PhD candidate at VU University Amsterdam. Research project: Religion, Recreation, and Devotion: A Comparative Study of the Minhajul Qur'an Movement in the Netherlands and the UK.
Religion, Recreation, and Devotion: A Comparative Study of the Minhajul Qur'an Movement in the Netherlands and the UK
The Minhajul Quran (MQ) is a modern Islamic movement that originated in Pakistan. It shares many assumptions of the traditional Barelvis --- a folk Islam based group in South Asia, however the criticizes certain practices of the Barelvis like their sectarianism. The present studies looks at the religious and social practices of the MQ in the Netherlands, the UK and Pakistan. This study challenges modernists assumptions that as a result of the globalization and migration processes more scriptural or formal kinds of Muslim manifestations emerge among the transnational communities. The study shows how new forms of traditional Islam are emerging among the migrants that define themselves through reinterpreting the tradition while adjusting themselves in the European social circumstances.
Focusing on the concept of revolution that the MQ introduced for a social change, this study looks at the mechanisms that the MQ used to bring such a change. The MQ not only reinterpreted the Muslim tradition, but it also introduced new means of mobilization, socialization and activism which often are derived from the Islamists. The use of modern media is central in its mobilization. The study focuses at different ritual practices like organizing zikr and milad that the MQ reinterpreted, following the new circumstances in the European societies. It redefined these rituals to make them part of the classical Islamic tradition. These rituals also act as the processes of new communal bonding among the overseas communities. Another focus of this study is the working of the MQ among the Muslim youth in these two countries. It shows that the MQ activism gave these youth with instruments to define their Muslim identity proactively. As a result I show how certain MQ youth initiatives, mostly in the Netherlands, challenge the existing debate about the Muslims in the Netherlands.