Title

Sufi Reformism and the Politics of Enchantment in Nasser’s Egypt (1954–1970)

Publication Date

2-26-2021

Document Type

Article

Department

Humanities

Disciplines

Ethics in Religion | Islamic Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Publication Title

Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Volume

89

Issue

1

DOI

10.1093/jaarel/lfab001

First Page

143

Last Page

173

Abstract

Although theories of disenchantment have been both utilized and critiqued by scholars of Islam, they have not received sufficient critical scrutiny within historical studies on Islamic reformism, a novel religiosity associated with modernity’s emergence in Muslim societies. Indeed, histories of Islamic reformism often portray this novel religiosity as an exclusive force of disenchantment, which is unhelpful for understanding the views of Muslims with reformist commitments and attachments to Sufi practices that invest supernatural powers into bodies and objects. Through an analysis of the Sufi Islamic reformist project of the ʿAshira Muhammadiyya organization in Egypt during the Nasser years (1954–1970), this article highlights how the history of Islamic reformism resonates with and diverges from disenchantment theories. Specifically, it foregrounds the way this Sufi reformism not only framed its objectives in terms of progress, science, and socialism but also presumed a reformist Sufi subject constituted through encounters with unseen supernatural agents.

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