Visual Culture and Islam in Kazakhstan: The Case of Asyl Arna’s Social Media

in Central Asian Affairs
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Asyl Arna is the most popular Islamic television channel in Kazakhstan and the dominant Islamic media company in Kazakhstan. This article examines how images on the social media pages of Asyl Arna create a way of understanding and engaging in contemporary Islamic life in Kazakhstan. I examine four kinds of images: lists, portraits of authority figures, illustrations or photos of the Qur’an, and images related to a middle-class life with a strongly gendered division of labor. The visual culture of Asyl Arna’s social media promote Islam as an achievable part of a middle-class lifestyle that can provide simple rules for a pious, economically successful life and a connection to the numinous through the Qur’an.

Visual Culture and Islam in Kazakhstan: The Case of Asyl Arna’s Social Media

in Central Asian Affairs

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References

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K. GeorgePicturing Islam: Art and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld. (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell2011) 91. George also details the controversy surrounding the use of the Qur’an in art in Indonesia. There has not been any controversy around Asyl Arna’s depiction of the Qur’an possibly due to a new understanding of the importance of visual culture to proselytizing (daghuat Arabic: da’wah).

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Figures

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    The text reads: “Daily prayers are made up of only four movements. 1. standing straight; 2. bending; 3. touching the head to the floor; and 4. kneeling. These four actions—that a four-year-old could do—are difficult only if you don’t have motivation. M. Tazabek”

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    The text reads: “Friday’s Etiquette. Whoever… 1. performs the major ablutions, 2. goes to Friday prayers, 3. recites the salutation during prayers, 4. listens to the sermon until the end, and 5. prays with the imam, will have his minor sins committed between two Fridays forgiven.”

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    Yerzhan Mayamerov, the Head Mufti of Kazakhstan.

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    Mukhammedzhan Tazabek, founder of Asyl Arna.

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    Just as a washing machine cleans a shirt, reading or reciting the Qur’an cleans the heart.

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    The text reads, “The Qur’an is my soul’s nourishment.”

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    Fairy dust emanates from a Qur’an.

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    The text reads: “If you are searching for a path to God…”

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    True happiness is a person who makes the best of what God has provided.

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    The text reads, “Peace is more precious than money, brother!”

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    The text reads, “How can one [morally] save and earn money?”

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    The text reads, “Living a blessed life—it is not merely happy moments. It is loving, trusting, protecting, and respecting one another for God.”

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    The text reads, “There is not a rule for women that says ‘do not work, do not make money.’ But, we would not lose anything if we taught our daughters, before anything else, ‘you are the mother of the future.’”

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    The text reads, “A Director’s Regret.”

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    Asyl Arna’s new logo.

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