International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

The belief and practice of divination among the Swahili Muslims in Mombasa district, Kenya

Esha Faki1*, E. M. Kasiera2 and O. M. J. Nandi3
  1Department of Religion, Theology and Philosophy, Maseno University, Private Bag, Maseno, Kenya. 2Department of Social Sciences Education, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya. 3Department of Social Sciences Education, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 September 2010
  •  Published: 30 November 2010

Abstract

 

This article gives a critical analysis of divination as practiced among the Swahili of Kenya coast. Radical changes in lifestyles were not associated with initial Islamization, but in latter days, Swahili contextualized Islam to recognize some of their cultural practices alongside Orthodox Islam. The belief and practice of divination is among such cultural practices that continue up to now. It is a practice used by some to control their social and physical environment and determine, in some cases, knowledge about their future lives.  Through manipulation, explanation and prediction, divination is employed to attain this important human goal. However, Orthodox Islam condemns the belief and practice of divination. Data for this study was gathered from Swahili Muslims of Mombasa District Kenya to investigate the persistence of this belief and practice of divination. It will also explain the reasons responsible for the belief in and practice of divination among the Swahili Muslims.

 

Key words: Islam, Swahili, divination, orthodox Islam, popular Islam.