Islam and Pious Sociality

The Ethics of Hierarchy in the Tablighi Jamaat in Pakistan

in Social Analysis
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Pakistani Tablighis, practitioners of a transnational Islamic piety movement, the Tablighi Jamaat, insist that only their own form of face-to-face preaching (dawat) is capable of spreading Islamic virtue. Tablighis dismiss the efforts to spread Islam by a diverse array of Islamist actors, including political parties, corporations, NGOs, and popular televangelists. This highlights a central cleavage within the Islamic revival in Pakistan. While Islamists have adopted a modernist conception of religion associated with egalitarian individualism, Tablighis understand dawat to be a religious practice that entails an ethics of hierarchy in which one becomes virtuous by submitting to the authority of pious others. In dawat, Tablighis create a hierarchically structured world of pious sociality against the threat of egalitarian individualism in liberal and Islamist varieties.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology