Realizing Islam: The Tijaniyya of North Africa and the Eighteenth-Century Muslim World

Zachary Valentine Wright. Univ. of North Carolina, $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-46966-082-0
Examining writings by and about Ahmad al-Tijani (1735–1815)—the Algerian founder of the Tijaniyya Sufi order—Wright (Living Knowledge in West African Islam) argues that the order’s global appeal is found in its ability to deepen and sustain Muslim life in the midst of political and social uncertainty. Tijaniyya, the largest Sufi Muslim order in West Africa, are distinguished by their twice daily wird prayers and an emphasis on individual discipleship. Wright illustrates how the order originated as part of a vibrant 18th-century discourse on how to come to the knowledge of truth. He shows how that debate stretched across the Muslim world, from Ahmedabad, India; to Fez, Morocco; to Timbuktu, Mali. Wright depicts al-Tijani as a complex spiritual leader who took part in the intellectual debates of his day, dabbled in Islamic esotericism (the use of talismans, geomancy), and spoke openly about his visionary encounters with Muhammad. This narrow yet thorough work shines light on a little-known example of the diversity, vitality, and worldwide scope of Islamic knowledge and Muslim communities. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/25/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Religion
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-4696-6081-3
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