Networking the Nomads: a Study of Tablīghī Jamāʽat among the Borana of Northern Kenya


Dr. Halkano Wario

Research Area:


The relations between the mainstream Islam, Tablighi Jamaat and Husseiniya Sufi Order are marked by complex processes, ranging from conflict and competition to accommodation. Though Islam has a relatively short history in Northern Kenya, the religious landscape is currently characterized by increased mass education through madrassas, rising levels of connectivity between places and peoples, emergence of homegrown clericalism and a gradual move towards Islamic reforms. The study examines how three distinct but overlapping Islamic discursive traditions i.e. one influenced by contemporary Islamic reformism, another transnational but active in the locality (Tablighi Jamaat) and lastly one Sufi in nature (Husseiniya), interact and appropriate symbols of local, trans-local and global nature to legitimate their authenticity, orthodoxy, and relevance in a rapidly Islamizing community found in Isiolo (Waso) and Moyale area. Therefore Merti and Moyale have been chosen as ideal site for the field work. This study is interdisciplinary in nature, as it will incorporated fields such as sociology, law, anthropology, and religious studies. It intends to apply qualitative methods of data collection such as participant observation, in-depth individual and group interviews, analysis of sermons and biographical narratives of key informants.