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Jihad in West Africa: Early Phases and Inter-Relations in Mauritania and Senegal

Philip D. Curtin
The Journal of African History
Vol. 12, No. 1 (1971), pp. 11-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/180564
Page Count: 14
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Jihad in West Africa: Early Phases and Inter-Relations in Mauritania and Senegal
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Abstract

The tradition of religious revolution directed against partially Muslim rulers is traced to the religious reform movement among the zwāya of Mauritania in the 1660s, and to the jihad that brought them briefly into control of Futa Toro, Cayor, Walo, and Jolof in the 1670s. In spite of the reconquest of these states by their secular rulers and the re-establishment of Hassānī control in south-western Mauritania, the tradition of religious revolt and the aim of establishing an imamate under religious leadership lived on, to reappear in other Fulbe states. It came a generation later, with the jihad of Malik Sy in Bundu during the 1690s, and direct connexions can be traced between the leadership in Bundu and the leadership in the later jihad in Futa Jallon. The jihad in Futa Toro in the 1770s and 1780s followed in the same tradition. This evidence suggests that the external influence of the mid-eighteenth-century revival of Islam in Arabia and the Middle East has been overemphasized in West African religious history. Forces working for the reform of Islam based in Africa itself were already at work.

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