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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mosques, Mawlanas and Muharram: Indian Islam in Colonial Natal, 1860-1910
Author:Vahed, Goolam H.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:Islamic history
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:This study examines the establishment of Indian Islam in colonial Natal, South Africa. The majority of Indian Muslims arrived in Natal between 1860 and 1911 as contract indentured workers and pioneer traders. For the workers, the experience of indenture militated against maintenance of culture, religion and caste. However, there is evidence that, on an individual level, indentured Muslims displayed 'Islamic awareness'. The most important 'religious' activity of indentured Muslims was the Muharram festival. The situation was different in the case of traders. They possessed resources and set about building mosques shortly after their arrival in Natal. Natal's Muslims developed along several separate trajectories. Indentured workers constructed common forms of cultural and religious practices, a process boosted by the arrival in Natal in 1958 of 'imam' Soofie Saheb. Traders did not attempt to forge a broader Muslim community on the basis of Islam. Their concern was to protect their economic and political rights in Natal. The diversity of tradition, beliefs, class, practices, language, region of origin, and experience of migration has resulted in fundamental differences among Indian Muslims that have generated conflict. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.