Islam and gender in northern Mozambique: matriliny, shari’a and modernity
The Muslim communities of northern Mozambique have been impacted by a symbiosis of Islam and matriliny for many centuries. This symbiosis is still influential today, and can be seen as a paradigm found along the Indian Ocean rim. The historical and contemporary transformations of these symbioses can be seen through the prism of their interactions with processes of initial Islamization, then colonization and modernization, focusing on the emergence, survival and persistence of the coexistence of matriliny and Islam and associated gender. The construction of religious, political and economic identities in the northern (and to some extent central) region of Mozambique is thus linked to the Indian Ocean long before the arrival of the Portuguese ships of the Discoveries, the M’fecane or the golden age of the Ajaua, Shona, Karanga or Marave kingdoms.