Special Issue "Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2022) | Viewed by 13912

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jan A. Ali
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
Interests: sociology of Islam; sociological theories; theories of social change; sociology of body and embodiment; research methodology; migration and migrant identity; globalisation; multiculturalism; social and religious movements; terrorism; counter-violent extremism; Islamic Revivalism; Muslim communities; Islamic studies; Shari’ah (Islamic Law); Muslim women and piety
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

European colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and secularism and their accompanying anti Islamism spread deeply into the core of the Muslim world in 18th and 19th centuries, activating a series of Muslim intellectual, ideological, and socio-political responses collectively known as Islamic modernism. Islamic modernism grew in size and transformed in nature over time, and by the advent of Iranian Revolution in 1978-79, it came to be known as contemporary Islamic revivalism. It is a global phenomenon constituted by a plethora of diverse Islamic revivalist movements responding to modernity and its discontents and negative consequences. The movements, at the same time, are an expression of modernity.  The modernisation, that is, the idea of positive social change, advancement of societies, and a higher standard of living, including the establishment of nation states, the founding of capitalist free-market economies, technological innovations, and scientific improvements, and the social and cultural reorganisations that accompany these phenomena, has produced Islamic revivalist movements in Muslim everyday settings.

Islamic revivalist movements are engaged in domestic, regional, and international settings working towards the enhancement of Islamic influence in all spheres of daily living. Against the backdrop of the changing social nature of their countries with widespread negative effects on daily living and the secular governments in their countries who constantly fail to meet the needs of the masses, returning Islam to govern all areas of modern life is seen by Islamic revivalist movements as a corrective to the crisis of modernity and the deliverance of sinful humanity. Islamic revivalists find modernity to be sunk in jahiliyah (unGodliness) under the weight of secularism. However, contrary to the view of secularists, modernists, and alarmists, they are not anti-modernity or determined to destroy the West. If anything, they work within modernity, as they say, to save it by Islamising modernity through the popularisation of Islamic symbols, principles, and institutions in society and removing its bifurcation from the social space into sacred and profane spheres. The stress placed on shari’ah and Islamic values is not intended as a return to past Islamic epoch but signifies an effort to deal with contemporary life and various challenges emerging from it by renewed commitment to what is considered in the revivalist circles as authentic Islam.

Islamic revivalist movements are not a monolithic group, and the differences that exist between them are significant, with movements differing on many basic issues. Explosive differences in ideology, method of renewal, and policy exist between them. Consequently, the mission to bring about improvements in society and Muslim everyday conditions in the local and international contexts takes many forms.

This Special Issue aims to examine the phenomenon of contemporary Islamic revivalism and the approach taken by various movements to address the malaise faced by Muslims and their different societies in an epoch known as modernity. The idea is to undertake a social scientific study of Islamic revivalist movements and grapple with issues of root causes of movements’ origins, their reaction to modernity and its dislocations and discontents, and their approach to community building in the face of the fragmentation of modern society. An important question to address is what message do they convey to the faithful and what material and spiritual solutions do they provide for their necessities? To this end, scholars, experts, and researchers are invited to examine contemporary Islamic revivalism from their respective areas of expertise and disciplinary areas.

The Special Issue invites contributors to consider:                                               

  • Social scientific and theoretical perspectives in their analysis of contemporary Islamic revivalism;
  • Theories of social change in examining the emergence and development of Islamic revivalist movements;
  • Methods of Islamic renewal;
  • Modernity and its discontents and crises;
  • The correlation between the causes of major social,  psychological, and cultural dislocations, the erosion of  stability of fragile political systems, and the growth of  fragmentation, alienation, pauperization of marginalised groups,  and uneven economic growth and political development and Islamic revivalism.

Dr. Jan A. Ali
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Islamic revivalism
  • revivalist movements
  • Islamic ideology
  • modernity
  • modernity crisis
  • social problem
  • social change
  • theories and perspectives
  • renewal methods

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Religious Authority, Popular Preaching and the Dialectic of Structure-Agency in an Islamic Revivalist Movement: The Case of Maulana Tariq Jamil and the Tablighi Jama’at
Religions 2023, 14(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14010060 - 29 Dec 2022
Viewed by 3795
Abstract
This article provides the first academic analysis of the popular Pakistani Islamic scholar and Urdu-speaking preacher Maulana Tariq Jamil. Drawing on years of ethnographic study of the Tablighi Jama’at, the revivalist movement to which Jamil belongs, as well as content analysis of dozens [...] Read more.
This article provides the first academic analysis of the popular Pakistani Islamic scholar and Urdu-speaking preacher Maulana Tariq Jamil. Drawing on years of ethnographic study of the Tablighi Jama’at, the revivalist movement to which Jamil belongs, as well as content analysis of dozens of his recorded lectures, the article presents a detailed biography of the Maulana in five stages. These comprise: (a) his upbringing and early life (1953–1972); (b) his conversion to the Tablighi Jama’at and studies at the Raiwind international headquarters (1972–1980); (c) his meteoric rise to fame and ascendancy up the movement’s leadership ranks (1980–1997); (d) his development into a national celebrity (1997–2016); and (e) major causes of controversy and criticism (2014–present). Tracing his narrative register within the historical archetypes of the quṣṣāṣ (storytellers) and wuʿʿāẓ (popular preachers), the paper identifies core tenets of the Maulana’s revivalist discourse, key milestones in his life—such as the high-profile conversion to the Tablighi Jama’at of Pakistani popstar Junaid Jamshed—and subtle changes in his approach over the years. The article deploys the classical sociological framework of structure-agency to explore how Maulana Tariq Jamil’s increasing exercise of agency in preaching Islam has unsettled structural expectations within traditionalist ʿulamāʾ (religious scholar) circles as well as the Tablighi leadership. It situates his emergence within a broader trend of Islamic media-based personalities who embrace contemporary technological tools to reach new audiences and respond to the challenges of postcolonial modernity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
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Article
Modernity, Its Crisis and Islamic Revivalism
Religions 2023, 14(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14010015 - 22 Dec 2022
Viewed by 873
Abstract
Modernity is a global condition of an ongoing socio-cultural, economic, and political transformation of human experience, with tradition or religion having no significant role to play. It is the gradual decline of the role of religion in modernity through the implementation of the [...] Read more.
Modernity is a global condition of an ongoing socio-cultural, economic, and political transformation of human experience, with tradition or religion having no significant role to play. It is the gradual decline of the role of religion in modernity through the implementation of the principles of secularism which has, according to Islamic revivalists, plunged the world into crisis or jahiliyya (unGodliness). Revivalists and sociologists such as Anthony Giddens (1991) call it the “crisis of modernity”. In response, many Islamic revivalist movements have emerged to address this condition. The Iranian Revolution of 1978–1979 gave a boost to many existing Islamic revivalist movements and inspired many to appear anew. The phenomenon of contemporary Islamic revivalism is a religious transformative response to the crisis of modernity—i.e., the inability of secularism and the process of secularization to fulfill the promise of delivering a model of perfect global order. Contemporary Islamic revivalism is not anti-modernity but against secularism and is thus an attempt to steer modernity out of its crisis through a comprehensive and robust process of Islamization—the widespread introduction of Islamic rituals, practices, socio-cultural and economic processes, and institutional developments to the pattern of modern everyday living—and transforming modernity from dar al-harb (abode of war) to dar al-Islam (abode of peace). The paper argues that contemporary Islamic revivalism is a complex heterogeneous global phenomenon seeking to steer modernity out of its prevailing crisis through finding in Islam the universal blueprint of life. It further argues that Islamic revivalism is not anti-modernity but is a religious based reaction against the negative consequences of modernity, particularly against secularism, and carving out a space for itself in modernity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Revisiting Literacy Jihad Programs of ‘Aisyiyah in Countering the Challenges of Salafism
Religions 2022, 13(12), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13121174 - 01 Dec 2022
Viewed by 470
Abstract
The rise of the Salafi movements in Indonesia during the last two decades has created an increasingly pessimistic view of the status of women in Islam. This paper aims to lessen this negative view by showing the tremendous contribution of ‘Aisyiyah, the oldest [...] Read more.
The rise of the Salafi movements in Indonesia during the last two decades has created an increasingly pessimistic view of the status of women in Islam. This paper aims to lessen this negative view by showing the tremendous contribution of ‘Aisyiyah, the oldest modern Muslim women’s organization in Indonesia, to transforming Indonesian society through literacy jihad for women and families. Using in-depth interviews with board members of ‘Aisyiyah, combined with library research to collect primary data on the past activities of ‘Aisyiyah, this qualitative research portrays how ‘Aisyiyah has preserved and maintained its consistency in conducting literacy jihad since the 1920s. Through the establishment of ‘Aisyiyah Bustanul Athfal Kindergarten, usually shortened to TK ABA, and the publication of Suara ‘Aisyiyah magazine, the literacy jihad of ‘Aisyiyah constantly empowers many Muslim women and families, especially those who live in urban areas across the country. Currently, the number of TK ABA has reached nearly 22,000 units, and the Suara ‘Aisyiyah has also entered a digital platform to continue raising the voice of women’s rights in Indonesia. Furthermore, we posit that the literary jihad programs of ‘Aisyiyah provide a new perspective on the relationship between modernist Muslim organizations and the Salafi movements, which have been seen as similar because they both subscribe to the same purification ideology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Deprived Muslims and Salafism: An Ethnographic Study of the Salafi Movement in Pekanbaru, Indonesia
Religions 2022, 13(10), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13100911 - 29 Sep 2022
Viewed by 621
Abstract
This article analyses the process of reversion to Salafism in Pekanbaru, Indonesia in the context of Muslims who have returned to Islam as a solution to their sense of deprivation. This return to Islam is considered by many as an initial solution to [...] Read more.
This article analyses the process of reversion to Salafism in Pekanbaru, Indonesia in the context of Muslims who have returned to Islam as a solution to their sense of deprivation. This return to Islam is considered by many as an initial solution to a feeling of deprivation which often manifests itself as a form of spiritual ‘emptiness’, accompanied by anxiety, depression and a lack of direction in life. The analysis in this article is based on extensive reading of relevant literature, participatory observation, and interviews conducted during fieldwork in Pekanbaru from July 2015 to June 2016. The discussion is based on three case studies of Salafi members, detailing their reversion to Salafism and the personal and sociological reasons for their choice to return to Islam, i.e., Salafism, after a certain period of time in their lives. Findings show that those who join the Salafi movement have previously experienced relative deprivation which led to a sense of existential deprivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
An Islamic Revivalist Group’s Unsuccessful Attempt to Find Meaning on WhatsApp: A Case Study of Understanding Unsustainable Asymmetrical Logics between Traditional Religion and the Digital Realm
Religions 2022, 13(9), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090823 - 05 Sep 2022
Viewed by 796
Abstract
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted society in myriad ways, but how the pandemic has changed traditional forms of religion has been relatively understudied. Addressing this caveat, in this paper, I try to understand how adherents of an Islamic revivalist movement, the Tablighi Jamaat, [...] Read more.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted society in myriad ways, but how the pandemic has changed traditional forms of religion has been relatively understudied. Addressing this caveat, in this paper, I try to understand how adherents of an Islamic revivalist movement, the Tablighi Jamaat, turn to WhatsApp for meaning-making at the onset of the pandemic in Pakistan. The adherents are unable to sustain the use of the digital space due to incompatibility between the logic of the movement and the online platform. Without structural authority and organization, communication is chaotic and, at times, combative. The mixing of pure and impure ideas is also detrimental to communal cohesiveness. This study provides a counterexample to previous claims of symbiosis between online and offline religion and their inevitable merger. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Moving beyond Binary Discourses: Islamic Universalism from an Islamic Revivalist Movement’s Point of View
Religions 2022, 13(9), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090821 - 04 Sep 2022
Viewed by 729
Abstract
The resurgence of religion worldwide proved that secularization is not a de facto reality of modernity and the initial chaos that came along with the birth of postmodernity evolved into uniquely developing combinations that recognized cosmopolitan, multicultural, and hybrid (i.e., fluid and hyphenated) [...] Read more.
The resurgence of religion worldwide proved that secularization is not a de facto reality of modernity and the initial chaos that came along with the birth of postmodernity evolved into uniquely developing combinations that recognized cosmopolitan, multicultural, and hybrid (i.e., fluid and hyphenated) identities. Universal values became more instrumental than ever to connect members of hyper diverse societies while ethnocentric, nativist and exclusivist patriotism expired (and only recently starting to attract far right and white supremacist groups alone). Most Islamic revivalist movements emerging from this context have had minimal interactions with non-Muslims and influence on mainstream societies. Being in search of a solution to respond to the overwhelming effects of the West on Muslim societies, these revivalist movements could not change (and maybe contributed to) the binary positioning of Islam and the West. On the contrary, the Hizmet movement, inspired by Muhammed Fethullah Gülen and his predecessor Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, appeared in the global arena as an Islamic revivalist movement whose discourse resonated with the commonly shared universal values of every culture, ethnicity, and religion. The Hizmet movement did not position itself as an antithesis to Westernization, secularism, and modernity; the movement adopted a universalist and all-inclusive attitude, which re-introduced to the world that Islam is universal religion with the capacity to accommodate people of diversity and meet the needs of every age. This paper explores the Hizmet movement’s historical, theological, and social roots as a transnational Islamic revivalist movement. It analyzes the movement’s outreach across multicultural societies and its capability to adapt to a changing world through its educational and interfaith and intercultural activities across the globe. While unpacking thirty years of the Hizmet movement’s activities and the contribution to the literature, the paper also addresses some of the criticisms that have emerged regarding the movement and its activities, particularly in the wake of the 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey. It should be noted that much criticism toward the movement emerged in recent years, and the movement did not face much backlash in its early years of development. With this in mind, this paper explores the development of the Hizmet movement and how much of its initiatives rapidly left a positive mark on diverse societies around the world. The paper is thus structured chronologically, tracing the birth, growth, stagnation, and transition (or according to some collapse) of the movement. The paper, by extension, too, positions the Hizmet movement within the phenomenon of contemporary Islamic revivalism as this movement is born out of similar conditions as are other Islamic revivalist movements but taking a slightly different direction, which is that it challenges the prevailing binary ‘us and them’ discourses produced mostly in ethno-centric political discourses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Islamic Revivalism and Muslim Consumer Ethics
Religions 2022, 13(8), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13080747 - 16 Aug 2022
Viewed by 764
Abstract
Although scholars have examined the link between religiosity and consumer ethics, the idea of Muslim consumer ethics has not received much traction within academia. The idea of Muslim consumer ethics is a manifestation of religious revivalism. Yet, its discussion must consider the critical [...] Read more.
Although scholars have examined the link between religiosity and consumer ethics, the idea of Muslim consumer ethics has not received much traction within academia. The idea of Muslim consumer ethics is a manifestation of religious revivalism. Yet, its discussion must consider the critical roles played by Muslim youth and their consumption of new media because the latter has a profound effect on shaping and directing popular Muslim youth cultures. Muslim consumer ethics encompass the moral and humanistic dimension of living in a globalized world as an extension of an individual’s religious practice. This phenomenon of ethical consumption has also been commoditized in a lucrative halal industry that fosters a Muslim identity market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Tajdid (Renewal) by Embodiment: Examining the Globalization of the First Mosque Open Day in Australian History
Religions 2022, 13(8), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13080705 - 31 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1382
Abstract
The concepts of tajdid (renewal) and mujaddid (renewer) in Islam are discussed mainly in scholarly works. Although all Muslim scholars agree on the necessity of tajdid, they differ regarding the scope of tajdid, who the mujaddids are, and their primary role. [...] Read more.
The concepts of tajdid (renewal) and mujaddid (renewer) in Islam are discussed mainly in scholarly works. Although all Muslim scholars agree on the necessity of tajdid, they differ regarding the scope of tajdid, who the mujaddids are, and their primary role. Most scholars agree that the primary duty of the mujaddid is to restore or lead to restore correct religious knowledge and practice and eradicate the errors from the past century. Renewal of correct religious practice can be local or global. This article first briefly discusses the notions of tajdid and mujaddid. Secondly, it examines the first “mosque open day” initiated by the Australian Intercultural Society (AIS) and Affinity Intercultural Foundation (AIF) in 2001 before the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. A mosque open day gradually has become a common practice of most mosques in Australia and has been globalized by Muslim minorities worldwide. This paper examined about 240 pages of results via the Google search engine and 500 pages of results via the Yahoo search engine, and the AIS’s and AIF’s archives about mosque open days. This paper argues that the globalization of mosque open days can be considered a renewal of an Islamic tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Extremism(s) and Their Fight against Modernity: The Case of Islamists and Eco-Radicals
Religions 2022, 13(8), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13080683 - 26 Jul 2022
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Extremism in both its vocal and violent forms is a core topic of research, as well as a priority issue standing at the top of national and international security agendas. While most of the literature is still focused on violent forms of extremism, [...] Read more.
Extremism in both its vocal and violent forms is a core topic of research, as well as a priority issue standing at the top of national and international security agendas. While most of the literature is still focused on violent forms of extremism, an emerging research trend is looking at vocal extremism and radicalisation as crucial steps to understand, as Neumann said “what happens before the bomb goes off”. Within this new trend, scholars are interested in exploring the ideology of extremist groups (rather than just their methods) and the frames (schemata of interpretation) they disseminate in order to win more followers and fidelise their members. Based on the author’s previous research, as well as on relevant data extracted from the manifestos and relevant publications of emblematic groups of both ideologies, this paper compares Islamists and Eco-radicals as two forms of extremism fighting the Western-sponsored modernisation process. By exploring the meaning of “modernity”, as well as the role played by frames, this research sheds light on three common frames present in both ideologies, i.e., the enemy to fight, the victims to protect, and the change to achieve. These three frames are the linchpin of the discourses of both forms of extremism. By innovatively unpacking these frames from a comparative perspective, this research offers new insights into the impact of modernity on the development of alternative and extremist ideologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Emotion Work in Tabligh Jama’at Texts
Religions 2022, 13(7), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13070632 - 07 Jul 2022
Viewed by 642
Abstract
This study examines the emotional dynamics of the written and oral texts of Tabligh Jama’at—respectively, Faza’il-e-A’maal (Virtues of Good Deeds) and bayan (religious sermon). In them, the study identifies emotion work—the attempt to generate certain emotions. The study discusses how the texts’ emotion [...] Read more.
This study examines the emotional dynamics of the written and oral texts of Tabligh Jama’at—respectively, Faza’il-e-A’maal (Virtues of Good Deeds) and bayan (religious sermon). In them, the study identifies emotion work—the attempt to generate certain emotions. The study discusses how the texts’ emotion work relates to Tablighi discursive ideology (framing) and also posits several emotions that the emotion work might generate. From these findings, the study offers the idea that Tablighi emotion work contributes to transforming Muslims’ emotional sphere by attaching them emotionally to ultimate religious concerns. By enchanting Muslims’ emotional sphere and attaching Muslims to Islamic social actors, values, practices, and Islamic revivalist goals, Tablighi emotion work contributes to the social transformation of individuals and society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
Article
Modernity, Its Impact on Muslim World and General Characteristics of 19–20th-Century Revivalist–Reformists’ Re-Reading of the Qur’an
Religions 2022, 13(5), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13050424 - 07 May 2022
Viewed by 1019
Abstract
The 19th and 20th centuries were times of great change and transformation for the Muslim world. The salvation of the ummah—which is getting politically, militarily, and economically more backward against the West, terms such as revival (ihya), renewal (tajdid) [...] Read more.
The 19th and 20th centuries were times of great change and transformation for the Muslim world. The salvation of the ummah—which is getting politically, militarily, and economically more backward against the West, terms such as revival (ihya), renewal (tajdid) and reform and reconstruction (islah)—have occupied almost all intellectuals and ulama. Many prescriptions have been proposed on this subject, the most vivid examples of which are mainly related to new approaches to the Qur’an and its interpretation. This article deals with the innovations put forward by reformist–revivalist leaders in different Muslim geographies regarding the interpretation of the Qur’an under the influence of modernism. We see that these approaches, which are basically based on the assumption of the inadequacy of classical methods and understandings, open up to questions and discussions for many hermeneutical devices that have become entrenched in the classical period and even argue that they are now unnecessary. Contrary to classical Qur’anic exegesis, reformist tajdid-centered suggestions of polyphonic modern Qur’an interpretations, the theological reflections of these suggestions, and most importantly their effect (or ineffectiveness) on Muslim societies are among the main topics of the article. In the beginning, the pressure of modernity, which should not be ignored in the perception and interpretation of the Qur’an, has become an indispensable element in the course of time. This new phenomenon and changing conditions have forced many Muslim intellectuals to compromise on principles that have become norms. The result, instead of a healthy reform, consisted of eclectic innovations and only saved the day and could not find a serious ground for itself in the grassroots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Revivalism and Social Transformation in the Modern World)
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