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Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics

Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics

by Alexander Thurston


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The spectre of Boko Haram and its activities in Nigeria dominates both media and academic analysis of Islam in the region. But, as Alexander Thurston argues here, beyond the sensational headlines this group generates, the dynamics of Muslim life in northern Nigeria remain poorly understood. Drawing on interviews with leading Salafis in Nigeria as well as on a rereading of the history of the global Salafi movement, this volume explores how a canon of classical and contemporary texts defines Salafism. Examining how these texts are interpreted and - crucially - who it is that has the authority to do so, Thurston offers a systematic analysis of curricula taught in Saudi Arabia and how they shape religious scholars' approach to religion and education once they return to Africa. Essential for scholars of religion and politics, this unique text explores how the canon of Salafism has been used and refined, from Nigeria's return to democracy to the jihadist movement Boko Haram.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107157439
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/22/2016
Series: The International African Library , #52
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.37(h) x 0.91(d)

About the Author

Alexander Thurston is Visiting Assistant Professor of African Studies at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He has conducted field research in Nigeria and Senegal, and has published in African Affairs, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Religion in Africa, and Islamic Africa, as well as with the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Carnegie Endowment.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: defining Salafism, analysing canons; Part I. Salafism and its Transmission: 1. The canon and canonizers; 2. Africans and Saudi Arabia; 3. Nigerians in Medina; Part II. The Canon in Action: 4. Teaching the canon; 5. The canon in religious debates and electronic media; 6. The canon in politics; Part III. Boko Haram and the Canon: 7. Boko Haram from Salafism to jihadism; 8. Reclaiming the canon; Appendix 1: the Sermon of Necessity; Glossary of persons; Glossary of Arabic terms; Bibliography.

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