The Divine Flood

The Divine Flood : Ibrahim Niasse and the Roots of a Twentieth-Century Sufi Revival

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Description

Until recently, academic studies of Sufism have largely ignored the multiple ways in which Islamic mystical ideas and practices have developed in the modern period. For many specialists, Sufism was "on the way out" and not compatible with modernity. The present study of a twentieth-century Sufi revival in West Africa offers overdue corrections of this misconception. Seesemann's work evolves around the emergence and spread of the "Community of the Divine Flood," established in 1929 by Ibrahim Niasse, a leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order from Senegal. Based on a wide variety of written sources and encounters with leaders and ordinary members of the movement, the book analyzes the teachings and practices of this community, most notably those concerned with mystical knowledge of God. It presents a vivid and intimate portrait of the community's formation in Senegal and its subsequent transformation into a flourishing transnational movement in West Africa and beyond. Drawing on letters, poetry, hagiography, and testimonies of opponents of the movement, the book traces Niasse's spectacular ascension as the widely acclaimed "Supreme Saint of His Era" and shows how the various stages of his career intersect with the development of his mystical teachings. Seesemann makes a compelling case for studying Sufis and their literary production in their social and historical contexts, throwing light on a little-known chapter of the intellectual and social history of Islam.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195384326
  • 9780195384321
  • 1,129,860

About Rüdiger Seesemann

Rudiger Seesemann teaches Religious Studies at Northwestern University Evanston and specializes in the study of Islam in Africa. He has done fieldwork in various West and East African countries and has published extensively on Sufism, Islam and politics, Islamism, Islamic education, as well as theories and practices of Islamic knowledge.show more

Review quote

Seesemann's book is an important contribution not only to the study of religions in general but to Anglophone studies on sub-Saharan West Africa in particular. ... This book will be particularly welcomed by West African historians and students of Islam in West Africa but will equally be of interest to students of religious studies and Sufism. * Cleo Cantone, The Muslim World Book Review *show more

Table of contents

PROLOGUE: "A FLOOD SHALL COME UPON MY COMPANIONS"; INTRODUCTION: STUDYING SUFISM IN CONTEXT; PERCEPTIONS AND INTERPRETERS OF SUFISM - ISLAM AND AFRICA - SUFISM IN CONTEXT - THE SETTING - SCOPE AND STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK; BIRTH, CHILDHOOD, AND ADOLESCENCE - EARLY CAREER - FAYDA - A SHORT HISTORY OF THE TERMINOLOGY - NIASSE AS BRINGER OF THE FLOOD - RECEPTION AND RESONANCE; TARBIYA: AN OVERVIEW - SPIRITUAL ENERGY AND THE MYSTICAL STATE - JUSTIFYING TARBIYA - THE THREE STATIONS OF RELIGION - ANNIHILATION - THE SPECIAL LITANIES - "THE CUP MAKES ITS ROUND"; INTERNAL TENSIONS - DISCORD IN LEONA - HIJRA TO MEDINA - NEW ATTACKS - THE REJOINDERS - VISIONS AND ECSTATIC UTTERANCES; CONSOLIDATION IN SENEGAL - THE SUPREME SAINT - SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY AND SOCIAL INEQUALITIES - PASSAGE TO MAURITANIA - REDRAWING GENDER BOUNDARIES; CONSEQUENTIAL ENCOUNTERS - FIRST VISIT TO KANO - THE CONAKRY TRIP - RECEPTION OF "THE CONAKRY TRIP" - RETURNING TO KANO AND THE HIJAZ; EPILOGUE: AFTER THE FLOOD; NIASSE'S LEGACY - PATTERNS OF CONFLICT AND EXPANSION; GLOSSARY; SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY; ARCHIVAL SOURCES - INTERVIEWS CITED - WRITINGS BY IBRAHIM NIASSE - PRIMARY SOURCES IN ARABIC AND AFRICAN LANGUAGES - SECONDARY LITERATUREshow more