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Subproject C9

Religious Practice and Ritual Community among Sunni Muslims in Germany

Department and Research Field: Islamic and Arabic Studies

Subproject Management

Prof. Dr. Susanne Enderwitz


Department of Near East Languages and Cultures / Islamic Studies / Arabic Studies

Sandgasse 7

69117 Heidelberg


Phone: +49 (0) 6221-54 34 85 (direct line)

Phone: +49 (0) 6221-54 29 69 (secretary's office)

Fax: +49 (0) 6221-54 29 63


>> Website Subproject C9 (German)


Dr. Udo Simon
resigned June 30, 2009
Dr. Paula Schrode

Project Program

This project succeeds our prior project on Ritual Purity in Sunni Islam. While purity practices do contain social dimensions, impacts on the social field become even more manifest in other spheres of Islamic ritual practice. The focus of the project will thus switch from “purity” as a ritual category that primarily refers to the individual body to such dimensions of Islamic religious practice which structure and at the same time distinguish the social body.

Focusing on multiethnic Islam in Germany as well as on Turkish Islam, the sacrifice (dhabh) will be analyzed as a major ritual complex in Muslim religious life and – in its relatedness to Islamic concepts such as the sacrificial offering (qurbān), alms (sadaqa) and welfare contributions (zakāt, the “purification” of assets) – as a ritual interface between social practice and the discursive construction of a social collective based on principles such as solidarity. During research, markers of distinction within and outside the Muslim communities will be of equal interest.

A comparative study of sacrificial practices and the related transactions between Germany and Turkey will be connected to an analysis of religious discourses dealing with the whole purpose of the Islamic sacrifice as well as with the legitimacy of substitute acts. A central question will concern the functions and meanings of sacrifices and sharing out in Muslim societies of origin as compared to the partially strongly fragmented Muslim milieus in Germany. In what way does the idea of the Islamic community (umma) change, when ritual donations are no longer given to indigent neighbors in the village but to foreign Muslim countries via transfer? How can this new transnational dimension of sacrifices and donations be evaluated using theoretical frameworks of economics of religion?
Finally, the enlarged complex of ritual give-and-take seems to be crucial for processes of formation and self-positioning of Muslim groups within a multi-religious society as well as among different offers of Islam.

Main Topics

Ritual Economy



Data Archive

This subproject has archived data in the course of their research and is making them available online.

Archive page of the subproject >>>