Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa

Edited By

Terje Østebø

ISBN 9780367144234
Published December 21, 2021 by Routledge
344 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Bringing together cutting-edge research from a range of disciplines, this handbook argues that despite often being overlooked or treated as marginal, the study of Islam from an African context is integral to the broader Muslim world.

Challenging the portrayal of African Muslims as passive recipients of religious impetuses arriving from the outside, this book shows how the continent has been a site for the development of rich Islamic scholarship and religious discourses. Over the course of the book, the contributors reflect on:

  • The history and infrastructure of Islam in Africa
  • Politics and Islamic reform
  • Gender, youth, and everyday life for African Muslims
  • New technologies, media, and popular culture.

Written by leading scholars in the field, the contributions examine the connections between Islam and broader sociopolitical developments across the continent, demonstrating the important role of religion in the everyday lives of Africans.

This book is an important and timely contribution to a subject that is often diffusely studied, and will be of interest to researchers across religious studies, African studies, politics, and sociology.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Terje Østebø

Part I: Formation of Islam in Africa: Islamic Scholarship, Literature, and Sufism

Chapter 2: The "Traveling Scholar" in African Islamic Traditions: Local, Regional, and Global Worlds

Anne K. Bang

Chapter 3: An Overview of Islamic Literature in Africa: Local and Global Interactions

Scott Reese

Chapter 4: Pathways and Formations of ‘African Sufism’

Knut S. Vikør

Part II: Dynamics of Religious Infrastructure

Chapter 5: A Historiography of Sub-Saharan African Mosques: From Colonialism to Modernity

Cleo Cantone

Chapter 6: Sufi Shrines as Material Space

Eric Ross

Chapter 7: The Qur’an School and Trajectories of Islamic Education

Robert Launay

Part III: Islam and African Intersections

Chapter 8: Muslim Christian Relations in Africa: Tracing Transformations on the Ground and in a Growing Field of Study

Shobana Shankar

Chapter 9: Islam and the Question of Gender

Joseph Hill

Part IV: Islam, Politics, and Reform

Chapter 10: Islam and Politics in Africa: Politics Within and Without the State

Ahmed Ibrahim

Chapter 11: Jihadism in Africa

Alex Thurston

Chapter 12: African Salafism

Terje Østebø

Part V: Patterns of Islamic Reform in Africa

Chapter 13: Dynamics of Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa

Roman Loimeier

Chapter 14: Fayda-Tijaniyya and Islamic Reform in Twentieth and Twenty-first Africa

Ousman Murzik Kobo

Chapter 15: Reform in the Discourse of Islam and the Making of Muslim Subjects

Abdulkader Tayob

Part VI: Everyday Muslim Life – Practice of Piety and New Muslim Subjects

Chapter 16: People’s Quest for Well-Being: Tracing Islamic Healing Practices in Africa

Benedikt Pontzen

Chapter 17: Islam, Muslim Life-worlds, and Matters of the Everyday

Kjersti Larsen

Chapter 18: Muslim Youth and Lived Experiences of Islam

Louis Audet Gosselin

Part VII: New Technologies and New Connectiveness

Chapter 19: Popular Culture in Muslim Africa

Abdalla Uba Adamu

Chapter 20: Media, the Digital, and New Connections

Dorothea Schulz

Chapter 21: Beyond the Invisible Muslims Label: The Building of African Muslim Diasporic Communities in the West

Abdoulaye Kane


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Terje Østebø is Chair of the Department of Religion and Professor of Religion at the University of Florida, USA. He has joint appointments in the Department of Religion and the Center for African Studies and is also Founding Director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies, University of Florida.


"The Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa provides a fresh synthesis of a field that has grown rapidly over the past four decades. Assembling the insights from first-hand research by twenty leading academics from three continents, the expertise on display here will benefit students and scholars alike, not least through the division of the book into thematic chapters that, each in its own way, open up new windows on the Islamic experience in Africa."

Rüdiger Seesemann, Chair of Islamic Studies, University of Bayreuth, Germany

"Featuring rich, well-researched contributions by leading scholars in the field, this handbook offers an excellent synthesis of Islam and Muslim societies in Africa. The essays challenge assumptions that Islam in Africa sits on the fringe of the Muslim world and provide much needed insights on Africa’s role in the production of Islam as a global religion. This will be a great resource for students and scholars alike."

Adeline Masquelier, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, USA