Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home Islam in Africa Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Urban Wars and Pious Remedies: Sufism in Nineteenth-Century Benadir (Somalia)
Author:Reese, Scott S.
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:Muslim brotherhoods
Urbanization and Migration
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Both colonial officials and contemporary scholars have often portrayed Sufism in Somalia as a rural phenomenon with little impact on the towns of the region. Close reading of locally compiled religious texts, including theological works, Sufi manuals, and 'manaqib', or hagiographies of Sufi saints, and examination of urban oral traditions, reveal that from the late 1880s the urban-based merchant community in the Benaadir, the region of the southern Somali coast that was the northernmost extension of the East African trading coast and that included the ports of Mogadishu, Marka, and Barawe, maintained a complex and interdependent relationship with the local 'tariqa', or brotherhood, networks. This article discusses Benaadir society and the crises it faced in the later nineteenth century and sketches links between the mercantile community and the Sufi 'turuq'. It focuses on the Qadiriyya order amongst the merchants of Mogadishu, with additional examples from the traditions of the Ahmadiyya order centred in Barawe. It examines the nature of the local crises as understood within the hagiographical works, particularly in the Qadiri work 'al-Jawhar al-Nafis' and the Ahmadi collection 'Manaqib Nurayn Ahmad Sabr'. The literature produced by the 'turuq' was a genre that presented the sacred as a remedy for social ills. Brotherhoods provided the opportunity for townspeople to discuss the root causes of their difficulties and to suggest ways to resolve the crises facing their community through moral discourse and spiritual remedy. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.