“In contrast to the conventional emphases on the political and economic dimensions of the order after its rise to prominence, Babou stresses the early years and Bamba’s contributions to the ‘greater jihad’ of non-violent religious effort.”
International Journal of African Historical Studies
“This book provides an inside perspective that contextualizes the rise of Bamba and is an important source for all interested in the history of this important Sufi order in Senegal.”
Religious Studies Review
“Babou’s study is particularly rewarding for its treatment of the founder’s life and ideas, set against the background of the Mbakke family’s history. The focus on education and tarbiyya offers an interpretation of the social action of the Murid order that is grounded in Sufi thought.”
American Historical Review
“This important book offers a new interpretation of the Muridiyya of Senegal, the late-19th-century Sufi brotherhood founded by Cheikh Amadu Bamba Mbacké.... Babou tempers the insider’s lived experience with the historian’s balanced analysis.”
In Senegal, the Muridiyya, a large Islamic Sufi order, is the single most influential religious organization, including among its numbers the nation’s president. Yet little is known of this sect in the West. Drawn from a wide variety of archival, oral, and iconographic sources in Arabic, French, and Wolof, Fighting the Greater Jihad offers an astute analysis of the founding and development of the order and a biographical study of its founder, Cheikh Amadu Bamba Mbacke.
Cheikh Anta Babou explores the forging of Murid identity and pedagogy around the person and initiative of Amadu Bamba as well as the continuing reconstruction of this identity by more recent followers. He makes a compelling case for reexamining the history of Muslim institutions in Africa and elsewhere in order to appreciate believers’ motivation and initiatives, especially religious culture and education, beyond the narrow confines of political collaboration and resistance. Fighting the Greater Jihad also reveals how religious power is built at the intersection of genealogy, knowledge, and spiritual force, and how this power in turn affected colonial policy.
Fighting the Greater Jihad will dramatically alter the perspective from which anthropologists, historians, and political scientists study Muslim mystical orders.
Cheikh Anta Babou is assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught African history and the history of Islam in Africa since 2002. He is the foremost historian of the Muridiyya of Senegal and has published extensively on the genesis of the Murid order, the expansion of the Senegalese and Murid diaspora, and the politics of Sufi Islam in Senegal. More info →
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This study offers a “social interpretation of environmental process” for the coastal lowlands of southeastern Ghana. The Anlo-Ewe, sometimes hailed as the quintessential sea fishermen of the West African coast, are a previously non-maritime people who developed a maritime tradition. As a fishing community the Anlo have a strong attachment to their land. In the twentieth century coastal erosion has brought about a collapse of the balance between nature and culture.
In the case of Nigeria, scholarship on religious politics has not adequately taken into account the pluralistic context and the idealistic pretensions of the state that inhibit the possibility of forging an enduring civic amity among Nigeria’s diverse groups. Ilesanmi proposes a new philosophy or model of religio-political interaction, which he calls dialogic politics.
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