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Master's Thesis from the year 2016 in the subject Orientalism / Sinology - Islamic Studies, grade: 1,5, Lund University (Middle Eastern Studies), language: English, abstract: This thesis examines Isma¿ili individuals' "lived religion"through personal views on religious values combined with daily practices in German society.
Since a Eurocentric view on Islam often fails to recognize the complexities of Muslim communities while emphasizing the Muslim faith as incompatible with "modernity", the current study of the Isma¿ili branch serves as an example of Muslim practices that adapt and adjust its divine principles to a modern and secular society while maintain its unique religious identity. Important values of everyday life are observed in connection to Ulrich Beck's and Anthony Gidden's "reflexive modernity" theory as a process that encompasses old and new traditions while adapting ambiguous and pluralist forms of contemporary societies.
This thesis begins with a depiction of the historical background describing Isma¿ili religious principles in order to grasp a general understanding of this specific community. Chapter three discusses significant literature relating to the research topic, examining publications about the Isma¿ili discourse and the Aga Khan's ideology. Furthermore the author investigates ethnographic research about Isma¿ili communities living in European and Canadian societies, as a form of comparative literature. Chapter four discusses theories of modernity, late modernity and post-modernity in relation to pluralism thoughts that are relevant in the study of "progressive Muslims" and "modern" Islamic approaches. Subsequently, chapter five illustrates the methodological considerations serving this study and theapproach of semi-structured life-history interviews as a narrative research design. The study concludes with the findings and analysis sections in chapter six and seven which focus on main values of the studied narratives and their perception of modernity in connection to the chosen theoretical framework.