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Circuits of FaithMigration, Education, and the Wahhabi Mission$
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Michael Farquhar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804798358

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804798358.001.0001

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Migration and the Forging of a Scholarly Community

Migration and the Forging of a Scholarly Community

(p.87) 4 Migration and the Forging of a Scholarly Community
Circuits of Faith

Michael Farquhar

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the role of large numbers of non-Saudi staff members at the Islamic University of Medina (IUM) from the early 1960s to the 1980s, and considers the part that they played in the remaking of Wahhabi religious authority. It argues that until the mid-twentieth century, the relatively parochial and insular nature of the Wahhabi scholarly milieu meant that Wahhabi scholars lacked the kinds of symbolic resources that would be required to launch such an ambitious missionary project. It then traces the trajectories that brought migrants from across the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and beyond to work at the IUM. It argues that, by bringing diversified reserves of spiritual capital — including qualifications acquired in venerable centers of learning like al-Azhar — these migrants lent legitimacy to the new effort to extend the Wahhabi mission to broad audiences beyond the kingdom’s borders.

Keywords:   religious migration, al-Azhar, Wahhabism, Muslim Brotherhood, Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya, Jamaat-i Islami, Ahl-i Hadith, Abul A’la Mawdudi

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