Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

How Heresy Makes Orthodoxy

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

The Sedimentation of Sunnism in the Ahmadi Cases of South Africa

image of Sociology of Islam

This article explores the on-going construction, or “sedimentation,” of Sunni orthodoxy by paying attention to the boundary role of “insider-Others.” To highlight how boundary positions of heretical communities shape the category of orthodox Islam, this paper focuses on the social processes excluding the “heretical” Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in South Africa. The paper undertakes a qualitative analysis of two Supreme Court cases involving Ahmadis and the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa, local representatives of orthodox Sunnism. These two cases stand out in a contentious history that has led to extreme ostracism of Ahmadis by Sunni Muslims in the country. The analysis identifies three features of Sunni orthodoxy that crystallized in the process of conflict with the Ahmadiyya: alienation, transnationalism, and Archimedean moral authority. These features help make sense of social processes marginalizing Ahmadis around the world, and offer new insights into construction of global Sunni orthodoxy.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tampere, Finland,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. aaiil (2010). "The Ahmadiyya case judgment: Decision of the Supreme Court of South Africa". The Light and Islamic Review , Vol 87, 518.
2. Adam Hussein M. (1995). "Islam and politics in Somalia". Journal of Islamic Studies , Vol 6(2): 189221.
3. afp (2010, Friday, May 14). Egypt Ahmadis detained under emergency law, Yahoo News. Retrieved from
4. Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore (sa) & Ismail Peck vs The Muslim Judicial Council & others, No. 10058/82 (Supreme Court of South Africa, Cape of Good Hope Division, Justice Williamson 1985).
5. ai (2007). Saudi Arabia: Amnesty International calls for end to arrests and expulsions of foreign migrant workers on discriminatory grounds. Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, ai Index: mde 23/001/2007. Retrieved from The website:
6. al-Azmeh, Aziz (2007). The Times of History: Universal Topics in Islamic Historiography . Budapest: Central European University Press.
7. Al-Islam (2013). Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. 2014(March 23). Retrieved from
8. Alasuutari Pertti,, Bickman Leonard,, & Brannen Julia (Eds) (2008). The sage Handbook of Social Research Methods . Los Angeles: sage.
9. Amir, Ayaz (2002, June 21). Back to the future, Opinion column, Dawn. Retrieved from
10. Aziz Zahid (1987). The Ahmadiyya Case: Case History, Judgment and Evidence . Newark, ca: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Lahore.
11. Bell James (2012). The world’s Muslims: Unity and diversity (pp. 164). Washinton dc: Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life.
12. Bourdieu, Pierre (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice (Nice, Richard, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
13. Center, Pew Research (2009). Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A report on the size and distribution of the world’s Muslim population. Washington dc: Pew Research Center.
14. Cesari Jocelyne (2014). The Awakening of Muslim Democracy: Religion, Modernity and the Nation-State . Cambridge, uk: Cambridge University Press.
15. Correspondent (2010, October 20). Fresh attack on Ahmadiyyas, Daily Star.
16. Friedmann Yohanan (2003). Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
17. Gadamer Hans-Georg (2004). Truth and Method (Weinsheimer, Joel & Donald G. Marshall, Trans. 2nd Revised Edition ed.). New York: Continuum.
18. Gillespie Piers (2007). "Current issues in Indonesian Islam: Analysing the 2005 Council of Indonesian Ulama Fatwa No. 7 opposing pluralism, liberalism and secularism". Journal of Islamic Studies , Vol 18(2): 202240.
19. Gupta Akhil,, & Ferguson James (Eds) (1997). Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science . Berkeley: University of California Press.
20. Khan Abid. (2008, March 24). Saudi persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim community continues, Press release, International Press and Media Desk. Retrieved from
21. Kurtz Lester R. (1983). "The politics of heresy". American Journal of Sociology , Vol 88(6): 10851115.
22. Lapidus Ira M. (2002). A History of Islamic Societies (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
23. Mahmud Tayyab (1995). "Freedom of religion & religious minorities in Pakistan: A study of judicial practice". Fordham International Law Journal , Vol 19(1): 40100.
24. Meshal Reem (2010). "Antagonistic Sharī’as and the construction of orthodoxy in sixteenth-century Ottoman Cairo". Journal of Islamic Studies , Vol 21(2): 183212.
25. Moosa, Ebrahim (2014). The Sunni orthodoxy. Critical Muslim, 10(April–June): 1936.
26. msa (2011, December 20). W. Java the ‘least tolerant province’, The Jakarta Post.
27. Nurbaiti Ati. (2011, December 10). Ahmadiyya bans: Legal justification for intolerance?, The Jakarta Post . Retrieved from
28. Perelman Chaïm (1982). The Realm of Rhetoric . Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
29. Reporter, Municipal (1987, February 24). Petrol-bombing ‘religious persecution’, Cape Times, p. 11.
30. Sh. Mogamat Abbas Jassiem vs Sh. Nazim Mohamed and the Muslim Judicial Council, No. 1434, 1438/86 (Supreme Court of South Africa, Justice van den Heever 1990).
31. Sheikh Nazim Mohamed and the Muslim Judicial Council vs Sheikh Mogamat Abbas Jassiem, No. 201/1992 (Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa, Justices Hoexter, Smalberger, Steyn, Marais and Schutz 1995).
32. Siddiq, Muhammad Nadeem Ahmad (1995). "Enforced apostasy: Zaheeruddin v". State and the official persecution of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. Law & Inequality , Vol 14: 275338.
33. Valentine Simon Ross (2008). Islam and the Ahmadiyya Jama’at: History, Belief, Practice . New York: Columbia University Press.
34. Weber Max (1978). Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology (Vol. Vol 1). Berkeley: University of California Press.
35. Yusuf Huma (2012, December 6). Minorities Report, International Herald Tribune. Retrieved from

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Sociology of Islam — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation