By Filippo Osella, Caroline Osella
The articles during this quantity increase ethnographic research complementary to the historiography of South Asian Islam, which has explored the emergence of reformism within the context of particular political and non secular situations of 19th century British India. taking over various renowned and scholarly debates in addition to daily non secular practices, this quantity additionally breaks clear of the dominant development of mainstream ethnographic paintings, which celebrates sufi-inspired different types of Islam as tolerant, plural, real and so forth, pitted opposed to a 'reformist' Islam. Urging a extra nuanced exam of all varieties of reformism and their reception in perform, the contributions the following powerfully reveal the ancient and geographical specificities of reform initiatives. In doing so, they problem triumphing views within which considerably diversified traditions of reform are lumped jointly into one reified classification (often carelessly shorthanded as 'wah'habism') and branded as extremist - if now not altogether demonised as terrorist.
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Additional resources for Islamic Reform in South Asia
Once she is able to review the events of her life as a coherent set 14 / Islamic Reform in South Asia of data, Umrao Jan is struck by its reliance on fate (taqdir) and fortune (bakht). While it is true, she says, that powerlessness and ignorance are conducive to such a dependence, this is not inevitable, for she has seen some men alter the effects even of natural calamities, while others simply use fate and fortune as excuses for their own evil deeds or shortcomings (ibid: 253–54). : 254). But this belief in fate and fortune had a strictly historical cause as well: This kind of talk had a certain meaning in the past, because at that time, quite by chance, things would be transformed within the hour.
History, in other words, is something alien that is passively represented. This too is a departure from traditional historiography, one that implies a new kind of subjectivity. Umrao Jan cannot remember the rest of her poem, or history, and the task of the gathering is to make her recall this past as an erotic secret. History, we might say, is here a reaction to loss, the alienating loss of something as large and distinct as a whole age. Soon the courtesan remembers the lyric’s first couplet: The Equivocal History of a Muslim Reformation / 9 Kabe men ja ke bhul gaya rah dayr ki Iman bach gaya mere mawla ne khayr ki (ibid: 19) Having gone to the Kaba I forgot the road to the temple My faith was saved, my Lord did good In the mystical tradition of the lyric the Kaba represents sterile Muslim legalism, while the temple stands for the allure of idolatry.
In other words adab or akhlaq lose their natural, universal character when they are cut off from a talim now largely reserved for the public and manifested in colonial education. As Nazir Ahmad’s contemporary, the anti-reformist poet Akbar Illahabadi puts it: Talim-o tarbiyat ka hay ikhtilaf har ja Jo ‘course’ ek ka hay woh awr ka nahin hay (Illahabadi 1990: 20) Talim and Tarbiyat diverge everywhere The ‘course’ of one is not that of the other This division of public talim and private tarbiyat affects the parents’ learning as well, by situating it on the boundary between the Muslim inside and the colonial outside as the former’s guardian.
Islamic Reform in South Asia by Filippo Osella, Caroline Osella