Beyond Jihad: The Pacifist Tradition in West African Islam

ISBN : 9780199351619

Lamin O. Sanneh
376 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Over the course of the last 1400 years, Islam has grown from a small band of followers on the Arabian peninsula into a global religion of over a billion believers. How did this happen? The usual answer is that Islam spread by the sword-that believers waged jihad against rival tribes and kingdoms and forced them to convert. Lamin Sanneh argues that this is far from the case. Beyond Jihad examines the origin and evolution of the Muslim African pacifist tradition, beginning with an inquiry into Islam's beginnings and expansion in North Africa and its transmission across trans-Saharan trade routes to West Africa. The book focuses on the ways in which, without jihad, the religion spread and took hold, and what that assimilation process means for understanding the nature of religious and social change. At the heart of this process were clerics who used educational, religious, and legal scholarship to promote Islam. Once this clerical class emerged it offered continuity and stability in the midst of political changes and cultural shifts; it helped inhibit the spread of radicalism, and otherwise challenged it in specific jihad outbreaks. With its roots in the Mali Empire and its policy of religious and inter-ethnic accommodation, and going beyond routes and kingdoms, pacifist teaching tracked a cumulative pathway for Islam in remote districts of the Mali Empire by instilling a patient, Sufi-inspired, and jihad-negating impulse into religious life and practice. Islam was successful in Africa, the book argues, not because of military might but because it was made African by Africans who adapted it to a variety of contexts.


Author's Note
Introduction: Issues and Directions

Part One: Historical Genesis
Chapter 1: Beyond North Africa: Transmission and Synthesis
Chapter 2: Beyond the Veil: Almoravids and Ghana
Chapter 3: Beyond Desert Trails: Mobility and Settlement
Chapter 4: Beyond Routes and Kingdoms: New Frontiers, Old Heartlands

Part Two: Clerical Emergence
Chapter 5: Beyond Trade and Markets: Community and Vocation
Chapter 6: Beyond Homeland: Religious Formation and Expansion
Chapter 7: Beyond Tribe and Tongue in Futa Jallon: Religion and Ethnicity
Chapter 8: Beyond Consolidation: Rejuvenating the Heritage
Chapter 9: Beyond Confrontation: Crisis and Denouement
Chapter 10: Beyond Confinement: Mobile Cells and the Clerical Web
Chapter 11: Beyond Consensus: A House Divided

Part Three: Wider Horizons
Chapter 12: Beyond Jihad: Champions and Opponents
Chapter 13: Beyond Politics: Comparative Perspectives
Chapter 14: End of Jihad?: Tradition and Continuity



Lamin O. Sanneh is D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and Professor of History at Yale. He is the author of several books, including Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity (OUP, 2007).