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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Being as good Muslims as Frenchmen': on Islam and colonial modernity in West Africa
Authors:Seesemann, RüdigerISNI
Soares, Benjamin F.ISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Volume:39
Issue:1
Pages:91-120
Language:English
Geographic terms:Senegal
West Africa
French-speaking Africa
Subjects:marabouts
Sufism
politics
Islam
State
religious policy
colonial period
About persons:Seydou Nourou Tall (d. 1980)ISNI
Ibrahim Niasse (1902-1975)ISNI
Sidi Benamor (d. 1968)ISNI
External links:https://doi.org/10.1163/157006609X409067
https://www.jstor.org/stable/20696797
Abstract:In contrast to many previous studies that follow the perspective of colonial administrators and portray Muslim religious leaders or marabouts as essentially political actors who seek political and economic advantage, this paper proposes a new perspective on marabouts under French colonial rule. Focusing on three prominent representatives of the Tijaniyya Sufi order, Seydou Nourou Tall (d. 1980) and Ibrahima Niasse (d. 1975) from Senegal, and Sidi Benamor (d. 1968) from Algeria, the present study shifts the emphasis to the religious motivation behind marabouts' activities. Against the dominant perspective that reduces their activities to mere reactions to colonialism or strategies to gain followers or resources, the paper shows how the three Tijani leaders engaged with colonial modernity. They worked to spread Islam and toward other specific religious objectives within the Islamic sphere. After accepting the reality of French rule and having established a good rapport with the administration, they were able to pursue some of their own religious agendas beyond the purview of the colonial State, French colonial attempts to control their activities notwithstanding. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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