On the Path of the Prophet: Shaykh Ahmad Tijani & the Tariqa Muh


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  • Author: Zachary Valentine Wright
  • ISBN: 9780991381388

Shaykh Ahmad Tijani (1737-1815) was one of the central figures of eighteenth-century Islamic reform and Sufism (Islamic mysticism). The Sufi order that bears his name, the Tijaniyya, today claims millions of adherents all over the Muslim world, especially in West Africa. Known by his followers as the Qutb al-Maktum (the Hidden Pole), Shaykh Ahmad Tijani has remained for many an enigmatic and sometimes controversial figure. Here for the first time in the English language is an exposition of his life and doctrine based on primary sources and interviews with prominent Tijani leaders in Senegal, Morocco and Egypt.
Through the lens of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya – an intellectual movement emerging in the eighteenth century to express the essential connection between the Prophet Muhammad and Islamic mysticism – the reader is provided a rare window into what appears to have been the principal impulse behind the Shaykh and the Tijaniyya order. Such a coherent articulation of the synonymous nature of Islam and Sufism as provided by the Tijani tradition is worth a closer look in a time where Islam is so often accused of promoting a dangerous mixture of political and religious fanaticism.

About the Author
Zachary Wright is currently enrolled in Northwestern University as a PhD student in African History, specializing in Islam in West Africa. Originally from New Hampshire, Zachary is a graduate of the American University in Cairo (M.A. in Arabic Studies – Middle East History) and Stanford University (B.A. in African History). Between studies, he has worked as a journalist and high school Social Studies teacher, among other things. The primary research for On the Path of the Prophet was conducted during the author’s extended stays in Senegal (1998-1999, 2003), Egypt (2000-2002) and Morocco (2002-2003), but Zachary has also visited Tijani communities in Mauritania, the Gambia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, France and America. His most influential teacher on the subject of the Tijaniyya has been the renowned Senegalese Shaykh Hassan Cisse. Besides eighteenth and nineteenth century Sufism, his other research interests include Islam in West Africa, Islam in America and modern movements in Islam.