Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam

Cruise O'Brien, Donal B.
Coulon, Christian
Date published: 
December 1988

This study offers new and valuable insights into leadership and organization in African Islam over the last two centuries. The contributors, all recognized authorities in their fields, also examine the part played by the miraculous in the achievement and exercise of power. Drawing on sources which date back to the seventeenth century and cover an area from East Africa to Senegal and the Seine, they seek to explain the phenomenon in terms of social environment, and a hagiographical tradition. Themes covered i nclude: the knowingly undertaken charismatic career; the role of women in the Sufi brotherhood; the importance of Islamic magical medicine in modern African politics; and the emergence of the Sufi brotherhood as the mass organization of mysticism, which now finds itself operating in the often hostile environment of the independent African state. Contributors: Donal B. Cruise O'Brien; Louis Brenner; Jean-Louis Triaud; Francois Constantin; Rene Otayek; Christian Coulon; Peter B. Clarke; and Murray Last.