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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.
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Abstract

This chapter explores the relevance that the sunna takes in the disciplinary and socialising practices of a contemporary offshoot of the Nur movement, the Suffa community, in contemporary Turkey. Contrary to widespread journalistic views portraying the imitation of the sunna as the exclusive trait of “Salafi” groups, it relies on the community’s main text, the Risale-i Nur (The Epistle of Light) and on ethnographic material gathered between 2009 and 2010 to investigate the way in which ḥadīth narratives shaped the life and conduct of this Sufi-inspired, yet inner-worldly oriented community. First, the chapter illustrates the role that the figure of the Prophet Muḥammad plays in the path of knowledge promoted in the Risale. It then moves to investigate how the imitation of the sunna is at the centre of the daily practices and sociability forms that shape Muslim life within the Suffa community. Particular attention will be given to the way in which conforming to the sunna intersects with Muslim norms of virtuous behaviour (adab). Finally, the chapter sheds light on the collective dimension of Prophetic piety by illustrating how both sunna and adab are embedded in the ideal of brotherhood as actualised in the daily life of the community.

Open Access
In: The Presence of the Prophet in Early Modern and Contemporary Islam
In: Reading Islam
In: Reading Islam
In: Reading Islam
In: Reading Islam
In: Reading Islam
In: Reading Islam
In: Reading Islam