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Old Practices and New Perspectives
In Moroccan Female Religious Agents: Old Practices and New Perspectives, Ouguir studies Moroccan female religious agents in particular historical women saints and Sufis, the way they constructed powerful saintly personalities that challenged the dominant conventional norms, and the way they are received by venerators and feminist Islamist activists of modern Morocco.

Through hagiographic and oral narratives, Ouguir examines the techniques religious women followed to achieve ethical self-formation and strong religious personalities that promoted them to leadership. She also examined the venerators’, murshidᾱt and Islamist feminists’ reception of women saints in their discourses. Ouguir states convincingly that Moroccan religious women agents in both Morocco’s past and present are to be highlighted for broader discourses on Muslim women and feminism.

Abstract

This article analyses the Sufi treatise al-Ādāb al-marḍiyya fī l-ṭarīqa al-naqshbandiyya written by the Daghestanian Naqshbandī shaykh Jamāl al-Dīn al-Ghāzīghumūqī (d. 1866/67), the Sufi master, companion and father-in-law of Imām Shāmil (d. 1871). After providing an outline of the life and activities of Shaykh Jamāl al-Dīn I will examine the concepts, persons, and practices treated in his Ādāb which not only provide valuable insights regarding the mystical orientation of the Sufi shaykh, but the North Caucasian Naqshbandiyya during the anti-Russian jihād movement in the 19th century. My aim is to illustrate that this document indicates no or in a minor degree references to the Khālidiyya branch of the Naqshbandiyya. This leads me to the assumption that in the case of the Daghestanian Naqshbandiyya in the 19th century, we have a premature, i.e. not developed form of the Khālidiyya.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies

Abstract

In recent scholarship the notion that dreams and visions in Islamic societies are phenomena with no relevance to historic events or societal concerns has been challenged and overturned. However, the theoretical underpinnings of Sufi oneirology in the medieval period have yet to receive a full exposition. Furthermore, the relevance of such seemingly abstract texts to Sufi organisational and institutional structures has not been realised. This article argues that understanding the development of Kubrawī oneirology offers important insights into Islamic thought and society. Focusing on the first generation of Kubrawī Sufi thinkers, this article accounts for the emergence of diagnostic oneirology in the sixth/twelfth and seventh/thirteenth centuries in two steps. Firstly, by detailing the systematisation of oneiric theory which occurs in early Kubrawī thought. And secondly, by demonstrating that this systematisation crafted a close relation between Sufi theory and the communal and institutional bonds that allowed the Sufi community to adapt to changing socio-political circumstances.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies

Abstract

This article offers a reevaluation of studies on the origins of Sufism in South Asia. Generally, scholars have pointed to the thirteenth century as the genesis of Sufi orders in Northern India. However, this period supplies no textual evidence to support this claim. The vague picture of the thirteenth century is one of individual shaykhs unattached to specific Sufi orders or distinct religious teachings. By contrast, in the fourteenth century there is a wealth of Sufi textual sources available in the genres of malfūẓāt, letters and biographical texts that seek to institutionalize Sufi teachings and create genealogies of learning. Based on textual and archeological sources this author demonstrates that it was during the fourteenth century that we see the development of institutionalized forms of Sufism. Special attention is given to the origins and development of the Chishtiyya lineage of shaykhs during this critical period.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies

Abstract

This study presents some results from my fieldwork dealing with the female saints of the north Moroccan city of Alcazarquivir, which has been carried out between 2012 and 2014 in that village. The connections between orality and writing are more frequent as the educational level of the interviewee is higher; some of these informants raised roader issues regarding the evolution of the customs or the cult of saints. At the same time, it has been possible to observe the dissemination of oral traditions existing in other Moroccan regions that were not gathered in the hagiographical literature. In this study, I will offer some reflections concerning the data collected about a concrete example, that of Lallā ʿĀʾisha al-Khaḍrāʾ, one of the most important saints of Alcazarquivir and main character of a large part of the information compiled about the female saints of this city. Both the oral and written sources used in this study will be provided. Narrations related to Lallā ʿĀʾisha will be analyzed together with additional stories from ethnographic and anthropological sources on Moroccan female saints. The studied narrations highlight the problematic and complex character of Lallā ʿĀʾisha’s historicity, among other things. Finally, the symbolism of color green will be studied since al-Khaḍrāʾ (the Green) is the denomination by which Lallā ʿĀʾisha is known.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies

Abstract

This manuscript explores the dynamic between religion and rural-urban linkages in northeastern Madagascar. I find that church leaders have coalesced around two competing narratives of ancestors. Catholic churches see some types of migrant linkages (e.g., burial in the rural family tomb and participation in rural ancestral rituals) as being in line with Christian beliefs, while Protestant churches see these same activities as morally questionable or potentially satanic. To some degree Protestant migrants exert agency in the face of these religious teachings, and do not view their religion as an impediment to maintaining rural connections. However, quantitative analysis of rural-urban linkage behavior over a twelve-month period shows that Protestants have weaker rural ties compared to Catholics, even for behaviors that are not the focus of religious prohibitions. I offer several explanations for this finding. Protestant migrants are less motivated to invest in all types of rural linkages due to family conflicts after conversion, uncertainty about burial in the rural family tomb, reduced opportunities to develop affective ties with kin, and economic motivations to reduce rural demands on their urban wages.

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
In: Islamic Africa