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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Alms and Arms: The Combative Saintliness of the Awlad Sidi Shaykh in Algerian Sahara, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
Author:Sivers, Peter von
Periodical:Maghreb Review
Geographic term:Algeria
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Military, Defense and Arms
Abstract:In the case of the Awlad Sidi Shaykh in the south-western Algerian Sahara, population increase during the sixteenth century called for intensified agriculture and increased co-operation among nomads and agriculturalists. The saint Sidi Shaykh established a community of date farmers and nomads specialising in caravan trade, headquartered in a prayer-meditation centre which represented the city in the countryside: it was a teaching institution which provided for the internalisation of the ethics of hard work and mutual sharing which existed among both farmer and nomad but not the two together and was typical of Islamic Revelation. Over the following centuries population pressure decreased and the prayer-meditation centre was gradually appropriated by the descendants of the saint, the Awlad Sidi Shaykh, who developed into a medium-sized tribe. Education towardsan urban-religious communality slackened and tribal ethics took over. The history of the Awlad Sidi Shaykh is essentially the history of the tribalisation of a concept of cooperative community implanted under different demographic circumstances by the saintly founder. In this tribalisation process alms for education were turned into arms for controlling the almsgivers. Notes.