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The Making of the Last Prophet
The Islamic claim to supersede Judaism and Christianity is embodied in the theological assertion that the office of prophecy is hereditary but that the line of descent ends with Muhammad, who is the seal, or last, of the prophets.
While Muhammad had no natural sons who reached the age of maturity, he is said to have adopted a man named Zayd, and mutual rights of inheritance were created between the two. Zayd b. Muhammad, also known as the Beloved of the Messenger of God, was the first adult male to become a Muslim and the only Muslim apart from Muhammad to be named in the Qur'an. But if prophecy is hereditary and Muhammad has a son, David Powers argues, then he might not be the Last Prophet. Conversely, if he is the Last Prophet, he cannot have a son.
In Muhammad Is Not the Father of Any of Your Men, Powers contends that a series of radical moves were made in the first two centuries of Islamic history to ensure Muhammad's position as the Last Prophet. He focuses on narrative accounts of Muhammad's repudiation of Zayd, of his marriage to Zayd's former wife, and of Zayd's martyrdom in battle against the Byzantines. Powers argues that theological imperatives drove changes in the historical record and led to the abolition or reform of key legal institutions. In what is likely to be the most controversial aspect of his book, he offers compelling physical evidence that the text of the Qur'an itself was altered.
Undergraduate Social Life and Identity
Shabana Mir's powerful ethnographic study of women on Washington, D.C., college campuses reveals that being a young female Muslim in post-9/11 America means experiencing double scrutiny—scrutiny from the Muslim community as well as from the dominant non-Muslim community. Muslim American Women on Campus illuminates the processes by which a group of ethnically diverse American college women, all identifying as Muslim and all raised in the United States, construct their identities during one of the most formative times in their lives.
Mir, an anthropologist of education, focuses on key leisure practices--drinking, dating, and fashion--to probe how Muslim American students adapt to campus life and build social networks that are seamlessly American, Muslim, and youthful. In this lively and highly accessible book, we hear the women's own often poignant voices as they articulate how they find spaces within campus culture as well as their Muslim student communities to grow and assert themselves as individuals, women, and Americans. Mir concludes, however, that institutions of higher learning continue to have much to learn about fostering religious diversity on campus.
Money Takes Care of Shame
Senegalese Murid migrants have circulated cargo and currency through official and unofficial networks in Africa and the world. Muslim Families in Global Senegal focuses on trade and the transmission of enduring social value though cloth, videos of life-cycle rituals, and religious offerings. Highlighting women's participation in these networks and the financial strategies they rely on, Beth Buggenhagen reveals the deep connections between economic profits and ritual and social authority. Buggenhagen discovers that these strategies are not responses to a dispersed community in crisis, but rather produce new roles, wealth, and worth for Senegalese women in all parts of the globe.
The Paradox of Moderation
Moderation theory describes the process through which radical political actors develop commitments to electoral competition, political pluralism, human rights, and rule of law and come to prefer negotiation, reconciliation, and electoral politics over provocation, confrontation, and contentious action. Revisiting this theory through an examination of two of the most prominent moderate Islamic political forces in recent history, Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey analyzes the gains made and methods implemented by the Reform Front in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Justice and Development Party in Turkey. Both of these groups represent Muslim reformers who came into continual conflict with unelected adversaries who attempted to block their reformist agendas. Based on extensive field research in both locales, Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey argues that behavioral moderation as practiced by these groups may actually inhibit democratic progress. Political scientist Güne Murat Tezcür observes that the ability to implement conciliatory tactics, organize electoral parties, and make political compromises impeded democracy when pursued by the Reform Front and the Justice and Development Party. Challenging conventional wisdom, Tezcür’s findings have broad implications for the dynamics of democratic progress.
A Historical Anthropology
Muslim Societies in Africa provides a concise overview of Muslim societies in Africa in light of their role in African history and the history of the Islamic world. Roman Loimeier identifies patterns and peculiarities in the historical, social, economic, and political development of Africa, and addresses the impact of Islam over the longue durée. To understand the movements of peoples and how they came into contact, Loimeier considers geography, ecology, and climate as well as religious conversion, trade, and slavery. This comprehensive history offers a balanced view of the complexities of the African Muslim past while looking toward Africa’s future role in the globalized Muslim world.
Speaking for Ourselves
In the eyes of many Westerners, Muslim women are hidden behind a veil of negative stereotypes that portray them as either oppressed, subservient wives and daughters or, more recently, as potential terrorists. Yet many Muslim women defy these stereotypes by taking active roles in their families and communities and working to create a more just society. This book introduces eighteen Muslim women activists from the United States and Canada who have worked in fields from social services, to marital counseling, to political advocacy in order to further social justice within the Muslim community and in the greater North American society. Each of the activists has written an autobiographical narrative in which she discusses such issues as her personal motivation for doing activism work, her views on the relationship between Islam and women's activism, and the challenges she has faced and overcome, such as patriarchal cultural barriers within the Muslim community or racism and discrimination within the larger society. The women activists are a heterogeneous group, including North American converts to Islam, Muslim immigrants to the United States and Canada, and the daughters of immigrants. Young women at the beginning of their activist lives as well as older women who have achieved regional or national prominence are included. Katherine Bullock's introduction highlights the contributions to society that Muslim women have made since the time of the Prophet Muhammad and sounds a call for contemporary Muslim women to become equal partners in creating and maintaining a just society within and beyond the Muslim community.
Political and Cultural Contestations in Southeast Asia
This is an excellent and rare exploration of a sensitive religious issue from many perspectives legal, cultural and political. The case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand portray the important and exciting, yet very difficult, negotiation of Islamic teachings in the changing realities of Southeast Asia, home to the majority of Muslims in the world. Interreligious marriage is an important indicator of good relations between communities in religiously diverse countries. This book will also be of great interest to students and scholars of religious pluralism in a Southeast Asian context, which has not been studied adequately. --Zainal Abidin Bagir, Executive Director, Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
Over the course of his distinguished career, legal scholar Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im has sought to reconcile his identity as a Muslim with his commitment to universal human rights. In Muslims and Global Justice, he advances the theme of global justice from an Islamic perspective, critically examining the role that Muslims must play in the development of a pragmatic, rights-based framework for justice.
An-Na'im opens this collection of essays with a chapter on Islamic ambivalence toward political violence, showing how Muslims began grappling with this problem long before the 9/11 attacks. Other essays highlight the need to improve the cultural legitimacy of human rights in the Muslim world. As An-Na'im argues, in order for a commitment to human rights to become truly universal, we must learn to accommodate a range of different reasons for belief in those rights. In addition, the author contends, building an effective human rights framework for global justice requires that we move toward a people-centered approach to rights. Such an approach would value foremost empowering local actors as a way of negotiating the paradox of a human rights system that relies on self-regulation by the state.
Encompassing over two decades of An-Na'im's work on these critical issues, Muslims and Global Justice provides a valuable theoretical approach to the challenge of realizing global justice in a world of profound religious and cultural difference.
Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism
Muslims and Matriarchs is a history of an unusual, probably heretical, and ultimately resilient cultural system. The Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, Indonesia, is well known as the world's largest matrilineal culture; Minangkabau people are also Muslim and famous for their piety. In this book, Jeffrey Hadler examines the changing ideas of home and family in Minangkabau from the late eighteenth century to the 1930s.
Minangkabau has experienced a sustained and sometimes violent debate between Muslim reformists and preservers of indigenous culture. During a protracted and bloody civil war of the early nineteenth century, neo-Wahhabi reformists sought to replace the matriarchate with a society modeled on that of the Prophet Muhammad. In capitulating, the reformists formulated an uneasy truce that sought to find a balance between Islamic law and local custom. With the incorporation of highland West Sumatra into the Dutch empire in the aftermath of this war, the colonial state entered an ongoing conversation. These existing tensions between colonial ideas of progress, Islamic reformism, and local custom ultimately strengthened the matriarchate.
The ferment generated by the trinity of oppositions created social conditions that account for the disproportionately large number of Minangkabau leaders in Indonesian politics across the twentieth century. The endurance of the matriarchate is testimony to the fortitude of local tradition, the unexpected flexibility of reformist Islam, and the ultimate weakness of colonialism. Muslims and Matriarchs is particularly timely in that it describes a society that experienced a neo-Wahhabi jihad and an extended period of Western occupation but remained intellectually and theologically flexible and diverse.
Pathways to God
Although Islam is not new to West Africa, new patterns of domestic economies, the promise of political liberalization, and the proliferation of new media have led to increased scrutiny of Islam in the public sphere. Dorothea E. Schulz shows how new media have created religious communities that are far more publicly engaged than they were in the past. Muslims and New Media in West Africa expands ideas about religious life in West Africa, women's roles in religion, religion and popular culture, the meaning of religious experience in a charged environment, and how those who consume both religion and new media view their public and private selves.