In contrast to Sunnī and Shīʿī communities, Ibāḍīs in Oman refrain from any pompous celebration of the Prophetic birthday. Instead, they see the call to follow the example of the Prophet and to adhere to his Sunna as the only legitimate way of expressing love and respect for Muḥammad. For centuries, Ibādīs have used the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday to gather in mosques or at home for the reading of mawlid texts about Muḥammad’s biography.
Interestingly, several prominent Ibāḍī scholars became deeply influenced by Sufi thinking during a period of Ibāḍī renaissance and reform in the late nineteenth century. One of them, the well-known Zanzibari qāḍī and Oman’s most important poet Abū Muslim al-Bahlānī (d. 1920) produced al-Nashʾa al-muḥammadiyya, a mawlid text that is saturated with Sufi ideas and emerged as the textual Ibāḍī standard for the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday. This chapter offers a historical and ethnographic study of Bahlānī’s merger of Ibāḍism and Sufism as part of a wider mawlid renaissance in the Gulf region and along the East African coast. It traces al-Nashʾa al-muḥammadiyya’s role in the nation building process and its religious adaptation in twentieth century Oman, thereby highlighting a shift in Ibāḍī scholarly attitudes toward the Prophet.
The central meaning of the relation to the Prophet Muḥammad has increasingly manifested itself on various levels in Muslim societies over the course of the early modern and modern periods and becomes even visible among secular and nationalist movements. This chapter investigates the changing representation of the Prophet Muḥammad in the public discourse of the Iraqi Arab Socialist Baʿth Party from 1943 till 2003. The investigation is based on a diachronic analysis of Iraqi daily newspapers, party publications, autobiographies, and qualitative interviews with former leading Baʿth cadres.
Recent scholarship debates as to whether the regime fulfilled with its increasing religious rhetoric an ideological U-turn from a staunch secularism to an Arab Islamism, or whether it did not so much Islamise but expand its ongoing policy to Baʿthise religion and to accelerate the spread of its original Baʿthist interpretation of an Arab Islam. Focussing on the role of the Prophetic figure in Baʿthist ideology and politics throughout this period, this chapter argues, in line with the latter interpretation, that in the core the Baʿth regime stuck to its secular principles till the end but gradually and tactically increased the incorporation of the Prophetic heritage into the official political discourse. This increasing political use of Islamic traditions and motifs can be explained as a tactical reaction to take advantage of and control the general Islamic or religious resurgence that can be observed throughout the Islamic world and beyond since the late 1960s; a political move that fuelled and promoted this resurgence even further.
Talmyʼs influential typology of verb-framed/satellite-framed languages has recently been shown to be insufficient (Strömquist and Verhoeven 2003), in particular with respect of serial-verb languages (Zlatev and Yangklang 2004; Slobin 2003). In this paper, we compare motion event constructions in three languages, where two are clear representatives of Talmyʼs two types: French and Swedish, and the third is a serial-verb language, Thai. As expected, Thai turns out to resemble French in some respects, Swedish in others but also to possess structural (i.e. syntactic and semantic) characteristics which distinguish it from the two Talmian types. This reinforces, but also clarifies, previous proposals for regarding serial-verb languages as belonging to a third “equipollent” type.