Editor : Nadeem Hasnain

Theodore P. Wright, Jr.

How Long Can Ethnic Identity Survive Massive Exogamy?

Consideration of the future of ethnicity or specific ethnic groups cannot Lab simply assume
that these primordial entities at the sub-national level will all survive large scale out marriage by their members. Sociologists have regarded exogamy as the ultimate and decisive step in the assimilation of not only ethnic, but also religious, regional and even class categories. Completion of the process would mean their extinction by merger either into the dominant nationality or into a new and larger identity coterminous with the nation state. The argument for this outcome is that the children of mixed marriages will identify with neither parent’s group strongly and indeed may reject and be rejected by both. The paper consists of a survey of the literature on exogamy, worldwide, based largely on American research because of the tremendous incidence and social significance of exogamy in the “New World” of the Western hemisphere. Much of this is focused on interracial “interbreeding” because of slavery and interrelations, chiefly Jewish-Christian, out marriage. The former has led to research on “passing”, the concealment of ancestry by mulattoes and the latter on the loss of religious identity by the descendants, particularly where there has been name-changing. The author cites several examples from his own family history. This requires the disaggregation of the term “Wasps” (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) and suggests that they have preserved their social if not political dominance in the United States by extending their boundaries to include all European immigrants and some highly educated Asian Americans. In South Asia, the author sees little prospect in the short run of exogamy dissolving caste or community boundaries because of the practice of parentally arranged marriages and, among Muslims, because of the preference for cousin marriages.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Theodore P. Wright, Jr.

Ranjit Sau

Economic Growth in the Theory of Islamic Economics

Economic growth is essential to sustain and advance human civilization. Every individual is to be provided with social and economic opportunities adequate to the development of his personality and the attainment of highest possible perfection according to his capacity and aptitude. Such is the essence of Islamic economics founded by Maududi in his 1941. Aligarh Muslim University discourse. This essay argues that the holy Koran contains verses and signs that indicate a model of economic growth. It is, not hoarding, but productive investment that moves the economy. And the international division of labour, encouraging the application of scientific knowledge, enlarges the horizon of economic growth, exhorts the scripture. It will transpire here that the Aristotelian Principle of human nature facilitates the realization of Maududi’s vision ‘to sustain and advance human civilization’ by means of Islamic economics.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Ranjit Sau

Fadzlan Sufian

Malmquist Indices of Productivity Change in Malaysian Islamic Banking Industry: Foreign Versus Domestic Banks

Do Malaysian Islamic banks performed productively in its role as an intermediary? Although the phenomenon of Islamic banking and finance has developed significantly in recent years, only a few studies have tackled this question. To address this issue, this paper attempts to provide new empirical evidence on the performance of Malaysian Islamic banks over the period of 2001-2004. This paper makes significant contribution on at least three fronts. Firstly, this will be the first study to investigate the relative productivity between the domestic and foreign banks Islamic Banking operations. Secondly, the period chosen has also witnessed the intensification of competition among the domestic and foreign banks in Malaysia, brought about by the Malaysian government’s move to further liberalise the banking system. Thirdly, the period chosen has witnessed growing awareness among Malaysian consumers about Islamic financial products and services, which renders the importance of the efficiency and productivity issues from both the policymakers and public point of views. Our preferred methodology is the Malmquist Total Factor Productivity Index (MPI), which allows us to examine five different indices namely, the productivity change (TFPCH), technological change (TECHCH), efficiency change (EFFCH), pure technical efficiency change (PEFFCH) and scale efficiency change (SECH) indices. In specifying the variables input output, the intermediation approach is chosen, which could be argued to be much in line with the Islamic financial system’s principle. Additionally, to investigate whether the domestic and foreign banks were drawn from the same population, we have performed a series of parametric and non-parametric tests.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Fadzlan Sufian

Michael Kemper

Jihad and Naqshbandiyya ‘Muridism’ in the 19th Century North Caucasus

The article scrutinizes the Islamic resistance movement of 1829-1859 against the Russian conquest of the North Caucasus, and its relation to Sufism. It is widely held that the Naqshbandiyya khalidiyya Sufi brotherhood provided the organizational backbone for this jihad. However, new studies of the 19th century Daghestani Arabic manuscript literature suggest that the three subsequent leaders of the jihad movement, including the famous Imam Shamil, did not act as Sufi masters, and that the organization of their jihad was not based on Sufi networks; while it is true that Shamil had a Sufi shaykh as counselor, for military and administrative purposes he relied almost exclusively on warlords, community leaders, and Islamic qadis. In addition, it is questionable to assume that the Caucasian jihad was simply an outgrowth of the Ottoman Khalidiyya (which has often been described as being in favor of “militancy” against the West), for due to the Russian military blockade of the North Caucasus the Daghestani Khalidiyya developed largely in isolation from Khalidiyya branches elsewhere. It is therefore suggested here that the motivation for jihad was derived not from Sufism, but from an indigenous legal tradition. Since at least the early 18th century Daghestani legal scholars sought to replace the local adat (“customary law”, here defined as “communal law”) of the Daghestani village communities by Islamic law. This legal tradition is referred to in the proclamations of the Daghestani Imams at the beginning of their jihad as well as in other sources. The conflict with the Russian colonial power erupted when the Russians supported the local Muslim nobility, whose power base was adat law, against the “free” Muslim communities in the mountains who were in the process of adopting Islamic law. Accordingly, the commonly used Sufi term “Muridism” as a designation for the Daghestani jihad movement is a misnomer.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Michael Kemper

Yoginder Sikand

Popular Sufism and Scripturalist Islam in Kashmir

This article looks at the challenges to popular Sufism in Kashmir from the early twentieth century to 1989 in the form of two separate Islamic movements, the Ahl-i-Hadith and the Jama’at-i-Islami, both of which, despite their differences, share a common aversion to popular Sufism. Among the important questions that this paper seeks to deal with are the different ways in which the Ahl-i-Hadith and the Jama’at constructed their opposition to popular Sufism and their own under standing to true Islam, the reaction of the defenders of the cults of the saints to the attacks by both these groups; and the changing notions of religions authority that these attacks seemed to suggest. In looking at these intra-Muslim debates, the article highlights the plural understandings of ‘true’ Islam and the heated, often violent contestations over it by rival claimants.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Yoginder Sikand

Zafarul Islam

Fatwa-worksof the Sultanate Period and their Response to Socio-economic Problems

The period of Muslim rule in India (popularly known as Medieval India) is quite well known for the academic and cultural development. Broadly, this is divided into two parts–the Sultanate period (1206-1526) and the Mughal period (1526-1857). The Arabic and Persian sources testify to the fact that the contemporary Ulama and scholars, patronised by the rulers, had made significant contribution in different spheres of learning, especially ilm-i-tafsir, hadith and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). The contribution of the Sultanate period to Islamic jurisprudence included compilation of fiqh-works, writing Persian commentary of the classical legal compendiums, special provision for teaching of fiqh in the madrasas and juridical exposition of the important problems of society and state that emerged in those days. What is more important to note in this connection is that the jurists of the period responded to many contemporary problems of religious, socio-economic and political juridically, they adopted the standpoint which was more catholic and relevant to the peculiar situation of those days India. These juridical deliberations are available in different sorts of sources, particularly Fatwa-works compiled by the Indian Ulama in Arabic and Persian. In the present study, the contents of three important Fatawa–collections of the Sultanate period, namely Al-Fatawa al-Ghiyasiah, Fatawa-i-Firuzshahi and Al-Fatawa al Tatarkhaniah, were analyzed to find out their response to socio-economic problems, particularly in view of the situations prevailed in that period. The findings of the paper show that the compilers of these Fatawa not merely explained the points given in the old fiqh-works; they also attempted to correlate their juridical exposition to the socio-economic condition of their own period.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Zafarul Islam

Armina merika The Role of Islam in the Academic Discourse on the National Identity of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1950-1980

While the Yugoslav communists pursued a repressive policy against Islam in the first roughly two decades after World War II, from the mid 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s Bosnian Muslims largely benefited from a period of liberalisation in Yugoslavia, leading to he elevation of the Muslims to the status of one of the official state nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along side the Bosnian Croats and Serbs, in 1974. The state attempted to create a secular Muslim nationhood separate from religious affiliation. However, the political debates over the status of Bosnia within Yugoslavia and over Bosnian historical unity were intrinsically linked to the discourse on Muslim history, culture, and Identity. The article argues that the creation of a purely secular Muslim nation ultimately failed, and that it did so because the academic discourses that legitimised the Bosnian Muslims national identity were intertwined with Islamic institutions and associations, their journals, as well as informal networks of Muslim Scholars. The most important topics in this mixed secular and religious discourse on national identity were the historical continuity provided by Bosnian Sufi Islam and the special status of Bosnia within the Ottoman empire. The present paper discusses the debates and discourses on the role of Islam in the national identity of Muslims in this region of Eastern Europe.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Armina Omerika

Sekh Rahim Mondal

Muslim Women Jari Embroiders of West Bengal– Their Role, Status and Empowerment Issues

The traditional arts and crafts have been the very breath of Indian Civilization. A large section to Indian population, particularly the marginal sections are engaged in less lucrative cottage or home industries at informal sector for their sustenance. Jari embroidery is one such home industry of Bengal where many men and women, belonging to Muslim and Non-Muslim communities are involved and this sector of self-employment is gradually increasing for various reasons. This paper is an attempt to delineate the gender role in Jari embroidery (home) industry and to examine the relative status of women involved in it at household level. A special emphasis has been given to highlight the emergence of entrepreneurial behaviour among the women Jari workers and their empowerment issues.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Sekh Rahim Mondal

Sujata Ashwarya Cheema

Sayyid Qutb’s Concept of Jahiliyya as Metaphor for Modern Society

The concept of jahiliyya is one of the most radical themes of Sayyid Qutb’s revivalist Islamist thought and constitutes a critique of modern societies, especially his country, Egypt. Qutb claims that contemporary societies, both Islamic and non-Islamic, are in a state of jahiliyya resembling the ‘state of ignorance’ of Islam in pre-Islamic Arab societies. By describing the modern western societies and contemporary Islamic societies, jahili, Qutb transforms an early phase in the history of Islam into a metaphor. Contemporary societies exhibit jahiliyya because they are organised on the basis of man-made laws instead of the Shariah bequeathed by God to humanity through Prophet Muhammad. Qutb’s critique of jahiliyya is rooted in his belief that Islam can become the foundation for an all-embracing ideology of social and political organisation. To implement the Islamic vision, Qutb offers a theology of liberation that would remove the ambiguity about the supremacy of Islam and return the affairs of the Egyptians and indeed all Muslims to the tenets of Islam and bring about Hakimiyyat Allah, the rule of God.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Sujata Ashwarya Cheema

Arshad Alam

Beyond Rhetoric: Understanding Contemporary Madrasas

The renewed interest in Muslim institutions such as Madrasas is largely a fallout of 9/11 attack. Madrasa has been a dark area, academically, till some years ago but is receiving attention in a bid to ‘know’ more about Muslim Societies and cultures. Most of these studies however have been done from what is called the ‘Security’ perspective. This paper argues that concerns such as those have treated the madrasas a historically because the madrasas have been changing over time.

Abstracts: Vol. 2 No. 2 – 2006 by Arshad Alam