Editor : Nadeem Hasnain

Jonathan Benthall

‘Universal’ Values in Action – With Their Faith Legacies

Whether phrased in religious or secular terms, claims to moral absolutes are trumps played to win a card-game. The religious may invoke God to promote territorial claims; the secular may invoke human rights to justify military intervention, or they may invoke ‘saving Nature’ to justify the displacement of local people to make way for game reserves. We must question all affirmations of moral absolutes by viewing them in political context. The issue of whether absolute moral values exist at all, or are no more than contingent rhetorical claims, has been staple fare for anthropology classes since the 1970s. It has recently become concrete and topical in the public sphere of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and campaigning groups – and not least in the Muslim world.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Jonathan Benthall

Ranjit Sau

Modernity, Islam and ‘A Triple Liberation’

The Muslim world is immersed in a great debate: Iraq is burning, Turkey is approaching the EU, an Islamist movement of global scale is under way, Arab intellectuals are calling for profound reform. Tariq Ramadan has offered an interpretation of scriptures and tradition that affirms Islamic modernity with a distinction that marks it apart from its Western counterpart. Ramadan suggests ‘a triple liberation’ in terms of piety, pragmatism, and assimilation. He has discovered ‘an important margin of manoeuvre’ towards Islamic modernity – a manoeuvre consisting of three components. This essay annotates Ramadan’s thesis. It adds a fourth ‘liberation’ to accommodate the structure of the world system of his vision, and a fourth instrument of manoeuvre, viz., the accumulation of capital. Accumulation, in effect, has been a spiritual anathema in Islam. This essay brings capital accumulation within the ambit of Islamic piety. The minimum optimal rate of saving and investment is computed to be equal to the ratio between, on the one hand, the sum of the rate of zakat and that of population growth, and on the other, the productivity of capital.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Ranjit Sau

Ausaf Ahmad

Islamic Financial Instruments for the Development ofInfrastructure

A successful financial system requires both financial institutions and financial instruments. The evolution of Islamic financial instruments has somewhat lagged behind the development of Islamic financial institutions. This paper explores the evolution of such Islamic financial instruments that may be used in mobilizing resources for the development of infrastructure. This is done against the backdrop of low-income Muslim countries, which lack both in infrastructure as well in financial institutions. The paper suggests that an appropriate institutional framework is required before Islamic financial instruments could be successfully launched and used..

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Ausaf Ahmad

M. A. Kalam

South Asian Identity as Islamic Identity in England

The question of Identity assumes great significance as social stratification sets in, heterogeneity takes shape and complexity increases, even if ethnicity is not very pronounced in such contexts. But in plural societies and cosmopolitan contexts multi-ethnic moorings play a significant role. We find an ethnic group’s self definition at variance with that of the other, and interestingly in multicultural settings there are quire a few others to contend with. Besides a given ethnic group may and in fact does resort to a kind of flexible ethnicity depending on the context in which it is operating or the locale or habitat in which it is living or the contingent situation that has arisen. From a sort of monolithic identity as Indian, some became Pakistanis and some of the Pakistanis became Bangaldeshis. But this aspect is just one of the dimensions in identity formation. Religion, Languages, Region and a range of other factors contributed a variety in terms of identity. But from the point of the native Whites they were all Asians or Indians. Gradually, however, all were branded Pakistanis and then Muslims and eventually the racially loaded and highly derogatory Pakis.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by M. A. Kalam

Shahed Hassan

Islamization of Moroland in the Philippines

Moroland in the Philippines has been in news for a number of years. It contains a heavy concentration of Muslim population. The present paper traces the history and the process of spread of Islam in this part of Asia pinpointing a number of historical events and episodes which provide the readers some idea about how Islam was accepted and institutionalised in Moroland. The spread of Islam in this part of Asia did not only involve dissemination of religious doctrines and rituals, it involved, as well, interplay of political, economic and social factors through which Islam got ingrained in the psycho-pathology of Muslims of this region.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Shahed Hassan

Shibani Roy and S.H.M. Rizvi

The Hindi Musalman-A Retrospection

The strength of a secular state rests heavily on the peaceful co-existence of several religious groups, many of them being numerically minority groups. These minority groups have their own ethnic identity by which they maintain their specific territoriality, religion, language, physical features, attire, customary practices and institutions. During the pre-colonial period these groups lived within their respective polity and governance. The main thrust of the present paper is on one of the largest minorities of India, which is grouped under the category of Muslims. Throughout the history of Mughal rule, except a few sporadic attempts by some zealots, Sharia was not imposed. Islam’s contact with Hindu way of life has been spread over a span of about twelve long centuries. Muslims arrived in India in three distinct movements-first as traders and missionaries to India’s western and southern coasts, then in the expanding wave of conquests and immigration movement of Central Asian Turks, Afghans and Persians. India has assimilated almost all races and cultures that land at different times by broadening her faith her social structure. On reviewing the situation of partition of India and creation of Pakistan we find that the Muslims of western, southern, central and northeastern areas were not affected by the partition. They had opted to stay back in their homeland. This sense of belongingness amongst the Muslims is tangible and remains not only at an ideological or philosophical level, but is something concrete, fool proof and lively, touching each aspect of one’s life. Treating all Hindi Muslims at par and stamping them with the ideal typical Islamic valuation will not meet with success. In India the strength of the people lies in their diversity. Thus, the first Indian census of 1818 had returned 19.7 percent Muslims and had further elaborated that dispersed aggregate of Muslims, forming neither a collective nor a distinct society for my purpose, political, economic and social. The British colonial officers in their writing had emphasized that Muslims whose religious rituals had a very strong tinge of Hinduism and who retained caste and observed Hindu festivals and ceremonies remains true even after 120 years since the first census, and even today, the non Muslims and Muslims can not regard this Muslim entity as monochromatic except may be from an exclusively political angle.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Shibani Roy and S.H.M. Rizvi

Muhammad Muzammil

Socio-Economic Status of Muslims: A Study in District Pilibhit, UP

This paper has emanated from that study pertaining to the social and economic development of Muslims. It is based on primary data collected from a field survey of five villages each in Muslim dominated blocks – Amariya and Bilaspur. Secondary data have also been used wherever necessary. The analysis is based on structured field interviews via questionnaires and follow – up interviews, participant observations of the community, unstructured interviews and comparisons with other similar studies. It investigates the impact of education on (a) employment of Muslims, (b) their migration, (c) participation in the ‘grants’ and ‘loan’ components of the IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Programme), (d) training participation in the TRYSEM (Training Rural Youths for Self Employment), (e) establishment in self employment after the TRYSEM training, (f) their religious and community status and (g) representation in village Panchayats and political participation in decision making.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Muhammad Muzammil

Seikh Rahim Mondal

Social Reform and Muslim Women’s Movement in India-An Appraisal

Movements for social reform and protest against social evil that affect women is an important field of social scientific research. But in India we have very limited study on such important issues, particularly on Muslim Women’s Movement in the country. The present paper is an attempt to delineate the social reform and social movement for Muslim Women’s upliftment in India. To deal with these the nature of social reform and Muslim women’s movement in India shall be examined. The paper is based on facts gathered from primary as well secondary sources.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Seikh Rahim Mondal

Kumkum Srivastava

Some Reflections on the Status of Muslim Women

The status of Muslim women in history, law and contemporary society has been discussed in this article. Woman as a person, her rights vis-a-vis her religion, and her designed role as a good wife, sister, daughter and mother have been brought into focus. With women as the focal point, the Islamic law (Sharia), the exponents of this law (the Ulema) and the so-called representatives of the Muslims, the AIMPLB, AIMWPLB, and the other bodies claiming exclusive rights to being the agent of the voice of Muslims and their powers within the secular framework of Indian society have been delineated. In such a web spread around her, can a Muslim woman even dream of escaping and venturing out as an independent woman, free of religious, social and economic fetters? These issues have been taken up in this paper.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Kumkum Srivastava

Firdous Azmat Siddiqi

Colonial Report on Census and ts Reflections on Indian Muslim Women

The paper analyses the report on Census prepared by the Colonial Government in India. This Report was heavily centralized and therefore its approach towards space and people was dominated by concerns of centralization. Like many other reports, the census report reduces the numerous variabilities into uniformities. Thus, the whole Indian Muslim population was treated likewise and the situation of Indian Muslim women was treated as a part of a general phenomenon and the several reflections on their conditions were demonstrated in a general way. The Census Report makes several observations, which are derogatory and humiliating to Indian Muslim Women.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Firdous Azmat Siddiqi

Yoginder Sikand

Indian Madrasas and ‘Terrorism’: Myths, Realities and Responses

Recent events, particularly the rise and fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the blowing-up of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York in September 2001, have led to a growing concern among government officials, policy planners as well as the general public about the madrasas of south Asia. Goaded by prejudice and preconceived notions, journalists and writers with their own agendas to pursue have been quick to condemn the madrasas as a whole as veritable ‘dens of terror’ churning out legions of fanatic ‘warriors of Islam: This paper looks at the ongoing debates about the alleged ‘terrorist’ links of the Indian madrasas. It places this discussion in the wider context of the complex relations between the madrasas, as a whole, and the Indian state, on the one hand, and the non-Muslim majority, on the other. It examines the specific charges levelled against the madrasas by their opponents, including right-wing Hindu supremacist organisations and political parties and elements in the Indian state apparatus, and the responses to these allegations by leading Indian Ulama. It also looks at how, in response to these charges, many Indian madrasas are now having to consider making substantial reforms in their curricula and methods of administration as well as to reiterate their commitment to peace and intercommunity dialogue and to distance themselves from extremism.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Yoginder Sikand

Anand Singh

Elements of Hinduism in India’s’ Lived Islam’: A Religio-Cultural Paradigm

Islam in South Asia is a classical example of how the ‘textual Islam’ and the lived Islam’ are not one and the same thing. At the ideological level Sufism-the ‘humane face’ of Islam-was different from the ‘imperialist Islam’ the political face’ of Islam. It was Sufism, influenced in several ways by Vedanta, which won many adherents from the local Hindu Population. In socio-cultural realm there are a number of shared traditions, customs and practices between the local Hindus and Muslims. The present paper tries to pinpoint and highlight, a number of areas from day today life where the ‘lived Islam’ carries a number of elements of Hindu thought.

Abstracts: Vol. 1 No. 1 – 2005 by Anand Singh