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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Local Tradition or Islamic Precept? The Notion of Zakat in Wuli (Eastern Senegal)
Author:Hoven, Ed vanISNI
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic term:Senegal
marriage rites
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1996.1863
Abstract:In Islamic law, 'zakāt' is defined as an obligatory alm, a gift ideally from the rich to the poor. In the Soninke Manding communities in Wuli (Eastern Senegal), 'zakāt' is a 'tithe' substracted from the trousseau and divided among the sisters of the groom in return for the services rendered during the marriage ceremony. The specific adoption of 'zakāt' exemplifies the direction taken by marriage in reformulating existing cultural practices in the light of Islamic precepts. It shows that the various forms of authority exercised by men and women through the performance of rituals are integral to the process of rethinking local traditions ('adāt') and the way in which meaning is attributed to precepts derived from religion ('dīn'). The competing discourses surrounding this process mirrors a fundamental opposition between the authority exercised by men and by women. Cultural practices controlled by women are labelled by men as 'adāt' and are said not to be conform to 'official' Islamic doctrines. In embracing the precept of 'zakāt', which has its basis in religion, women anticipated on the process of rethinking their ritual domain in the light of Islamic tradition in order to retain their control over an important sphere of social life. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.