The Religious Historical Injunctions of Taqwa, and its Implications for Leadership among the Orma Muslim Women in Tana River County, Kenya
Keywords:Historical injustices, religious, leadership, taqwa, madrassa
This study seeks to examine the interplay between taqwa and leadership among the Orma Muslim women. Taqwa (Arabic: fear of Allah) is a canonical concept that is deep-rooted in the Islamic teachings. In inculcating taqwa, the Orma Muslim women are to cling to every concept that is entrenched in the beliefs and practices of Islam. According to the madrassa teachers, one of the historical provenances entrenched to guide the Muslim women in their taqwa is Surah 33:33. The injunction encourages the women to stay at home and not to be involved in leadership positions outside their homes. On the contrary, one of the keenly observed aspects in Islam, which is highly guarded among the Muslims, is the rule forbidding the intermingling of sexes. However, the researcher observed that although this is a matter of significance, all the Islamic teachers employed to teach the Orma Muslim women are male. Thus, one of the pertinent questions that this study raises is: Why are there no female Islamic teachers occupying leadership positions to guide the Orma Muslim women in the madrassa?
In understanding this phenomenon, the religious historical provenances as engrained in the beliefs and practices involved in taqwa are examined in light of this Qur’anic injunction as comprehended and communicated by the Islamic teachers in Tana River County. The researcher adopted Synthetic Triangular Approach (STA) framework as proposed by Kim (2014). The research is qualitative by nature and engages phenomenological design in bringing out the lived experiences. In addition, the researcher employed ethnographic tools such as in-depth interviews, participant observation, and focus groups in collecting data. The researcher interviewed both the religious teachers and the Orma Muslim women. However, in examining the interplay between taqwa and leadership in this study, the researcher has opted to use only the data collected from the madrassa teachers as it dealt with leadership as one of their focal points. In analyzing and interpretation of the data, this study adopted Thematic Coding Analysis (Gibbs, 2007). This study will therefore look at the religiously underpinned gender imbalance of taqwa, and its implications for leadership among the Orma Muslim women in Tana River County.