The Formation of the Sudanese Mahdist State

Ceremony and Symbols of Authority: 1882-1898

Series:

This book is the first analysis of the Sudanese Mahdiyya from a socio-political perspective that treats how relationships of authority were enunciated through symbol and ceremony. The book focuses on how the Mahdi and his second-in-command and ultimate successor, the Khalifa Abdallahi, used symbols, ceremony and ritual to articulate their power, authority and legitimacy first within the context of resistance to the imperial Turco-Egyptian forces that had been occupying the Nilotic Sudan since 1821, and then within the context of establishing an Islamic state. This study examines five key elements from a historical perspective: the importance of Islamic mysticism as manifested in Sufi brotherhoods in the articulation of power in the Sudan; ceremony as handmaids of power and legitimacy; charismatic leadership; the routinization of charisma and the formation of a religious state purportedly based upon the first Islamic community in the seventh century C.E.
Restricted Access

E-Book:

EUR €101.00USD $131.00

Biographical Note

Kim Searcy is an assistant professor of history at Loyola University, Chicago. He is an Islamicist trained in African history, focusing primarily on Islamic Revival and Reform in the Sudan in the 19th century.

CONTENTS
Acknowledgements ............................................................................ vii
Introduction ........................................................................................ 1
Chapter One Islam in the Sudan ................................................. 7
A Brief Geographical Introduction ............................................ 7
The Arrival of Islam ...................................................................... 7
The Funj Sultanate ........................................................................ 11
The Darfur Sultanate .................................................................... 16
The Turco-Egyptian Invasion and Occupation ........................ 18
Causes of the Mahdist Revolt ...................................................... 21
The Mahdī’s Origins ..................................................................... 24
Chapter Two Protocol, Ceremony, and Symbols of Authority ...... 29
Mystical Islam: Sufi Brotherhoods ............................................. 39
Protocol and Ceremony ............................................................... 41
Symbols of Authority .................................................................... 54
Chapter Three The Charismatic Leader ...................................... 65
Charisma ......................................................................................... 66
Saints and Zāwiyas ........................................................................ 74
Mahdist Expectations: The West African Connection ............ 80
Chapter Four The Khalīfa and the Routinization of Charismatic Authority ..... 89
A New Era for the Mahdiyya ...................................................... 90
The Mythic Concordance: The Khalīfa’s Claims to Authority ............................. 92
The Khalīfa’s Origins .................................................................... 96
The Khalīfa as the Locus of Power and the City of Omdurman ..................... 109
Chapter Five The Creation of an Islamic State ......................... 119
State Hierarchy .............................................................................. 127
Jihad as a Symbol of Legitimacy ................................................. 129
The Treasury .................................................................................. 135
The Implementation of Sharīʿa ................................................... 138
The Construction of Buildings and Roads ................................ 141
Conclusion .......................................................................................... 149
Bibliography ........................................................................................ 153
Index .................................................................................................... 157

All those interested in Sudan, the history of Sudan and the intersection of politics and religion within the context of Islam.

Information