Combining orthodox Muslim prayer, dress, and practice with secular education, relative gender equality, and Internet use, this community serves as a surprising reminder that the central values of "modernity" are hardly limited to the West. This is a groundbreaking work for two reasons: it is the first full description of a community never before studied from outside, and it demonstrates that an orthodox Islamic community can also embrace From Library Journal Policy adviser to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a senior editor at U. This is a groundbreaking work for two reasons: it is the first full description of a community never before studied from outside, and it demonstrates that an orthodox Islamic community can also embrace Western ideas and technology by adopting all aspects of modern culture that are not forbidden to it. The Daudi Bohras are both "traditional" and "modern. The Bohra have dramatically improved orthopraxy among members, creating a high level of observance of basics while increasing the educational level and scientific sophistication of the community "there is no conflict whatsoever between science and faith". The author demonstrates the extent to which Westerners have adopted a view of Islam distorted by stereotypes, fostered by media reports, and sustained by a triumphalism about values that Westerners believe are exclusively theirs.
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Anthropological Quarterly Chicago: University of Chicago Press, It is the first ethnography of a Muslim community to provide a comprehensive account of its rituals—organized around life cycles and annual cycles—and, within the social limits of that community, to provide an outline of its beliefs, which have been the main analytical and methodological issues that have deterred external scrutiny.
Its subtext is a story, revealed in pieces rather than made thematic in the style of reflexive ethnography, of working around boundaries in an over-exposed world. And it provides enough data incidental to its own thesis that traditionalists may eagerly and selectively embrace the techniques of modernity to reinforce tradition that it can potentially serve as grist for other mills. Typically, they are represented in global depictions of Islam, which still privilege the majority Sunni as the unmarked point of comparison, as "fringe," "sectarian," "secretive," "minority," and for some dubious, rather like Mormons to the Christian "mainstream" represented by Baptists.
Bohras might actually agree with these depictions on a superficial level: they consciously stand apart from the Sunni majority, both globally and around them in Mumbai Bombay , the main site of this study; they dissimulate as a matter of doctrine and with an elaborate scheme that separates and stratifies levels of inner devotion from external practice; they are in fact few in number, and some of their sources of spiritual authority are beyond the Sunni pale.
But not outside the practical structures of Islam. Modern ethnography has accumulated a picture of local practice and belief in Muslim communities from Africa, South and Southeast Asia, to some extent in Europe and North America, and even in the Middle East that restore them to the anthropology of religion from idealizations in religious studies.
The latter came to depict Islam in terms of canonical Sunnism as a non-hierarchical, scriptural religion in which the believer stands in a relationship to God in worship and social morality mediated solely by revelation and the Prophet Muhammad. This moot relegates to the fringes not only the rich sectarian diversity within Islam but also the Sufi traditions that are its principal spiritual leaven and, more importantly, even the constant renewal and weaving of tradition into the social life and cultural reflexivity of the times, of any times.
In this sense, the "periphery," an exceedingly problematic concept in a world community numbering over a billion adherents, illuminates the "center" in a very special way. Ethnographies of and in Muslim communities over the past quarter century have consistently documented embedded patron-client relations throughout the range of Islamic expression: master-disciple, teacher-pupil, role model-seeker, the idealization of Muhammed as a source of emulation, routinization of which is canonical particularly for the Shia, but pervasive also in the Sunni "mainstream" of preachers and teachers who form the backbones of tradition and are its exemplars.
If anthropologists were to start from these concerns, rather than from canonical Islamic studies, Islam might instead have If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution or have your own login and password to Project MUSE.
Mullahs on the Mainframe
Kezilkree The latter came to depict Islam in terms of canonical Sunnism as a non-hierarchical, scriptural religion in which the believer stands in a relationship to God in worship and social morality mediated solely by revelation and the Prophet Muhammad. Its subtext is a story, revealed in pieces rather than made thematic in the style of reflexive ethnography, of working around boundaries in an over-exposed world. This is a really interesting case study of how people can be guardians of tradition and participants in the 21st century. Blank did field work in both these areas as well as mullahs on the mainframe Karachi, where there is also a sizable Bohra community. Selected pages Title Page. Combining orthodox Muslim prayer, dress, and practice with secular education, relative Mustafa Jiwanji rated it really liked it Aug 27, Abbas Ratlamwala rated it it was amazing Jun 03, Islam and Modernity among the Daudi Bohras 4.
Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among the Daudi Bohras
Ethnography, political history, economic history, intermingle, and creatively so, in this unique book—a tribute to a gifted and observant author. Here is one brilliant venture by a young, superbly trained American social scientist who delves into the world of Indian Muslims, and renders that world with artistry, precision, and detail. His text also, very properly, aims to dispel some of the stereotypes that disfigure Western preconceptions of Islam. This unconventional book is a major contribution to scholarship. John R.
MULLAHS ON THE MAINFRAME EPUB
Modernity and Islamic Fundamentalism 1 from Chapter Conclusion One of the underlying premises of this study has been a belief in the potential for peaceful coexistence between traditionalist Islam and Western-style modernity. Sadly, such a premise stands in marked contrast to the prevailing popular attitude both in the West and in many Muslim circles. Westerners with little knowledge of Islam often reflexively judge it solely by its most militant, rejectionist elements: the Taliban, hard-line Iranian ayatollahs, or self-described mujahideen of various extremist even terrorist organizations. These elements represent only a tiny fraction of world Muslim opinion, yet all too often in the West they are presumed to be the legitimate voice of the entire community. The Muslim world, for its part, is equally quick to take Western actions out of context: there are those who may be profitably reminded that the term "modern values" is not necessarily an oxymoron, and that Western civilization does not find its definitive expression in Baywatch. As a citizen of the West, however, it is not my place to tell Muslims what they should and should not believe about my culture. I will therefore comment very briefly on misperceptions that Westerners have about Islam, and leave Muslim writers to balance the other side of the equation.