Islamic Studies Islamic Print Media
by
Aaron Rock-Singer
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0276

Introduction

The late 19th century saw the rise of a new textual object: Islamic print media. Whether journals, magazines, or books, these texts were self-consciously religious and reflected broader shifts in technology, literacy, and religious authority. Islamic print media was distinct from previous mediums for transmitting Islamic knowledge by its basic technological component: rather than a manuscript that must be copied by hand (and is thus produced in response to demand from particular purchasers), the cost of print media was bound up primarily in the original production process and erred on the side of greater, rather than lesser, diffusion. Over the past nearly century and a half, a still wider array of forms of Islamic print media have emerged, ranging from journals to magazines to short pocket-sized pamphlets. The rise and spread of Islamic print media was part and parcel of a broader shift in authority in Muslim-majority societies. It was a time of the decisive passing of an old order of urban notables by which prominent religious, economic, and military chiefs served as mediators between ruler and ruled. In its stead, new bureaucratic elites, often the product of state educational institutions, emerged as key participants in constituting a broader public sphere. In this context, the scholarly elite split between those who derived their authority primarily from association with modernizing states and others who sought to preserve the traditional independence of the ulama. It was a time during which Sufi orders struggled to retain their historic mediating function and declined in the face of an increasing powerful state (and the seizure of Islamic endowments controlled by these orders), as well as the rise of mass political movements. It was a time during which modernizing states laid increasing claim to the daily lives of its citizens through education, employment, and incarceration. It was also a time of rising literacy, which opened up new opportunities for scholars and lay men and women alike to define Islam for a broader audience. Crucially for those interested in affecting change, it was a time of popular protests across the Middle East and South Asia. Islamic print media was both a key technology and a central site of contestation in the midst of these momentous transformations. It would be used by lay persons who sought to challenge the old scholarly elite, as well as by these elites to retain or reconstitute their authority in radically different political, cultural, and religious circumstances. At the heart of the battle over Islamic print media was a basic question of authority: Who should be able to speak in the name of Islam? To what extent could Islamic print media producers take financial considerations into account? Should they include advertising, and if so, what kind of products were religiously legitimate? How should one treat an Islamic journal or magazine—was it a holy object or everyday ephemera? How was it similar to and different from non-Islamic print media? These tensions and questions, present in other forms of Islamic media today, would never be fully resolved.

Islam and Printing

A key question in the history of Islamic print media is why printing did not spread in the Middle East until the 19th -century. Scholars have challenged the assumption, implicit and explicit, that the Islamic tradition was hostile to printing due to a scriptually rooted distrust of innovation. Instead, they have shown that resistance to printing in the Middle East centered on its status as a guild activity, the existence of a limited reading audience, political censorship, and opposition by the ulama. With the arrival of sustained colonial conflict, the audience for print grew further as political leaders sought to use print in the anticolonial struggle (Proudfoot 1997). While the rise of colonial conflict and nationalism was a boon to print, other processes of trade, publishing, and colonial infrastructure also played important roles in promoting the spread of printing.

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    A classic and still unsurpassed overview of the rise of the press in the Middle East, focused on Lebanon and Egypt.

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  • Chih, Rachida, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, and Rüdigger Seesemann, eds. Sufism, Literary Production, and Printing in the Nineteenth Century. Baden, Germany: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2015.

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    This eighteen-chapter edited volume traces the relationship among Sufism, literary production, and printing over the course of the 19th century. Pushing back against narratives that argue for Sufism’s decline in the face of the changes of modernity and against a focus exclusively on the Ottoman Empire and Arab world, the authors collectively show how Sufi scholars and orders successfully responded to the ruptures and opportunities of this period from the Ottoman lands, across Asia and into sub-Saharan Africa.

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  • Göçek, Fatma Müge. “Printing Press.” In East Encounter West: France and the Ottoman Empire in the Eighteenth Century. Edited by Fatma Müge Göçek, 108–115. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

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    An analysis of the trajectory of the printing press in the Ottoman Empire, which highlights the 1726 decision to establish an Ottoman printing press.

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  • Mahdi, Muhsin. “From the Manuscript Age to the Age of Printed Books.” In The Book in the Islamic World: The Written Word and Communication in the Middle East. Edited by George Atiyeh, 1–16. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

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    This chapter examines the initially slow pace of the adoption of print in the Islamic world broadly, with reference to Muslim concern with error-ridden printing of religious texts, as well as the continued social significance of the manuscript tradition.

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  • Proudfoot, Ian. “Mass Producing Houri’s Moles or Aesthetics and Choice of Technology in Early Muslim Book Printing.” In Islam: Essays on Scripture, Thought, and Society. Edited by Peter G. Riddel and Tony Street, 161–184. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1997.

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    This chapter explores the history of print culture in India and the European colonies of Southeast Asia. Proudfoot decenters the Arab world by telling a story of the role of the East India Company in supplying lithographic presses, of the quick Muslim adoption of this technique during the first half of the 19th century, and of the broader influence of the “Indian model” in Iran and Southeast Asia.

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  • Robinson, Francis. “Technology and Religious Change: Islam and the Impact of Print.” Modern Asian Studies 27.1: 229–251.

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    This article argues that the spread of printing presses was a response by Muslim states in Egypt, Iran, and the Ottoman Empire to the threat of Western powers.

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    An overview of recent research on the history of the book in the Middle East.

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  • Schwartz, Kathryn A. “Did Ottoman Sultans Ban Print?” Book History 20 (2017b): 1–39.

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    A historiographical critique of scholarship on Ottoman printing that tackles both the actual process by which the Ottomans adopted print and the transmission of a rumor from early modern Europe that two Ottoman sultans had banned print in the Ottoman Empire itself.

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  • Schwartz, Kathryn A. “The Political Economy of Private Printing in Cairo as Told from a Commissioning Deal Turned Sour, 1871.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 49.1 (2017c): 25–45.

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    This article critiques technology-centered approaches to the history of Islamicate print, arguing that, during the third quarter of the 19th century, private printing in Ottoman Cairo emerged from local traditions for producing manuscripts and out of local needs. In doing so, Schwartz disentangles the spread of print in this intellectual center from the rise of a nahda (cultural awakening) and nationalism during the second half of the 19th century.

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  • Schwartz, Kathryn A., and Adam Mestyan. An Egyptian Sheikh’s Literary World: Digitally Reconstructing Islamic Print Culture Through Mustafa Salamah al-Najjari’s (d. 1870) Book Collection. Blog.

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    This project seeks to reconstruct the inheritance inventory of Sheikh Mustafa Salamah al-Najjari (d. 1286/1870), an important intellectual in late Ottoman Egypt. This project documents the coexistence of manuscript and print culture in 19th-century Cairo.

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Early Islamic Print Media: A Tradition in Transition

The 20th century would see a shift from a tradition of manuscripts to one of print, as rare classic manuscripts returned to circulation in print form and the spread of printing technology and literacy created opportunities for the production of Islamic print media more broadly. In tandem, both traditionalist scholars and lay persons would turn to media as a means of challenging European domination and shaping public opinion as they made novel claims to religious authority. At stake was not only technological change but also core questions of the production and reception of knowledge: who should be able to speak, how those who read should understand themselves, and the religious ends—traditionalist and reform—that print could serve.

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    This study explores the history of the American Protestant mission’s Arabic press in Beirut, not merely as a window into the world of 19th-century Beirut, but also as a lens to the development of Arabic-language printing more broadly. The author’s visual analysis of texts produced by this press is of particular note for scholars of print culture.

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  • El Shamsy, Ahmed. Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.

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    This study charts the rediscovery of classics of Islamic theology and law from the late 19th century on, highlighting the interplay among colonial rulers, Orientalist scholars, and Muslim laymen and ulama.

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  • Gershoni, Israel, and James P. Jankowski. Redefining the Egyptian Nation: 1930–1945. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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    This book draws on Islamic print media (termed Islamiyyat) to trace the growing awareness of an Arab and Muslim identity among middle-class Egyptians during the 1930s and 1940s.

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    A key study of Islamic print media in Egypt that charts the rise of print media, particularly Islamic books (le Livre Islamique), both quantitatively and socially.

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  • HaLevi, Leor. Modern Things on Trial: Islam’s Global and Material Reformation in the Age of Rida, 1865–1935. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.

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    This book applies the theoretical insights of material religion to the leading Islamic reformist journal al-Manar, arguing that new technologies and commodities shaped local and global projects of Islamic reform.

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  • Hamzah, Dyala. “From ‘Ilm to Sihafa or the Politics of the Public Interest (Maslaha): Muhammad Rashîd Rida and his journal al-Manar (1898–1935).” In The Making of the Arab Intellectual (1880–1960): Empire, Public Sphere and the Colonial Coordinates of Selfhood. Edited by Dyala Hamzah, 90–127. London: Routledge, 2012.

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    Hamzah analyzes how a leading Muslim public intellectual of the early 20th century, Muhammad Rashid Rida, positioned himself not as a scholar but as a journalist.

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    In his classic study of Arab thinkers over the 19th and early 20th centuries, Hourani charts the varied responses to challenges of European political, economic, and religious influence. Hourani shows how response to this challenge involved a turn to educational reform and publishing, both of which required the capacity to produce and consume printed material.

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  • Khalid, Adeeb. The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

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    The classic study of the Jadidist movement in Central Asia and the significance of printing to “New Method” (usul-i jadid) schools.

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  • Khalid, Adeeb. “Printing, Publishing, and Reform in Tsarist Central Asia.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 26.2 (1994): 187–200.

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    This article charts the rise of print in Tsarist Central Asia from the mid-19th through early 20th centuries. The author shows that, far from redefining existing intellectual and religious hierarchies, printing was co-opted by the cultural elite.

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  • Khan, Ahmad. “Islamic Tradition in an Age of Print: Editing, Printing, and Publishing the Classical Heritage.” In Reclaiming Islamic Tradition: Modern Interpretations of the Classical Heritage. Edited by Elisabeth Kendall and Ahmad Khan, 52–100. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016.

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    This book chapter argues that the spread of print and rise of publishing houses created opportunities for ulama to transmit alternative understandings of the premodern Islamic tradition. Most notably for scholars of print media, Khan highlights the importance of margins, footnotes, and introductions to the modern editions of medieval texts to contestations over Islamic reform.

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  • Khan, Ahmad. “Dispatches from Cairo to India: Editors, Publishing Houses, and a Republic of Letters.” Journal of Islamic Studies 31.2 (2020): 226–255.

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    This article reorients the study of Islamic textual production in the mid-20th century away from both particular geographical sites and a disproportionate focus on thinkers sympathetic to a Western project of modernity. Instead, it charts the existence of dynamic intellectual networks among professional editors from the Middle East to South Asia united by shared historical, moral, and intellectual commitments.

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  • Lauzière, Henri. The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

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    A groundbreaking conceptual history of the emergence of Salafism in the 20th-century Middle East that uses Islamic print media from this period to chart the emergence of “Salafism” as a term that refers both to neo-Hanbali theology and a commitment to deriving all law from the Qurʾan and Sunna.

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  • Lazzerini, Edward James. Ismail Bey Gaspirinskii and Muslim Modernism in Russia, 1878–1914. PhD diss., University of Washington, 1973.

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    A key study of a leading Tatar Muslim reformist figure, Ismail Bey Gaspirinskii/Gaspirali (d. 1914) who sought to use print to advance a modernist movement through his journal Tercüman (1883–1918).

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  • Marashi, Afshin. “Print Culture and Its Publics: A Social History of Bookstores in Tehran, 1900–1950.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 47.1 (2015): 89–108.

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    This article explores print culture in Iran during the first half of the 20th century from the dual perspectives of technological change and the book trade. This print culture, in turn, would undergird the emergence of multiple reading publics, representing varied ideological perspectives, whose priorities continue to shape Iranian politics today.

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  • Metcalf, Barbara. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860–1900. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982.

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    In a study of the Deoband movement in late-19th-century North India, this author shows how the ulama responded to British colonial rule and the fall of Muslim political power. Specifically, Metcalf tells a story of how, beginning in the early 19th century, reformist ulama took advantage of printing presses to spread their message.

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  • Ryad, Umar. “A Printed Muslim ‘Lighthouse’ in Cairo al-Manār’s Early Years, Religious Aspiration and Reception (1898–1903).” Arabica 56.1 (2009): 27–60.

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    A key study of the establishment and rise of al-Manar, based on access to Rashid Rida’s personal papers.

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  • Starke, Ulrika. An Empire of Books: The Naval Kishore Press and the Diffusion of the Printed Word in Colonial India. Hyderabad, India: Orient Blackswan, 2009.

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    Starke chronicles the history of the book and commercialization of print in South Asia through the story of the Naval Kishore Press of Lucknow, which published texts in Hindu, Urdu, Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian. Far from a story of religious print media alone, the author analyzes the production of both elite and popular-oriented texts in religion, medicine, historiography, and literature within a larger story of Indian modernity.

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  • Stolz, Daniel A. “‘By Virtue of Your Knowledge’: Scientific Materialism and the Fatwās of Rashīd Riḍā.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 75 (2012): 223–247.

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    This article examines several fatwas in al-Manar as a lens to broader Arabic-language debates over materialism at the turn of the 20th century, with particular focus on the implication of these debates for new models of Islamic authority.

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  • Yousef, Hoda. Composing Egypt: Reading, Writing, and the Emergence of a Modern Nation, 1870–1930. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016.

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    This study of the history of reading and writing in Egypt at the turn of the 20th century emphasizes the centrality of texts to competing ideological and cultural approaches, whether nationalists, Islamic reformers, journalists, or feminists. Of particular note is Yousef’s nuanced engagement with the concept of literacy, an approach of value to the study of print media generally, and Islamic print media in particular.

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Islamic Movements and Print Media

The rise of Islamic movements in the 20th century reflected and furthered the centrality of print media to popular mobilization. Islamic periodicals, in particular, would serve as key means of transmission and communication alike, as movements of varied ideological orientations sought to transcend the limits of their physical infrastructure by speaking to a mass audience through print. This form of Islamic print media, in turn, would come to serve as a key site of ideological contestation as editors, writers, and readers wrestled to make sense of the world around them.

  • al-Arian, Abdullah. Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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    A valuable empirical study of the rise of the Islamic student movement in 1970s Egypt. Chapter 6 (“Constructing the Call”) analyzes the Muslim Brotherhood’s official magazine, al-Daʿwa.

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  • Brooke, Steven, and Neil Ketchley. “Social and Institutional Origins of Political Islam.” American Political Science Review 112.2 (May 2018): 376–394.

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    Based on information found in the Muslim Brotherhood’s 1930s newspapers (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin and al-Taʿruf), this article analyzes the influence of railway and literacy expansion on the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise.

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  • Edwards, David B. “Print Islam: Media and Religious Revolution in Afghanistan.” Anthropological Quarterly 68.3 (July 1995): 171–184.

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    This article examines the role of newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines in the development of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan (Hizb-i Islami).

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  • al-Ghubashi, Shuʿayb. Sihafat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin: Dirasa fi al-Usul waʾl-Funun. Cairo: Dar al-Tawziʿ waʾl-Nashr al-Islamiyya, 2004.

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    An internal study produced by the Muslim Brotherhood that provides a strong empirical basis for the Brotherhood’s journalistic activities since its establishment in 1928.

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  • Hayba, Muhammad Mansur Mahmud. al-Sihafa al-Islamiyya fi Misr: Bayna ʿAbd al-Nasir wa-l-Sadat. Mansura, Egypt: Dar al-Wafa l-il-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 1990.

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    A study of “Islamic journalism” in Egypt that centers on the second half of the 20th century. This study’s merit lays in its consideration of ideologically heterogeneous Islamic print media.

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  • Hegghammer, Thomas. The Caravan: Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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    This groundbreaking study of the rise of “global jihad” traces the story of Abdallah Azzam, a Palestinian scholar who played a leading role in the mobilization of Arab fighters in 1980s Afghanistan. It draws extensively on Jihadi magazines from this period, most notably al-Jihad and al-Bunyan al-Marsus, as well as on religious texts published both during Azzam’s lifetime as well as posthumously.

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  • Ingram, Brannon. Revival from Below: The Deoband Movement and Global Islam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018.

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    The author broadens the study of Deobandis beyond South Asia, with particular attention to the movement’s relation to Sufism. Chapter 3 (“Remaking the Public”) draws in particular on Islamic print media to tell a story of the Deobandi embrace of this medium under the leadership of Ashraf Ali Thanvi (b. 1863–d. 1943) as this leading thinker sought to use the written word to affect a project of Islamic reform.

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  • al-Jindi, Anwar. Tarikh al-Sihafa al-Islamiyya. Cairo: Dar al-Ansar, 1983.

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    This two-volume study, written by a leading Egyptian Islamic thinker, traces the rise of Islamic periodicals from the late 19th through late 20th centuries.

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  • Rock-Singer, Aaron. Practicing Islam in Egypt: Print Media and Islamic Revival. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

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    A recent study of the rise of the Islamic Revival in Egypt that draws on Statist, Islamist, and Salafi periodicals to chart the emergence of particular practices of piety under Anwar al-Sadat’s rule (1970–1981).

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  • Wickham, Carrie Rosefsky. Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism and Political Change in Egypt. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

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    This study of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s rise since the 1970s tracks how Egypt’s leading Islamist movement used print media as a key axis of a broader project of ideological outreach.

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States and Print Media

While Islamic movements’ turn to print media has received the majority of scholarly attention, states across the Middle East have utilized print to advance particular religious projects both within and beyond state institutions. Whether through school curricula, the publication of fatwa collections, or the use of standardized legal documents, states that rule over Muslim majorities have served as key engines for the popularization of Islamic print media.

  • Farquhar, Michael. Circuits of Faith: Migration, Education and the Wahhabi Mission. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017.

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    This nuanced and well-written study of the global project of Wahhabi proselytization focuses on the role of the Islamic University of Medina (IUM) in projecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s religious mission globally. It emphasizes not merely the circulation of texts, but also that of people, as graduates of IUM returned to their countries of origin.

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  • Fortna, Benjamin. Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    This is a study of the expansion of the secondary school system undertaken by the Ottoman state just before the Young Turks revolution. It highlights the employment of both European and Islamic models of education in the context of the late Ottoman educational project.

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  • Messick, Brinkley. The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

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    A study of the “textual polity” of Ibb from the 19th century under Ottoman rule to the modern state of Yemen between 1918 and 1962. This work vividly traces the shift to state-centered modes of document production, including for fiqh texts.

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  • Skovgaard-Petersen, Jakob. Defining Islam for the Egyptian State: Muftis and Fatwas of the Dār Al-Iftā. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1997.

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    A study of the activities of Dar al-Ifta that draws extensively on Islamic print materials produced by official Egyptian state bodies, most notably the official Fatawa Islamiyya collection and varied Islamic periodicals.

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  • Starrett, Gregory. Putting Islam to Work: Education, Politics, and Religious Transformation in Egypt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

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    This is a classic and yet unsurpassed study of the nationalization of Islamic education in 20th-century Egypt. This work melds historical and ethnographic analysis of Islamic print media, particularly public school educational curricula.

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Islamic Print Media and Gender

Print media would serve not only as a key engine of Islamic movements and states, but also as a key medium for female thinkers who sought to articulate alternative religious visions. These women used print to challenge long-standing divisions of public and private, with some embracing the public sphere and other valorizing its private counterpart.

  • Baron, Beth. The Women’s Awakening in Egypt: Culture, Society, and the Press. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

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    This study of women’s thought in late-19th- and early-20th-century Egypt draws on a treasure trove of women’s periodicals to trace the ideas of key female thinkers.

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  • Booth, Marilyn. Classes of Ladies of Cloistered Spaces: Writing Feminist History through Biography in Fin-de-Siècle Egypt. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2016.

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    This book is a highly creative analysis of an 1894 compendia of notable women authored by Zaynab Fawwaz, a Lebanse Shiʿi woman residing in Cairo. Instead of understanding the text within a longer textual history of biographical dictionaries common to the Islamic scholarly tradition, Booth explores this literary form as a site of feminist negotiation of patriarchal structures in the shadow of colonial modernity.

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  • McLarney, Ellen Anne. Soft Force: Women in Egypt’s Islamic Awakening. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.

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    This book employs literary analysis to incorporate women as key contributors to the story of religious change in Egypt. In doing so, McLarney draws extensively on the texts that women such as Bint al-Shatiʾ, Niʿmat Sidqi, and Safinaz Kazim published.

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  • Robb, Megan. Print and the Urdu Public: Muslims, Newspapers, and Urban Life, 1900–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

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    This book draws on previously unexamined Urdu-language Islamic print media, particularly the newspaper Madina, to trace the emergence of an Urdu public during the first half of the 20th century.

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Islamic Print Media and the Ulama

The spread of print was long seen as a threat to the authority of classically trained scholars. Yet even as some members of this class struggled to adapt to changing technological conditions, many others would utilize it to spread their message far beyond the confines of the seminary.

  • Eickelman, Dale F., and John W. Anderson. New Media in the Muslim World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

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    A classic study of the consequences of “New Media” forms such as satellite television and the Internet, and of the novel uses of older media such as audiocassettes and print, for contestations over belief, authority, and community in Modern Islam.

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  • Fuchs, Simon Wolfgang. In a Pure Muslim Land: Shiʿism between Pakistan and the Middle East. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

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    This study charts the intellectual history of Shiʿi thought in Pakistan, arguing that Pakistani Shiʿi thinkers were active participants in a global project of Shiʿism rather than mere reflections of the ideas promoted by their counterparts in Iraq and Iran. This work’s contribution lays not merely in its innovative argument, but also in its engagement with a wide variety of previously unused or underutilized Indian and Pakistani Shiʿi journals.

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  • Gesink, Indira Falk. Islamic Reform and Conservatism: Al-Azhar and the Evolution of Modern Sunni Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010.

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    A study of the contribution made by conservative Egyptian ulama to reform in late-19th- and early-20th-century Egypt. This work draws on varied Islamic periodicals, mostly notably al-Manar and al-Liwaʾ, as well as on religious debates in newspapers during this period.

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  • Hatina, Meir. ʿUlamaʾ, Politics, and the Public Sphere. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2010.

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    This study of ulama from the mid-19th- through early-20th-century Egypt draws extensively on Islamic periodicals from this period to explore how scholars reacted to the expansion of state building and nationalist sentiment.

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  • Pierret, Thomas. Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama From Coup to Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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    This study uses popular and scholarly religious texts produced in 20th-century Syria to tell a story of how Sunni scholars have maintained influence despite the challenges posed by Baʿthist authoritarian rule.

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  • Zaman, Muhammad Qasim. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002.

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    A landmark text in analyzing the ulama and the Islamic scholarly tradition, this study argues that scholars in Egypt and South Asia have successfully asserted their claim to guardianship of the Islamic tradition in the face of the rise of the modern state and challengers, whether Islamists, secular nationalists, or liberals. This study draws heavily on printed works and periodicals published by 20th-century ulama in both Arabic and Urdu.

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  • Zaman, Muhammad Qasim. Modern Islamic Thought in a Radical Age: Religious Authority and Internal Criticism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.

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    A study of how ulama in the Arab world and South Asia have debated questions of religious reform in the 20th century. This study draws extensively on printed fatwa collections, legal studies, and modern editions of classical Islamic texts.

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