Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 22, 2016 - Political Science
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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Contents

Defining Salafism Analyzing Canons
1
Salafism and Its Transmission
25
The Canon and Its Canonizers
31
Africans and Saudi Arabia
64
Nigerians in Medina
92
Teaching the Canon
117
The Canon in Religious Debates and Electronic Media
140
The Canon in Politics
168
Boko Haram from Salafism to Jihadism
193
Reclaiming the Canon
220
Conclusion
240
The Sermon of Necessity Khut bat alH aja
247
Glossary of Arabic Terms
254
Index
277
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About the author (2016)

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.