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A close look at the changing terms of exchange between gifts and blessings

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Contents

List of figures     vi
Acknowledgements     vii
Notes on Orthography and Translation     ix
Abbreviations     x
Glossary     xi
Maps     xiii

Introduction     1

Part 1: History

1. Islam and Authority before the Colonial Period     25
2. Colonialism and After     44
3. Saints and Sufi Orders I: the Hamawiyya     69
4. Saints and Sufi Orders II: the Tijaniyya     106

Part II: Authority

5. The Esoteric Sciences     127
6. The Prayer Economy     153
7. 'Reform'     181
8. The Public Sphere and the Postcolony     210

Conclusion: The Market, the Public and Islam     244

Notes     257
Bibliography     279
Index     299

Description

At a time when so-called fundamentalism has become the privileged analytical frame for understanding Muslim societies past and present, this study offers another way of looking at Islam. In an innovative combination of anthropology, history, and social theory, Benjamin Soares explores Islam and Muslim practice in an important Islamic religious centre in West Africa from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Drawing on extensive ethnography, archival research, and written sources, he provides a richly detailed discussion of Muslim religious practice—Sufism, Islamic reform, and other contemporary ways of being Muslim in western Mali and more broadly in the country.

This book provides a major contribution to the study of Islam in Africa and will be welcomed by scholars and students in history, religion, and the social sciences, particularly those interested in anthropology, Islam, colonialism and the public sphere.

Benjamin F. Soares is an anthropologist and senior researcher at the African Studies Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. He is the co-editor of Islam, Transnationalism, and the Public Sphere in Western Europe and the editor of Muslim/Christian Encounters in Africa.

Benjamin F. Soares is Professor of Religion at the University of Florida. He is the co-editor of Islam, Transnationalism, and the Public Sphere in Western Europe and the editor of Muslim/Christian Encounters in Africa.

"...[a] nuanced and smoothly written study of Muslim leadership, practice and culture in this community [Nioro, Mali] from the nineteenth century to the present."---African Studies Review