haggard, Krause Professor, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego

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Hamka’s Great Story

A Master Writer’s Vision of Islam for Modern Indonesia

James R. Rush

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Hearing Allah’s Call

Preaching and Performance in Indonesian Islam

Julian Millie

"Innovative and illuminating, Hearing Allah’s Call is an excellent account of Muslim oratorical practice in West Java."—Bill Watson, author of Of Self and Nation

"One of the most important features of recent Indonesian history has been the astonishing growth of interest in and activity revolving around Islam. Analysis by a well-informed and sympathetic observer, as Julian Millie clearly is, of any aspect of this phenomenon is very valuable."—Ward Keeler, author of Javanese Shadow Puppets


Hearing Allah’s Call changes the way we think about Islamic communication. In the city of Bandung in Indonesia, sermons are not reserved for mosques and sites for Friday prayers. Muslim speakers are in demand for all kinds of events, from rites of passage to motivational speeches for companies and other organizations. Julian Millie spent fourteen months sitting among listeners at such events, and he provides detailed contextual description of the everyday realities of Muslim listening as well as preaching. In describing the venues, the audience, and preachers—many of whom are women—he reveals tensions between entertainment and traditional expressions of faith and moral rectitude.

The sermonizers use in-jokes, double entendres, and mimicry in their expositions, playing on their audiences’ emotions, triggering reactions from critics who accuse them of neglecting listeners’ intellects. Millie focused specifically on the listening routines that enliven everyday life for Muslims in all social spaces—imagine the hardworking preachers who make Sunday worship enjoyable for rural as well as urban Americans—and who captivate audiences with skills that attract criticism from more formal interpreters of Islam. The ethnography is rich and full of insightful observations and details. Hearing Allah’s Call will appeal to students of the practice of anthropology as well as all those intrigued by contemporary Islam.

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Heirs of the Prophet, The

Charisma and Religious Authority in Shi'ite Islam

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, different religious factions within the Muslim community laid claim to the Prophet’s legacy. Drawing on research from Sunni and Shi>ite literature, Liyakat N. Takim explores how these various groups, including the caliphs, scholars, Sufi holy men, and the Shi>ite imams and their disciples, competed to be the Prophetic heirs. The book also illustrates how the tradition of the “heirs of the Prophet” was often a polemical tool used by its bearers to demand obedience and loyalty from the Muslim community by imposing an authoritative rendition of texts, beliefs, and religious practices. Those who did not obey were marginalized and demonized. While examining the competition for Muhammad’s charismatic authority, Takim investigates the Shi>ite self-understanding of authority and argues that this was an important factor in the formation of a distinct Shi>ite leadership. The Heirs of the Prophet also provides a new understanding of textual authority in Islam by examining authority construction and the struggle for legitimacy evidenced in Islamic biographical dictionaries.

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