This article explores competing discourses and understandings of proper Muslim practice as they are reflected in controversies among female supporters of Islamic moral renewal, and between them and Muslims who do not consider themselves part of the movement. Supporters of Islamic moral renewal highlight the primacy of deeds, such as proper behavior and correct ritual performance, as ways to validate their newly adopted religious identity. Their emphasis on proper action, and their dismissal of talking about religiosity, stand in tension with their own tendency to construct elaborate narratives about their decision to embrace what they consider a more authentic form of Islam. The importance they attribute to the embodied performance of virtue leaves many supporters of Islamic renewal in a double bind: despite their claim to unity, their conception of the relationship between individual ethics and the common good, combined with the tendency among supporters of Islamic moral renewal to set themselves apart from "other Muslims," reinforces trends of differentiation among Muslims who aspire to a new moral community.


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pp. 20-43
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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