The project seeks to understand modern Salafism as a complex transnational Islamic movement that evokes normative texts and paradigmatic historical antecedents. I focus on Salafiyya comparing them with strict Ḥanafīs in interrelated contemporary and historical contexts included in provinces of the former Ottoman Empire. Proposing an ethnography of modern Salafism in the Balkans, I thus suggest a parallel historical amplification of an early modern trajectory of revivalist Islam as represented by the spread of the seventeenth-century Istanbul-based Qāḍīzādeli movement. The project draws on both ethnographic and historical evidence, and the pursuit of its intermediate goals will result in integrating the revealed Salafī patterns of adherence to Islam vis-à-vis alternative forms of “fundamentalist” Islam, particularly strict Ḥanafism, into the large of Islamic history. The project will contribute to the ongoing academic and societal discussions on Islamic fundamentalism and to the definition of Salafism as a contemporary and historical phenomenon via debate and publications. The main product of the research will be a monograph – the first history of Salafism in the Balkans.
Prof. Dr. Simeon Evstatiev