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SUFISM AND POLITICS. Traditional Sufism is an interiorization of Sunni quietism, articulating the pre-Islamic Pahlavi vision of monarchic government by religious principles, as echoed by al-Ghazali (d. 1111) in his Nasihat al-muluk. A more systematic order found expression in the thirteenth century in the form of the “inner government” (hukumah batiniyah), which envisaged the temporal authorities as being subordinate to the spiritual khalffah, who carried out the real tasks of government, aided by a hierarchy of deputies behind the figurehead of the sultan. This idea may may have derived from the patronizing of ascetics at court, where their presence provided moral legitimization for the regime.

The rise of the Western colonial threat in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries faced Muslim societies with territorial and intellectual challenges. This coincided with the first Wahhabi conquest of Mecca (1804), which had a strong politicizing effect on the Muslim world, with pilgrims returning from the hajj to spread a new Pan-Islamic awareness as far as West Africa and Indonesia. Some of the more popular and cohesive Sufi orders (tariqahs) proved efficient channels for these ideas and were politicized accordingly. Sufi activism continued well into the twentieth century, often providing the inspiration for more overtly secular political movements.

Egypt. Arguably the longest history of institutionalized and politically active sufi orders is in Egypt. The Bakriyah tariqah (established in the sixteenth century) took its name from the Bakf family, whose senior member was the nagib al-ashraf, the head of the Prophet’s descendants in Egypt. When Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha officially recognized the (tariqahs) in 1812, it was Muhammad alBakri who was authorized to intervene in their affairs.

In 1872 ‘Ali al-Bakri supported Khedive Isma’il against European intervention in Egypt and campaigned to keep him on the throne. The khedive’s successor Tawfiq also relied on al-Bakri to implement reforms in the (tariqahs) The youthful `Abd al-Bag! al-Bakri, who assumed responsibility for the (tariqahs) in 188o, was unable to resist European consular pressure for reform, and various Sufi ceremonies were banned or restricted. During the `Urabi insurrection of 1881, `Abd al-Bagi supported the Khedive against the insurgents and entertained the commander of the British occupying forces. By contrast, the Khalwatlyah, a tariqah outside alBakri’s jurisdiction, supported the rebels, as did the founding shaykhs of the Muhammadlyah Shadhiliyah.

`Abd al-Bagi was succeeded in 1892 by Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri, who reasserted the authority of establishment Sufism as the head of the new Sufi Council (alMajilis al-Sufi) set up in 1895. In 1903 he amended the regulations in an attempt to reduce government involvement in the elections of the Majilis and the appointment of mosque functionaries, but he was opposed by Prime Minister Mustafa Fahmi. The result was that many Sufi shaykhs still owed their status and livelihood directly to the government. Muhammad Tawfiq also came under pressure from Egyptian reformists and was criticized (notably by Rashid Rida) for failing to outlaw Sufi “innovations.” The last Bakri shaykh al-sajjddah was removed by King Faruq in 1946 for supporting the Sudanese separatists.

From the turn of twentieth century, the (tariqahs) became increasingly influenced by the climate of reformist activism as non-Sufi groups gained political prominence, but most orders retained their traditional outlook. Their structure, if not their doctrines, even provided inspiration for non-Sufi political organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, founded 1928), which developed as an offshoot of the Hasafiyah Shadhiliyah. Two (tariqahs) however, stand out for their expressly reformist and politically active character. The Azamiyah Shadhiliyah was founded in 1915 in the Sudan by Muhammad Mad! Abu al`Aza’im. Currently headed by his grandson `Izz al-Din, the tariqah has campaigned actively for reform of Sufi practices. It is also critical of the Jama’at Islamiyah’s “Khariji tendencies” and emphasizes the necessarily Sufi nature of any “Islamic solution.”

The Ashirah Muhammadiyah (Muhammadan Family) is a registered friendly society which contains a core of initiates known as the Muhammadlyah Shadhiliyah. The `Ashirah was officially recognized in 1951 and has devoted itself to reforming Sufism and defending it against hostile critics. It also claims responsibility for the introduction of the 1976 Sufi Ordinance (Wihah). The present shaykh, Muhammad Zaki Ibrahim, has been decorated by presidents Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak.

The political aspect of Sufism in Egypt has recently been confined to matters of doctrine or internal discipline. One of the most conspicuous events occurred on 15 February 1979, when the People’s Assembly (Majlis al-Sha’b) passed a resolution banning the writings of the Andalusian Sufi Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi (d. 1240). This was felt by many to be an affront to intellectual and religious freedom; pressure was exerted on the government, which backed down at a meeting (5 March) in which Ibn ‘Arabi was praised by Dr. Abu al-Wafa’ al Taftazani, the present shaykh al-mashayikh.

Another crisis concerned the Burhaniyah order, which was anathematized by al-Azhar on the grounds that the writings of its shaykh, Muhammad `Uthman `Abduh, contained numerous heresies. Resolutions were passed by the Majlis urging the tariqah to adhere to the shari`ah and withdraw the controversial literature, and an uneasy diplomatic “rehabilitation” was effected.

The Hejaz. As the spiritual center of the Muslim world, Mecca has always attracted a broad ethnic mix of pilgrims, providing a point for both the gathering and dissemination of ideas. A combination of Wahhabi reformism and a growing awareness of Western political and territorial. ambitions stimulated this process, which manifested itself in an upsurge of traditional hadith scholarship and what Fazlur Rahman (Islam, Chicago, 1979, p. 195) calls “neo-Sufism.” This brand of Sufism laid more emphasis on political activism than on metaphysics and ecstasy and its (tariqahs) provided ready vehicles for the transmission and implementation of ideas. Reformist (tariqahs) became known increasingly by the name “Muhammadiyah” in deference to renewed emphasis on the sunnah; this name was applied to the Sanusiyah, Khatmiyah, and Tijaniyah orders, and even to the Wahhabi movement. Ahmad Barelwl’s Tariqah-i Muhammadiyah in India is also said to have been founded as a direct result of this Meccan influence.

Muhammad `All gave the Hejazi tariqahs the same recognition that he had afforded to those in Egypt, giving jurisdiction over those in Mecca and Jeddah to the head of the Khalwatiyah. This made the Khalwatiyah of the Hejaz more amenable to the Ottoman government than their Egyptian branches, and lowered the political profile of other Hejazi (tariqahs) The exception to this was the Sanusiyah, who exerted considerable influence from their zdwiyahs (lodges) in Mecca, Medina, al Ta’if, Badr, al-Hamra’, Yanbu` and Jeddah. Their power was such that the Turks were reluctant to use force against them and preferred to seek their cooperadon. However, this did not prevent al-Sanusi’s being .xpelled from the region by the `ulama’ (1840), and it is quite possible that the Ottoman government exerted coiert influence to that end.

Syria. The Naqshbandis enjoyed considerable influonce in Syria in the early 20th century; prominent mong them was Ahmad Jiznawi (Kurdish, Ehmede Xizneve), who came to the Jazirah from Turkey during the time of Ataturk and established a zawiyah at Tall Ma`ruf. Also influential were the Rifa’Is, who were subjected to a campaign of repression in the 1970s. The zawiyah of shaykh Mahmud `Abd al-Rahman alShaqfah in Hama (Hamah) was closed in 1979 and the shaykh killed by the security forces in a campaign of “cleansing.”

Iraq and Kurdistan. Naqshbandis and Qadiris are distributed in Iraq and Kurdistan according to tribal affiliation. Bitter feuding from the 19206 to the 1960s frequently pitted tribes such as the antiauthoritarian Barzanis and the broadly pro-government Baradost against each other, with conflict even arising between branches of the same tarigah. As was the practice in Cyrenaica and Morocco, a number of shaykhs undertook a mediatory role on tribal boundaries.

The Nagshbandlyah acquired political influence early, with Shaykh Muhammad Said (d. 1920) forming a clandestine political party (Hizb al `Ahd) in 1914 and agitating against the British presence in Iraq. During the period of the monarchy, Shaykh Baha’ al-Din Bamarni rose to prominence, counting Prime Minister Nuri Said, (d. 1958) as one of his murids (disciples). The shaykh’s son Mas’ud was something of a tyrant, and the inhabitants of Bamarn-1 and the surrounding villages revolted against him. The government intervened militarily at the end of 196o, whereupon Mas’ud withdrew to Mosul. When the Kurdish war for independence began in 1961, he actively supported the government against Barzani guerrillas.

Yemen. Yemen was traditionally a stronghold of the Fasiyah Shadhillyah under Shaykh Muhammad Hisan. The shaykh’s son was taken hostage by the Zayd-1 Imam Yahya (r. 1904-1948) after the retreat of the Ottomans; this repressive policy continued under Imam Ahmad (1948-1962) with the imprisonment and death of the shaykh himself.

In the coastal regions, the Qadiri and Idrisi (tariqahs) were active. The latter aligned themselves with nonMarxist nationalists against the British, where they remained active in Aden.

Turkey. Perhaps the most politically significant Turkish tariqah was the Bektashiyah, founded by the thirteenth-century Haci Bektash. Its political importance derives from its exclusive links with the Janissaries, with whom Bektashis participated in rebellions against the Ottomans, notably the revolt of Kalenderoglu in 1526/27.

In 1812, Sultan Mahmud II centralized control of the Sa`diyah in one of its tekkes (lodges) in Istanbul. In 1826, he took more drastic action to control the tariqahs and forcibly disbanded the Janissaries, destroying many Bektashi tekkes at the same time. By 1836, the dervishes of Adrianople (Edirne) were required to possess certificates bearing the seal of their local shaykh, and the Sey-hfilislam was authorized to confirm the elections of shaykhs in the same year.

Government involvement in Sufism took a more personal turn in 1875, when Muhammad Zafir al-Madani (d. 1903) met the future Sultan Abdulhamid II (r. 1876-1909). He acted as the sultan’s adviser for some thirty years and attempted to use his influence to denigrate the Sanusiyah and promote the Madaniyah.

Turkish Sufism enjoyed something of a literary revival at the turn of the century, and two Sufi journals, Ceride-i Sufiye (1910-192o) and Muhibbdn (19o9-1919), worked to unite the efforts of disparate tariqahs. The editors of Muhibbdn called for the creation of a unified Sufi league (cem’iyet-i sufiye-i ittihadiye) and published a detailed constitution. Although this was never put into effect, it is a valuable source for the concerns of Sufi leaders at the threshold of a new Turkey.

The Naqshbandi Shaykh Sa’id’s Kurdish revolt of 1923 was used by Ataturk as a pretext to eradicate what he considered a subversive political movement, and all tekkes were commanded to close “voluntarily” in December 1925. The Havleti-Cerrahi tariqah was the only one to defy the ban and was tolerated as a “folkloric center.” It appears that many of the other orders were only forced underground, as by 1952 Turkish Bektashis alone were said to number 30,000.

The unanticipated result of the official closure of the tekkes was that Sufi energy was channelled to more overtly political ends. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Nurculuk movement was more of a “voluntary membership association” than a tariqah in the classical sense, although its roots are firmly in the Nagshbandi tradition. This is illustrated by Nursi’s incorporating mystical vocabulary from the works of Ibn `Arab! into a framework of political activity, in an attempt to appeal to the literary and doctrinal tastes of his readership. The movement acquired some influence in Turkish politics from 1950 onward as the governing Democratic Party adopted a more favorable attitude toward Islam. The Naqshbandis themselves also benefited from this change, with the Adalet Partisi fielding a former Naqshbandi functionary as its presidential candidate in the elections of 198o.

Iran. Premodern Iran provides us with a conspicuous example of Sufism as a vehicle for dissent which later came to personify the establishment. Shah Isma’il Safavi, the founder of the Safavid Dynasty, came from a Sufi family with considerable influence as spiritual teachers in Ardabil. Under his leadership the Safavi order spread to Shirvan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and the rest of present-day Iran. In 1501 Isma`il established the Safavid dynasty after a long and intense campaign of religious propaganda, and Sunnism virtually disappeared from Iran.

Tension later developed between the Shi`i mujtahids and the Sufis, who objected to the imposition of `Usuli scholasticism. Two mujtahids rose to fame in this respect at the end of the eighteenth century: Muhammad Baqir Bihbahani (d. 1780/81) and his son ‘Ali (d. 1801/02), who was named “Sufi-killer” for his cruel persecution of anti-mujtahidi dissent.

However, a dissenting tradition of Sufic and philosophical leanings persisted through the mid-nineteenth century. The Shaykhi school, which looked to the examples of Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’i (d. 1826) and Kazim Rashti (d. 1844), tried to penetrate the establishment Aid succeeded in obtaining patronage from the ruling Qajars. They rejected orthodox millenarian eschatology in favor of a humanistic adaptation of the evolution toward “perfect man” (al-insan al-kdmil), originally a SufiIsma’ili concept.

The Shaykhi movement coalesced around Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani (d. 1871), a Qajar prince and a disciple of Rashti. Although it was not a Sufi movement in the strictest sense, it did formalize metaphysical and eschatological tenets which had previously been esoterically concealed by Ahsa’i and Rashti. Muhammad Karim Khan accused the mujtahids of governing by force and offered an alternative hierarchical schema which placed them just above the common people and beneath the nujabd’ (“those who call to God”) and the nuqaba’ (“those with perfect knowledge”). The only distinguishing feature of this expression of the hukumah bdtiniyah is that Muhammad Karim Khan placed himself at the top of the hierarchy as “the Qajar prince turned philosopher-king” (Mangol Bayat, Mysticism and Dissent: Socioreligious Thought in Qajar Iran, Syracuse, 1982, p. 78).

North Caucasus. The Naqshbandiyah and Qadiriyah have traditionally been strong and politically active in this region, providing a point of unity for local populations and coordinating resistance to colonial incursions. The Naqshbandiyah spread into Daghestan and the Chechen region at the end of the eighteenth century, while the Qadiriyah appeared in the second half of the nineteenth. Each has a distinctive social and political profile, and some branches act as clandestine political parties.

The North Caucasian Naqshbandiyah traces its spiritual genealogy through the Kurdish Mawlana Khalid of Suleymaniye (d. 1827) back to the Indian Nagshbandi tradition, the political activism of which was inspired by Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1641). the fist Nagshbandi to have waged jihad against the Russians (1782-1791) is said to have been Shaykh Mansur Ushurma, who was apparently initiated into the tariqah by a Bukharan Naqshbandi traveling to Mecca. He defeated a Russian force on the river Sunzha in 1785 and gained support in Chechnya, North Daghestan, and Kuban, but he was captured at Anapa in 1 791 and died in the fortress of Schlusselburg in 1793.

After a twenty-five-year interregnum, the Nagshbandiyah became active once more, rising up in Shirvan in the 18205 under the Ottoman Shaykh Muhammad Efendi. This was the beginning of a fierce and drawnout jihad known as the “Murid Movement” in Russian sources. This war was sustained mainly by two of Muhammad Efendi’s murids, Ghazi Muhammad and Imam Shamil, who coordinated the formidable Caucasian mountaineers against the Russians. After Imam Shamil surrendered in 1856 and his last stronghold was taken in 1859, the tariqah went back underground.

After this defeat, the Qadiriyah appeared and quickly gained popularity. Introduced by the Daghestani Kunta Haji Kishiev (d. 1867), it initially preached mystical detachment but developed an ideology of resistance nonetheless. Outlawed by the authorities in the 1860s, the tariqah played a prominent part (with the Naqshbandis, many of whom were initiated into it) in the anti-Russian revolt in Daghestan and Chechnya (1877-1878). More uprisings followed after the Bolshevik Revolution: the Naqshbandis, under Imam Najmal-Din of Gotzo and Shaykh Uzun Hajji, fought first against the White armies of General Denikin in 1918-1920 and subsequently against the Red Army before being defeated in 1925. Some remained loyal to the Soviets, such as shaykhs Hasan and Habib Allah Hajji, but many partisan leaders were killed in Stalin’s purges. Other Nagshbandi and Qadiri uprisings occurred in the region in 1928, 1934, and 1940-1942.

The Naqshbandis have also been active in northern Azerbaijan, eastern and southern Turkmenistan, the Karakalpak Republic, and the Ferghana Valley, especially Kyrghyzstan. The Ferghana Valley saw the rise of the Naqshbandi Basmachi Movement in 1918, which was crushed in 1928 by the Red Army. One significant consequence of this defeat was the politicization of the Yasawiyah tarigah, which had led a largely apolitical existence in southern Kazakhstan since the twelfth century. A highly political organization called the “Hairy Ishans” (Chachtun Eshander), a branch of the Yasaw1yah, was formed by Abumutalib Satybaldyev in the 1920s. Centered in Chilgazy in the Kirghiz SSR and also active in the Osh region and Uzbekistan, the brotherhood quickly acquired a reputation in Soviet intelligence circles for terrorist activity. Thirty-two members were executed in 1936, after which the movement went underground. The organization is said to have been impervious to Soviet agents, while itself succeeding in infiltrating Communist Party organizations.

At doe end of the nineteenth century, the modernreformist Jadidi movement spread northward from Turkey into Russia, where it was represented by Nagshbandis such as Alimjan Barudi (d. 1921). Barudi founded the Ittifaq al-Muslimin party in 1905 and was mufti of Orenburg from 1920-1021. In 1943 the Nagshbandi Jadidst `Abd al-Rahman Rasfili signed an agreement with Stalin normalizing relations between the Soviet Muslim establishment and the government. State-sponsored Islam, represented by the Spiritual Boards of Central Asia and Kazakhstan and the North Caucasus and Daghestan, was used thereafter as a propaganda weapon against Sufi or “parallel” Islam. Fatwds were pronounced against pilgrimages of holy sites, combining Soviet political expediency with Wahhabi religious doctrine. However, both the official and parallel wings of Islam faced the same materialist threat, and the fact that the official muftis were often from Nagshbandi families prevented direct attacks on Sufism itself. Consequently, Soviet control of the (tariqahs) was not conspicuously successful; generally, the farther away from Moscow, the less likely it was that officials would implement government policies, perhaps even themselves being members of a tariqah. In Central Asia in 1979 there were at least 500,000 Sufis out of a total population of 27 million, and in Daghestan and Chechen-Ingush there were some 200,000 adepts.

China. Sufi influence in China dates back to the Mongols, by whom shaykhs were given positions of influence in government. Their standing was reduced after the eclipse of Mongol power in 1368, which obliged the Muslims to integrate themselves more fully into Chinese society. However, the tarriqahs remained operational, if not conspicuous.

In 1644 the Manchus established the Qing dynasty, expanding the Chinese empire and effectively annexing one-third of Muslim Central Asia. They attempted to keep the various ethnic elements of the empire separate but were only partially successful. The problem was exacerbated by the activist Nagshbandi tradition, which was established in Xinjiang by Ishaq Wali (d. 1599) The Qing were thus poorly placed to contain the wave of reformist preaching which began to reach the region in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Nagshbandi Shaykh Ma Mingxin (d. 1781) performed the hajj and studied in Bukhara and Yemen before returning to China in 1761. Ma Mingxin was of the Jahriyah school of Nagshbandis, who favored the vocal dhikr. He composed a poem celebrating the birth of the Prophet which won him fame at the expense of the Khufiyah, who preferred silent invocation. The Khfifiyah accused the Jahriyah of sedition and helped the Qing government put down the “rebels” in 1711, collaborating again with the authorities in an attempt to exterminate them in 1784. However, the Jahriyah survived, developing a hereditary succession and modifying their reformist tendencies.

A liberation movement developed in Xinjiang under the leadership of the Nagshbandi Shaykh Jahangir, who launched a jihad against Qing domination in 1817. The Kashgaris joined the rebellion a few years later, which failed when Jahangir was captured in 1828. Internal feuding split the Nagshbandis thereafter, with the Ishaqis and Afaqis losing influence to the Mujaddidis, who inherited the tradition of Ahmad Sirhindi. The British made use of a Nagshbandi. Ahmad Shah, as an informer on political affairs in Xinjiang at this time.

Rebellions broke out once again in Shanxi and Gansu in 1862. The Qing authorities accepted the surrender of the faction led by Ma Zhan’ao, who seems to have been a Khufi Nagshbandi. However, the government saw the Jahri leader Ma Hualong as its main enemy, and used his “rebellion” as an excuse to commit atrocities against those who had put themselves under government protection. Ma Hualong was executed in 1871; the last pockets of resistance were eliminated in 1873, and a large part of the population was forcibly relocated.

Naqshbandi jihads were launched by Rashidin Khan Khawajah in Kucha and by the Mujaddidi `Abd alRahman Hadrah in Yarkand (1864). The Naqshbandis probably also inspired the revolts of Jin Xiangyin and the Kirghiz chief Siddiq Beg in Kashgar, as well as that of Tuo Ming in Urumchi in the same year. As before, internal rivalry hindered the rebels; the rebellions of Rashidin Khan Khawajah and `Abd al-Rahman Hadrah were put down by Ya’qfib Beg at the instigation of Jin Xiangjin and Siddiq Beg. Ya’gfib went on to establish his own sultanate, but the Qing reconquered southern Xinjiang in 1877.

In twentieth-century China the political influence of the (tariqahs) has declined, although the effect of the Cultural Revolution on Islam in general is not yet known. The Naqshbandis at least retained enough influence for the Jahri chief Ma Zhenwu to be denounced by the government for “exploitation” in 1958.

Indian Subcontinent. Sufi activity in India dates back to the early years of Muslim rule in the subcontinent, where Sufis had a high profile as teachers and mediators between their followers and the government and between political rivals. Although they were to become somewhat eclipsed by the `ulama’ in the Mfighal period (1526-1739), they continued to exert a degree of influence over their political masters and those jurists who were sympathetic to their outlook. The Chishtiyah had long seen themselves as the patron saints of Muslim rulers in India; during the reign of Shah Jihan (d. 1659), `Abd al-Rahman Chishti evoked the hukumah batiniyah in speaking of the Chishtiyah as sole protectors of the emperor’s life, with responsibility for the very survival of the kingdom.

It was the Nagshbandi tariqah however, which acquired the greatest reputation for political activity during this period. The early example of `Ubaydullah Ahrar (d. 1490), who was closely connected to the Timurid prince Abfi Said and exerted great political influence on Central Asian politics, set a precedent for the Indian Naqshbandis’ attempts to guide their rulers. The would-be kingmaker Shaykh Jalal al-Din Khawajiji provides a vivid example of this, telling the skeptical Emperor Babur (d. 1530) that “outstanding Sufis who were responsible for the maintenance of the world” had elected one `Ubaydullah Khan as the Uzbek khalifah. Not surprisingly, Babur ignored their decision.

Perhaps the most controversial figure in this respect is the Nagshbandi. Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624). The conventional opinion has been that he struggled successfully to reverse the syncretic trends of the court of Akbar, and that Awrangzib’s favoring a more orthodox Islamic policy than his predecessors was a result of Sirhindi’s political campaigning. Opponents of this view reason that the numerous letters written by Sirhindi to the political figures of his day are proof of commitment but not necessarily of influence. It should also be pointed out that Sirhindi’s activities caused concern in high places; he was imprisoned (1619-162o) by Jahangir, and the study of his Maktubat was prohibited by Awrangzib in 1679. It is possible that this ban, together with the negative fatwas of various Indian Sufis and `ulama’ was also the result of Sirhindi’s claim to being the Qayyum, the maintainer of the cosmic order. Three of his successors claimed this status-Muhammad Ma’sum (d. 1668), Hujjat Allah Naqshband (d. 1702), and Muhammad Zubayr (d. 1740).

The death of Awrangzib in 1707 left a vacuum in the Mughal empire, and some landed Sufis began to exert themselves against regional authorities which lacked royal support. This period saw the rising profile of the Nizami Chishti tariqah whose leader Khvajah Nur Muhammad (d. 1791), exerted considerable influence over Baha’ al-Haqq, the ruler of Bahawalpur, and fought against the Sikhs in the Punjab.

Also influential was the activity of Khvajah Mir Dard (d. 1785), who combined a stern Nagshbandi. ascetism with a love of poetry and music, for which he was criticized by some of his contemporaries. He founded the Tariqah-i Muhammadiyah whose members he advised to assist the temporal authorities with prayers, dubbing them lashkar-i du’a or “the army of prayer.”

The Naqshbandi Shah Wall Allah Dihlawi (d. 1763) was also influential. He is credited with completing the reformist work of Sirhindi, and he wrote many letter to the emperor and government officials urging political and financial reforms. He also appealed to the Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdall to save India from the depredations of Nadir Shah, who had invaded in 1739; Abdali did so, but looted and left. The political element of Shah Wall Allah’s work survives to this day in the school of Deoband, but without his specifically Sufi perspective.

The jihad against the Sikhs was continued by Sayyid Ahmad (d. 1831), who founded his own Tariqah-i Muhammadiyah, an organization which opposed the “superstition” of the traditional Sufi orders and paved the way for a more openly reformist Islam. The orders thereafter became less conspicuous in nationalist political affairs.

Indonesia. Premodern Islam in Indonesia had a deeply mystical quality. As elsewhere, Sufi orders played a part in legitimating political authority. Sufi ideas also made their mark on historiography, as shown by the Tambo, the Minangkabau chronicle which derives creation from the Muhammadan Light and posits the ideal of harmony between the individual and society and the cosmic order, expressed as adat.

However, a growing awareness of Pan-Islamic and Wahhabi ideas began to polarize Indonesian Muslim society, giving rise to the anti-Sufi Padri movement, which was started by three Minangkabau pilgrims returning from Mecca in 1821. War ensued (1825-1830) between the Padris and the traditionalist supporters of adat, with the Dutch entering on the adat side; the Padris took advantage of inter-tariqah rivalry, exploiting the rivalry between the Naqshbandiyah and Qadiriyah and the Shattariyah. (Datuk Sutan Maharadja, writing in 1912, highlighted the Sufi-Padri gulf by identifying Sufism with natural law and the Muhammadan Light with “original adat,” reinforcing the link between Sufism and Maningkabau patriotism.)

Anti-Dutch feeling manifested itself in the form of messianic revolts led by Ahmad Ngisa (1871), Kasan Mukmin (1904), Dermadjaja (1907), Dietz (1918), and the Madhist Murakat (1923). However, by this stage it had become increasingly difficult to distinguish among reformist Islamic, traditional Sufi, and even anti-Islamic revolts in this diverse and often syncretistic religious environment. In the 1920s, the Islamic Communism movement was led partly by Sufis, and even the modern political Sarekat Islam retained a mystical-millenarian image at the popular level.

North Africa. The Sanusiyah provides one of the clearest examples of a tariqah developing along political lines. Founded by Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Sanusi (d. 1859), a murid of Ahmad ibn Idris (d. 1837), the order had its first zdwiyah near Mecca in 1838, but it was forced to leave in 184o because of local disapproval of Sufism. A zdwiyah was founded at the Jabal Akhdar (Cyrenaica) in 1843, before the center of the tariqah was moved south to Jaghbub in 1856, to avoid Turkish interference and to strengthen its influence in the central Sahara. A comprehensive network of zdwiyahs developed, forming a self-sufficient Muslim community. These zdwiyahs became centers of tribal unity for the nomads, as well as providing buffer zones between tribes and a sacred space in which disputes could be discussed.

When the Italians invaded Crenaica in 1911 they met fierce resistance from the Sanusiyah under the leadership of Sid! Ahmad al-Sharlf, who had fought the French in the Sahara (1902-1912). It was only in the face of this foreign threat that the Sanusls moved closer to the Turks, who provided limited material assistance but withdrew in 1912. In 1916 the Sanusiyah, led by the young Muhammad Idris al-Sanus! (later king of Libya) opened negotiations with the Italians and British. Resistance was resumed in the second Italo-Sanus! war (1923-1932) by `Umar al-Mukhtar, who was captured and executed in 1931.

In Algeria, the Darqawi `Abd al-Qadir ibn al-Sharlf agitated in the Turkish province of Oran (1803-1809) and “but for the moderation of the sultan Mawlay Sulayman (1792-1822) this . . . might have ended in the annexation of western Algeria by Morocco” (R. Le Tourneau, “Darkawa,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed. 1960-, vol. 2, p. 160). Ibn al-Sharlf also marched unsuccessfully against the Turks during the English bombardment of Algiers in 1816.

French forces arrived in the summer of 1830; by 1832 their intentions had become clear to the Algerians, who organized a resistance movement. Command was given to Amir `Abd al-Qadir, a young Qadiri shaykh. He was also initiated into the Naqshbandiyah, the Shadhiliyah, and the Tijanlyah. `Abd al-Qadir’s immense energy and tactical brilliance frustrated the French for fifteen years, during which period he had to contend with the uncertain loyalties of the tribes as well as the opposition of the Dargawls, who suspected him of making common cause with the French after the treaties of Desmichels (1834) and Tafna (1837). He was imprisoned in France (184’7-1852) and then exiled to Damascus, where he died in 1883. He was buried next to the tomb of Ibn `Arab!, and his body was repatriated after Algerian independence.

It seems that some of the Qadirlyah modified their oppositional stance after the defeat of the amir. In 1879, Muhammad ibn ‘Abbas supported the French in the insurrection at Aures, and the tariqah helped to extend French influence into the Sahara at Wargla and al-Wad. Their na’ib, Muhammad ibn al-Tayyib, fell on the French side at the battle of Charouin in 1901.

Moroccan (tariqahs) have a long history of involvement at all levels of society. The Dargawls supported the authorities in return for Mawlay Sulayman’s encouragement of their shaykh, Mawlay al-`Arabi (d. 1823), who was, however, imprisoned later by the suspicious sultan. He was freed after Mawlay Sulayman’s death in 1822. The tariqah also opposed French ambitions in eastern Morocco and accused its own government of appeasement in 1887. In the northeast in 1907, the Banu Snassen rose against the French, who had occupied their lands. This was followed in 1910 by the attempt of Ma’al-`Aynayn, the twelfth son of the great Mauritanian Qadir! Shaykh Muhammad Fadl (d. 1869), to force his own accession to the Moroccan throne.

The Rif War (1925-1930) was a larger-scale revolt. Although its leader Abd el-Krim (more properly, `Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi) and many of his followers were Sufis, it was more of a national liberation struggle than a Sufi movement.

West Africa. By the end of the eighteenth century the new enthusiasm for Islamic unity and reform reached West Africa through the Qadirlyah, exemplified by the leadership of Sidi al-Mukhtar al-Kunt! (d. 1811) and Shaykh Usuman dan Fodio (d. 1817). A revivalist campaign was conducted in Gobir, Zamfara, Katsina, and Kebbi (1774-1804), with a jihad against the Habe kings in 1797. By 1812, a Muslim Fulani empire had come into being, ruled by Shaykh Usuman’s brother `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad and his second son, Muhammadu Bello (d. 1837), with Shaykh Usuman enjoying overall command as caliph. The momentum of conquest was maintained by one of Shaykh Usuman’s disciples, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn AN Bakr, who launched a jihad in Masina (1810 or 1818), claiming to be the Renewer (mujaddid) of the thirteenth lunar century. Another Qadir! jihad followed in 1850 under al-Hajj Mahmud, who had renewed his Qadir! affiliation in Syria, pledging to conquer his own country and build a mosque in every town he took. However, his ambitions clashed with local interests, as the Dyula Muslims had long-established trade links with non-Muslims, and alHajj Mahmfid met with limited success.

The nineteenth century also saw the introduction into West Africa of the Tijanlyah. Named after Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani (d. 1815), the tariqah was championed by al-Hajj `Umar Tal (d. 1864) and received early support from Muhammadu Bello. However, the Qadiri establishment of Sokoto became more rigid after Bello’s death, and the Tijanlyah acquired the unofficial status of political opposition. This tension remains in presentday Nigeria.

The predominant figure in the history of Mauritanian Sufism is the Qadiri Shaykh Sidiyah al-Kabir (d. 1868), who attracted a large nomadic following. He founded a central zawiyah at Bontilimit for administrative and political reasons, while remaining mindful of his community’s migratory needs. He was a skilled political mediator, acting as a kingmaker among the warrior Hassani. He was taught by Sidi al-Mukhtar al-Kunti and taught Ahmad Bamba.

The tariqahs arrived in Senegal from North Africa in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many assumed a mediatory role between the French colonists and the rural inhabitants, thus enjoying the political advantage of French support. However, not all enjoyed the confidence of the French; Ahmad Bamba, the founder of the Muridiyah order (who had refused the post of qadi in Kayor in 1882), was considered subversive and was exiled to Gabon (1895-1902) and Mauritania (1903-1907). His release from Gabon was obtained by Shaykh Ibra Fall by using the influence of Senegal’s parliamentary deputy.

In 1966 Abdou Lahat M’Backe inherited the khildfah. Although he wished to seem aloof from politics, appearances were maintained; the government continued to be represented at Muridiyah celebrations, and the tariqah was still expected to support rural development programs. Government assistance was given for the development of Touba, the Murid capital, in return for which Abdou Lahat agreed to the closure of the Muridcontrolled black market, which had grown as a result of economic hardship and urban migration after world War II. The black marketeers defied both government and shaykh; soon afterward, the attempted murder of the imam of the great mosque (Serigne `Abd al-Qadir M’backe, Ahmad Bamba’s son) resulted in the posting of gendarmes to Touba for the first time since independence in 1960.

The government was also present at major festivals of the Tijaniyah and gave material support to the Layenne tariqah in spite of its opposition to government legal reforms. The Murids, meanwhile, hardened their attitudes to other tariqahs in the late 1970s, while the Tijaniyah took a reformist line in criticizing controversial aspects of Muridiyah. Relations remained tense between the order’s leadership and the Murid traders of Touba, as indicated by their lukewarm response to M’backe’s instructions to vote for Abdou Diouf in the 1983 general election.

Sudan. The Qadiriyah and Shadhiliyah dominated Sudanese Sufism from the sixteenth century, giving some ground to reformist tarigahs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sudan also came under foreign influence form the north with the Turco-Egyptian conquest of 1821, which contributed to the politicization of the tadgahs, some of which (e.g., the Rashidiyah and Majdhfibiyah) actively resisted the invaders. Others were used as mediators, such as the Khatmiyah, which supported government intervention in the rebellion of Kassala (1865).

The Sammaniyah, founded in the Hijaz by Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Karim al-Samman (d. 1775), enjoyed considerable success in the Sudan. Its two main branches in the Jazirah were dominated by al-Samman’s descendants of the Tayyib family (hence the tariqahs other name, al-Tayyiblyah) and the family of al-Qurashi Wad al-Zayn, who considered his line to be closer to the founder despite its lacking a family connection. The rivalry between these two branches developed into a schism in 1878 when Muhammad Ahmad (the future Madhi) criticized his shaykh, Muhammad Sharif Nur al-Dd’im, for laxity. Muhammad Ahmad transferred his allegiance to the Qurashi branch, which later supported him in his Mahdist campaign (1881-1885); the hereditary branch took sides with the Turks and Egyptians, as did the Khatmiyah. The Mahdiyah were also supported by the Majdhubiyah, who had been violently opposed to the Turco-Egyptian government since 1821, and whose traditions spoke of a Madhi appearing in the west.

In establishing the Mahdist state, Muhammad Ahmad aimed to supersede the tarigahs and even went so far as to suppress them. However, his devotional manual (rdtib), which was banned by the governor-general, provides evidence for a Sufi perspective underlying his millenarian and reformist ambitions.

After the fall of the Madhi in 1898 and the establishment of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (18981956), the tariqahs regained some of their influence; although the British never formally recognized them, they discovered a convenient anti-Mahdist bulwark in the Khatmiyah. However, during World War I the British feared that Mahdist sympathizers might support the Turks and decided to encourage a “controlled reconstruction” of the Mahdiyah.

The tariqahs became increasingly politicized up to and after independence (1956), with the Khatmiyah/Mahdiyah rift remaining contentious. The Khatmiyah remained loyal to the government but politically aloof and maintained privileged links with Egypt. The Hindiyah (originally a pro-Madhist tarigah) developed a highly centralized structure and radical political commitment; Sayyid Siddiq Yusuf al-Hindi (d. 1982) was a staunch opponent of the Nimeiri regime.

Horn of Africa and East Africa. By the nineteenth century the Qadiriyah had become firmly established in the rural Ethiopia and Somalia, forming a barrier against the reformist Idrisi tariqahs Only the Salihiyah (founded by Muhammad ibn Salih, d. 1917) achieved any significant penetration. A resistance campaign was fought against the Italians and the British (1899-1920) under the leadership of Muhammad `Abd Allah Hasan, who was also hostile to nonaligned brotherhoods such as the Ahmadiyah and the Qadiriyah. One of his followers assassinated a leading Qadiri shaykh, Uways ibn Muhammad al-Baraw-1, in 1909.

Sufism was generally tolerated in German and then British East Africa, although the dhikr was first banned (i909-1911) and later restricted (1922-1933) because of its supposedly subversive connotations. Many Sufi founders of the Muslim Association of Tanganyika became leaders of the Tanganyika African Association (founded c. 1929), which formed the basis of a later independence movements. The `Askariyah, AhmadiyahDandarawiyah, and Shadhiliyah were especially active in this regard.

[See also Sufism, article on Sufi orders. In addition many of the specific orders and their founders are the subject of independent entries. For overviews of Islam in the various regions covered, see under Islam; see also the entries on individual countries.]

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  1. E. A. JOHANSEN

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/sufism-and-politics/
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