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Essay on Islamization

Changes in Religious Practice in Muslim Societies


Mohamed Cherkaoui

Essay on Islamization is a study of the Islamization of all Muslim societies, their conversion to orthodox Islam which, with its chapels, soldier monks and holy war, leads to fundamentalism as well as to a moral puritanism. Cherkaoui gauges the importance of this global phenomenon by analyzing the empirical data of some sixty Muslim and non-Muslim societies. He also conducts two ethnographic surveys to identify the metamorphoses of Muslim religious practices and their causes.

Among the dozen theories put forward to explain these planetary phenomena, he cites those of secularization, modernization, the religious market, the influence of the media and the policy of donors of unlimited financial resources, social mobility, geopolitical causes, the emergence of fundamentalism and the role of "proletarian" intellectuals who promote Messianism, and social pressure.

Reading Islam

Life and Politics of Brotherhood in Modern Turkey


Fabio Vicini

In Reading Islam Fabio Vicini offers a journey within the intimate relations, reading practices, and forms of intellectual engagement that regulate Muslim life in two enclosed religious communities in Istanbul. Combining anthropological observation with textual and genealogical analysis, he illustrates how the modes of thought and social engagement promoted by these two communities are the outcome of complex intellectual entanglements with modern discourses about science, education, the self, and Muslims’ place and responsibility in society. In this way, Reading Islam sheds light on the formation of new generations of faithful and socially active Muslims over the last thirty years and on their impact on the turn of Turkey from an assertive secularist Republic to an Islamic-oriented form of governance.


Aiyub Palmer

In Sainthood and Authority in Early Islam Aiyub Palmer recasts wilāya in terms of Islamic authority and traces its development in both political and religious spheres up through the 3rd and 4th Islamic centuries. This book pivots around the ideas of al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmidhī, the first Muslim theologian and mystic to write on the topic of wilāya.

By looking at its structural roots in Arab and Islamic social organization, Aiyub Palmer has reframed the discussion about sainthood in early Islam to show how it relates more broadly to other forms of authority in Islam. This book not only looks anew at the influential ideas of al-Tirmidhī but also challenges current modes of thought around the nature of authority in Islamicate societies.

Muslims at the Margins of Europe

Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal


Edited by Tuomas Martikainen, José Mapril and Adil Hussain Khan

This volume focuses on Muslims in Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal, representing the four corners of the European Union today. It highlights how Muslim experiences can be understood in relation to a country’s particular historical routes, political economies, colonial and post-colonial legacies, as well as other factors, such as church-state relations, the role of secularism(s), and urbanisation. This volume also reveals the incongruous nature of the fact that national particularities shaping European Muslim experiences cannot be understood independently of European and indeed global dynamics. This makes it even more important to consider every national context when analysing patterns in European Islam, especially those that have yet to be fully elaborated. The chapters in this volume demonstrate the contradictory dynamics of European Muslim contexts that are simultaneously distinct yet similar to the now familiar ones of Western Europe’s most populous countries.

Najm al-Din Yousefi

This essay examines the Islamic land tax (kharāj) during the first wave of the Arab conquests (ca. 12–24/633–50) and the following century and a half. Highlighting the confused state of land tax and landholding, it argues that Sunni jurists incorporated land tax into Islamic law despite the lack of Qurʾānic injunctions and prophetic tradition. In doing so, they drew upon Qurʾānic concepts such as fay’ and ghanīma while reinterpreting a vast body of conquest narratives and traditions that helped present land tax as a bona fide Islamic practice. A major outcome of this juristic discourse of public finance was the recognition of the ruler’s right to discretionary taxation. Just as the jurists emphasized justice and equitable application of tax laws, they also enabled the government to enjoy a wide latitude in its fiscal management without legal backlash. It further allowed the jurists to speak for God and His Prophet.

Uriya Shavit


In 1999, the European Council for Fatwa and Research issued a fatwa that legitimized mortgages for Muslims in Europe who are not homeowners. While this groundbreaking text gained some academic attention, little has been written about its reception and impact. Through a field study in three Islamic centers in Stockholm, this article examines the conflicting opinions about this religious decision among imams and mosque attendees and demonstrates that both the most ardent supporters of the European Council and its staunchest critics engage with the legitimization of mortgages in ways that are independent and original and correspond with their personal understanding of the situation of local Muslims.

W.A. Amir Zal


This article explores how social capital acts as a lubricant to create good interactions and relationships to help Muslim communities exercise their rights, buttressed by support systems. An exploratory case study involving 24 participants is conducted in North East England. Findings reveal that good social capital assists participants in communicating beyond their communities, and creates mutual understanding and acceptance within Muslim communities and with other locals. Muslim community organisations and support systems help them exercise their rights and practise religious obligations. Thus, social capital is a lubricant that helps the Muslim community exercise their rights and be accepted as locals.

Mohamed-Ali Adraoui

This article reports the results of an ethnographic study of migration patterns (al‐Hijra) in French Salafist communities. The study reveals the break that Salafist believers attempt to achieve with their social and cultural environment after they embrace this puritanical, hard‐line form of Islam. For Salafists, migration represents a physical and above all moral exile that begins before converts depart for predominantly Muslim countries. Indeed, the migration process begins gradually as believers seek to distance themselves from ‘sources of perversion’ in France that Salafists oppose.