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Title:Women, Islam, and baraka
Author:Coulon, C.ISNI
Book title:Charisma and brotherhood in African Islam
Editors:Coulon, C.
Cruise O'Brien, D.B.
City of publisher:Oxford
Publisher:Clarendon Press
Geographic terms:East Africa
Abstract:Despite their inferior position in African Islam women are not entirely excluded from the religion. Their Islamic practices are not necessarily limited to the domestic sphere, and their fundamental religious beliefs are not based solely on animist traditions. Women participate in their own way in Islam, manipulating it and accommodating it to their needs. They are active Muslims, even if their practices are informal, hidden, parallel, or heterodox. Even though women are refused access to the principal functions or public places of worship, nothing prevents them from having 'baraka' (charisma), worshipping saints, or becoming agents of a particular marabout. Starting from this hypothesis, this paper explores this 'women's Islam' in two stages. Part one provides a broad sociological outline of the 'women's path' based on information gained from written sources or gathered in the field, mostly in Senegal but also in East Africa. Part two is an account of a study of a Senegalese female khal¯ifa, Sokhna Magat Diop, carried out with O. Reveyrand at Thiès during a field trip in 1984. Notes, ref.