Accepted Paper:

Postponing piety in urban Burkina Faso: discussing ideas on when to start acting as a pious Muslim  

Author:

Liza Debevec (International Water Management Institute)

Paper short abstract:

By exploring vernacular concepts about the right time to start acting as a proper, pious Muslim among the inhabitants of Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), this paper discusses various notions, both ‘popular’ and ‘official’ religious ones, of what constitutes ‘true’ piety for urban Burkinabe Muslims.

Paper long abstract:

Among the 'moderate' Muslims in urban Burkina Faso those individuals who do not pray regularly or act in ways that are considered essential for 'true' piety by most practicing Muslims, often claim that they are waiting for the right time to start performing the five daily prayers on a regular basis and abide by the tenets appropriate for a 'proper' Muslim. Their explanations are based on vernacular notions of piety developed primarily in discussions among friends, in which they also significantly draw on statements made by Muslim religious leaders in their sermons and lectures so as to defend and justify their act of postponing piety. By exploring these vernacular and literal concepts about the right time to start acting as a proper, pious Muslim among the inhabitants of Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), this paper discusses a variety of notions, both 'popular' and 'official' religious ones, of what constitues 'true' piety for urban Burkinabe Muslims. It further aligns this notion of postponing piety to the more conventional notions of piety that claim one should always be a fully practicing Muslim.

Panel W008
What makes popular piety popular?