The Ismaʿili Community and Constructions of Islam and Modernity in Germany: Research Thesis by Linda Hewitt

-Compiled By Sujjawal Ahmad

This thesis examines Ismaʿili individuals’ “lived religion” through personal views on religious values combined with daily practices in German society. Important values of everyday life are observed in connection to Ulrich Beck’s and Anthony Giddens’ “reflexive modernity” theory as a process that encompasses old and new traditions while adapting ambiguous and pluralist forms of contemporary societies.

This study of the Ismaʿili branch serves as an example of Muslim practices that adapt and adjust its divine principles to a modern and secular society while maintaining its unique religious identity.

The purpose of this study is to observe and analyze the Ismaʿili community through a religio-sociological perspective within a contemporary European – in this case German –context. The study examines six particular stories of Ismaʿili individuals in order to narrate their “religion-as-practiced” with all their complexities and dynamics, and personal perception of religious and modern values within German society. Moreover, it observes which religious practices are carried out and how they relate to modern secular values. Therefore, the research questions of this thesis are:

  • What are important values of Ismaʿilis in the context of Germany?
  • How do the interviewed Isma’ilis define a modern lifestyle and balance traditional and modern values in their everyday life?

The study aims to illustrate the Ismaʿili branch of Islam as an example of Islam’s diversification portraying a Muslim religious practice that adapts and adjusts its basic ideas to modernity while striving to maintain its unique religious identity.

Access full thesis here

About the Author:

unnamedLinda Hewitt is an alumni of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Lund University. She started studying Arabic studies at the Free University after living and working in Bahrain as an embassy employee. Afterwards she completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. During her studies at the Lund University, as a graduate student of Humanities and Theology, she has written about the Ismaili community living in Germany as her research thesis. Her publications also includes some other papers: “The Aga Khan Development Network – A Case Study of Karachi’s Health Service Research Proposal” and  “The role of the Aga Khan IV in the Isma’ili Imamate ‘Authority without Territory’?”

Author: Sujjawal Ahmad

Sujjawal is a Pakistan based writer. He did his Masters degree in Molecular Biology from Quaid-i Azam University Pakistan. He writes on philosophical traditions of the world religions, more specifically on Ismaili Philosophy and Theology. Contact via email:

One thought

  1. Impressive indeed to learn Ms Linda Hewitt’s interest in positive research on Ismaili Community living in Germany. Wishing her more success for future on her research work, specially on Ismaili Community.

    Liked by 1 person

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