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Fighting the Greater Jihad

Amadu Bamba and the Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853-1913

Cheikh Anta Babou

Publication Year: 2007

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.

Published by: Ohio University Press


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pp. vii- viii

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pp. ix-x

This book concerns the genesis and development of the Muridiyya of Senegal, and especially the role of education in its founding. Previous works have shed light on the political and economic...


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pp. xi-xii

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Note on Orthography

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pp. xiii-

This book makes extensive reference to written documents and oral testimonies in several languages, most notably ...

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pp. 1-19

In 1913, the influential French administrator and specialist of Islam Paul Marty delivered his assessment of the Muridiyya to the colonial administration of Senegal. He wrote: “It [the Muridiyya] subsists today without growing by the sole virtue of the presence and charisma of its founder. But Amadou Bamba is now sixty...

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1: Island, Society, and Power in the Wolof States

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pp. 20-32

Many of the Muslim militant and mystical movements that emerged in the western Sudan in the nineteenth century have been studied in the narrow context of the end of the Atlantic trade and European colonization. The Muridiyya is no exception. This approach has shed light on the ways in which these two momentous...

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2: The Mbakke: The Foundations of Family Traditions

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pp. 33-50

The previous chapter discussed the expansion of Islam among the Wolof and the gradual differentiation of the Muslim leadership after the rule of King Lat Sukaabe in the early eighteenth century. It was argued that along with rulers and Muslim warriors, Quranic teachers and holy men played a crucial role....

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3: The Emergence of Amadu Bamba, 1853-95

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pp. 51-76

Amadu Bamba is the most influential figure of contemporary Senegalese history, and the tariqa he founded is one of the most widely studied Muslim organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet paradoxically, Bamba himself has been largely written out of the scholarship on the Muridiyya, either because of a lack of...

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4: The Founding of Muridiyya

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pp. 77-114

The Muridiyya evolved gradually from a loose network of disciples and sheikhs to an institutionalized Sufi order between the 1880s, when Amadu first adopted tarbiyya as a method of education, and 1904, when, in Mauritania, he received the wird that consecrated...

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5: Murid Conflict with the French Colonial Administration, 1899-1902

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pp. 115-130

The conflict between the Murids and the French colonial administration of Senegal, which reached its climax between 1895 and 1907, is the bestdocumented episode in the history of the Muridiyya. Because of the abundance of relevant archival documents and oral sources, colonial writers, Murid hagiographers...


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pp. 131-140

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6: Slow Path toward Accomodation I: The Time of Rapprochement

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pp. 141-161

Historians have long analyzed the colonial encounter through the prisms of collaboration and resistance. More recently, some scholars have questioned the heuristic validity of these concepts.1 They have highlighted the emotional load they carry as they inevitably recall the context of World War II Europe, with some

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7: Slow Path toward Accomodation II: Making Murid Space in Colonial Bawol

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pp. 162-174

The relocation of Amadu Bamba in the colonial town of Diourbel in 1912 marked an important moment in the relationship between the Muridiyya and the colonial administration. For the first time since 1895, the cleric was allowed to return permanently to his native land of Bawol. He was still under house arrest, but his presence in eastern Bawol was a boost for the morale of Murid sheikhs...

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pp. 175-184

Murid voices have been largely muted in the scholarship on the Muridiyya, which has resulted in a lopsided historiography. Thus, works on the political and economic significance of the tariqa—the topics that most concerned the producers of...

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Appendix 1: Ijaaza Delivered to Momar A. Sali by Samba Tukuloor Ka

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pp. 185-186

Praise to God alone, peace be upon the seal of prophecy. May the man of knowledge and wisdom who sees this document understand that Sidy ad daar [Master of the house, the nickname that Samba Tukuloor Ka gave himself] has given permission [meaning the ability to use] and authorization...

Appendix 2: Sharifian Genealogy of Amadu Bamba from His Mother's Side

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pp. 187-188

Appendix 3: Amadu Bamba's Sons and Daughters and Their Mothers

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pp. 189-190

Appendix 4: List of the Transmitters of the Qadiriyaa wird Whom Amadu Praises in His Poem "Silsilat ul Qadiriyya"

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pp. 191-192


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pp. 193-262


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pp. 263-284


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pp. 285- 294

E-ISBN-13: 9780821442579
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821417669

Publication Year: 2007