SherAli Tareen to publish book on the history of Muslims and Islam in South Asia

Author: Kathryn Pitts

Defending Muhammad in ModernityDefending Muhammad in Modernity

SherAli Tareen, associate professor of religious studies at Franklin and Marshall College, will publish a new book titled Defending Muḥammad in Modernity on January 31, 2020. In this groundbreaking study, Tareen presents the most comprehensive and theoretically engaged work to date on what is arguably the most long-running, complex, and contentious dispute in modern Islam: the Barelvī-Deobandī polemic. The Barelvī and Deobandī groups are two normative orientations/reform movements with beginnings in colonial South Asia. Almost two hundred years separate the beginnings of this polemic from the present. Its specter, however, continues to haunt the religious sensibilities of postcolonial South Asian Muslims in profound ways, both in the region and in diaspora communities around the world.

"No book offers a richer, more illuminating guide to the origins and complex theological relationship of the Barelvi and the Deobandi orientations, which have dominated Sunni Islam in modern South Asia, than Defending Muḥammad in Modernity. SherAli Tareen’s deeply researched, theoretically informed, yet remarkably accessible study will help make Islam in modern South Asia part of wider and much needed conversations among scholars of religion." —Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University, author of Islam in Pakistan: A History

Defending Muḥammad in Modernity will be available in hardback, paperback, and numerous digital editions on January 31, 2020, from the University of Notre Dame Press. For more information, contact: Kathryn Pitts,, 574.631.3267.


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