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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ils Sont Retires des Biens du Monde: Islamic Reform and Community in Senegambia, c.1660-1800
Author:Harmon, Stephen A.
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:Islamic history
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:The Senegambian Islamic reform movements of the 17th and 18th century were based on semi-autonomous, corporate, Islamic clerical communities, whose development was facilitated by the traditional division of Senegambian society into occupationally-based communities with ties to the noble class. The clerical communities specialized in Koranic education and commerce, services which were in great demand as a result of the expanding commercial activity in Senegambia at the time. They were under the leadership of a cheikh, who was generally linked directly to the community's founder through the master-disciple relationship, and were organized internally and externally according to patron-client ties. In their nascent phases, the clerical communities made use of the universalist claims of Islam to build a following. In their ascendant phases, the clerics were able to seize the reins of political power from their royal or noble patrons through a combination of religious, commercial, political, military and popular support. Once political ascendancy was achieved, it was maintained by Islamic infrastructure and ideology. The reform movements under discussion are the Maraboutic Wars of Nasr ad-Din in Mauritania, 1644-1677, the formation of the Bundu Imamate on the Middle Senegal in the 1690s, and the Islamic revolutions of Futa Jallon (Guinea), 1726-1776, and Futa Toro (Senegal), 1776-1806. Bibliogr., notes, ref.