Field: Islam, Ummah
Title: Islamic Resurgence in South Africa
Authors: Abdulkader Tayob
Publication: UCT Press
ISBN: 0-7992-1612-7
Rating: 3/5
Level: Intermediate
Reviewed by: Safwan

The multicultural South Africa was not left out when then modern Islamic paradigm took shape in the Muslim world. Leading the shift in the early period were the Malays, largely because of the many political exiles who were shown much respect in this 'new home'. They later build mosques, but were divided between racial lines (Malays-Indians-Africans). This was further exacerbated by the different school of thought adopted by each community, until that it was not uncommon to have serious disputes on what would otherwise be trivial matters.

The modern Islamic paradigm, drawn from international experience, serves as a useful source of Islamic knowledge against traditional 'ulama and the grips they had on the community. It has found Islam in new rhetorical slogans, discussion groups, rallies, and campaigns, even disarming the 'ulama who have long claimed the sole right to interpret the religion. This, of course, did not happen without harsh opposition. The 'ulama saw this change as detrimental to their influence, and did not prefer to sit and watch it crippling down.

Later, Islamism came about, as a response to the success of Iranian revolution. By this new paradigm, it was believed that education and preparation (not arms struggle or revolution) would ensure the eventual success for Islam in South Africa. When the Islamic movement (here the Muslim Youth Movement) had to face the changing political terrain in South Africa, they found an alternate approach- i.e. contextualism. In concrete terms, its image became involved in political issues more than anything else, through a contextual reading of the Islamic texts.


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