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Reading: Reforming Men, Refining Umma: Tablīghī Jamā‛at and Novel Visions of Islamic Masculinity

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Reforming Men, Refining Umma: Tablīghī Jamā‛at and Novel Visions of Islamic Masculinity

Author:

Halkano Abdi Wario

University of Bayreuth, DE
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Abstract

Tablīghī Jamā‛at, a pietistic movement run by laypeople that originated in India is currently the most widespread Muslim missionary group worldwide. It is essentially men-oriented in terms of its main target for proselytization and organization. Spaces of proselytization are mosques, sacred spaces frequented by men, and the home, a place of reinforcement of ‘lifestyle evangelism’ dominated by women. The group has been described as anti-intellectualist, apolitical, docile, otherworldly, and a front for militant groups. Based on recent ethnographic research in northern Kenya, the paper explores two main thematic questions: What does it take to be a Tablīghī man? Does emerging Tablīghī masculinity embolden or reconfigure gender/patriarchal relations? The paper posits that the movement provides social mobility for non-‘ulamā men in an alternative religious hierarchy but also lays the foundation for the emergence of a transnational practice of Islamic masculinity that appropriates the different local versions of being and becoming a man.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.7202
How to Cite: Wario, H.A., (2012). Reforming Men, Refining Umma: Tablīghī Jamā‛at and Novel Visions of Islamic Masculinity. Religion and Gender. 2(2), pp.231–253. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.7202
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Published on 20 Apr 2012.
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