Seeking The Best For Our Faith: Narratives of Muslim Women Piety in the West
Author: Najah Nadiah Amran
Publisher: UKM Press
This book is the culmination of my doctoral research odyssey at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. It situates piety as the object of the research, focusing on Muslim women in a western setting, their piety cultivation processes and experiences through regular participation in religious circles at selected mosques across Scotland. This study is based on two-and-a-half-years of extensive participant observations and conversations with Muslim women who regularly participated in religious circles where the knowledge and practices of Islam are exchanged, learnt. authenticated, questioned and disseminated. It is an effort to investigate Islam from within by combining a number of methodological approaches commonly used in religious studies and ethnographic researches. It seeks to understand the extent of Islam's role in their lives, examines how they dealt with the challenges in their everyday lives as pious Muslim women, and explores how they related to their faith in diverse contexts and moments.
Specifically, this book poses the following questions: how did the Muslim women individually and collectively cultivate piety? What factors led them to return to their faith and attain piety? What religious sources were used by them to nurture their piety? To what extent did those sources shape their everyday religious experience and practices as western Muslim women? How did they approach the sources and deal with the everyday situations in their surroundings as faithful and pious western Muslim women? This book's contribution to the debate on the piety of Muslim women lies in both its geographical focus and its methodological approach Previous studies on the subject mainly focused on those living in Muslim countries. In this book, I explore the piety of western Muslim women living in Scotland. According to the 2011 Scottish Census, the number of Muslims in Scotland was 77,000 (1.4 per cent), an increase of 34,000 or 0.6 per cent since 2001 (National Records of Scotland 2013). Among the religious groups in Scotland, Muslims have the largest youth profile and this explains the focus of recent studies on Muslim communities in Scotland on the formation of a social identity among young male Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims (see Saced et al. 1999; Wardak 2000).
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