By John R. Bowen

ISBN-10: 0521822823

ISBN-13: 9780521822824

During this robust yet obtainable new research John Bowen attracts on an entire variety of labor in social anthropology to provide Islam in ways in which emphasise its constitutive practices, from praying and studying to judging and political setting up. beginning on the middle of Islam - revelation and studying in Arabic lands - Bowen exhibits how Muslims have tailored Islamic texts and traditions to principles and prerequisites within the societies within which they reside. Returning to key case stories in Indonesia, Africa, Pakistan and Western Europe to discover each one significant area of Islamic spiritual and social existence, Bowen additionally considers the theoretical advances in social anthropology that experience pop out of the examine of Islam. a brand new Anthropology of Islam is vital interpreting for all these drawn to the learn of Islam and for these following new advancements within the self-discipline of anthropology.

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In this village, the main dividing line is between Sunnis and Isma’ilis; in other towns and villages other Shi’ite groups play larger roles. Here, Sunni children study ˆ the Qur’an in the mosque school (the Dar-ul Ulum, from the name of the first Deobandi school) while Isma’ili children go to the Isma’ili equivalent, the Jama’at Khanas. Sunni and Isma’ili patterns of religious learning differ in what is learned, in who acts as an authority, and in how pupils embody the act of learning. Teaching in the Sunni mosque resembles the memorizing 35 A New Anthropology of Islam and reciting I described above for Yemen and Java.

Muhammad did not interpret the words, and as an illiterate man he could not have created them; he is a vessel of God’s message. But Muhammad provides guidance to Muslims in a second way as well, through his own statements and actions, which are considered to be inspired by God. : ahˆadˆıth) of what Muhammad did or said are transmitted reliably over the generations, then they can be taken as a second source of divine guidance. Above, I showed how one of these reports was incorporated into modernist 18 Learning poetry aimed at reforming ritual practice.

A New Anthropology of Islam The precise historicity of revelation also gives a high degree of religious value to the exact words used by God, through Gabriel, to speak to Muhammad. Revelation was aural, and transmission has continued to take place in an aural/oral mode. Writing was never absent (a point to which I return below), and Muslims recognize as legitimate a number of slightly differing written forms of the Qur’an. But today, just as centuries ago, Muslims use written scriptural texts in order to learn to recite them.

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A New Anthropology of Islam by John R. Bowen


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