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Invitation to a Conference

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment
I’ve been invited to give a paper next summer on a new project, a women’s Quran study group called Al-Huda International. I’ve been an online student for three months and am planning a paper on the online experience. The group is quite interesting and growing fast.
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The Urdu translation of my book hasn’t begun, though, because my friend in Karachi hasn’t yet decided on a translator.

‘Islam in South Asia in Practice,’ Princeton University Press

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

The Princeton University Press book with my article in it is out. Barbara Metcalf passed around her one and only advance copy at the conference.

Islam in South Asia anthology

The book is a collection of maybe 30 contributions, it’s quite a heavy volume. I hope to get a copy of my own by and by. My paper – Chapter 12 – is all of 5 pages long: “Sufi Ritual Practice among the Barkatiyya Sayyids of U.P.: Nuri Miyan’s Life and Urs, Late Nineteenth – Early Twentieth Centuries.”

Heavenly Ornaments: Three Books for Women

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve sent in my paper for the conference – Changing Concepts of the Person in Two Ahl-e Sunnat/Barelwi Texts for Women: The “Sunni Bihishti Zewar” and “Jannati Zewar.” It looks at similarities and differences among three books, all of which are called Heavenly Ornaments, and are directed at women.

The first, written a century ago by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi of Deoband, is according to Barbara Metcalf, “one of [the twentieth century’s] most influential books.” The second, from the “Barelwi” or Ahl-e Sunnat wa Jama’at movement, which opposes the Deobandis on a number of issues, is more recent. The third, the “Jannati Zewar” (which also translates as Heavenly Ornaments), is also a Barelwi book.

Although the two latter books differ from the Deobandi original on the issues that have divided the movements historically, I found that the overall message for women in the Deobandi book and the two Barelwi books, namely, the Sunni Bihishti Zewar for Women: A Collection of All Life’s Questions, and the Jannati Zewar, is in fact more similar than different.

However, in comparing the two Barelwi books with one another, I see a significant difference of approach between them. I have characterized the Jannati Zewar as more “modern” in outlook than the Sunni Bihishti Zewar, for reasons that the paper makes clear.

The Urdu Translation

September 5, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve made progress on the Urdu translation of “Devotional Islam and Politics in British India.”

Someone in Karachi has agreed to take it on. It’s being handled on my behalf by a Pakistani scholar, someone I’ll be meeting for the first time at the Metcalf conference. We’ve been in correspondence for some time…