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The Khōjā of Tanzania

Discontinuities of a Postcolonial Religious Identity

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Iqbal Akhtar

The Khōjā of Tanzania, Discontinuities of a Postcolonial Religious Identity attempts to reconstruct the development of Khōjā religious identity from their arrival to the Swahili coast in the late 18th century until the turn of the 21st century. This multidisciplinary study incorporates Gujarati, Kacchī, Swahili, and Arabic sources to examine the formation of an Afro-Asian Islamic identity (jamatī) from their initial Indic caste identity (jñāti) towards an emergent Near Eastern imaged Islamic nation (ummatī) through four disciplinary approaches: historiography, politics, linguistics, and ethnology. Over the past two centuries, rapid transitions and discontinuities have produced the profound tensions which have resulted from the willful amnesia of their pre-Islamic Indic civilizational past for an ideological and politicized ‘Islamic’ present. This study aims to document, theorize, and engage this theological transformation of modern Khōjā religious identities as expressed through dimensions of power, language, space, and the body.

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Anne K. Bang

In the period c. 1880-1940, organized Sufism spread rapidly in the western Indian Ocean. New communities turned to Islam, and Muslim communities turned to new texts, practices and religious leaders. On the East African coast, the orders were both a vehicle for conversion to Islam and for reform of Islamic practice. The impact of Sufism on local communities is here traced geographically as a ripple reaching beyond the Swahili cultural zone southwards to Mozambique, Madagascar and Cape Town. Through an investigation of the texts, ritual practices and scholarly networks that went alongside Sufi expansion, this book places religious change in the western Indian Ocean within the wider framework of Islamic reform.

Early Ibāḍī Theology

Six kalām texts by ‘Abd Allāh b. Yazīd al-Fazārī

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Edited by Wilferd Madelung and Abdulrahman Al-Salimi

Early Ibāḍī Theology presents the critical edition of six Arabic theological texts recently discovered in two manuscripts in Mzāb in Algeria dating from the middle of the 8th century. The texts were sent by their author, the prominent Kūfan Ibāḍī kalām theologian ‘Abd Allāh b. Yazīd al-Fazārī to North Africa where he had a large following in the Ibāḍī community later known as the Nukkār. They constitute the earliest extant body of Muslim kalām theology and are vital for the study of the initial development of rational theology in Islam. The sophisticated treatment of the divine attributes in these texts indicates that this subject developed considerably earlier in Islamic theology than previously accepted in modern scholarship.

Governing the Empire: Provincial Administration in the Almohad Caliphate (1224-1269)

Critical Edition, Translation, and Study of Manuscript 4752 of the Ḥasaniyya Library in Rabat Containing 77 Taqādīm (“Appointments”)

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Pascal Buresi and Hicham El Aallaoui

In this book, Pascal Buresi and Hicham El Aallaoui edit, translate, and study an Arabic manuscript of the Royal Library of Rabat, containing 77 appointments of provincial officials. The Almohad Caliphs were the first Berbers to unite the whole Maghrib and the Iberian Peninsula under an imperial ideology elaborated at the end of the 12th C.E. by the most famous scholars, such as Averroes.
This peripheral Islamic dynasty produced a pragmatic documentation that provides exceptional information about the administrative, political, ideological, and religious organisation of the largest medieval European-African Empire. Buresi and El Aallaoui convincingly stress the importance of the literature of the Chancellery in renewing the history of power and authority in medieval Islamic lands.