Sufi Feminism: Women Leaders in African Sufi Movements

Men founded and have ruled over Sufi orders since their inception, and thus the position of Khalifa or shaykh has been traditionally held by men. However, this study argues that in some Islamic mystical traditions women have assumed a senior leadership role with all the power that such a prominent p...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of religion in Africa
Main Author: Ḥasan, Ḥamdī ʿAbd-ar-Raḥmān
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Brill 2023
In: Journal of religion in Africa
Further subjects:B Mouridiyya
B Tijaniyya
B Khatmiyya
B female saints
B Qadiriyya
B Sufi feminism
B Sufism
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Summary:Men founded and have ruled over Sufi orders since their inception, and thus the position of Khalifa or shaykh has been traditionally held by men. However, this study argues that in some Islamic mystical traditions women have assumed a senior leadership role with all the power that such a prominent position entails. More research is needed to understand the challenges Sufi women have faced in legitimizing their power, their experiences in a patriarchal society, and the various methods they have used to establish and protect their religious authority. By adopting a qualitative approach, this study seeks to explain the shift in Sufi women’s leadership role in society, specifically within the African context, focusing on two women who were influential spiritual leaders, Nana Asmaʾu and Sharifa ʿAlawiyya al-Mīrghanī. The study concludes that African Sufi feminist traditions overcame the challenges posed by their complex societal contexts.
ISSN:1570-0666
Contains:Enthalten in: Journal of religion in Africa
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1163/15700666-12340258