Sufism and Jihad in Modern Senegal

Sufism and Jihad in Modern Senegal

The Murid Order

John Glover


University of Rochester Press



Examines through the use of Murid oral and written sources the creation of an "alternative modernity" as an understanding of historical change by Sufi notables and disciples.
The Murid order, founded in Senegal in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, grew into a major Sufi order during the colonial period and is now among the most recognizable of the Sufi orders in Africa. Murids have spread the voice of Islam and Africa in concert halls and on the airwaves through pop singers -- especially Youssou N'Dour -- and the image of Shaykh Amadu Bamba M'Backé, the founding saint of the order, often used to grace the covers of works concerning Islam, African culture, abolition, and European colonization.
In this insightful and revealing study, John Glover explores the manner in which a Muslim society in West Africa actively created a conception of modernity that reflects its own historical awareness and identity. Drawing from Murid written and oral historical sources, Glover carefully considers how the Murid order at the collective and individual levels has navigated the intersection of two major historical forces -- Islam, specifically in the contexts of reform and mysticism, and European colonization -- and achieved in the process an understanding of modernity not as an unwilling witness but as an active participant. Ultimately, Sufism and Jihad in Modern Senegal presents the reader with a new portrait of a society that has used its notion of modernity to adapt and incorporate further historical changes into its identity as an African Sufi order.

John Glover is Associate Professor of History at the University of Redlands in southern California.


November 2007
9 black and white, 5 line illustrations
250 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580462686
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
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Table of Contents

Sociopolitical Change, Islamic Reform, and Sufism in West Africa
Conflict and Colonization: A New Generation of Sufi Reformers
The Construction of the Murid Synthesis: Perceptions of Amadu Bamba and Maam Cerno
Translating the Murid Mission: The Founding of Darou Mousty
Symbiosis: Colonization and Murid Modernity
Murid Taalibe: Historical Narratives and Identity


In this work John Glover has provided a full and often fascinating account of the Murid community of Darou Mousty . . . (he) adds new dimensions to the understanding of the emergence of the Muridiyya, and carries the story of Darou Mousty well beyond that of his mentor Searing. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY, 2008 (David Robinson)

John Glover, in this excellent and extremely well-researched book, makes an original contribution to the extensive Murid literature. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

This very well-researched and argued book explores the tales, stories, and narratives of the making of Murid modernity. Glover meticulously provides insight into the processes of Wolof appropriation and refashioning of Sufi Islam during the phase of consolidation of colonial rule. By telling the history of the Muriddya not from the center, Touba, but from the periphery, Darou Mousty, Glover recovers the very pluralist nature of the brotherhood as well as the constant reformulation and recomposition of the Ahmadu Bamba's message. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of Islam in West Africa. --Mamadou Diouf, Professor of African Studies, Columbia University

John Glover's remarkable study enlarges our understanding of Murid Islam by focusing on a secondary town, Darou Mousty, and the life of Maam Cerno Ibrahim Mbacké, one of Amadu Bamba's brothers and most prominent lieutenants. Glover demonstrates the modernity of Murid Islam by analyzing how consciousness of reform and a break with Wolof history permeates Murid understandings of their past. This history is expressed not only in the writings and teachings of erudite scholars, but through the memory of ordinary disciples whose parents and grandparents created a new town in colonial Senegal and negotiated a path that preserved their sense of autonomy and agency under colonial rule. --James Searing, University of Illinois at Chicago

Carefully and convincingly traces the development and spread of Sufi brotherhoods in North and West Africa. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, October 2009

Author Bio

John Glover is associate professor of history at the University of Redlands.

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