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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Merchants, Muslims, and Wahhabiyya: The Elaboration of Islamic Identity in Sikasso, Mali
Author:Warms, Richard L.
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Mali
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
revival & reform
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/485292
Abstract:In West Africa, Islam and commercial activity have had a long history of mutual support. The common practice of Islam made merchants distinct from the people among whom they lived and helped them preserve their control of trade. Under these circumstances, efforts by traders and scholars to convert others to Islam were frequently nominal or aimed only at members of the elite. In the past century, though, Islam has had notable success throughout West Africa. This article explores the growth of Islam in Sikasso, a town of 40,000 people in southwestern Mali. It analyses the conversion to Islam of the vast majority of the town's residents, as well as the character of the town's current Islamic community. It shows how, by adopting a new form of religious practice, the Wahhabiyya, a form that is expensive and restrictive, Sikasso's merchants continue to use religion as a criterion of commercial community membership. Conversion to Wahhabi Islam is buttressed by participation in formal and informal groups that bind Sikasso's merchants into a flexible but distinctive Islamic community. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.