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Title: The Muslim presence and representations of Islam among the Meru of Kenya
Author: Kubai, Anne Nkirote
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1995
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The thesis analyzes the Muslim presence and representations of Islam among the Meru people of Kenya in the 20th century. The circumstances leading to the establishment of pioneer Muslim communities by the 'Swahili', the Nubians and the Mahaji, in Meru are examined. The rejection or acceptance of Islam by the people of Meru is linked to theories of conversion. The main emphasis is on the local manifestations of Islam. Case material from Meru town and the neighbouring areas is cited. Local representations of Islam and Muslim identity are analyzed in relation to the oppositional dyad of Dini / Ushenzi. The thesis argues that the opposition of Dini to Ushenzi has continuously impinged upon the local manifestation of Islam in Meru. Examples of how this stereotyped notion is transposed from its coastal cultural milieu and applied in a 'fossilized' form by Muslims in Meru are given. The shift in the early 1960s from the previous emphasis on distinctions between the three Muslim groups, to the need for a common Muslim community identity, is linked to the post-independence social-economic crisis that threatened the presence of Islam in Meru. The mechanics of the construction and consolidation of an urban Muslim community identity are examined. The analysis of the internal dynamics of the emergent urban Muslim community focuses on the notion of the propriety of religious practice and behaviour. An examination of the influence of Tabligh during the last decade, (1980- 1990) reveals an increase in the Muslim activities in Meru. Throughout the 1980s Islam spread slowly, almost unobtrusively, in the rural areas in the northern part of Meru. The analysis of the forces underpinning this process; and the resultant dilemma of conflicting identities of individual converts living in the rural areas, is placed within the local social context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Africa Philosophy Religion