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Islamic Orthodoxy and Sufism in Sri Lanka

Victor de Munck
Anthropos
Bd. 100, H. 2. (2005), pp. 401-414
Published by: Anthropos Institut
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40466546
Page Count: 14
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Islamic Orthodoxy and Sufism in Sri Lanka
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Abstract

Historic and ethnographic materials are used to examine the opposition between local Sufi and fundamentalist models of Muslim identity. Sufism is personified by the Moulana, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Since 1914, a Moulana makes the rounds of Muslim villages to participate in an eight-day annual festival. He is thought to possess supernatural means for restoring social order and ensuring village prosperity. Members of the Tablighi Jama'at (a transnational Islamic orthodoxy movement) also visit Muslim villages. Their goal is to eradicate heretical practices such as the worship of the Moulana. Sufism is shown to connect villagers to supernatural funds of local and regionally constructed power; orthodoxy connects villagers to a global identity that supersedes the Sri Lankan national identity from which they are presently excluded.

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