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Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden
Michael Edward Asbury
Contemporary Western Readings of an Orthodox Islamic Sufi Path: A Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Case Study
2015- PhD, Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History, University of Erfurt, Germany 2012-2014 MA, Religious Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany 1999-2003 BA, Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA
Sufism in the West Sufism in South Asia Contemporary Esotericism Practical Mysticism Comparative Mysticism
From the time of the Hijra, wherever Islam has spread, it has always been understood by the recipients of its call through their own faculties of understanding as conditioned by their environment. Every Muslim, without exception, whether born into or converted to the faith, has come to know their confession through the lens of their own experience, a lens which is tinted by innumerable factors such as individual circumstances, culture, language, and history. Even figures such as Qutb or Mawdudi, who claim to know of a pure and unadulterated Islam, offer highly contextualized interpretations. As Islam, in its various manifestations, continues to expand into new settings, contemporary Europe and North America are certainly no exception to this process of reinterpretation. Among the manifestations that have reached this new setting, are various forms of Sufism and as this mystical approach to Islam was coupled with new contemporary Western contexts, new understandings were bound to arise. These interpretations vary greatly in their degree of adherence to previous Islamic precedence, sometimes deemphasizing or even abandoning the role of Islam, or deviating from the conventional boundaries of normative Islam. The present study, however, seeks to examine how Sufi practices and the associated conceptualization of the mystical path, when nested within an orthodox Islamic framework, have been received and interpreted by practitioners in present-day Europe and North America.
The Contemporary Islamic Reform Discourses in Egypt and their Repercussion on the European Integration Process: Egyptian Diasporas in Italy, France, and Germany
Dept. of Religious Studies University of Erfurt Room: LG 4 / E 05 Nordhäuser Straße 63 99089 Erfurt, Germany
2019- PhD, Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History, University of Erfurt, Germany 2018 Master of Arts, Religious Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany 2010 Master of Science, Political Science and International Relations, Cairo University, Egypt 1999 Bachelor of Science, Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt
Political Islam movements Islamic reform discourses Middle East Politics Integration in Europe Egyptians diaspora International Law Constitutional and legislative developments in Egypt
Diaspora communities represent a battlefield for examining the core ideas of integration (i.e. coexistence, acceptance and abandoning dichotomies…etc.) through confronting these ideas to the immigrants preexisting set of beliefs, in which religion is a major component that inevitably influences the perception of the ‘other’, and hence the integration process as a whole. Accordingly, the preliminary reason for this Ph.D. research is to observe the reception of the contemporary Islamic reform discourse/s amongst Egyptians living in Europe. This assessment is a key element in evaluating the effectiveness of such discources in changing the mindset of traditional Muslims to a more receptive one. This project is associated to the researcher master thesis that explored the factors that forced the religious discourse motion to settle down at the end of the twentieth century creating not only a Salafi-inclined society in Egypt but also a subconscious mindset that confines Islam exclusively to a Salafi image. Accordingly, in this Ph.D. project the researcher is trying to expand the assessment to the diasporic space to understand the impact of the reform dynamics at homeland on the mindset of Muslim Egyptian expatriates, through the different mediums of cultural engagement, and its reflection on the integration process in the host countries.
2001- 2015 Political researcher at the Research Service and the Standing Committee for Arab Affairs, the Egyptian Parliament 2012- 2014 Instructor for Legislative rules, The Egyptian Democratic Institute, Cairo
2014 “The Historical Acquired Rights in Fresh Water: Comparative Study." Al-Multaqa 1, April 2014, Cairo
2011 “Modifying and Terminating International Treaties: Case Study of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty.” Al-Syasa al-Dawliya 186, October 2011, Cairo
2011 Parliamentary Democracy in the Constitutional Monarchy of Bahrain. The Gulf Center for Strategic Studies, September 2011, Manama (Co-author)
Muslim Response towards Religious Pluralism and Secularization in British India (1858-1947)
2019- PhD, Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History, University of Erfurt, Germany 2014-2017 Master of Science, Comparative Religion, Faculty of Usuluddin, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan 2008-2012 Bachelor of Arts (hons), Islamic Studies, Faculty of Usuluddin, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Islam in the Indo-Pak Subcontinent Sociopolitical History of British India Religion in the Modern and Post-Modern World Contemporary Trends in Sociology of Religion
The Partition of Indian Subcontinent in 1947 was a result of complex course of socio-political events that went on shaping the Indian history especially during the British Colonial Era. The period of British Raj (1858-1947) was significantly marked with the rise of modern discourses on nation-state formation and hence, introduced the problem of minority rights in an unprecedented manner for Indian Nationalists. As far as the Indian Muslim scholarship was concerned, we find an array of attempts from both reformative and orthodox Muslim schools of thought trying to address the problem through establishing a correlation of Islamic philosophy to the idea of modernization, secularization and religious pluralism. However, their social engineering of Indian Muslim community came to be marked with serious implications as far as the reformation of Muslim identity in the modern world was concerned. For it became more than necessary to redefine the manner of coexistence of an Indian Muslim with the religious other (Hindus, for example) in terms of equality, such as was proposed in the idea of nationalism.
The study at hand discusses those political upheavals in relationship with Muslim philosophy of progress and modernization through the lens of two opposing schools of thought, namely the Aligarh as represented in the All-India Muslim League (est. 1906) and the Deoband in Jam‘iyyat ‘Ulama-i Hind (est. 1919). The goal is to establish a connection between the post-colonial issues of Pakistan with her founding ideology and verify the extent to which they are still related. These include the most pressing problem of religious extremism and the deliberate attempt of socio-political forces to change the inherent character of its country from exclusivist to inclusivist, keeping in view the mere necessity of survival in the modern world. Such kind of evolution certainly demands revisiting the debate around minority rights and thereby revaluating the philosophy of the two factions (the Aligarh and Deoband) in terms of pragmatic consequences in the post-modern world. It will further study the two organizations as they evolved and responded to modernity and its related processes such as industrial capitalization, bureaucratic standard of living, political secularization (in terms of secular state formation) as well as their underlying political ideology which was claimed to have been stemming from the original doctrine of Islam.
2018-2019 Lecturer, Islamic Studies, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University Islamabad Campus
Sana Migati Kozlica
The Politization of Islam in the Balkans and Its Effect on the Serbia after 2000
2014- PhD, Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History, University of Erfurt, Germany 2010-2012 MA, Terrorism, Organised Crime and Safety, University of Belgrade, Serbia 2004-2010 BA, Politikology, Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade
Politization of Religion Politization of Islam Extremism Security Challenges Collective security system Immigration European integration
The politization of religion represents a political and geostrategic phenomenon. Throughout history it emerges with the creation of religion and the reaction to it, and that is why this phenomenon is not bound to one particular religion or time period. Nowadays, the phenomenon of polititization of Islam is more present. The politization in contemporary society begins in the middle of the 20th century, and the entrance of soviet troops into Afghanistan in 1979 had a particular impact on international and political scene. These events had created sound circumstances for strengthening the politics of Islam and contributed to its militarization. During the process of collapse of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), and with it the process of destabilization of Balkans, there was also the emergence of special influence of Islamic groups in the civil wars in this region. This complex phenomenon and its broad impact has been heavily researched up until the year 2000. To authors knowledge, more thorough research of this phenomenon was not conducted after 2000, the year defined by the change of power in Serbia (then Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia). Since then, all countries in the region expressed their desire to join the European Union. Also, they tried to embrace the European standard in an effort to solve open ethnical, religious and other matters in their societies, but also between themselves, trying to build good neighborly relations. Research on the ground demonstrates different levels of success in that effort, however, tensions in the ethnic and religious sphere is still present and represents fertile ground for politics of Islam, especially in countries such as Serbia, in which are present different ethnical and religious communities that aspire to connect with their homeland or with states in which “brothers in faith” are in power, particularly in neighboring states or certain influential regional centers, like Turkey. The importance of researching this subject after 2000 until 2012 does not come out just from analyzing the influence of this phenomenon on Serbia alone, but more broadly as well. Serbia aspires and is preparing to be the member of the EU. That is why this phenomenon has the potential to expand towards the EU, to certain Western European countries, where Islamic immigrant groups are present and are connected with similar groups in one particular country. This presents a general (security, social etc.) challenge in the project of European integrations.
2014 “Serbia and collective security of Danube-basin countries”, in Serbia in the Dunabe Region in the 21st Century, Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade, Republic of Serbia (with S. Dedjanski) 2014 “Media in the Nineties and National Extremism”, University of Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia 2012 “West Balkan, Serbian and International Aspects of Safety”, National University of Public Service, Advanced College for Security Policy, Budapest, Hungary
Politics of Piety: Case of Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Islam (F), Pakistan with Special Reference to Discourse Analysis in Respect of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman
Dept. of Religious Studies University of Erfurt Room: LG 4 / E 03 Nordhäuser Straße 63 99089 Erfurt, Germany
Religion and Politics in Pakistan Political and Constitutional Development in Pakistan Muslim Religio-political Thinkers of Sub-Continent
Jamiat-uI-Ulama-i-Islam (Fazl-ur-Rehman Group) or JUI(F) is an important religio-political force representing the traditional Islamic Activism of Deoband School of Thought in Pakistan. The JUI(F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, hails from the southern Khyber Pakhtunkwa District of Dera Ismail Khan and is considered to be an intelligent politician and a good orator. Both JUI(F) and its Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman have a very important role in the contemporary religio-political discourse in Pakistan. The public meetings organized by JUI (F) from time to time under different heads and addressed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other leaders of the Party form an important means for political construction of religio-historical identity through political communication. In 2001 America led coalition forces attacked and toppled the Taliban government of Afghanistan in the wake of its War against Terror. There is a great need to understand the religio-political discourse immediately before, during and after this eventful era due to its national, regional and international ramifications. The proposed study can serve different objectives by trying to provide answers to various questions. To what extent is the political strategy of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and JUI(F) influenced by its sectarian character? How far Maulana Fazlur Rehman and JUI(F) differ from other political parties in their aims and tactics? How far Maulana Fazlur Rehman and JUI(F) are guided and driven by religious principles (of morality etc)? Or what is the relationship between belief (Islamic) and behavior (political)? How his assertions are being influenced by the line of reasoning which the Taliban are presenting. Some other important objectives are as follows;
1. To enhance our understanding of the ‘Pious Political Leadership Theory’ advanced and advocated by Religio-political leaders of Pakistan through discursive structures, practices and methods in Pakistan. 2. To understand the roles and goals of Religio-political leaders in the context of the notions of Power, Dominance, Hegemony, Counter hegemony, Charisma, Agency and Political or Ideological Square, Emphasis/De-emphasis of Our/Their good/bad Actions (Dijk). 3. To unfold the implicit political agenda of JUI (F) and its Chief through Semantic analysis.
03.2010- Lecturer (Pakistan Studies), Islamia College, University of Peshawar 12.2008-03.2010 Assistant Professor (Pakistan Studies), Higher Education Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 03.2003-12.2008 Lecturer (Pakistan Studies), Higher Education Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1999-2003 Lecturer (Pakistan Studies), Islamia College, University of Peshawar
Ph.D. Overseas Scholarship: Faculty Development Programme (Higher Education Commission, Pakistan)
Hegemony and Resistance in Post-revolutionary Iran: Ethnography of the Alternative Performance of Carnivalesque Rituals in Persian Calendar
2016- PhD, Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History, University of Erfurt, Germany 2012-2015 Master of Arts, Democracy Studies, University of Siegen, Germany 2007-2011 Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, University of Tehran, Iran
Cultural Sociology Sociology of Everyday Life Collective Memory and Collective Identity Social Construction of Time and Contested temporality
Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, the Shiite ideology was reflected in the chronological order of the rituals and annual carnivals. This has been implemented through several power institutions such as the official solar Hijri calendar. The resonance of those rituals and the different forms of reception formulated an alternative perception of time and space or an unofficial oral official calendar. Inspired by the carnivalesque cultural theory of Bakhtin and the theory of resonance, the primary idea of this PhD research is to explore the raising gap between official form and everyday form of the cultural practice of calendar through the ethnography of the calendric rituals. It aims to answer the question that how the young generation receive the cultural politics of time, how do they remember the past and what elements of the collective identity are to be memorized and preserved the most amongst this generation.
2015 DAAD-Preis für hervorragende Leistungen ausländischer Studierender
2019- PhD, Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History, University of Erfurt, Germany 2017-2019 Master of Arts, Religious Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany 2010-2012 Master of Arts, Philosophy of Religion, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran
Philosophy of religion Sociology of religion History of modern Iran History of Islam and its emergence
Iran’s 1978-79 revolution and its outcome, the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, exhibit a process of Islamization par excellence. Islamic constitution generally restricts legislation to Islamic criteria and obliges the state to promulgate religious ideals. Therefore, for four decades, the Iranian state has conducted Islamizing policies that not only rule over social structures and institutions but also aim at directing all aspects of the individuals’ life. Meanwhile and despite these efforts, a counter-current tendency toward secularity has been grown in the Iranian soil. This tendency is not a nascent phenomenon or a mere reaction against the policies of the Islamic republic. Rather, the Iranian secularity can be traced back to the 1850s when the first Iranian intellectual Akhundzadeh (d. 1878), and then some other thinkers, supported the idea of imposing constraints on Islamic legislation and education. These intellectuals highlighted the necessity of an Islamic reformation to meet the demands of their time. In spite of the importance of understanding the roots and history of secularity in Iran, this topic has not received due academic attention.
The current doctoral research attempts to explore the emergence and early developments of the secular discourse in Iran since the mid-19th century. It takes a general notion of secularity as differentiation between religious and non-religious spheres in society. Concentrating on the role of Iranian intellectuals in conceiving and propagating such perception of secularity, it tries to characterize the theory of secularity supposed by them for solving social problems. Besides “secularity,” the research has also two other foci of concern, namely “liberty” and “rationality.” Iranian intellectuals who were familiar with European Enlightenment introduced and employed concepts of freedom and science/reason in order to conduct their socio-political agenda. These two concepts encountered their Islamic counterparts, i.e. huriyyat and ‘ilm, and such encounter gave rise to debates between intellectuals and Mullahs.
This research aims to answer three major questions: (a) How the proponents of secularity justified the differentiation between religious and non-religious spheres of society? What are the features of their proposed theory of secularity? (b) How the secular intellectuals used concepts of liberty and rationality in conducting their agenda? How were liberty and rationality related to the concept of secularity? (c) How debates on liberty and rationality between intellectuals and Mullahs began and to what degree were these debates contextualized in Iranian society?
Muhammad Usman M.A.
Dancing to the Hymns: A Choreographic Study of Chauvinistic Formations and Religious Aspiration at Wagah
Wagah boarder is a white line that divides India and Pakistan, and it is located at the outskirts of Lahore from Pakistani side and west of Amritsar from Indian side. This border is a frequent passage for tourists. Wagah Border Ceremony has been celebrated since 1959 at Wagah, every day at sunset. The official purpose of the ceremony is to lower the national flags and close the gates of border for night. This ceremony is an amalgamation of nationalism, religion, indigenous culture and entertainment. The gate at the side of Pakistan is entitled with ‘Baab-e-Azaadi’ and on the other side, the gate is inscribed with ‘Bharat’. The gate at Wagah is not only a door to cross the border between India and Pakistan but also a gate of memories. These memories are attached to partition between Indian and Pakistan, agonizing migration, violence and bloodshed. This border is a witness to partition, migration and bloody violence. People on both sides of this dividing line have different location with same locality (a property of remaining localized). This ceremony gathers them to commemorate those wounds and engage their sentiments of loss and separation in a choreographic symphony. National, ethnic and religious spirit and enthusiasm are visible throughout.
This ceremony offers a ritual display in which thousands of spectators on both sides dance to hymns and celebrate their wounds while using symbols of national identity and religious fervor, particularly on the Pakistani side. The rituals, customary observances or practices that are performed there include: warming up the spectators, recitation from the Quran, playing national anthems and Bollywood songs, patriotic as well as religious slogans, symbolic expression of local culture, chauvinistic formation of parade, goose marching,lowering the national flags,Salams and closing the gates. The parade is conducted at Wagah but it acquires its meaning in historical, political, geographical and psychological contexts. Here, in my research project, the choreography at Wagah ceremony will be studied and deciphered with reference to gender, culture and religion.
This doctoral research will examine the nature of the symbols and aesthetical forms used in this nationalistic theater with relation to gender and religion. Among the research questions are: (a) Are those aesthetical forms used in the ceremony, political or religious or both? (b) Should aesthetics be objective or relative? (c) Is there any systematic neutrality with reference to Michel Foucault? (d) What is role of language, culture and religion in axiological development? The research also aims at studying those chauvinistic movements that expresses male-centered heritage of Punjabi culture and a way to dominate other nation.