Broadcasting Female Muslim Preaching in Kenya: Negotiating Religious Authority and the Ambiguous Role of the Voice

  • Hassan J. Ndzovu Moi University: Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, KE


Most of the Islamic public sermonising in Kenya is done by male clerics. However, since the liberalisation of the airwaves there is an emerging clique of female preachers (dai’ya) engaging in the dissemination of Isla-mic knowledge through radio stations. The broadcasting of sermons by the radio stations provides the female preachers access to the public, facilitat-ing their participation in the ethical discussion of various issues from an Islamic perspective. It is argued that this trend destabilises previous qualifi-cations of religious authority. Therefore, this study analyses how the radio stations facilitate the ways in which Islam is presented to the public. Significantly, it explores the controversial status of the female voice as a medium of transmitting religious knowledge to the Muslim public, since ulama emphasise the importance of the voice as a mode of transmitting authoritative religious knowledge. In this respect, the study further asks, What is the role of the female voice as a means of expression of authoritative public speech?


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