Skip to main content

The Authentication Of A Discursive Islam

Shi’A Alternatives To Sufi Orders

  • Chapter
New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal

Abstract

Since the 1980s some Senegalese Sunni Muslims have been “converting”1 to Shi’a Islam. This small but growing community is not well—known. In fact most scholars of Senegal and Senegalese Sunni religious leaders and their followers are surprised to hear that Shi’a Islam is spreading among West Africans. The discovery of this branch of Islam is one of the responses of the Senegalese search for an authentic Islam. Throughout the Muslim world there is a tendency to return to earlier practices of Islam perceived as a solution to the failures attributed to Western influence and the innovations (bida) in recent Islamic practice. It is this desire for “true” knowledge about Islam in a return to the scriptural sources that drove some Senegalese Muslims to read various religious and legal books, visit Islamic scholars and clerics seeking the truth about their religion, and learn about other ways of being Muslim.2 This chapter explores how a collectivity of converts works to establish Shi’a Islam as not only authentic Islam but also as authentically Senegalese. 3 Adapting Shi’a Islamic practice to the culture of Senegalese Sufi orders is one way of distancing religious ritual from the perception that Shi’a Islam is Iranian or revolutionary.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Bibliography

  • Aïdara, A. “Trente-quatre années au service de l’Islam au Sénégal: Cheikh Abdul Monem El Zein, un atypique cheikh chiite au Sénégal … ”Le Messager 84 (2 décembre 2003): 4.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anjum, Ovamir. “Islam as a Discursive Tradition: Talal Mad and His Interlocutors,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27, no. 3 (2007): 656–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Asad, Talal. The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam. Occasional Paper Series, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 1986.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

    Google Scholar 

  • Augis, Erin Joanna. “Dakar’s Sunnite Women: The Politics of Person.” PhD thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, December 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  • Batran, A. A. “The Kunta, Sīdī al-Mukhtār al-Kuntī, and the Office of Shaykh al-Tarīqa ‘l-Qādiriyya.” Studies in West African Islamic History 1 (1979): 113–46.

    Google Scholar 

  • Behrman, Lucy C. Muslim Brotherhoods and Politics in Senegal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Brenner, Louis. Controlling Knowledge: Religion, Power and Schooling in a West African Muslim Society. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “Concepts of Ṭarīqa in West Africa: The Case of the Qādiriyya.” In Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam, edited by Donal B. Cruise O’Brien and Christian Coulon, 33–52. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. West African Sufi: The Religious Heritage and Spiritual Search of Cerno Bokar Saalif Taal. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brett, Michael. Ibn Khaldun and the Medieval Maghrib. Aldershort, England: Ashgate Variorum, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijra, Tenth Century CE. Leiden: Brill, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  • Copans, Jean. Les Marabouts de LArachide: La Confrérie Mouride et les Paysans du Sénégal. Paris: Le Sycomore, 1980.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coulon, Christian. Le marabout et le prince: Islam et pouvoir au Sénégal. Série Afrique Noire 11. Paris: Éditions A. Pedone, 1981.

    Google Scholar 

  • Creevey, Lucy E. “Ahmad Bamba 1850–1927.” Studies in West African Islamic History 1 (1979): 278–307.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cruise O’Brien, Donal B. “The Senegalese Exception.” Africa 66, no. 3 (1996): 458–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • —. The Mourides of Senegal: The Political and Economic Organization of an Islamic Brotherhood. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cruise O’Brien, Donal B., and Christian Coulon, eds. Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deeb, Lara. An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shii Lebanon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  • Diop, Momar Coumba, and Mamadou, Diouf. Le Sénégal sous Abdou Dioufi Etat et Société. Paris: Karthala, 1990.

    Google Scholar 

  • Diouf, Mamadou. “The Senegalese Murid Trade Diaspora and the Making of a Vernacular Cosmopolitanism.” Public Culture 12, no. 3 (2000): 679–702.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eickelman, Dale F., and Jon W. Anderson, eds. New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eickelman, Dale F., and James Piscatori. Muslim Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guèye, Cheikh. Touba: La capitale des mourides. Paris: Karthala, 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hastings, Adrian. The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger, eds. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  • Janson, Marloes. “Roaming about for God’s Sake: The Upsurge of the Tabligh Jama‘at in The Gambia.” Journal of Religion in Africa 35, no. 4 (2005): 450–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaba, Lansine. The Wahhabiyya: Islamic Reform and Politics in French West Africa. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1974.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kane, Ousmane, and Jean-Louis Triaud, eds. Islam et Islamismes au Sud du Sahara. Paris: Karthala, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kane, Ousmane, and Leonardo Villalón. “Entre Confrérisme, Réformisme et Islamisme, Les Mustarshidīn du Sénégal.” Islam et Sociétés au Sud du Sahara 9 (1995 ): 119–201.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keddic, Nikki R. Iran and the Muslim World: Resistance and Revolution. London: Macmillan, 1995.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kepel, Gilles. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. London: I. B. Tauris, 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  • Le Soleil. “Les chiites sont-ils des musulmans?” May 5, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “Oui, les Chiites sont des musulmans!,” May 12–13, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leichtman, Mara A.“Revolution, Modernity and (Trans)National Shi’i Islam: Rethinking Religious Conversion in Senegal,” under journal review.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “The Intricacies of Being Senegal’s Lebanese Shi’ite Sheikh.” In Muslim Voices and Lives in the Contemporary World, edited by Frances Trix, John Walbridge and Linda Walbridge, 85–100. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “A Tale of Two Shi’isms: Lebanese Migrants and Senegalese Converts in Dakar.” PhD diss., Department of Anthropology, Brown University, 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “The Legacy of Transnational Lives: Beyond the First Generation of Lebanese in Senegal.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28, no. 4 (2005): 663–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levtzion, Nehemia. “Islam in the Bilad al-Sudan to 1800.” In The History of Islam in Africa, edited by Nehemia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels, 63–91. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levtzion, Nehemia, and Randall L. Pouwels, eds. The History of Islam in Africa. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • Loimeier, Roman. “Patterns and Peculiarities of Islamic Reform in Africa.” Journal of Religion in Africa 33, no. 3 (2003):237–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • —. “Cheikh Touré. Un musulman sénégalais dans le siècle. Du réformisme à l’islamisme.” In Islam et islamismes au sud du Sahara, edited by Ousmane Kane and Jean-Louis Triaud, 155–68. Paris: Karthala, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Magassouba, Moriba. Lislam au Sénégal: Demain les mollahs? Paris: Karthala, 1985.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mandaville, Peter. “Globalization and the Politics of Religious Knowledge: Pluralizing Authority in the Muslim World.” Theory, Culture and Society 24 (2007): 101–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moreau, René Luc. Africains Musulmans: Des communautés en mouvement. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1982.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nakash, Yitzhak. “The Conversion of Iraq’s Tribes to Shi’ism.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 26, no. 3 (1994):443–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Niasse, Sidy Lamine. “Cheikh Touré n’est plus: Un homme de foi s’en est allé.” Wal Fadjri (October 1, 2005).

    Google Scholar 

  • —. Un arabisant entre presse et pouvoir. Dakar: Editions Groupe Wal Fadjri, 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  • Niezen, R. W. “The ‘Community of Helpers of the Sunna’: Islamic Reform among the Songhay of Gao (Mali).” Africa 60 (1990): 399–424.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Robinson, David. Muslim Societies in African History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • —. Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880–1920. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robinson, David, and Jean-Louis Triaud, eds. Le temps des marabouts: Itinéraires et stratégies islamiques en Afrique occidentale française v. 1880–1960. Paris: Karthala, 1997.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosander, Eva Evers. “Introduction: The Islamization of ‘Tradition’ and ‘Modernity.’” In African Islam and Islam in Africa: Encounters between Sufis and Islamists, edited by David Westerlund and Eva Evers Rosander, 1–27. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roy, Olivier. Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah. New York: Columbia, 2004.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schulz, Dorothea E. “(Re)turning to Proper Muslim Practice: Islamic Moral Renewal and Women’s Conflicting Assertions of Sunni Identity in Urban Mali.” Africa Today 54, no. 4 (2008): 21–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Searing, James F. “God Alone is King”: Islam and Emancipation in Senegal; The Wolof Kingdoms of Kajoor and Bawol, 1859–1914. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  • Soares, Benjamin F. Islam and the Prayer Economy: History and Authority in a Malian Town. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Tall, Al Hadj Khaly. “Organisations Islamiques au Service du Développement: Les Exemples de ‘Mozdahir.” Le Soleil (July 14, 2006). http://www.lesoleil.sn/imprimertout.php3?id-rubriquc=355 (accessed July 31, 2008).

    Google Scholar 

  • Touré, Al Hadj Cheikh. “J’ai été en Iran.” Etudes Islamique 13 (1982): 8–10.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “Retour à l’Iran.” Etudes Islamique 15 (1982).

    Google Scholar 

  • Triaud, Jean-Louis, and David Robinson, David, eds. La Tijâniyya: Une confrérie musulmane à la conquête de lAfrique. Paris: Karthala, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • Turner, Victor. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago: Adeline, 1969.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vander Veer, Peter, ed. Conversion to Modernities: The Globalization of Christianity. New York: Routledge, 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  • Villalón, Leonardo A. “Generational Changes, Political Stagnation, and the Evolving Dynamics of Religion and Politics in Senegal.” Africa Today 46, no. 3/4 (1999): 129–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • —. Islamic Society and State Power in Senegal: Disciples and Citizens in Fatick. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • —. “The Moustarchidine of Senegal: The Family Politics of a Contemporary Tijan Movement.” In La Tijâniyya. Une Confrérie Musulmane à la Conquête de lAfrique, edited by Jean-Louis Triaud, and David Robinson, 469–97. Paris: Karthala, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • —. “Senegal.” African Studies Review 47, no. 2 (2004): 61–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2009 Mamadou Diouf and Mara A. Leichtman

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Leichtman, M.A. (2009). The Authentication Of A Discursive Islam. In: Diouf, M., Leichtman, M.A. (eds) New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230618503_6

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics