SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar publishes first book on Tablighi Jama'at in Africa

12 December 2013
Marloes Janson book pic

Dr Marloes Janson, Lecturer in Anthropology at SOAS, University of London has published a monograph on the transnational Islamic missionary movement in Africa, the Tablighi Jama'at.

Islam, Youth, and Modernity in the Gambia, published by the International African Institute and Cambridge University Press, is first book on this Islamic reformist tradition that emerged in India in the mid-nineteenth century. It aims to bring a perspective on the dialogue between Sufi and reformist Islam and the interconnection between Islam, translocality and gender.

Through extensive fieldwork in the Gambia, where knowledge of Islamisation processes is largely lacking, Dr Janson explores how the movement could appeal to the local Muslim population, youth and women in particular.

Dr Janson said: “I wanted to analyse how Gambian youths go about their lives within the framework of neo-liberal reforms and negotiated parameters informed by the Tablighi model of how to be a ‘true’ Muslim - a believer who is able to reconcile faith with a modern lifestyle.”

The book will be launched at SOAS on 19 February 2014, with a panel discussion. The participants are Richard Fardon, Professor of West African Anthropology; Professor Peter Geschiere from Universiteit Van Amsterdam, Dr  Marloes Janson and Dr Parvathi Raman, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology. For more information on the launch email Stephanie Kitchen on

“A well-documented and reasoned examination of the inclusion of Gambian youth into an Islamic transnational movement.” – Mamadou Diouf

“By putting the accent on gendered and generational dimensions of Tablighi practice, Janson’s ethnography illuminates the critical role of faith in the forging of modern youthful identities.” – Adeline Masquelier