1st Edition

Routledge Handbook on Islam in Asia

Edited By Chiara Formichi Copyright 2022
    388 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    388 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook on Islam in Asia offers both new and established scholarship on Muslim societies and religious practices across Asia, from a variety of interdisciplinary angles, with chapters covering South, Central, East and Southeast Asia, as well as Africa–Asia connections.

    Presenting work grounded in archival, literary, and ethnographic inquiry, contributors to this handbook lend their expertise to paint a picture of Islam as deeply connected to and influenced by Asia, often by-passing or reversing relationships of power and authority that have placed ‘Arab’ Islam in a hierarchically superior position vis-à-vis Asia. This handbook is structured in four parts, each representing an emergent area of inquiry:

    • Frames
    • Authority and authorizing practices
    • Muslim spatialities
    •  Imaginations of piety

    Dislodging ingrained assumptions that Asia is at the periphery of Islam – and that Islam is at the periphery of Asia’s cultural matrix – this handbook sets an agenda against the ‘center-periphery’ dichotomy, as well as the syncretism paradigm that has dominated conversations on Islam in Asia. It thus demonstrates possibilities for new scholarly approaches to the study of Islam within the ‘Asian context.’

    This ground-breaking handbook is a valuable resource to students and scholars of Asian studies, religious studies, and cultural studies more broadly.

    Part I: Frames

    1. Studying Islam: The view from Asia

    Chiara Formichi

    2. Minoritization, racialization, and Islam in Asia

    Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst

    3. The five pillars and Indonesia’s musical soundscape

    Anne K. Rasmussen

    4. Islam and Sanskritic imaginaires in southern Asia: Mount Meru in Arabia

    Torsten Tschacher

    5. Islamic feminism in Asia: Trials and tribulations for Muslim wmen

    Huma Ahmed-Ghosh 

    Part II: Authority and authorizing Practices

    6. Eastern African doyens in South Asia: Premodern Islamic intellectual interactions

    Mahmood Kooria

    7. The making of Qīz Bībī in Central Asia’s oral shrine traditions: From the Great Lady to a fourteen-year-old virgin

    Aziza Shanazarova

    8. The Ismailis of Badakhshan: Conversion and narrative in highland Asia

    Daniel Beben

    9. Islamic law in Xinjiang

    Eric Schluessel

    10. Major turning points for Shiʿi Islam in modern South Asia: Princely states, partition, and a revolution

    Simon Wolfgang Fuchs 

    11. Making Islamic finance in South Asia: The state, the seminary, and the business corporation

    Sohaib Khan

    12. In the halal zones of Malaysia and Singapore

    Johan Fischer

    Part III: Muslim spatialities

    13. South Asian Shi’i sacred geography: Tracing 'Ali’s footprints

    Karen G. Ruffle

    14. Muslim pilgrimage in Southeast Asia: Saints among the rice fields

    Sophia Rose Arjana

    15. Ḥaḍramī Sufi-scholars and their shrines in Southeast Asia: A geography of sanctity

    Ismail Fajrie Alatas

    16. Sacred spaces and the making of Sufism in Sri Lanka: Between violence and piety

    Merin Shobhana Xavier 

    17. Muslim interactions between Central Asia, China, and imperial Japan

    Kelly A. Hammond

    18. Mosque architecture and decoration in China

    Nancy S. Steinhardt

    Part IV: Imaginations of piety

    19. Mapping the trajectory of Islam in Chinese terms: Community matters

    Roberta Tontini

    20. The "moral background" of work in Central Asia: The sacred in the mundane

    Jeanine Dağyeli

    21. Pious lives of Soviet Muslims

    Eren Tasar

    22. Two Deobandi views on being Muslim in India: Indian bodies, Meccan hearts

    Brannon D. Ingram

    23. The Tablighi Jama’at movement in maritime Southeast Asia: Piety in motion

    Farish A. Noor

    24. A tree enrooted: African Sufi saints as "lineage deities" of a Muslim community of East African ancestry in Western India (Gujarat and Mumbai)

    Jazmin Graves


    Chiara Formichi is Associate Professor in Asian Studies at Cornell University. Her research focuses on the intersection of Islam and politics in late-colonial and post-colonial Southeast Asia, and especially Indonesia. She has also published on the politics of knowledge production on Islam in Asia. Her publications include Islam and the Making of the Nation: S.M. Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia (2012) and Islam and Asia: A History (2020).

    'Dispelling the notion of Asia as a periphery to a Middle East-centered Muslim world, this groundbreaking volume looks to the many Asian communities that comprise 60% of the global Muslim population. From hagiography to finance, pilgrimage to law, these twenty-four essays explore multiple modes of being Muslim, in past and present, across all regions of the continent.'

    Nile Green, University of California, Los Angeles, USA 


    "This volume marks a turning point in the study of Islam, shifting the geographical scope towards the religion’s most populous regions and away from long-standing textualist tendencies. As Formichi rightly points out, there is much to be gained by expanding our frames of study, conceptions of authoritative practice and Islamic spaces, and understandings of what constitutes Muslim piety. Drawing from an outstanding network of scholars working in different regions and with varying methods, the Routledge Handbook on Islam in Asia decenters the study of Islam from its philological and Near Eastern roots and productively queries the categorical assumptions with which the field is typically associated...This volume definitively establishes that it is essential to include Islam in the analysis of Asian religions and that to study Islam, one must include Asia.'

    Anna Bigelow, Stanford University, USA


    'Through a rich collection of work reflecting recent shifts in perspective on Muslim societies in the region, this book reframes approaches to the study of both Islam and Asian history in ways that highlight trans-regional diversity and complex dynamics of interaction. This forward looking state-of-the-field volume is a valuable new resource for scholars and students across a wide range of area specializations and academic disciplines.'

    R. Michael Feener, Kyoto University, Japan