Cyber-Islamic Environments and Salafī-Ṣūfī Contestations Appropriating Digital Media and Challenges to Religious Authority

Abusharif, Ibrahim N. (2019) Cyber-Islamic Environments and Salafī-Ṣūfī Contestations Appropriating Digital Media and Challenges to Religious Authority. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

The present study focuses on significant online intra-Islamic ideological contestations with particular focus on the schisms between Salafism and Sufism. The main attention is on the content and strategies of Salafī contestations with Sufism and, to a lesser extent, with certain creedal schools of thought. The study addresses a gap in Cyber-Islamic Environments studies and raises thesis questions addressed through a research design (case study), analytical framework (religious authority), and methodology (qualitative ideological analyses). The purpose is to contribute to a greater understanding of the role of digital media in understudied and yet far-reaching online contestations within Islam—those that seek to define orthodoxy in contemporary Islam. First, the study locates and examines significant loci of Salafī contestations with Sufism, namely, the mawlid (celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday), grave visitation, and tawassul (seeking intercession through the Prophet and past saints or spiritual masters). Second, the study unpacks and analyses recurring themes and vocabulary that occur in Salafī polemics against Sufism. The arguments against Sufism rely on the strategic usage of well-known judicial-ethical and creedal terminologies of Islamic scriptural sources and intellectual traditions that are now used to challenge the very orthodoxy and orthopraxy of Sufism. These terms have pre-modern roots in Muslim scholarship. However, the terms are repurposed in Salafī discourse to create idioms that cast aspersions upon non-Salafī ideologies in Islam. Third, the study analyses the strategic value of these loci of dispute and terminologies through the analytical framework of religious authority, and, toward that effort, the study proffers a methodology of examining online content and the key arguments and support terminologies that speak to authority in what is essentially transnational and de-territorialized discourses. This dissertation thus seeks to contribute original research that helps to fill a lacuna in the study of consequential online intra-Islamic contestations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Salafism, Sufism, Islamic ideologies, Digital media and Islam
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 11:02
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 11:02
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1196

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