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The Making of a Salafi Muslim WomanPaths to Conversion$
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Anabel Inge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190611675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190611675.001.0001

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Commitment and Belonging

Commitment and Belonging

The Role of Circles of Knowledge

(p.100) Chapter 4 Commitment and Belonging
The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman

Anabel Inge

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how Salafi groups employ ‘circles of knowledge’ (halaqat) —gatherings for religious study—to elicit instrumental, affective, and moral commitment from followers. The author argues that male and female teachers acquired authority by virtue of their supposed participation in a chain of ‘authentic’ knowledge transmission, stemming from the Qur’an and sunna. They conveyed this by constantly referencing the ‘pure’ sources through the content, structure, and delivery of their teaching, while distinguishing themselves from ‘deviant’ Muslim groups. Crucially, they emphasized a comprehensive concept of tawhid (Islamic monotheism), and categorized all actions according to quantifiable spiritual rewards and punishments. They thus demonstrated that following Salafi teachings in all spheres of life had eternal consequences and was ultimately a matter of self-interest, as well as moral obligation. The circles also fostered a deeper sense of belonging through ‘sisterhood’ and shared etiquette, language, and identity markers.

Keywords:   commitment, Salafi groups, Salafi women, Islamic circles, halaqa, Islamic authority, Muslim women leaders, boundary maintenance, tawhid, sisterhood

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