Challenges, Negotiations, and Feminism in the Tijaniyya Order in Senegal and Nigeria

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hannah,M. Potter (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Extracted text; Sufism, which is a mystical form of Islam, serves as the main form of religion followed by people living in West Africa. The prominence of Sufism throughout West Africa has provided leadership roles for women not usually granted through their societies or other more orthodox forms of Islam. More specifically, the Tijaniyya order, primarily located in Senegal and Nigeria, played a key role in expanding the access for women to the practices of the movement. A main part of Sufi teachings is a teacher student relationship, otherwise known as a muqaddam (a), or spiritual guide. For most of history, the position was reserved for men, but with the teachings of Sheik Niasse, many women were appointed to serve the role of muqadamma within the Tijaniyya order. / In taking these leadership roles, however, women must embrace characteristics that inherently keep them subordinate to their male counterparts. Through this paper, I hope to understand motivations for including women in these movements, the goals, the benefits, and the challenges these women face for participating in such an institution. The voices of the women indicate that any person with a true connection with the higher deities does not see any separation between male and female. There is conscious resistance to the Western liberal feminist view on gender relations, and the Sufi women of the Tijani order express their will to create gender relations in their own way, which is often reflective of indigenous cultural values. The actions and words of these women reveal a type of feminism, which ultimately liberates and strengthens the women who are participating in leadership roles within the Tijani order in Senegal and Nigeria. /

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Sufism, Women, Tijaniyya, Senegal, Nigeria, Niasse

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