ISBN : 9780195384321
Until recently, academic studies of Sufism have largely ignored the multiple ways in which Islamic mystical ideas and practices have developed in the modern period. For many specialists, Sufism was "on the way out" and not compatible with modernity. The present study of a twentieth-century Sufi revival in West Africa offers overdue corrections of this misconception. Seesemann's work evolves around the emergence and spread of the "Community of the Divine Flood," established in 1929 by Ibrahim Niasse, a leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order from Senegal. Based on a wide variety of written sources and encounters with leaders and ordinary members of the movement, the book analyzes the teachings and practices of this community, most notably those concerned with mystical knowledge of God. It presents a vivid and intimate portrait of the community's formation in Senegal and its subsequent transformation into a flourishing transnational movement in West Africa and beyond. Drawing on letters, poetry, hagiography, and testimonies of opponents of the movement, the book traces Niasse's spectacular ascension as the widely acclaimed "Supreme Saint of His Era" and shows how the various stages of his career intersect with the development of his mystical teachings. Seesemann makes a compelling case for studying Sufis and their literary production in their social and historical contexts, throwing light on a little-known chapter of the intellectual and social history of Islam.
PROLOGUE: "A FLOOD SHALL COME UPON MY COMPANIONS"
INTRODUCTION: STUDYING SUFISM IN CONTEXT
PERCEPTIONS AND INTERPRETERS OF SUFISM - ISLAM AND AFRICA - SUFISM IN CONTEXT - THE SETTING - SCOPE AND STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK
1. Beginnings: Ibrahim Niasse and the Advent of the Flood
BIRTH, CHILDHOOD, AND ADOLESCENCE - EARLY CAREER - FAYDA - A SHORT HISTORY OF THE TERMINOLOGY - NIASSE AS BRINGER OF THE FLOOD - RECEPTION AND RESONANCE
2. Spiritual Training: The Way to Mystical Knowledge
TARBIYA: AN OVERVIEW - SPIRITUAL ENERGY AND THE MYSTICAL STATE - JUSTIFYING TARBIYA - THE THREE STATIONS OF RELIGION - ANNIHILATION - THE SPECIAL LITANIES - "THE CUP MAKES ITS ROUND"
3. Seeing God: The Nascent Community
INTERNAL TENSIONS - DISCORD IN LEONA - HIJRA TO MEDINA - NEW ATTACKS - THE REJOINDERS - VISIONS AND ECSTATIC UTTERANCES
4. Crossing Borders: Expansion in Senegal and Beyond
CONSOLIDATION IN SENEGAL - THE SUPREME SAINT - SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY AND SOCIAL INEQUALITIES - PASSAGE TO MAURITANIA - REDRAWING GENDER BOUNDARIES
5. "The Supreme Saint of His Time": A Prophecy Fulfilled
CONSEQUENTIAL ENCOUNTERS - FIRST VISIT TO KANO - THE CONAKRY TRIP - RECEPTION OF "THE CONAKRY TRIP" - RETURNING TO KANO AND THE HIJAZ
EPILOGUE: AFTER THE FLOOD
NIASSE'S LEGACY - PATTERNS OF CONFLICT AND EXPANSION
SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
ARCHIVAL SOURCES - INTERVIEWS CITED - WRITINGS BY IBRAHIM NIASSE - PRIMARY SOURCES IN ARABIC AND AFRICAN LANGUAGES - SECONDARY LITERATURE