Religious Discourse in Tablighi Jama'at: A Challenge to Female Sexuality?

Ambreen Agha


This paper is an empirical research on women's participation in Islamic revivalist movement of Tablighi Jama'at. In the current discourse on religion and female sexuality, I intend to look within Islam, as a religion and as an assertion of identity in the form of Tablighi Jama'at and Tabligh's articulation of its weltanschauung on Muslim way of life, with excessive focus on female sexuality. Here I will discuss Tabligh's conceptualisation of gender and gender roles through my field experience and analysis of women participation in the movement. In recent years we see that there is an upsurge in religious movements across the world exerting their identities and attempting to claim their rights. Since women have always been central to the political and social imagination of the Muslim mind we see an increased level of women's participation in these movements with defined sexual morality and gender equality.
It is through the role of women in the transnational Islamic revivalist movement of Tablighi Jama'at, which arose as a response to Christian missionary and Hindu revivalist movements in the early 1920's in pre-partition India, that I have explored their level of engagement and their practices in order to bring into light tabligh's understanding of the female agency in the Muslim social order. In the backdrop of the feminist project and keeping in view tabligh's Orientalist understanding of the female, I raise the following questions, 'Is Tablighi Jama'at another such assertion within Islam that prescribes laws to define and control the female sexual desire through their understanding of sexuality and gender relations? Is the female tabligh member an agent of 'reform' or is she 'socialized' to believe that that men are superior and that what is described as masculine precedes and has priority over the feminine?


Islam; Islamic Revivalism; Women; Tablighi; Jama'at

Full Text:



Afkhami, Mahnaz. (1995). Faith and Freedom: Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World, London: I B Tauris

Ahmad, Leila. (1992). Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. Yale: Yale University Press

Alam, Muzaffar. (2004). The Languages of Political Islam in India: c.1200-1800. Delhi: Permanent Black

Barazangi, Nimat Hafez. (2004). Woman’s Identity and the Qur’an: A New Reading, USA: University of Florida Press

Brown, Daniel. (2010). A New Introduction to Islam, UK: Blackwell

Bravmann, M.M. (2009). The Spiritual of Early Islam. Netherlands: Brill

Hallaq, Wael B. (1997). A History of Islamic Legal Theories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Khandhalawi, Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya. (1956). Tablighi Nisab (Fazail-i Amal), Volume I and II, New Delhi: Idara Ishaat-e-Diniyat

Lapidus, Ira M. (1997). “Islamic Revival and Modernity: The Contemporary Movements and Historical Paradigms.” Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 43 (2): 207-225

Metcalf, Barbara. (1984). Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam, California: University of California Press

Perfecting Women. (1991). Berkley: University of California Press

Reetz, Dietrich. (2006). Islam in the Public Sphere: Religious Groups in India, 1900-47, New Delhi: Oxford University Press

Robinson, Francis. (2007). Islam, South Asia and the West, Delhi: Oxford University Press

Schacht, Joseph. (1964). Introduction to Islamic Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Shahid, Irfan. (1980). Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. V. (1980). Leiden: E.J.Brill

Smith, Wilfred C. (1957). Islam in Modern History, Princeton: Princeton University Press

Thanawi, Maulana Ashraf A. (1976). Ashraful Jawab, India: Universal Brotherhood



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding (IJMMU) ISSN 2364-5369
Copyright © 2014-2018 IJMMU. All rights reserved.