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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 this article I assess the suitability of exploring the entanglement of state and Islam in Turkey under the rubric of post-Islamism. This is achieved through an exploration of the composite intertwining of religious discourse, historical and teleological imaginaries, and ideals of civic engagement within the Gülen movement. In my view not only does the post-Islamist thesis appear to be limited in regard to analyzing this and similar cases, but it also dangerously echoes recurrent neo-orientalist narratives, which in essence circumscribe how Islam can be “inclusive” and open to ideals of “individual freedom,” “pluralism,” and to Western ideals of democracy. In this paper I argue that it is instead the ideologization of religious discourse – a specific product of political modernity – which hinders Islamic movements such as the Gülen and others from realizing the full potential of Islam as an alternative global civilizational discourse to that of liberal modernity.

In: Sociology of Islam