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Striving against the ‘Nafs’

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Revisiting Somali Muslim Spousal Roles and Rights in Finland

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I analyze how Somalis in Helsinki re-interpret religious norms on marriage in light of: 1) the challenges of socioeconomic hardships and marginalization in Finland; and 2) ethical principles in Islamic tradition that underlie religious rulings such as striving against the selfishness of the ‘nafs’ (self) and seeking spiritual advancement. I examine how norms on spousal roles and rights are contested and reinterpreted. I highlight how young women, in particular, foreground the ‘ethical' in their religious understandings of marriage norms. I explore if Veit Bader’s1 concept of ‘internal religious governance’ can analytically explain these processes. I draw on data from individual interviews and focus group discussions with women and men; and interviews with mosque imams and a clan elder.

Affiliations: 1: University of Helsinki, Finland, mulki.al-sharmani@helsinki.fi

10.1163/18748929-00801006
/content/journals/10.1163/18748929-00801006
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1. Amir-Moazami Schirin ,and Salvatore Armando ,. “ "Gender, Generation, and Reform of Tradition: From Muslim Majority Societies to Western Europe".” In: Allievi S. ,and Nielsen Jorgen (eds.). Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe . ( Leiden: Brill, 2003). Pp. 5277. P. 53.
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12. ———. "Islam in the West or Western Islam? The Disconnect of Religion and Culture",” The Hedgehog Review 1 ( 2006), 127132.
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2015-02-19
2017-09-24

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