Author: Zachary Valentine Wright
Publisher: African American Islamic Institute (2005)
Pages: 197 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Shaykh Ahmad Tijani (1737-1815) was one of the central figures of eighteenth-century Islamic reform and Sufism (Islamic mysticism). The Sufi order that bears his name, the Tijaniyya, today claims millions of adherents all over the Muslim world, especially in West Africa. Known by his followers as the Qutb al-Maktum (the Hidden Pole), Shaykh Ahmad Tijani has remained for many an enigmatic and sometimes controversial figure. Here for the first time in the English language is an exposition of his life and doctrine based on primary sources and interviews with prominent Tijani leaders in Senegal, Morocco and Egypt.
Through the lens of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya – an intellectual movement emerging in the eighteenth century to express the essential connection between the Prophet Muhammad and Islamic mysticism – the reader is provided a rare window into what appears to have been the principal impulse behind the Shaykh and the Tijaniyya order. Such a coherent articulation of the synonymous nature of Islam and Sufism as provided by the Tijani tradition is worth a closer look in a time where Islam is so often accused of promoting a dangerous mixture of political and religious fanaticism.
About the AuthorZachary Wright is currently enrolled in Northwestern University as a PhD student in African History, specializing in Islam in West Africa. Originally from New Hampshire, Zachary is a graduate of the American University in Cairo (M.A. in Arabic Studies – Middle East History) and Stanford University (B.A. in African History). Between studies, he has worked as a journalist and high school Social Studies teacher, among other things. The primary research for On the Path of the Prophet was conducted during the author’s extended stays in Senegal (1998-1999, 2003), Egypt (2000-2002) and Morocco (2002-2003), but Zachary has also visited Tijani communities in Mauritania, the Gambia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, France and America. His most influential teacher on the subject of the Tijaniyya has been the renowned Senegalese Shaykh Hassan Cisse. Besides eighteenth and nineteenth century Sufism, his other research interests include Islam in West Africa, Islam in America and modern movements in Islam.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments viiIntroduction by Shaykh Hassan Cisse ixNote on Transliteration xiPreface xiiiIntroduction: Sufism within Traditional Islam 1The Tariqa Muhammadiyya and the 18th Century Revival of Sufism 2Economic and Social Factors in 18th Century Sufi Revival 4Ahmad ibn Idris and Shaykh Ahmad Tijani 6Elements of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya 9Note on Sources 12Plan of Development 22
Chapter I:Biographical Portrait I: In Search of Knowledge 24Early years and teachers 24Pilgrimage East 32Desert Illumination and the Vision of Prophet 45
Chapter II:Biographical Portrait II: The Shaykh and the Events of his Time 62The Ottoman authorities of Algeria 62Fes, Mawlay Sulayman and the solidification of a Tariqa 66
Chapter III:Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and Islamic Sacred Law (Shari’a) 78Involvement in the World 88Ijtihad and the Islamic Legal Tradition (Fiqh and the Madhahib) 92The Qur’an and Salat al-Fatih 104
Chapter IV:Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Sufism of his time 109Prior Tariqa affiliation 112The Tijaniyya within the ideology of earlier Sufism 115Purification of the Self 117Knowledge of God and Human Purpose 121The Tariqa Muhammadiyya and the Muhammadan Reality 128
Chapter V:Towards a distinctive Tijani Sufi doctrine 134Sainthood 135The Shaykh al-Tarbiyya or Spiritual Initiator 140The Principal of Shukr and God’s grace in an age of corruption 147Conclusion 159
Epilogue: Reflections on the later spread of the Tijaniyya 165Appendix: Some Prayers of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani 173Bibliography 177