The study of Islam in Africa still pays too little attention to the words of scholars. With some notable exceptions, the story of African Sufism, in particular, is often told from the colonial archive or from ethnographic observations. Certainly, the writings of scholars are not the only paths to knowledge about African Sufi movements. But ignoring the contents of the vast scholarly corpus that has given such movements their unique vitality is a problem. In this historiography, great shaykhs are often seen—depicted as mystics, spiritual trainers, and charismatic figures—but seldom heard. The near absence of their authorial voices leaves a void at what should be the heart of intellectual history, and the silence within is deafening. Jihad of the Pen, Journey of the Soul, a book project under contract with the American University in Cairo Press, presents contextualized translations of seminal insights from some of West Africa’s most renowned scholars: Usman dan Fodio, Umar Tal, Amadu Bamba, and Ibrahim Niasse.
Date: Monday, May 8, 2017
Time: 6:00pm Light Refreshments; 6:30pm Talk
Where: Conference Hall, Main Bldg, American Islamic College