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|Leiden University catalogue
|Histories of Religion in Africa
|Journal of Religion in Africa
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
|The author addresses the question of how one can approach the historical study of both Islam and indigenous African religious concept and practice within a single conceptual and analytical framework. He presents three brief histories drawn from his own research into Islamic religious culture in Africa. The first history is constructed around the life and career of a single individual (Shaikh 'Uthman dan Fodio, 19th-century Northern Nigeria) and illustrates some of the various ways in which Muslims have organized themselves socially and politically; the second is a kind of pedagogical history focusing on the transformations undergone by a theological text - written in the 15th century by the North African scholar Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Sanusi - when it is introduced in a non-literate milieu; the third explores the history of a specific religious practice of Muslim divination ('khatt ar-raml', or sand writing). Each history falls within the confines of Islamic religious culture, but the focus moves from doctrinal and political issues about what constitutes a 'proper' Muslim society, to a widely distributed popular form of religious practice that many Muslims over the centuries have refused to accept as being Islamic. Bibliogr., ref.