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Book chapter Book chapter
Title:Islam and public piety in Mali
Author:Soares, Benjamin F.ISNI
Book title:Public Islam and the common good
Editors:Salvatore, A.
Eickelman, D.F.
City of publisher:Leiden
Geographic term:Mali
Abstract:During his fieldwork in Mali in the 1990s, the author found that many discussions among Malian Muslims about Islam centred on general questions of piety and the 'correct' ways of being a pious Muslim. There seemed to be considerable concern with - and often debate about - the public signs of piety. One such sign was the 'seere', a dark, sometimes circular spot or mark on some Muslims' foreheads. Many Malians noted that such a mark indicates regular prayer and presumably appears from touching the forehead to the ground. The author focuses on these publicly visible signs of piety not only because they were the subject of considerable discussion in Mali but also because they are not limited to any one group of Muslims. Before doing so, he gives an outline of Islam in Malian history, Muslim preachers and the spread of public sermons during the colonial period, Muslim associations and Muslim intellectuals who began to enter the public arena in new ways in the 1950s, and the public sphere and standardization of Islamic practices in the postcolonial period. [ASC Leiden abstract]