AFRI190-assignment1 - based on black knowledge Just after...

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The people of Senegal are overwhelmingly Muslim, but they practice a distinct type of Islam, Sufi Islam. This particular sect of Islam combines traditional practices derived directly from the Koran with more mystical, local culture. It has two distinct segments—black knowledge and white knowledge. Black knowledge is characterized by jinn or spirits of nature and assumed to be quickly affective, while white knowledge is more associated with texts and amulets and takes a longer period of time to begin. These two different segments of African Islam create a type of Accomodaitonalist Islam that most Senegalese people practice, but the combination can create tension. Every day, “local Muslims are involved in their own debates about what is and what is not good Islamic practice.” Two particular practices of the Senegalese people convey their ability to combine their two distinct forms of Sufi Islam. First, the naming of an infant is a ceremony associated mainly with white knowledge but is preceded by a tradition
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Unformatted text preview: based on black knowledge. Just after the baby is born, he or she is sheltered in the mother’s hut in order to avoid contact with bad jinn or witchcraft. However, the ceremony is much more traditional, Koran-based and held by an imam. Overall, this tradition combines both the mystical, spiritual elements of black knowledge with the traditional, Koran-based aspects of white knowledge. The circumcision of African boys is also an example of an aspect of the religious culture that combines traditional and non-traditional knowledge. The ceremony itself derives little from traditional Islam, but it is required in most of Senegal in order for a boy to “embrace the Muslim religion.” I think Cheikh Hamidou Kane sums up the religious mindset of most Senegalese people when he says, “If Islam should appear to me, by whatever trait, to be in contradiction with the African personality, I would prefer ‘to forget’ for the present this discord.”...
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This note was uploaded on 11/12/2009 for the course AFRI 190 taught by Professor Seck during the Spring '09 term at UNC.

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