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Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion: Religion, Rebels, and Jihad

Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion: Religion, Rebels, and Jihad
Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst

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While jihad has been the subject of countless studies in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, scholarship on the topic has so far paid little attention to South Asian Islam and, more specifically, its place in South Asian history. Seeking to fill some gaps in the historiography, Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst examines the effects of the 1857 Rebellion (long taught in Britain as the 'Indian Mutiny') on debates about the issue of jihad during the British Raj. Morgenstein Fuerst shows that the Rebellion had lasting, pronounced effects on the understanding by their Indian subjects (whether Muslim, Hindu or Sikh) of imperial rule by distant outsiders. For India's Muslims their interpretation of the Rebellion as jihad shaped subsequent discourses, definitions and codifications of Islam in the region. Morgenstein Fuerst concludes by demonstrating how these perceptions of jihad, contextualised within the framework of the 19th century Rebellion, continue to influence contemporary rhetoric about Islam and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent.Drawing on extensive primary source analysis, this unique take on Islamic identities in South Asia will be invaluable to scholars working on British colonial history, India and the Raj, as well as to those studying Islam in the region and beyond.

Author Info

Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont. She has previously published in peer-reviewed journals and her research deals with Islam in South Asia, historiography and the development of theories of religion. She received an MTS from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


'This important reading of the 1857 Indian Rebellion reveals the decisive role of European colonialism in defining Islam in terms of jihad. It is a fresh analysis, deeply informed by unsuspected historical sources, with striking implications for our understanding of religion. Highly recommended.' – Carl W. Ernst, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
'Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion is a brilliant contribution, and so much more.  It deepens and advances our understanding of South Asian history, Islam, and colonial encounter, whilst helping us to consider the interconnections among these fields that have for far too long been considered in isolation from one another.   It also announces the arrival of a major scholar in the field.   Recommended with the utmost enthusiasm.' – Omid Safi , Director, Duke Islamic Studies Center, Duke University

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784538552
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2017
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 216
Width: 138

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