The construction of collective identity among the Muridiyya abroad is a communal but contested endeavor. Differing conceptions of what should be the mission of Muridiyya institutions in the diaspora reveal disciples’ conflicting politics and challenge the notion of the order’s homogeneity. While some insist on the universal dimension of Ahmadu Bamba Mbakke’s calling and emphasize dawa (proselytizing), others prioritize preserving Muridiyya identity abroad by consolidating the linkages with the leadership in Senegal. Diasporic reimaginings of the Muridiyya abroad, in turn, inspire cultural reconfigurations at home.
Drawing from a wide array of oral and archival sources in multiple languages collected in five countries, The Muridiyya on the Move: Islam, Migration, and Place Making (Ohio UP, 2021) reconstructs over half a century of the order’s history, focusing on mobility and cultural transformations in urban settings. In this groundbreaking work, Babou highlights the importance of the dahira (urban prayer circle) as he charts the continuities and ruptures between Muridiyya migrations. Throughout, he delineates the economic, socio-political, and other forces that powered these population movements, including colonial rule, the economic crises of the postcolonial era, and natural disasters.
Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University.
Sara Katz is a postdoctoral fellow in the Arts & Humanities Grant Studio at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research examines the history of the Nigerian hajj in the colonial and postcolonial periods. Her interests include Muslim-Christian relations, visual culture, and global Islam.