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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:May God repay you: the tenet of 'baraji' in southern Mali, West Africa
Author:Bell, Dianna
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa (ISSN 0022-4200)
Geographic term:Mali
sacrificial rites
ancestor worship
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/15700666-12340038
Abstract:Muslims in the West African state of Mali use 'baraji', which translates from Bambara as 'divine reward' or 'recompense', as a criterion for understanding proper religious practice. The concept also drives Muslims' lifelong aim to acquire the unspecified amount of merit that God requires for a person to enter paradise. Drawing from life history and ethnographic research, this piece deepens understanding of West African Islam by exploring the Qur'anic basis of baraji and situates the concept as a form of value through which Muslims discern the complementary places of different ritual practices and daily choices in their lives. In order to understand the ways that Malian Muslims seek measurable units of baraji to benefit both the living and the dead, this study also shows how kin earn baraji on one another's behalf, especially through posthumous sacrifices. By doing so, the article highlights death as a process in which the acquisition of baraji continues through kin and sacrifices, revealing West African Islam as embedded in daily social life and relations with one's ancestors. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]