Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater

Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater

EDITED BY KARIN VAN NIEUWKERK
Copyright Date: 2011
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/726819
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  • Book Info
    Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater
    Book Description:

    From "green" pop and "clean" cinema to halal songs, Islamic soaps, Muslim rap, Islamist fantasy serials, and Suficized music, the performing arts have become popular and potent avenues for Islamic piety movements, politically engaged Islamists, Islamic states, and moderate believers to propagate their religio-ethical beliefs. Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater is the first book that explores this vital intersection between artistic production and Islamic discourse in the Muslim world.

    The contributors to this volume investigate the historical and structural conditions that impede or facilitate the emergence of a "post-Islamist" cultural sphere. They discuss the development of religious sensibilities among audiences, which increasingly include the well-to-do and the educated young, as well as the emergence of a local and global religious market. At the heart of these essays is an examination of the intersection between cultural politics, performing art, and religion, addressing such questions as where, how, and why pop culture and performing arts have been turned into a religious mission, and whether it is possible to develop a new Islamic aesthetic that is balanced with religious sensibilities. As we read about young Muslims and their quest for a "cool Islam" in music, their struggle to quell their stigmatized status, or the collision of morals and the marketplace in the arts, a vivid, varied new perspective on Muslim culture emerges.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-73552-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, Film Studies, Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. VII-X)
  4. INTRODUCTION. ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MUSLIM CULTURAL SPHERE: ETHICS, AESTHETICS, AND THE PERFORMING ARTS
    (pp. 1-24)
    KARIN VAN NIEUWKERK

    Green pop, clean cinema, halal songs, Islamic soaps, Muslim rap and hip-hop, Islamist fantasy serials, postrevolutionary Islamic “Dance-Theatre,” Suficized music, as well as heavy metal against Islam, are just a few of the performing arts that will be presented here. This book will trace Islamic discourses on performing arts and give insight into several genres of religious and nonreligious productions that manifest Islam in its various forms. It will foreground case studies from Germany, France, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Canada, and the USA. The book will analyze the way piety movements and politically engaged Islamists, Islamic states as well...

  5. PART ONE. The Power of Performance
    • CHAPTER 1 HARDCORE MUSLIMS: ISLAMIC THEMES IN TURKISH RAP BETWEEN DIASPORA AND HOMELAND
      (pp. 27-54)
      THOMAS SOLOMON

      At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Islam had, according to various estimates, between 900 million and 1.4 billion adherents in more than fifty countries, making it the second-largest religion in the world. Rap music and hip-hop youth culture have also, in their brief history, achieved global status, as the essays in Tony Mitchell’s edited volume Global Noise (2001b) illustrate. It is perhaps not surprising that the long-standing world religion Islam¹ and the more recently global musical genre of rap have intersected in various ways.² Both the religion and the musical style have spread over the globe as people and...

    • CHAPTER 2 CONTESTING ISLAMIC CONCEPTS OF MORALITY: HEAVY METAL IN ISTANBUL
      (pp. 55-84)
      PIERRE HECKER

      “I got no problem with religion or religious people. My problem is they got a problem with me,” my counterpart with the long, blond dyed hair so aptly sums up. With his tattooed arms and the “pilot shades” on his head, he could easily be considered as the Turkish incarnation of American glam rock star Bret Michaels, who had just dropped by to have a couple of beers before hitting on the beautiful young women in the bar where we were doing the interview. Lighting another cigarette, he disdainfully adds: “You know, when they saw me on TV or out...

    • CHAPTER 3 IRANIAN POPULAR MUSIC IN LOS ANGELES: A TRANSNATIONAL PUBLIC BEYOND THE ISLAMIC STATE
      (pp. 85-112)
      FARZANEH HEMMASI

      Above are the words to a song by Hassan Shamaizadeh, a well-known Iranian vocalist, instrumentalist, and composer who has lived in Southern California since the Iranian Revolution, which took place some three decades ago. These lyrics are set to a rollicking, driving rhythmic instrumental accompaniment that recalls urban musical styles linked to dance and Tehran’s cabarets of the mid-twentieth century. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in 1978–1979, such cabarets and nightclubs were closed, mixed-sex social dance was banned, and popular musics were restricted as the country’s religious leaders sought to bring state, culture, and...

  6. PART TWO. Motivations
    • CHAPTER 4 RITUAL AS STRATEGIC ACTION: THE SOCIAL LOGIC OF MUSICAL SILENCE IN CANADIAN ISLAM
      (pp. 115-148)
      MICHAEL FRISHKOPF

      Living in egypt for many years, I became accustomed to Islamic ritual as sonically rich, hence socially and spiritually compelling. From Qurʾanic recitation (tilawa), to the Sufi liturgy (hadra), from the saint’s day festival (mawlid) to ordinary congregational prayer (salah), Egyptian sounds of Islam are variegated, often moving, and frequently virtuosic. In short, they are often (though certainly not always) “music,” if this word is understood in its broad English sense of “aesthetic sound,” rather than as a cognate of the Arabic musiqa (implying instrumental music, a word not typically applied to Islamic practices). After moving from Cairo to Canada...

    • CHAPTER 5 PIOUS ENTERTAINMENT: HIZBULLAH’S ISLAMIC CULTURAL SPHERE
      (pp. 149-176)
      JOSEPH ALAGHA

      Hizbullah’s spokesman sayyid ibrahim al-musawi regards art as the most sublime achievement of humanity, since it brings man closer to the creator, to God, who asks man to be in a continuous struggle to ascend toward perfection.¹ Islamic art is a “cause, a passion, and a life.” When a passionate activity is not related to revolution, then it is void of any worth and beauty. Revolutionary activity is part of Islamic art because it is purposeful; its purpose is to transform society and reform it. Herein lies its aesthetic dimension. Islamic art is the art of resistance (al-fann al-muqawim); it...

    • CHAPTER 6 OF MORALS, MISSIONS, AND THE MARKET: NEW RELIGIOSITY AND “ART WITH A MISSION” IN EGYPT
      (pp. 177-204)
      KARIN VAN NIEUWKERK

      Islamism and popular arts seem to be an unlikely pair. Egyptian Islamists, with whom this chapter is concerned, have strongly condemned vulgarity in films, the obscenity of dancing, the dangerous hold of music on youth, and the laxity of performers’ morality. Performing artists have been attacked, and female performers in particular have been heavily criticized for the exposure of their bodies. Religious fervor and fundamentalism seem to be incompatible with art and playfulness. In an inspiring article, the sociologist Asef Bayat wonders why puritan Islamists express hostility toward fun and joy (2007, 433). He argues that “anti-fun-damentalism” is not restricted...

  7. PART THREE. Staging the Body and the World Stage
    • CHAPTER 7 ISLAMIC MODERNITY AND THE RE-ENCHANTING POWER OF SYMBOLS IN ISLAMIC FANTASY SERIALS IN TURKEY
      (pp. 207-230)
      AHU YİĞİT

      Throughout the turkish modernization experience, one thing has remained the same: modernization has been defined with reference to the West. This frame of reference has either taken the form of admiration or distaste. Modern Turkey has been seeking the affirmative gaze of the West: whenever a major event, disaster, or success takes place in Turkey, newspapers devote a section to its echoes in Europe. This can concern a sports event, such as a football match, a natural catastrophe, or a social and political disaster, such as the assassination of a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, Hrant Dink. If the European...

    • CHAPTER 8 FROM “EVIL-INCITING” DANCE TO CHASTE “RHYTHMIC MOVEMENTS”: A GENEALOGY OF MODERN ISLAMIC DANCE-THEATRE IN IRAN
      (pp. 231-256)
      ZEINAB STELLAR

      Despite all moral prohibitions, the genre of “rhythmic movements” (harikat-i mawzun) has brought dance to the service of Islamic theatrical culture in postrevolutionary Iran. Embodying chastity, modesty, and spirituality, harikat-i mawzun has sublimated the dancer from a religiously subaltern “evil-inciting self” (nafs-iʾammarah) to a respectable “contented self” (nafs-i mutmaʾinnah) in the Islamic mystical tradition. Offering a genealogy of this theatrical dance from the early twentieth century to the present, this chapter explores the postrevolutionary genre of rhythmic movements (harikat-i mawzun) and investigates its evolution and transformation from the prerevolutionary “national dance” (raqs-i milli), a “high art” theatrical genre created and...

    • CHAPTER 9 SUFICIZED MUSICS OF SYRIA AT THE INTERSECTION OF HERITAGE AND THE WAR ON TERROR; OR “A RUMI WITH A VIEW”
      (pp. 257-274)
      JONATHAN H. SHANNON

      As is well known among scholars and the faithful, Syria has been home to vibrant traditions of mystical Islam, or Sufism, for centuries. Many of the great Sufi luminaries either came from Syria or settled and taught there for periods of their lives—perhaps the most important being Muhi al-Din Ibn al-ʿArabi (1165–1240) and his near contemporary Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–1273). Today there are important mosques in Aleppo and Damascus named after these individuals and animated by weekly séances of dhikr—i.e., ritual invocations of God that are usually accompanied by chanting and bodily movements collectively termed samaʿ....

  8. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 275-280)
    MARTIN STOKES

    Music, comedy, soap operas, dance, cultural festivals—the contemporary popular culture of the Muslim world discussed in these pages—are sites of cosmopolitanism and public self-fashioning, neither fully under the control of the state or of religious authority. In tune with broader ideological currents, they wear their religiosity lightly, self-consciously, reflexively. “Post-ness” is at play in all of these chapters: “post-Islam,” Islam “air-conditioned” or “Lite.” Elsewhere, Bayat (2007) has discussed the politics of “fun” in the new Islamist movements, Boubekeur the Islamic “society of spectacle,” in which activist becomes “fan,” and imam “celebrity” (2007). Such categories are ideologically rich and...

  9. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 281-282)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 283-291)