SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Miss Amina Khatun


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Miss Amina Khatun
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Thesis title:
Muslim women mystics: The faith stories of contemporary British Muslim women in the transnational Bani Alawiyya Tarīqa of Hadhramawt
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Works for the Trade Union Congress in Policy and Campaigns. Previously Amina has gained over four years’ experience working in the voluntary sector (KCSC), for a leading Think tank (IPPR), Trade Union (UNISON) and Healthcare NGO (Bliss). She campaigns on a personal and professional level and has contributed to policy development on various social issues around poverty and inequality, citizenship and industrial relations. She has a keen interest in developing progressive strategies to connect policy work with political activism. She intends that her PhD research on Muslim women’s faith will advance a greater understanding of the role of religious networks in the fulfillment, identity and agency of these women in British society.

PhD Research

Sufism is considered to be the predominant (diverse) expression of faith amongst British Muslims in the UK. In recent times, Sufism has successfully reasserted its popularity amongst young British Muslims against other religious reform movements, through the vehicle of powerful and charismatic spiritual guides, and their international outreach, transcending boundaries of origin and ethnicity. The positioning of British Muslim women in these transnational networks, their religious personhoods, negotiations of identity in a secular setting and the impact of their involvement in these groups is however scarcely documented in literature.

By drawing on the life stories of individual women, the study will deal with the following questions: what are the motivations for joining the ‘traditional’ Sufi Bani Alawiyya order? What role does charismatic leadership and modern technology play? How do these women understand female empowerment and agency? And what implications does membership to the order hold living in a secular-British society?

This study therefore sets out a faith and person-centred approach to better understand the motivations of Muslim female Sufi women in contemporary Britain who mobilise the transnational Bani Alawiyya order from Yemen.