Entangled Religions 12.3 (2021) er.ceres.rub.de

(Review A) ‘Popular Ijtihad’ and Entangled Islamic Discourse on the Covid-19 Pandemic in Russia


This is the first review of the preprinted article “‘Popular Ijtihad’ and Entangled Islamic Discourse on the Covid-19 Pandemic in Russia.” The review will be taken offline once the final article has appeared.

review, preprint

Summary Evaluation


Accepted with suggested minor revisions (B)

Original Article


The original article can be found under the following link: https://er.ceres.rub.de/index.php/ER/article/view/8919

1. Give a presentation of the article. What is its contribution to research?


This is a very interesting and intriguing manuscript that possesses a great deal of potential. It concerns the initial reactions of Muslim communities in Russia via social media networks to the outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus. The key narratives and arguments of this specific digital environment are identified and analysed by the author. It is certainly a case that is well worth exploring, it is very specific and unusual, but has the potential to add to the wider academic literature on subject of Muslim digital environments and communities.

2. Assess the source materials and research literature.


There needs to be a much wider and more extensive use of academic literature on the topic. Little in the way of academic literature on Islam, Russia and discourse is evident even though it definitely exists. It is evident more is required in places, for example the first paragraph on page 3, references need to be added to this statement, the works of Michal Kemper may prove handy in this regard. Also in the same part, it should read MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE and not Orthodox Church in order to be more correct about the exact institution in question.

3. Assess the problem formulations; are they clearly stated?


There are some problem formulations stated, but this is where the main problem is to be found with this manuscript. There is little in the way of describing, explaining and motivating the method and approach used in this work, let alone a viable and consistent theoretical means of analysis applied to the data. For example, specifically what were the criterion and means applied to collecting the sample from the social media platforms? It is my suggestion, as a possible useful avenue, to consider applying phenomenology – the analysis of how subjects live and experience life. As this is about the in-group experience of life and how it should be lived juxtaposed against the anti-thesis of how a ‘good’ life is imagined.

4. Assess the analysis and conclusion.


The analysis and resulting conclusions would be greatly strengthened by the author if existing academic literature is included, which is used to conceptually and theoretical interpret the data collected. It may be helpful to include Bunt’s earlier book “iMuslim” as this would be helpful in this respect. But including and integrating the academic literature, the author shall be able to more clearly and concisely locate the position of their contribution to the wider knowledge on the topic and more strongly and confidently put forward their conclusions.

5. Summary, final verdict, and rationale for your decision:


As stated, this manuscript has a lot of potential in it that is yet to be realised at this stage, but it is clearly there. If the above remarks and suggestions, the result should be a much stronger contribution to the field.