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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sa'd Buh and the Fadiliyya and French colonial authorities
Author:Robinson, DavidISNI
Periodical:Islam et sociétés au Sud du Sahara
Geographic term:Mauritania
biographies (form)
About person:Sa'd Buh (c. 1850-1917)
Abstract:Sa'd Buh (1850/51-1917), West African cleric and the first Muslim architect of accommodation with the French, was the 30th son of Muhammad Fadil, well known in Morocco, the Sahara and much of the Western Sudan for his piety, learning and charismatic power. In the late 1860s he moved into the southwestern part of the Sahara, in what is now southwestern Mauritania, and immediately established ties with the French administration in Saint-Louis. The Fadiliyya marabout became the dominant figure in a vast configuration of teachers, schools and lodges which stretched across the Western Sudan and Sahara, intensifying the Islamic identities of many Muslims in the Senegalo-Mauritian zone and assisting in the spread of Islam itself. The French colonial authorities repeatedly called on his mediating services and the prestige which he enjoyed across frontiers of language, social status and even religious identity. On several occasions, such as the Blanchet scientific mission to the Adrar in 1900, Sa'd Buh's intervention averted disaster. Sa'd Buh's network was quintessentially adapted to the 'protocolonial' period of the late 19th century. When the French sought to tighten their control, demanding outright submission and military domination, his mediating role was finished. In this context, in the early years of the 20th century, Sa'd Buh became the 'marabout chrétien', and his influence north of the Senegal River began to decline. Notes, ref.