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Roaming About For God's Sake: The Upsurge of the Tablīgh Jamā'at in the Gambia

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image of Journal of Religion in Africa

The proliferation of the Tablīgh Jamā'at, an Islamic missionary movement that strictly observes the fundamentals of the faith, is a manifestation of the recent Islamic resurgence in West Africa. The movement originated in South Asia, but has expanded to Africa. Despite the Jamā'at's great influence on the lives of many West African Muslims, sub-Saharan Africa is a region that has been ignored almost completely in studies of the movement. This article focuses on The Gambia, which appears to be a booming centre of Tablīgh activities in West Africa. On the basis of the conversion stories of a male and a female Tablīgh activist, the central themes in the Gambian branch of the Tablīgh Jamā'at will be explored. These themes result from local factors such as the socio-economic crisis and gender relations. Nevertheless, they also bear similarities with recurrent subjects in other 'fundamentalist' movements throughout the world.


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