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Professor Abdulkader Tayob

Islamic Studies, Religion and Public Life

Prof. Abdulkader Tayob

Prof Abdulkader Tayob has published extensively on the history of religious movements and institutions in South Africa. He now works on Islam and public life in Africa, and contemporary intellectual trends in modern Islam.

Prof Tayob obtained his doctoral degree in 1989 from Temple University in the United States. He has worked and published on Islam in South Africa, Africa and modern Islam in general. His teaching experience includes Cape Town, Charlottesville (Virginia, USA), Bayreuth, Hamburg and Cologne (Germany), and Nijmegen and Leiden (the Netherlands).

Holder of NRF Chair Islam, African Publics, and Religious Values

Important links:

Academia site (which includes a large number of my publications)
Occasional Blogger
Online CV

Current Research:

1. Religion Education in South Africa

I am turning my attention to how religion is taught in public life. Building on my work on Islam in public life in Africa, this project will examine the role of Religion Studies as part of Life Orientation (LO) and Religious Studies as a free-standing subject in South African schools. The project will examine the role and value of religion education in South African schools that has replaced former Biblical Studies curriculum.

2. Modern Islam

I continue to do cutting edge work on how to approach the study of Islam in the modern world. My main preoccupation is how the link the present and the past, what categories we use to interpret the present. I am offering alternative categories drawn from the intellectual history of Islam.

3. Biographies of religious engagement

The third area of research is a focus on the personal dimension of religious revival and activism. Taking a biographical approach, I ask what motivates people to join religious revival groups? How do they choose and stay within a group. These questions are posed to Muslim activists in South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria, and to Muslims and Christians in East Africa.


For further information including CCI related information ...

Current Research Projects

Comparative study of Muslim Publics in public spheres of Africa. My hypothesis is that Muslim Publics traced a particularly unique trajectory in the contemporary history of Islam in Africa. In general, Muslim institutions, movements and actors have inscribed distinctive publics in non-political spheres. Expanding on my work in South Africa, I have completed research trips in Kenya (2003); Ghana (2004); Zanzibar (2005); and Nigeria (2006). Presently working expanding research in East Africa, with a particular focus on religious leadership in post-Cold War period. Writing a review essay on Islam in Africa.

Modern Islamic thought. Using religion as a lens and conceptual framework, this project traces the contours of a major shift in thinking about Islam in the modern world. I am working on a major book with Hurst for publication in 2009.

Islamic Education. A study of Islamic education in South Africa, their implication for democratization and globalization.

Selected Publications

2014. Back to the roots, the origins and the beginning: reflections on revival (tajdīd) in Islamic discourse. Temenos vol. 50, no. 2: 257-71.

2014. “Preface: The Burdens of Identity and the Search for the Universal,” In (De)monopolising Paradise, ed. S. Khan, and L. Nadvi. Pretoria: HRC Press, ix–xviii.

2013.Politics and Islamization in African Public Spheres. In Islam in the Modern World, ed. E. Moosa, and J. Kenney. Routledge, pp. 425-444.

2013. Kadhis Courts in Kenya’s Constitutional Review (1998-2010): A Changing Approach to Politics and State among Kenyan Muslim Leaders. Islamic Africa 2, no. 2: 103-24.

2013. Al Fārūqī Between the History of Religion and Islamic Theology. Numen vol. 60, no. 1-2: 1-21.

2012. Politics and Islamization in African Public Spheres. Islamic Africa vol. 3, no. 2: 139-68.

2012. Islamic Reform and Public Life. Special Thematic Issue: Journal for Islamic Studies. vol. 32.

2011. Yunus Dumbe, and Abdulkader Tayob, Salafis in Cape Town in Search of Purity, Certainty and Social Impact. Die Welt des Islams vol. 51:188-209.

2011. Muslim Schools and Education in Europe and South Africa. Co-edited with Inga Niehaus, Wolfram Weisse. Religionen im Dialog, Band 5, 198 pages. Hamburg: Waxmann Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8309-2554-5.

2011. Human Rights in Modern Islamic Discourse. In The Transmission and Dynamics of the Textual Sources of Islam: Essays in Honour of Harald Motzki, ed. Nicolet Boekhof-van der Voort, C.H.M. Versteegh, and Joas Wagemakers, 349-366. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004203891

2011. Faizer, Rizwi, Amal Ismail, and Abdulkader Tayob. The Life of Muḥammad: Al-Wāqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghāzī. Edited by Rizwi Faizer. Routledge Studies in Classical Islam. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415574341

2009/2010. Religion in Modern Islamic Discourse. London: C. Hurst & Co; New York: Columbia University Press.

2009. forthcoming. The Shifting Politics of Identity. In Islam and Modernity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

2009. "Divergent Approaches to Religion in Modern Islamic Discourse", Religion Compass 3: 13pp.

2008. "The Past and the Present of African Islam", Religion Compass 2: 1-12.

2008. "Islamic Politics in South Africa Between Identity and Utopia", South African Historical Journal 60(4), no. 4: 583-99.

2008. "Muslim Public Claiming Heritage in Post-Apartheid Cape Town", Journal for Islamic Studies 24-25: 76-102.

2005. The Demand for Shari `ah in African Democratisation Processes: Pitfalls or Opportunities? In Comparative Perspectives on Shari'ah in Nigeria , edited by P. Ostien, J. M. Nasir and F. Kogelmann. Ibadan : Spectrum Books Limited.

2005. Secularisation in Islam. In How to conquer the barriers to intercultural dialogue , edited by C. Timmerman and B. Segaert. Brussels : P.I.E.- Peter Lang.

2004. The Study of Religion and Social Crisis: Arab-Islamic Discourse in Late Twentieth Century. In New Approaches to the Study of Religion , edited Peter Antes, Armin W. Geertz and R. Randi Warne. Vol. 1: Regional, Critical, and Historical Approaches, 101-126. Berlin : Walter de Gruyter, 2004.

2005. “The Struggle over Muslim Personal Law in a Rights-Based Constitution: A South African Case Study.” Recht van de Islam (RIMO) 22 (2005): 1-16.

2004. Reading Religion and the Religious in Modern Islam. Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

2004. Race, ideology, and Islam in contemporary South Africa . In Islam in World cultures: comparative perspectives , edited by R. M. Feener. Santa Barbara , California : ABC CLIO.

2003. Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. 2 volumes. Thompson-Gale, Macmillan , New York . Associate Editor with Richard C. Martin as Chief Editor. Author: Religious Institutions, al-Hajj Salim Suwari, Abdullah Yusuf Ali.

1999. "Defining Islam in the throes of modernity", Studies in Contemporary Islam, vol. 1, no. 2: 1-15.

1999. Islam in South Africa: Mosques, Imams and Sermons. Florida .

1999. Islam - a Short Introduction. Oxford .

1999. Religion and Politics in South Africa: From Apartheid to Democracy- Religion and Society in Transition, vol. 1. Edited with Wolfram Weisse of the University of Hamburg . Waxman.

1998. ‘The Claremont Main Road Mosque', in Peter Clarke (ed.), New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, London , 134-146.

1996. ‘Islamic revivalism in South Africa : identity between internal re-definition and nation building', in James Cox, Jacob Olupona and Jan Platvoet (eds.), The Study of Religions in Africa: Past, Present and prospects, England : Cambridge , 293-309.