Outsiders have long observed the contours of the flourishing scholarly traditions of African Muslim societies, but the most renowned voices of West African Sufism have rarely been heard outside of their respective constituencies. This volume brings together writings by Uthman b. Fudi (d. 1817, Nigeria), Umar Tal (d. 1864, Mali), Ahmad Bamba (d. 1927, Senegal), and Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975, Senegal), who, between them, founded the largest Muslim communities in African history. Jihad of the Pen offers translations of Arabic source material that proved formative to the constitution of a veritable Islamic revival sweeping West Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Recurring themes shared by these scholars—etiquette on the spiritual path, love for the Prophet Muhammad, and divine knowledge—demonstrate a shared, vibrant scholarly heritage in West Africa that drew on the classics of global Islamic learning, but also made its own contributions to Islamic intellectual history. The authors have selected enduringly relevant primary sources and richly contextualized them within broader currents of Islamic scholarship on the African continent. Students of Islam or Africa, especially those interesting in learning more of the profound contributions of African Muslim scholars, will find this work an essential reference for the university classroom or personal library.
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