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Interpretations of al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ in everyday lives of Salafis in Germany


Damir-Geilsdorf, Sabine; Menzfeld, Mira; Hedider, Yasmina (2019). Interpretations of al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ in everyday lives of Salafis in Germany. Religions, 10(2):124.

Abstract

Salafis’ everyday lives, social relations, and attitudes towards both Muslims and non-Muslims are often shaped implicitly or explicitly by the theological concept of al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ (“loyalty and disavowal”). It indicates whom to be loyal to on the one hand, and whom to disavow on the other hand—or from which persons, deeds, and practices one should distance oneself. However, within the highly heterogeneous spectrum of Salafi orientations, beliefs, and religious practices, interpretations of al-wala’ and al-bara’ differ as well as its actual relevance and its implications for concrete life situations. This article explores how Muslims in Germany who identify themselves with non-violent, so-called ‘purist Salafism’ perceive and practice social relations, social closeness, or separation in their everyday lives by drawing implicitly or explicitly on principles of loyalty and disavowal. Based on qualitative interviews and participant observations (data gathered between 2014 and 2018), we shed light on how individuals’ ideas of loyalty and disavowal intersect with issues of identity, belonging, inclusion, and exclusion. The article thus shows how local interpretations and implementations of a Salafi core concept are strongly interwoven with realities of everyday life.

Abstract

Salafis’ everyday lives, social relations, and attitudes towards both Muslims and non-Muslims are often shaped implicitly or explicitly by the theological concept of al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ (“loyalty and disavowal”). It indicates whom to be loyal to on the one hand, and whom to disavow on the other hand—or from which persons, deeds, and practices one should distance oneself. However, within the highly heterogeneous spectrum of Salafi orientations, beliefs, and religious practices, interpretations of al-wala’ and al-bara’ differ as well as its actual relevance and its implications for concrete life situations. This article explores how Muslims in Germany who identify themselves with non-violent, so-called ‘purist Salafism’ perceive and practice social relations, social closeness, or separation in their everyday lives by drawing implicitly or explicitly on principles of loyalty and disavowal. Based on qualitative interviews and participant observations (data gathered between 2014 and 2018), we shed light on how individuals’ ideas of loyalty and disavowal intersect with issues of identity, belonging, inclusion, and exclusion. The article thus shows how local interpretations and implementations of a Salafi core concept are strongly interwoven with realities of everyday life.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Institute of Religious Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Religious Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords:Salafism; loyalty and disavowal; participant observation; Islam; Islamism
Language:English
Date:20 February 2019
Deposited On:09 Nov 2021 11:34
Last Modified:25 Jun 2024 01:47
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2077-1444
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020124
Official URL:https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/10/2/124/pdf
Related URLs:http://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/ (Publisher)
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)