Synopses & Reviews
Marsden's book is a powerful contribution to the understanding of religion in the Muslim societies of southern Asia and beyond.
Popular representations of Pakistan's North West Frontier have long featured simplistic images of fanatical religion. The radical Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan enhanced the region's reputation as a place of anti-Western militancy. Magnus Marsden shows that the life of a good Muslim in Chitral is above all a mindful life. Challenging much that has been assumed on the Muslim world, this study makes a powerful contribution to the understanding of religion and politics in the Muslim societies of southern Asia and beyond.
What does it mean to be a good Muslim? Magnus Marsden challenges the assumption that Muslims in northern Pakistan unthinkingly support the teachings of radical Islamist movements. In this extraordinary insider account, he documents how Chitral Muslims practise their religion through a complex interaction between mind and spirit.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Rowshan: Chitral village life; 3. Emotions upside-down: affection and Islam; 4. The play of the mind: debating village Muslims; 5. Mahfils and musicians: new Muslims in Markaz; 6. Rowshan's amulet making ulama; 7. To eat or not to eat: Ismai'lis and Sunnis in Rowshan; 8. Conclusion.