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The Tablighi Jamaat in Bangladesh and the UK: an ethnographic study of an Islamic reform movement

Siddiqi, Mohammad 2014. The Tablighi Jamaat in Bangladesh and the UK: an ethnographic study of an Islamic reform movement. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Jamaat, a transnational Islamic reform movement, which originated in India in the 1920s. The movement claims to reinforce faith by preaching among Muslims. Tablighi Jamaat is now operative in 165 countriess with about 80 million followers around the world. This study looks at the Tablighi Jamaat in two very different contexts, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom (UK), where the Tablighi Jamaat has been successful. In Bangladesh, the Tablighi Jamaat is a very large-scale movement where several million people attend the annual congregation (Bishwa Ijtema) of the Tablighi Jamaat every year. The UK has a much smaller following of the Tablighi Jamaat than Bangladesh. There are perhaps 50,000 active Tablighi Jamaat followers in the UK. This ethnographic study shows that the success of the Tablighi Jamaat results from the positive image, which it cultivates, and the systematic preaching activities of Tablighi Jamaat followers. The organisation’s apolitical image, the public profile of the ijtema, the humbleness in personality and behaviour of Tablighi followers, and the attraction of belonging to the global Tablighi community, all assist to create a positive image of the Tablighi Jamaat among ordinary Muslims. In addition, family and peer pressure, and a variety of personal reasons explain why people join the movement. In the thesis, I also argue that the Tablighi Jamaat remains successful because of its ability to hold its followers (both new and long-term) within a Tablighi-guided life. A Tablighi-guided life is perceived as a protection against the Western lifestyle. Followers define many elements of contemporary Western lifestyle as non-Islamic. By clearly defining what is Islamic and non-Islamic within contemporary society, the Tablighi Jamaat provides a way in which Muslims can live in the contemporary world, but remain good Muslims.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 15:57

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