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Empowerment, Gender and Development in an African Movement
In Matarenda/Talents in Zimbabwean Pentecostalism, the fourteen contributors to this multidisciplinary collection reflect on how Pentecostalism contributes to the empowerment of marginalised societies, how it empowers women in particular through the matarenda (talents) principles, and how it contributes to the development of wider society. All but three of the authors are Zimbabwean Pentecostals.

The book deals with such subjects as gender equality, economics and finance, poverty alleviation and sustainable development, education, and entrepreneurship. A remarkable independent Zimbabwean church has harnessed biblical principles from the Parable of the Talents to empower women and those marginalised by economic disasters. It is particularly relevant for understanding the potential of African Pentecostalism in dealing with social and economic challenges.
Emmett contributes to missional pentecostal historiography through bringing a pre-eminent figure in early British Pentecostalism into the limelight. He shows how Pentecostalism in Belgian Congo was pioneered by W.F.P. Burton alongside local agency. Central to Burton’s contradictory and complex personality was a passionate desire to see the emancipation of humankind from the spiritual powers of darkness believing only Spirit-empowered local agency would enduringly prove effective.

Burton’s faith believed for Spirit intervention in church communities converting lives, bringing physical healing and transforming regions. In the maelstrom following Congolese Independence, Burton’s belief in his own brand of indigenisation made him an outlier even among Pentecostals. Burton’s pentecostal faith engendered an idealism which frustratingly conflicted with those not sharing it in the way he pursued it. This book thus serves Pentecostals and historians by clarifying Burton’s ideals and revealing the reasons for his frustrations.
In: Islamic Africa
In: Islamic Africa
Author: Kota Kariya

Abstract

The Sokoto Caliphate, which was based on Islamic law, depended considerably on widespread systematic slavery in political, economic, and social spheres. According to Islamic law, it is only permitted, in principle, to enslave non-Muslims or unbelievers, and ʿUthmān b. Fūdī, the founder of the Caliphate, labeled his principal enemies (i.e. the rulers of the Hausa states and Bornu and their followers) as apostate unbelievers. However, Muslim jurists historically presented conflicting views regarding the permissibility of enslaving apostates. Faced with this legal disagreement, ʿUthmān, referring to numerous preceding scholars, argued that it was permissible to choose any one of several juristic views regarding a legal issue on which scholars disagreed. By the employment of this “free choice theory”, he justified the enslavement of those whom he labeled as apostates and consequently authorized the enslavement of all kinds of people whom he had categorized as unbelievers living in and around Hausaland.

In: Islamic Africa

Abstract

This article examines the origins and development of colonial Franco-Muslim education, with specific reference to the Médersa of Saint-Louis in Senegal. Often described as a failed experiment on the part of the French administration, the médersa nevertheless marked the first effort to “modernize” Islamic education in West Africa. This article argues that the médersa evolved, and eventually closed, in tandem with local engagement and the establishment of the racist idea of islam noir. It also highlights the role of Algerians and the Algerian médersa system in West Africa to argue for the importance of a trans-Saharan approach to Islamic education in the colonial period.

In: Islamic Africa
Author: Shaheed Tayob

Abstract

In recent decades, the halal certification logo has emerged as a global phenomenon. Halal certification is an attempt to produce a new discursive and material basis for the practice of halal. Halal is extended into new places and products. In South Africa Muslim consumers now query the halal status of tomato sauce, bottled water and even food consumed at the homes of friends and family. Certification is a technology of halal whereby consumers self-regulate practice in new ways. However, the transformations of halal certification have not been complete. Documentary inspection and molecular investigation linked to new kinds of information and new technology have not necessarily eclipsed the importance of intra-Muslim trade, niyya (orientation/intention) and trust for the practice of halal. This paper considers the narratives and practices of middle-class Muslims in South Africa towards an understanding of the complex ways in which halal is practiced and transformed.

In: Islamic Africa
Author: Auwais Rafudeen

Abstract

Reflecting on thoughts by Talal Asad, this paper suggests an approach to theorizing Sunniyat – the approach to Islam taken by those commonly called “Barelvis” – in South Africa by focusing on sensibilities and dispositions. It specifically examines the kinds of sensibilities that are cultivated by adherents in their relationship to the Prophet as well as in their practice of everyday ethics. The aim is to shed light on the embodied nature of these sensibilities and not just their discursive context. In Asad’s work, both dimensions are important, but discourse is a prelude to embodiment, with the latter constituting one’s mode of being in the world. In thinking about Sunniyat in this way, the works of Abdulkader Tayob and Seraj Hendricks provide important precedents for navigating both discursiveness and embodiment in a South African Muslim context.

In: Islamic Africa