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This third collective volume of the series The Presence of the Prophet explores the expressions of piety and devotion to the person of the Prophet and their individual and collective significance in early modern and modern times. The authors provide a rich collection of regional case studies on how the Prophet’s presence and aura are individually and collectively evoked in dreams, visions, and prayers, in the performance of poetry in his praise, in the devotion to relics related to him, and in the celebration of his birthday. They also highlight the role of the Prophetic figure in the identity formation of young Muslims and cover the controversies and compromises which nowadays shape the devotional practices centered on the Prophet.

Contributors
Nelly Amri, Emma Aubin-Boltanski, Sana Chavoshian, Rachida Chih, Vincent Geisser, Denis Gril, Mohamed Amine Hamidoune, David Jordan, Hanan Karam, Kai Kresse, Jamal Malik,Youssef Nouiouar, Luca Patrizi, Thomas Pierret, Stefan Reichmuth, Youssouf T. Sangaré, Besnik Sinani, Fabio Vicini and Ines Weinrich.
Author:
In 1982, David B. Barrett released his 1,000-page World Christian Encyclopedia, which presented a comprehensive quantitative assessment of World Christianity for the first time. This book is the first historical project to analyze Barrett’s archival materials, which shed light not only on the production of the Encyclopedia, but more importantly, on the development of World Christianity as a discipline and the importance of both African Christianity and quantitative perspectives in its history. This book captures innovations at the intersection of World Christianity, mission studies, and the sociology of religion – the kind of interdisciplinary research that makes World Christianity studies unique.
Volume Editors: and
The purpose of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion is to investigate the “new” role of religion in the contemporary world, which is characterized by cultural pluralism and religious individualism.

It is the aim of the series to combine different methods within the social scientific study of religion. Contributions to the series employ an interdisciplinary and comparative approach at an international level, to describe and interpret the complexity of religious phenomena within different geopolitical situations, highlighting similarities and discontinuities. Dealing with a single theme in each volume, the series intends to tackle the relationship between the practices and the dynamics of everyday life and the different religions and spiritualities, within the framework of post-secular society. All contributions are welcome, both those studying organizational aspects and those exploring individual religiosity.

The series has published an average of one volume per year over the last five years.
Free access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Free access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract

In various cultures around the world, past and present, many natural and cultural sites are deemed sacred. What are sacred landscapes? What are the spiritual foundations for their formation? How are they formed? How are they protected? The answers to these questions help frame a discussion of sacred landscapes within the context of their meaning, origin, and management processes as lived experiences of specific societies. In Tanzania the linkages between biodiversity and the worldview of a society have partly been acknowledged but remain unexplored. This paper applies a mixed research approach to studying sacred forests among the Bena community of Njombe in Tanzania. Rather than looking exclusively at the sacred forests in themselves as places, the paper underscores the linkage of human-nature-spirituality as key in explaining the history of sacred forests. It establishes that, among the Bena, the sacredness of a place was founded on the relationship between the visible and the invisible worlds – relations that led to the formation of various mystical-religious homelands’ sacred places that are protected through mythologies.

Full Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract

Poverty is one of Africa’s most intractable problems. Decades of deliberate and strategic socioeconomic policies have not yielded considerable concrete results to eradicate it. Upon succeeding the brutal colonial administration, the burgeoning African governments promised their citizens material well-being through socioeconomic development. A half century later the continent is perpetually witnessing a blatant betrayal of dreams. Just like the African governments that succeeded colonial governments, religious organizations continue to promise poverty eradication by divine means to their adherents, whose numbers keep exploding across the continent. The Pentecostal variant of African Christianity is particularly renowned for its promises of wealth, health, and prosperity through supernatural divine power: in the Bible, God has promised to deliver immense material goods to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The expediency of these promises to alleviate poverty and bring about social transformation is debatable. Some scholars argue that African Pentecostalism is an elaborately complex increase in religious activities devoid of social structural transformation, while others opine that it contributes positively to development. In asking whether African Pentecostal Christianity is a move toward or a distraction from development, this article broadly explores discourses on Pentecostalism and development in Africa. Arguably, in the endeavor to preach and live out the experiential power of the Holy Spirit, Pentecostal Christianity in Africa inadvertently plays a role in the broader ongoing development discourse. Although they do not view themselves as ‘religious’ or ‘religion’, Pentecostal churches’ attempts to make the teachings of Jesus Christ relevant to the mundane help individual believers cope with life’s stresses and vulnerabilities. However, it does not transform the social conditions that create problems for individuals. The liberating hope of African Pentecostal Christianity lies in theologically nuancing its discourses to meaningfully engage in global development discourses.

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In: Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract

International agencies and non-governmental organisations classify Quranic schoolboys who beg on behalf of their teachers as victims of child trafficking. The aim here is to understand why no Bissau-Guinean Fula religious leader, referred to as cerno, has been sentenced to prison, despite accusations of child trafficking. The findings show that community members hold religious leaders in high esteem for their role within the spiritual, educative, and social spheres. Community members, entrenched in complex discriminatory relations within their ethnic group and beyond, perceive them as their saviours, while politicians, high-ranking officers and traders compete for their endorsement. Criminalising the cernos is unsuccessful; to safeguard the interests of children, the children and their community members, including the cernos, should be put at the heart of the safeguarding measures. Despite complex layers of coloniality, the religious leaders are the masters of the game, and their imprisonment is challenging.

Full Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa