Striving against the ‘Nafs

Revisiting Somali Muslim Spousal Roles and Rights in Finland

in Journal of Religion in Europe
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I analyze how Somalis in Helsinki re-interpret religious norms on marriage in light of: 1) the challenges of socioeconomic hardships and marginalization in Finland; and 2) ethical principles in Islamic tradition that underlie religious rulings such as striving against the selfishness of the ‘nafs’ (self) and seeking spiritual advancement. I examine how norms on spousal roles and rights are contested and reinterpreted. I highlight how young women, in particular, foreground the ‘ethical' in their religious understandings of marriage norms. I explore if Veit Bader’s1 concept of ‘internal religious governance’ can analytically explain these processes. I draw on data from individual interviews and focus group discussions with women and men; and interviews with mosque imams and a clan elder.

Striving against the ‘Nafs

Revisiting Somali Muslim Spousal Roles and Rights in Finland

in Journal of Religion in Europe

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References

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BaderVeit. “The Governance of Islam in Europe: The Perils of ModellingJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies33/6August (2007) 871–886.

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1

Veit Bader“The Governance of Islam in Europe: The Perils of Modelling,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 33/6 (2007) 871–886.

3

Frank Peter“Review Essay: Individualization and Religious Authority in Western European Islam,” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations17/1 (2006) 105–118.

7

Tiilikainen et alSomalis26 27.

10

 See Tiilikainen et alSomalis13.

12

Aud Taalle“Precarious Identities: Somali Women in Exile,” Finnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration 3/1 (2008) 64–82; Marja Tiilikainen “Somali Women and Daily Islam in the Diaspora” Social Compass 50/1 (2003) 59–69 Rima Berns McGown Muslims in Diaspora: The Somali Communities in London and Toronto (Toronto ca: Toronto University 1998).

20

BaderGovernance874.

21

Amir-Moazami & Salvatore“Gender” 57.

22

Dale Eickelman“Mass Higher Education and the Religious Imagination in Contemporary Arab Societies,” American Ethnologist19/4 (1992) 642–55; Armando Salvatore and Dale Eickelman (eds.). Public Islam and the Common Good. (Leiden: Brill 2004).

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