In a Pure Muslim Land. Shiʿism between Pakistan and the Middle East

(Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 2019)


My latest book rethinks the common center-periphery perspective that frames the Middle East as the seat of authoritative religious reasoning vis-à-vis a marginal South Asian Islam. Drawing on 15 months of archival research and interviews conducted in Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, and the United Kingdom, I demonstrate how Shi‘i and Sunni religious scholars (‘ulama), intellectuals, and popular preachers in colonial India and Pakistan negotiate a complex web of closeness and distance that connects them to eminent Muslim jurists residing in the Arab lands and Iran. The book attempts to move beyond scholarly paradigms that investigate the transnational travel of ideas in terms of either resistance and rejection, on the one hand, or wholesale adoption, on the other. Rather, I show how local South Asian scholars occupy a creative and at times disruptive role as brokers, translators, and self-confident pioneers of modern and contemporary Islamic thought.


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Proper Signposts for the Camp. The Reception of Classical Authorities in the Ǧihādī Manual al-ʿUmda fī Iʿdād al-ʿUdda

(Ergon: Würzburg, 2011)


This book is an attempt to explore how jihadi authors make use of the Sunni tradition in order to bolster their case. Such a discussion is a desideratum even in Islamic studies since oftentimes radical authors are chastised a priori for their untenable misrepresentation of religion. Similarly, their arguments are tossed aside as a simple recycling of an irrelevant stream of thought that stretches directly from Ibn Taymīya over Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb to Sayyid Quṭb. In revisiting this claim, "Proper Signposts for the Camp" employs a close reading of a crucial jihadi text: al-ʿUmda fī Iʿdād al-ʿUdda was written in the context of Afghanistan in 1988 by an influential Egyptian ideologue who is widely known as Dr. Faḍl. The book maps and evaluates all religious sources and authorities the author puts to use with a particular focus on questions of political authority. I argue that Dr. Faḍl makes a convincing case for a political project in the camps that is deeply embedded in the Sunni tradition while reading Ibn Taymīya faithfully: Dr. Faḍl does not turn him into a proponent of violence but rather sticks to the profound quietism the Damascene scholar is known for.




Religion in Diktatur und Demokratie: Zur Bedeutung

religiöser Werte, Praktiken und Institutionen in

politischen Transformationsprozessen

edited by Simon Wolfgang Fuchs and Stefanie Garling


Politik und Religion ist wieder Thema wissenschaftlicher Agenda. Mit dem Zuwachs an Diskursen geht auch deren Ausdifferenzierung einher. Ein Teilbereich dieser Auseinandersetzungen beinhaltet die Analyse des Verhältnisses von Demokratie und Religion. Dieser Sammelband untersucht diesbezüglich drei Loslösungsprozesse und verfolgt zum einen die Loslösung von einem minimalistischen Demokratieverständnis, zum zweiten von der Vorstellung der ausschließlichen Demokratieverträglichkeit christlicher Traditionen und drittens von der normativen Dimension geltender Säkularisierungsvorstellungen.



Bara Imambara (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India)

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