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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Asha binti Awadh's 'Awqaf': Muslim endurance despite colonial law in Mikindani, Tanganyika
Author:Johnsen Kelly, Chau
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:colonial administration
Islamic law
property rights
Abstract:This article examines a conflict between an elderly 'waqf' trustee and the colonial State in the township of Mikindani, Tanzanyika (Tanzania) during the 1930s. Mikindani occupied a liminal position as a Swahili country-town, declining in social and economic importance as German and British colonial rule shifted economic activities away from small coastal ports. By the 1930s, Mikindani existed on the spatial fringes of the colonial order. The author argues that this liminal position helped insulate Mikindani's religious endowments ('waqf') from larger shocks delivered by colonial efforts to reconfigure cultural practices to suit imperial economic needs. To develop this argument, the author analyses a conflict between an elderly 'waqf' trustee and the colonial State in the township of Mikindani in the 1930s. The elderly lady Asha binti Awadh refused to cooperate when approached by the district officer (DO) and land officer, who wanted to alter the buildings and land under her protection. This case study provides an opportunity to ascertain how an important religious institution endured in Mikindani, for decades despite colonial manipulations. It further shows how new interpretations of inheritance rights affected waqf trustees as colonial laws interfered with African and Muslim practices. Challenges to 'awqaf' rights and disposal by the colonial State revealed how the rhetoric about African rights fell away as administrative needs for offices, roads, and other structures took precedence. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]