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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Fall of a Wayward Saint
Author:Spaulding, Jay L.ISNI
Year:1984
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Volume:5
Issue:3
Pages:43-50
Language:English
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:ulema
Muslim brotherhoods
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43660148
Abstract:Among the prominent figures of the Islamic revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was Ahmad b. Idris al-Fasi, whose influence upon the course of northeast African history has been noted by a number of scholars. One of the most famous disciples of Ahmad b. Idris was Muhammad 'Uthman al-Mirghani, founder of the Khatmiya brotherhood which won many followers in the Sudan during the nineteenth century. Previous scholars, relying largely upon hagiographical writings, have tended to assume that Ahmad b. Idris 'sent' the Mirghani to the Sudan, or at least 'inspired' him to found a brotherhood. The present study amends this plausible but misleading interpretation. The analysis is based upon a collection of 17 letters preserved in the National Records Office in Khartoum; most were written by Ahmad b. Idris to various disciples in the Sudan (including 8 to Muhammad 'Uthman), while one is a response by the Mirghani to his master. Two of the letters bear fixed dates, and a third may be placed in relationship to one of these on the basis of firm internal evidence. The remainder is introduced in a logical but admittedly less certain chronological sequence. The story told by the letters is sad but rich in human drama. Notes.
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