Journal for Islamic Studies https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/JIS <p><strong>Hybrid Open Access</strong></p> <p>The Journal for Islamic Studies is a peer-reviewed journal committed to the publication of original research on Islam as culture and civilization. It particularly welcomes work of an interdisciplinary nature that brings together history, religion, politics, culture and law. The Journal has a special focus on Islam in Africa, and on contemporary Islamic Thought. Contributions that display theoretical rigour, especially work that link the particularities of Islamic discourse to the enterprise of knowledge and critique in the humanities and social sciences, will find JIS to be receptive to such submissions.</p> Unisa Press en-US Journal for Islamic Studies 0257-7062 Exploring Representations of Muslims and Islam on Public Broadcast Television and Social Media in South Africa https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/JIS/article/view/12450 <p>Scholars from a variety of disciplines and contexts have thoroughly affirmed the systemic character of negative portrayals and limited representations of Muslims and Islam in film, television, and news media. The corpus of research on media representations of Islam and Muslims has been defined and dominated by the Global North. Scholars working in this field of inquiry acknowledge, affirm, and address the deeply discriminatory, damaging, and dangerous consequences that stereotypical, limited, inaccurate, and homogenising mediatised tropes have for the lived realities of Muslims on a global level. However, by taking on this important and urgent work, scholars have unwittingly contributed to the development of an ever-expanding oeuvre wherein the majority of scholarship on media representations of Muslims and Islam is directed towards issues of ostracism and alienation. On the contrary, the growing study of religion in digital spaces offers insight into more nuanced and diverse (self) representations and portrayals of Muslims and Islam. While digital religion studies, an outgrowth of the discipline of internet studies, is already an established and recognised sub-discipline in the field of religious studies in the Global North, the study of religion in digital spaces in Africa is a bourgeoning field of interest located within the wider tradition of religion and media scholarship. Scholars of religion in Africa have noted that while other contexts may favour an evolutionary approach to the study of religion and media generally, in African contexts media technologies and practices generally coexist. Exploratory and reflective in its orientation, this article offers a careful consideration of the historical, social, media, and political context in which Muslims in South Africa, a multi-religious, multi-racial, majority Black democratic context, are located and offers two examples that highlight how media forms and practices coexist within the location. The first set of examples, from public broadcast television, responds to the predominance of scholarship from the Global North and offers an alternative view that illustrates the ways in which the national imperatives that mandate religious diversity on public broadcast television intentionally circulate positive narratives of Muslims and Islam, yet also obscure the challenges that South African Muslims face, thereby reproducing a different kind of limited trope to that which might be encountered in the Global North. The second set of examples explores the possibilities and opportunities that social media provides for encountering and engaging more diverse, self-constructed representations of Muslims and Islam in hopes of encouraging more local scholars to take seriously the opportunities and possibilities that social media provides as sites and sources of knowledge about religion in general and Islam in particular.</p> Lee-Shae Salma Scharnick-Udemans Sakeenah Dramat Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press 2023-07-04 2023-07-04 40 27 pages 27 pages Offence at a Butcher Shop: Halal Pragmatics, Authoritarian Politics, and Neoliberal Economy in Mumbai https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/JIS/article/view/12347 <p>‘We are Muslim, we slaughter halal,’ Hassan muttered in irritation in response to a customer’s request to observe the recitation of the <em>tasmiya</em> upon slaughter. His assertion of Muslim identity as a source of trust in halal performance articulates a practice of halal that is now under threat from new forms of halal piety and the documentary demands of halal certification that each foreground complexity, suspicion, and doubt as the basis for halal in the contemporary world. In India where Hindu Nationalist discourse situates the imaginary of the Muslim-as-butcher as the symbolic antithesis of the nation, and where neoliberal aspirations forge a shiny future without Muslim presence—the stakes of offence, suspicion and purity are urgent. I foreground Islamic legal debates on halal as alternating between contested definitions of halal and pragmatic consideration of how trust in halal quality is to be established. Everyday halal practice in Mumbai is legible at the intersection of historically formulated forms of reason, intention, affect and material practice within a changing global market economy and an increasingly hostile political context. Moments of affective breakdown between Muslim customers and butchers reveal the intimacy between new forms of halal piety, a Hindutva politics of abjection, and the exclusionary economy of neoliberal aspiration. Through halal pragmatics, I argue for an ethical anthropology whereby contestations over forms of relation, materiality and subjectivity may form the basis for an ethical critique of political, economic, and scholarly formations. </p> Shaheed Tayob Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press 2023-07-04 2023-07-04 40 18 pages 18 pages The Interface Between Religion and Politics: The Case of The Muslim Students Association of South Africa https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/JIS/article/view/13628 <p>The interface between religion and politics continues to elicit debate and discussion in academic circles. Though some social scientists predicted that religion would eventually become obsolete and was marginalised in many regions of the world following the secularisation of State and society, it not only survived but began manifesting itself in diverse forms. In Islam, politics is not viewed as falling outside the purview of religion. This article demonstrates that the Muslim Students Association’s opposition to injustice, oppression and discrimination, as epitomised in the policies of the apartheid government, was influenced by the political ideology of the Islamic Movement. </p> Suleman Dangor Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press 2023-07-04 2023-07-04 40 30 pages 30 pages Longing for Love: Eros and National Belonging in Three Novels by Rayda Jacobs https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/JIS/article/view/12425 <p>The female Muslim descendant of Cape slavery is a key figure in the work of South African writer, Rayda Jacobs. Three of her novels, in particular, seem to track the social and political genealogy of the female Muslim descendant of slaves, namely, <em>Eyes of the Sky</em> (1996), <em>The Slave Book </em>(1998), and <em>Sachs Street </em>(2001). These novels trace, through the subjectivity of the female Muslim slave, the emergence of the South African nation from its origins at the Cape, through the hinterland, to its contemporary borders. The novels foreground the personal relationship of romantic love, which, of all the personal relationships, is the most volatile and dynamic, producing unexpected transformations. Love, which produces a child from the erotic encounter in <em>Eyes of the Sky</em>, and social union through marriage in <em>The Slave Book</em>, is presented as having the potential to transcend racial, class and religious boundaries in the colonial state. We see in the declining apartheid state presented in the third novel, <em>Sachs Street</em>, that the national allegorical potential of eros finally is not fully realised, leading to a reconceptualisation of romantic love in a transnational frame, centred nonetheless in Cape Town, South Africa. As much as these novels are historical, since they are written post-1994 reflecting the contemporary concerns of its author, they present a singular vision of the place of the female Muslim descendant of slaves in the South African nation, where the postcolonial nation is implicitly conceptualised as a white-dominated derivative European nation state.</p> F. Fiona Moolla Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press 2023-07-04 2023-07-04 40 22 pages 22 pages