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This article describes the independent contribution of pacific clerics to Islamic diffusion in West Africa. The particular role of Serakhullé (or Soninké) clerics, better known as Jakhanké, is examined in detail. The Jakhanké became a distinct clerical caste among the Serakhullé, initially through the work of al-Ḥājj Salim Suwaré who led them first at Diakha-Masina and eventually at Diakha-Bambukhu, where they lost a good deal of their Serakhullé cultural traits. Henceforth they acquired a self-consciously Islamic image alongside an increasing identification with the Manding culture. Al-Ḥājj Salim (floruit twelfth–thirteenth century) founded the clerical vocation on a principled disavowal of jihād and withdrawal from political/secular centres. He also established travel as essential to the clerical life. Since his time the Jakhanké have been characterized by dispersion, although the dispersion trail has also connected numerous centres into an effective network of clerical expansion. The career of ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jakhité, a member of the Jakhanké community, illustrates the range of clerical outreach. He and his community eventually settled in Kano in the reign of Muḥammad Rimfa (1463–99) and helped consolidate Islam in Hausaland. On this kind of evidence, it is suggested that the pattern of Islamic clerical diffusion can be discerned at an early stage, although historical sources have tended to fuse the themes of Islamic expansion, commercial activity and a resident foreign Muslim community. However, the Jakhanké clerical tradition is sufficiently secure for it to be studied independently, without assuming a corresponding degree of commercial or foreign Muslim influence. In conclusion, the implications of these findings for research into Islamic diffusion in West Africa are outlined.
1 Fisher, Humphrey, ‘Hassebu: Islamic Healing in Black Africa’, Northern Africa: Islam and Modernisation, ed. Michael Brett (London, 1973), 24.
2 The name Serakhullé appears, with a variant spelling, in a sixteenth-century account which says that they were engaged in active trade with Cairo from the two Sudanese towns of Jenne and Timbuktoo. Lange, D., and Berthoud, S., ‘L'Intérieur de l'Afrique occidentale d'après Giovanni Lorenzo Anania (XVIe siècle)’, Cahiers d'histoire mondiale, xiv, ii, U.N.E.S.C.O. (Paris, 1972). Bello, Muḥammad in his Infāq al-Maisūr refers to the same people as ‘Sarankullī’. Arabic text (Whitting), 208–9, Arnett, E. J., The Rise of the Sokoto Fulani (Lagos, 1922), 137–8. In the Senegambian context Serakhullé is not open to confusion in the way Soninké is, for the latter has acquired a pejorative meaning as the name for pagans. See, for example, Park, Mungo, Travels in Africa: 1795–97 (London, 1969), 25, 303. Also Quinn, Charlotte, Mandingo Kingdoms of the Senegambia (London, 1972), passim.
3 Al-Ya'qūbī, , Kitāb al-Ta'rīkh, i, ed. Th. Houtsma (1883), 219; (Leiden ed. 1969, 220).
4 Al-Idrīsī, , Description de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, ed. and tr. Dozy and de Goeje (1864), 5 ff., text, 6.
5 Al-Andalūsī, , Tuḥfah al-Albāb, tr. Ferrand, G., Journal asiatique, ccvii (1925), 41–2.
6 Historians since Ibn Khaldūn (writing in 1390) have accepted Ghana's disappearance after the Almoravid attack, but this is now being increasingly questioned. A provisional statement of the problem will be found in Coulibaly, Mahmadou, ‘L'Attaque de Ghana (XIe siècle)’, Afrika Zamani, ii, (Yaoundé, Apr. 1974), 57–77.
7 Al-Zuhrī, , Kitāb al-Ja‘rafiyāh, ed. Hodj-Sadok, , Bulletin d'études orientates, xxi (1968), 182–3; Notes et extraits de la bibliothèque nationale, XII, 642.
8 Lewicki, T., Arabic External Sources for the History of Africa to the South of Sahara (Cracow, 1969: London ed. 1974), 20, 23–6.
9 Lewicki, T., ‘Les origines de l'Islam dans les tribus berbères du Sahara occidental: Mūsā ibn Nusayr et ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ḥabḥab’, Studia Islamica, xxxii (1970), 203–14.
10 Al-Bakrī, , Kitāb al-Māsālik wa al-Mamālik, tr. and ed. de Slane, M. G. (Alger, 1913), rep. Paris, 1965, text 72–3, tr. 174–6. Also new tr. Monteil, Vincent, Bulletin de l'I.F.A.N., sér. B xxx (Dakar, 1968), 39–116.
11 See for example Trimingham, , A History of Islam in West Africa (London, 1962), 52 n. Levtzion is more careful, saying there must have been indigenous Muslims as well, but he is reluctant to separate trade and Islam, : Ancient Ghana and Mali (London, 1973), 187.
12 One writer goes even further, saying that until the turn of the sixteenth century Islam had made little impression on Sudanic peoples. Hunwick, John, ‘Islam in West Africa’, A Thousand Years of West African History, eds. Ajayi, and Espie, (Ibadan and London, 1969), 120.
13 Trimingham, says that on his way to Mecca on ḥājj Mansa Musa learnt in Cairo for the first time that Muslims were allowed no more than four wives at any given time: History, 71. But in the conversation with Ibn Amīr Ḥājib, the governor of Cairo, the discussion was about the legality of treating girls brought as presents as slave-girls who can be treated as concubines in Muslim law without any limit as to number. Abī, Ibnal-Qayrawānī, Zayd, La Risālah…, ed. and tr. L. Bercher (Alger, 1945), 178, and Baillie, Neil B., A Digest of Moohummudan Law (Lahore, 1957), 367.
14 Hājib, Ibn Amīr himself described Mansa Mūsā as mutadayyanan muḥāfiẓan ‘alā al-ṣalāt wa al-qirā’ah wa al-dhikr (‘godly and diligent in prayer and study and devotion’). Al-‘Umari, (1349) in Ṣalāh al-Dīn al-Munajjid: Māmlakah Māliyāh…, (Beirut, 1963), 58.
15 The phrase is used here to mean knowledge of Sharī ‘ah legal categories and a wish to establish institutions and structures for the application of the Sharī ‘ah. The term ‘normative’, used in some sources, is nebulous and introduces the troublesome question as to whether ‘normative’ or ‘ideal’ Islam means that Islam exists as an ‘ought’ in some cases and as an ‘is’ in others. In the first case its ‘oughtness’ suffices as a definition of a good Muslim and in the second it detracts from any such goodness. I use ‘prescriptive’ in this sense to mean acquaintance with what Islam prescribes as a requirement and guidance and not what individuals may or may not achieve by Islam.
16 Salāḥ, al-Dīn Munajjid, Mamlakah, 11.
17 Baṭṭūṭa, Ibn, Riḥlah, Dār Sadār (Beirut, 1964), Ar. text 680.
18 Op. cit.
19 Baṭṭūṭa, Ibn says he came across these people in a place called ‘Zāgharī’, several stages from his ‘Zāghah’ (Diakha). He says they were Sudanese traders among whom one also met white merchants.
20 Diakha was a twin city with Kabarah and the two rulers recognized the authority of the king of Mali. This Kabarah is to be distinguished from another place of the same name on the eastern side of the Niger bend, the port of Timbuktoo. Al-Sa‘dī, , Ta'rīkh al-Sūdān, tr. Octave Houdas (Paris, 1964), 25. In the spring of 1493 Askiya Muhammad Turé's superior forces beleaguered the city of Diakha after Chi Baro had fled there for sanctuary. The city fell and the Askiya expropriated its wealth. From all indications Diakha remained a clerical centre with little secular interference in its internal affairs, until, of course, it became irretrievably embroiled in the contest between the house of Sonni Ali and the Askiya Muhammad Turé. The ruler, or chief man, in Diakha, at that time was a ‘Karamokho’, i.e., a cleric. Ta'rīkh al-Fattāsh, p. 118.
21 This is a specialized prayer ritual for rain, and is regulated by law, Muslim canon. Article in Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden and London, 1961).
22 In Islamic, law ṣalāt al-istisqā is performed on Thursday night until daybreak Friday, and this may have been in the mind of al-Bakrī when he wrote down the story.
23 Al-Bakrī, , Masālik, text 74 ff., tr. 178 f. The example of clerical service being offered to rulers in difficulties with the weather, among other things, can be extended to non-Muslim areas. The story is told of Kubilai Khan who held his pagan clerics in great fear mainly because of their power to control the weather. The Travels of Marco Polo, tr. and ed. Latham, R. E. (London, 1958), 90.
24 A famous example of clerics praying for trade is the story of the ruler of Jenne, who asked his ‘ulama, i.e. clerics, to pray for commerce so that the town might prosper and the inhabitants become wealthy. Al-Sa'dī’ Ta'rikh al-Sūdān, Ar. 12–13, tr.24.
25 Jakhanké clerics prayed for numerous warrior clients and were well rewarded: Malik Sy of Bundu (see below), Samori Turé and Musa Molo are some outstanding examples.
26 Trimingham, , History, 31.
27 Sanneh, L. O., ‘The History of the Jakhanké People of Senegambia: A study of a Clerical Tradition in West African Islam’, (Ph.D. unpublished, University of London, 1974. This study is being prepared for publication. Henceforth ‘The Jakhanké’.
28 Jakhanké sources use the Arabic word naw', kind, branch, rather than jins, race, species, of themselves. ‘The Jakhanké’, 35.
29 Charlotte Quinn describes the Jakhanké, as a Mandinka people ‘from Futa Tuba who spoke a dialect of Mandingo different from their neighbours in the Gambian states’, Mandingo Kingdoms, 172. Also Curtin, Philip, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa: Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade (Madison, 1975), 79. Jakhanké, clerics have conducted Qur'ānic exegesis (tafsīr) in the Serakhullé language. They have no separate language of their own apart from Serakhullé, although many have now adopted Susu and Manding.
30 Ivor Wilks calls the same people in Northern Ghana–Haute-Volta regions ‘Dyula’, in Goody, Jack, ed., Literacy in Traditional Societies (London, 1968): ‘Transmission of Islamic Learning in the Western Sudan’. Among the Hausa they are classed as ‘Wan-garawa’. See Al-Ḥājj, Muḥammad, ‘A 17th century Chronicle on the Origins and Missionary Activities of the Wangarawa’, in Kano Studies, vol. 1, no. 4, to which we shall refer below. In Kankan they are part of the Mandinka-Mori community. It was a Jakhanké cleric, Maḥmūd Kabba, who, according to a Kabba, silsilah (genealogy), went to Baté and founded Kankan. Some traces of this tradition are contained in Le Chatelier, A., L'Islam dans l'Afrique Occidentale (Paris, 1899), 161. Another confusion is the habit of seeing them as traders, for which see Curtin, , ‘Precolonial trading networks and traders: the Diakhanké’, in Meillassoux, Claude, ed., The Development of Trade and Markets in Precolonial West Africa (London, 1971), 228 ff. Also the same author's Economic Change, 75 ff. Echoes of Curtin's view can be found in Levtzion, , Ancient Ghana, 168–9. Curtin, however, has not altogether ignored the clerical theme. He writes: ‘One of the recurrent themes in Diakhanké traditions is that of the waliu or saint who is offered the kingship, which he rejects as contrary to his religious principles… The commercial value of this attitude is obvious.’ Curtin, , ‘Trading Networks’, 229–30, and Economic Change, 80. But Jobson's evidence which is used to support this superimposed commercial interpretation is not about clerics as traders but as mobile teaching communities. See also Levtzion, , Ancient Ghana, 169–70, where the same inappropriate interpretation is put on Jobson's account.
31 Smith, Pierre, ‘Les Diakhanké: Histoire d'une Dispersion’, extr. des Cahiers du Centre de Recherches Anthropologie, no. 4 in Bulletin et Mémoire de la Sociétéd'Anthropologie de Paris, tome 8, Xle sèrie (1965), 231–62. Also Wilks, , ‘Learning’ (1968), 162–95. Wilks's chronology on al-Ḥājj Salim is finally decided on the hypothesis that al-Ḥājj Salim personally introduced the Tafsīr al-Jalālayn (of al-Maghīlī and al-Suyūtī) into the Western Sudan. Since this work was not completed before 1485, al-Ḥājj Salim, according to Wilks, could not have lived much before that. Curtin adopts this interpretation as proven, , Economic Change, 80. As we shall show in this article, Wilks's calculations yield a very unsatisfactory result when applied to al-Ḥājj Salim in the context of migrations which occurred long after his death.
32 ‘M'bemba’ means Patriarch, ancestor, in Serakhullé and Manding, and is used of al-Ḥājj Salim as a pious honorific.
33 ‘Su-waré’, a compound Manding word, does not mean red horse, as suggests, Wilks, ‘Learning’, 178. He may have been misled by A. Bonnel de Mézières, who says that the name was derived from an ancestor of the Jakhanké who was riding a red horse through a Serakhullé village when the title was given to him. ‘Les Diakanké de Banisiraila et du Boundou Méridional (Sénégal)’, in Notes Africaines de l'I.F.A.N. (Dakar, Jan. 1949), 23. The context makes it clear that al-Ḥājj Salim was distinguished among the riders for his piebald mount. ‘Su’ means horse, and ‘waré’ means alternating colourful patterns.
34 Al-Ḥājj Salim is made one of the three sons of Dinga (or Digna), the ancestor or father of Magham Diabé Sisé, and a half-brother of Magham Diabé himself. In one account he is referred to simply as ‘Diaghaba Founé’, i.e., twin of Diakhaba. Delafosse, Maurice, Traditions Historiques et Légendaires de L'Afrique Occidental (Paris, 1913), 7. Another source refers to him as Fode al-Ḥājj Suwaré. Monteil, Charles, ‘La Légende de Ouagadou et l'Origine des Soninké’, Ménoire de l' I.F.A.N., no. 23, Mélanges Ethno-logiques (Dakar, 1953), 372.
35 TSK emanates from al-Ḥājj Banfa Jabi, eldest son of Karamokho Sankoung of Touba in Guinea, and was copied by his student and disciple, Fode Khousi Daramé, from an original retained by Banfa. This copy contains slight grammatical flaws but they are easily recognizable. It was submitted to Banfa at his new home in Senegal for permission to use it. Banfa in his younger days at Touba was Paul Marty's informant for the Jakhanké material in the latter's book, L'Islam en Guinée (Paris, 1921), p. 112, where he is referred to as Alfa Oumarou. Banfa died early in 1975, at Makka-Kolibantang (Senegal) wherec his brother, al-Ḥājj Soriba, still lives.
36 Hijrah is the act of withdrawal originally undertaken by Muḥammad and his community from Mecca to Medina (June A.D. 622); it is the beginning of the Muslim calendar. It was subsequently adopted by the West African Muslim mujāhidun as a prelude to armed conflict. Willis, John Ralph, ‘Jihāad fi sabīl li-llāh: its doctrinal basis in Islam and some aspects of its evolution in 19th century West Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., viii (1967), 395–415; also Hiskett, Mervyn, ‘An Islamic Tradition of Reform in the Western Sudan’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, xxv, 3 (1962) and his The Sword of Truth: the Life and Times of the Shehu Usuman dan Fodio (New York, 1973). Al-Ghazālī in the quotation at the head of this article uses physical metaphors of flight and escape (al-harb and al-firār) to describe an intense personal crisis.
37 Monteil, Ch., ‘Legende’, 372. On the Marega clan around Kayes there is Brun, P. J., ‘La Totemisme chez quelques peuples du Soudan Occidental’, Anthropos, 5 (Paris, 1910).
38 TSK, fos. 1 and 2.
40 TSK, fol. 2.
41 ibid. The text reads: fa'amma laqabahu bi-tulli fādiqa li-kawnihi yaḥibbu ṣan‘ati al-ḥīja li-ṭalaba bi-‘asal li-yataṣadaqa bihi al-nās. Translation: ‘And as for the reason why the honorific “Tulli” was acquired by the Fadiqa people, it is because of the fondness [of the Fadiqa] for extracting honey in order to make free-will offerings to the people’. I take al-ḥīja to be a mis-spelling for al-ḥājah. It is not clear from the context whether the Fādiqa were fond of making free-will offerings to people or of honey extraction as an occupation.
44 ‘The Jakhanké’, 85.
45 al-Ḥājj, Muḥammad, ‘Wangarawa’, p. 9 n. 19. The chronicle describes events in the mid-fifteenth century and may have been based on a source, probably a written one, in which the original story of al-Ḥājj Salim may have been told but which was lost. The chronicler does not tell us who his own source was or if either he or the source was drawing on a common account.
46 Aṣl al-Wangarayīn, translated al-Ḥājj, ‘Wangarawa’, text p. 3.
47 Monteil, Ch., ‘Légende’, 371.
48 Lewicki, Tadeusz, ‘Un état Soudanais mediéval inconnu: le royaume de Zāfun(u)’, Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines, xi (1971). Lewicki explains how ‘J’ and ‘Z’ are interchangeable for words like Jafunu. In Jakhanké sources, for example, Jakhité is written ‘Zaghīte’ or ‘Zayté’, and similarly Diakhaba is written ‘Zaghaba’. But in pronunciation these words have the ‘J’ sound. Although it is a well-known convention it has proved a pitfall for historians working with texts from a Jakhanké source. H. R. Palmer and Muḥammad al-Ḥājj, for example, have found it difficult to identify 'Abd al-Rahmān Jakhité.
49 Wilks, , ‘Learning’, 178–9. Philip Curtin, accepting Wilks, writes: ‘Some accounts say that Salimou Soaré founded Diakhaba, which seems unlikely.’ ‘Trading Networks’. Also Smith, , ‘Histoire’, 236.
50 Delafosse, , ‘Traditions’, p. 7, and Monteil, Ch., ‘Légende’, 372, both say that al-Ḥājj Salim was the founding father of Diakha-Bambukhu and its Patriarch. TSK uses the Arabic word from the root assa, to found, create, with regard to al-Ḥājj Salim and his community establishing Diakha-Bambukhu. The relevant sentence reads: wa annahum al-mu'asīisīina balad zāghaba al-qadīm (‘and they founded the ancient town of Diakhaba’) fol. 2.
51 Curtin, , ‘Trading Networks’.
52 Oral Traditions, Jimara-Bakadaji, chiefly al-Ḥājj Janko Daramé.
53 Curtin, , ‘The Lure of Bambouk Gold’. J. Afr. Hist. iv (1973), 623–631.
54 André Alvares de Almada, writing in 1594, describes how at Sutukho, a Jakhanke clerical centre in Upper Senegambia, gold is brought there ‘by Mandinga traders who are also men of religion.’ Tratado Breve dos Rios de Guine, cited in Farias, P. F. de M., ‘Silent Trade: Myth and Historical Evidence’, History in Africa (African Studies Association, U.S.A.), 1 (1974), p. 17. It is not clear from this whether or how such Mandinka Muslim traders acted also as missionary agents, and it seems probable that they were a different people from the clerical inhabitants of Sutukho.
55 TSK, fol. 5.
56 The definitive massive two-volume work of ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Nābulsī (1641–1731) is the standard text on Islamic divination, Ta'tir al-Anām fī Ta‘bīr al-Manām, in wide use among the Jakhanke, as well as a small manual, Ta‘bīr al-Ru'yā, which is attributed to Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn (d. A.D. 728). See also Fahd, Toufic, La Divination Arabe (Leiden, 1966) and von Grünebaum, G. E. and Caillois, , The Dream and Human Societies (California, 1966). Humphrey Fisher discusses one aspect of the question in ‘Prayer and Military Activity in the History of Muslim Africa’, J. Afr. Hist, xii (1971), 391–406. Chapter Seven of ‘The Jakhanké’ is devoted to this topic.
57 The Jakhanké played a prominent part in the acquisition and use of slaves. In their confrontation with the French in Guinea this was to prove their Achilles' heel. Such thematic questions lie outside the scope of this article, but it is important to stress here that the cohesiveness and strength of Jakhanké clerical settlements were maintained largely through the additional labour which slaves could supply. The educational option became a flexible and effective instrument because slaves relieved Jakhanké schoolchildren from extended periods of farm labour. In Islam of course slavery has a venerable tradition and in Muslim Africa it was widely practised, contrary to the jubilant claims of Dr Edward Blyden. There is provision in Islamic law not only for the sale of non-Muslims into slavery, as well as their complex legal status, but in addition freemen may, under certain specified conditions, pass into slavery. Such an action of taking freemen as slaves is termed mubāh. Baillie, , Digest, 365–6. But it is forbidden in law to take Muslims as slaves. See also Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī, La Risālah, passim, and Fisher and Fisher, Slavery and Muslim Society in Africa (New York, 1972).
58 A term originally applied to Muḥammad's companions who accompanied him on the hijrah from Mecca to Medina. See Watt, W. M., Muhammad at Medina (London, 1962).
59 TSK, fol. 3.
60 Interview, al-Ḥājj Janko Daramé, Jimara-Bakadaji, 11/12/72.
61 Literally, the upright or righteous men, but in the clerical context it carries the meaning of ‘the four pillars of orthodoxy’. It is obviously patterned on al-Khulafā'u al-Rāshidūn, the Rightly Guided Caliphs, used of the first four successors (khulafā'u) of the Prophet: Abū Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmān and ‘Alī. These rijāl al-ṣāliḥīn were the appointments of al-Ḥājj Salim, and their creation established the principle of collective leadership for Jakhanké clerical communities.
62 The phrase means those whose prayers are always granted, and in Ṣūfī Islam it is one of the qualities of a saint (walī), who is a mujāb al-du‘d. See Goldziher, Ignaz, Muslim Studies, tr. and ed. Stern, S. M., vol. ii (London, 1971), 269. For Sufi comparisons see ‘The Jakhandé’, chap. 6, where the theme is developed under the Jakhanké educational enterprise. Briefly denned, Ṣūfīsm is the system of esoteric religion in which the Seeker (murīd) undertakes to traverse the ‘Path’ of illuminated knowledge (ma‘rifah) in the quest for the Ultimate Reality (ḥaqīqah) under the guidance of the Master or Guide (shaykh).
63 TSK, fol. 4.
64 Gunjūr (Ar. Kunjūuru) was a Daramé enclave of wide fame. It is described by the Ta'rīkh al-Fattāsh, a work begun by Maḥmūd al-Kātī (b. 1468) in 1519 and completed by his grandson, Ibn al-Mukhtār, in about 1665. Maurice Delafosse and Octave Houdas who translated the work argued in the introduction that Maḥmūud Kātī was in fact a Serakhullé (‘Soninké’) scholar, . T/Fāttdsh, 314, Ar. 179. On the authorship of T/Fattāsh see Trimingham, , History, 5 and Levtzion, N., ‘A 17th century chronicle by Ibn Mukhtār…’, BSOAS, xxxiv (1971), 571–93. Labat, J. B. also mentions Gunjūr in Nouvelle relation de l'Afrique occidentale, vol. iii (Paris, 1728), 357–8. Also Demanet, , Nouvelle Histoire de l'Afrique française, t. i (Paris, 1767), 81–2.
65 Kaabu was a state in Upper Guinea founded, according to tradition, by one of Sunjata's generals, Tirimakhan. Whether it was known by that name in al-Ḥājj Salim's time is hard to say. See Cisoko, Sékéné Mody, ‘L'Empire de Kabou xvie siécle-xixe siècle,’ Manding Conference (1972). Kaabu was destroyed as a state when Kansala, the centre of the main Sané-Mané royal resistance, was taken in 1867 by Fulbé warriors from Labé, Futa Jallon. See Person, Yves, ‘The Atlantic Coast and the Southern Savannahs’, History of West Africa, eds. Ajayi, and Crowder, , 11 (London, 1974), 287. Kaabu has passed into tradition as the great epic of Sané-Mané bravery.
66 The most important Jakhanké clerical establishment in Casamance at present is that under al-Ḥājj M'balu Fode at Marssassoum. His son, Sidiya Jabi, runs programmes on Radio Senegal at Ziguinchor on Islamic matters. Al-Ḥājj M'balu Fode himself is the Malikī Muftī of Senegal, a position now of only theoretical importance.
67 ‘The Jakhanké’, 103–5.
68 One tradition claims that he gave rulings on issues affecting Muslims living in bilād al-kufr, pagan territory. Wilks, , ‘Learning’, 179.
69 ‘The Jakhanké’, 106.
70 One account says that before al-Ḥājj Salim died he was dismayed by signs of qabīlah jealousies and uttered a curse which left the Jakhanké fragmented into numerous communities instead of a unified harmonious body. ‘The Jakhanké’, 125.
71 Philip Curtin considers the emergence of clerical groups in West African Islam, but in his view this was motivated chiefly by the minority status of Muslims in a predominantly non-Muslim society. In order to safeguard their position, such Muslims, Curtin says, sought autonomy from political rulers and acquired a reputation for neutrality in war time and exemption from carrying arms. This enabled them ‘to secure safe passage for commerce in long-distance trade.’ ‘Jihad in West Africa: Early phases…’, J. Afr. Hist. XII (1971), 13. But this is not entirely based on concrete evidence, and when applied to the Jakhanké, as it is by Curtin, it is misleading.
72 Willis, John R. has written about the pacific Kunta clerics living in zāttnyahs or religious retreats: ‘The Jihād of al-Ḥājj ‘Umar al-Fūtī: Its Doctrinal Basis…’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of London (1970), 268. The work of Thomas Whitcomb, still in progress, among the Berbers of the Western Sahara, has also shown the presence of clerical groups among the Tajakant. However, clerical Berber tribes belong to a confederacy of warrior and other groups, and many clerical tribes carry arms. ‘A Western Saharan Clerical Tribe: The Tajakant’, African History Seminar, SOAS, 31 May 1972.
73 The story is told of how Momodou-Lamin (d. 1887) was cautioned by his Jakhanké constituents against pressing with his jihād. Although in his case he overrode Jakhanké objections, he is typical of many leaders who were approached in similar terms. The example of Alfa Yahya, the Fula king of Labé, is referred to in this article.
74 The most obvious forms of Jakhanké wealth are the large towns and settlements, and the accompanying farmlands and livestock, which the more important clerics owned. These would be liable to outright expropriation as a matter of political policy. Although most clerics do not attain that stature, many own considerable property, some of it in liquid form. Al-Ḥājj Cherno Silla of Jinani, Casamance, for example, bequeathed £12,000 sterling, five and a half millions CFA Francs, plus 141 head of cattle, when he died in the 1890s. Information from his grandson, al-Ḥājj Khousi Silla, Brikama.
75 Fode Kabba was irrevocably rejected by his Jakhanké relatives. The Jakhanké, ch. 7, for further details on Fode Kabba and others like himself.
76 Karamokho Ba was named at birth al-Ḥājj Salim Gassama, and in childhood was known simply as Jaghun al-Ḥājj. The name ‘Karamokho Ba’, meaning ‘Great Teacher’, was given him by his Fulbé hosts, whom he had impressed during his travels in Masina and Futa Jallon. For an account of his life and work, based on an important Jakhanké family chronicle, see ‘The Jakhank’, 169–99. Other less critical versions occur in Marty, Paul, L'Islam, 106 ff., and Sureté-Canale, , ‘Touba in Guinea: Holy Place of Islam’, African Perspectives, eds. Allen, C. and Johnson, R. W. (London, 1970), 53–81.
77 Chapters 4 and 5 of the writer's thesis are devoted to this question of Jakhanké relations with the French in Guinea. The tragic circumstances in which the French rounded up and arrested Touba's Jakhanké clerical leaders and had them incarcerated at Port Etienne in Mauritania under a sentence of ten years imprisonment with hard labour are discussed in ch. 5 of the thesis. Reference is made to it here to show the contrast between Jakhanké instrumentality in facilitating French colonial occupation and their defeat at the hands of the French who failed to understand the Jakhanké tradition of political neutrality.
78 ‘The Jakhanké’, chap. 4.
79 Hodgkin, Thomas, ‘Islam and National Resistance Movements in West Africa’, J. Afr. Hist, iii (1962), 326.
80 Wilks, , ‘Learning’, 179.
81 Hunwick, John O., ‘The Word Made Book’, review of Goody, Jack, ed. Literacy…, Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, xiii (1972), 279–87.
82 Person, Yves, Samori: une révolution Dyula, 2 vols. (Dakar, 1968 and 1971).
83 Long-distance trade can also be disruptive of a settled clerical way of life. A cleric who divides his time between teaching and trading is not likely to be able to operate a well-disciplined Qur'an school.
84 Hunwick, , ‘Word Made Book’, 283.
85 Wilks, , ‘Learning’, 179.
86 ibid. 178
87 ibid. 177.
88 Smith, , ‘Les Diakhanké’ (1965), 244, 255.
89 Smith, , ‘Organisation sociale des Diakhanké’ (1965), 279.
90 Smith, , ‘Les Diakhanke’, 255.
92 Curtin, , ‘Jihād: Early Phases…’; also Cahiers d'études africaines (1971).
93 Interview, Karamokho Sankoung, Nibrās, and al-Ḥājj Soriba.
94 For details on Turé Fode see ‘The Jakhanké’, chap. 2.
95 Al-Ḥājj Soriba, interview.
96 Golberry, , Fragmens d'un voyage en Afrique (1785–87) (Paris, 1802), t. i, 420, 423.
97 Reichardt, , Grammar of the Fulde Language (London, 1867), 319, and Jamburiah, Omar ‘The Story of the Jihad of the Foulahs’, Sierra Leone Studies, iii (1919), 30–34.
98 Delafosse, , Traditions, passim, and Trimingham, , History, 58.
99 Monteil, Ch., ‘Le Coton chez les Noirs’, Bulletin du Comité d'Etudes Historiques et Scientifiques de l'A.O.F. (Paris, 1926), 598.
100 Monteil, Ch., Les empires du Mali (rep. Paris, 1968), 44–5, orig. published 1929, BCEHS de l'A.O.F., t. XII, iii-iv.
101 ‘The Jakhanké’, 51–2, etc.
102 T/Fattāsh, 314, Ar. 179. Levtzion, , Ancient Ghana, confuses this Diakhaba with the one in Masina (201), and mistakenly, Wilks says ‘Diakha, city of divines’ described By Niane, , Sundiata (London, 1971), 70, is Diakha-Bambukhu when it is most likely Diakha-Masina.
103 T/Fattdsh, 315, Ar. 180.
104 Monteil, , Les Khassonké (Paris, 1915), 27.
105 Aṣl, p. 5 (Ar. text), tr. 10.
107 ibid. 6–9, tr. 10.
108 ibid. tr. 12. On al-Maghīlī see ‘Abd Allāh Batrān, ‘A Contribution to the Biography of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Karīm (‘Umar A‘mar) al-Maghīlī, al-Tilimsānī’, J. Afr. Hist. XIV (1973), 381–394. Al-Maghīlī's death occurred in 1503/4 or 1505/6, though Trimingham, , History, 98 n., has 1532, unless that was an oversight. Hunwick, agrees with Batrān, : ‘Religion and State in Songhay’, Islam in Tropical Africa, ed. Lewis, I. M. (London, 1969), 306.
109 Kano Chronicle, tr. Palmer, H. R., Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, xxxvm (1908), 77, rep. Sudanese Memoirs (London, 1967); Aṣl, tr. 8, where a revised date is being suggested for Muḥammad Rimfa in the light of new evidence.
110 Aṣl, 16–17, tr. 13.
111 This raises the question as to whether ‘Abd al-Raḥmān left Bambukhu voluntarily. Why should he be willing to adopt Rimfa as royal patron and yet turn down similar prospects nearer home, taking in the process considerable risks?
112 Aṣl, fol. 6, tr. 10.
113 According to some accounts Islam was brought to Kano in the reign of Yaji (1349–85) by the same ‘Abd al-Raḥm¯an. Kano Chronicle (1908) 70. See also Rattray, R. Sutherland, Hausa Folk-lore, Customs, Proverbs, etc. (1911, rep. London, 1969), vol. i, 6 ff., for a different version which also underlines the clerical pattern of Islamic diffusion into Hausaland.
114 Aṣl, ff. 15–16, tr. 12.
115 ibid. 14, tr. 12.
116 Aṣ;l, ff. 18–19, tr. 13–14.
117 ibid. fol. 20, tr. 14.
118 ‘Venal Malams’ translates as ‘ulamā al-sū'i. Hiskett, , ‘Tradition of Reform’, 580. It was used in the jihād to refer to those scholars who endorsed compromise with paganism. Among the Jakhanké clerics the technique for achieving this is taṣrīf, i.e., freedom of choice or action. It enables clerics to operate in fields which might be regarded as interdiction (taḥrīni), such as divination and amulet-making.
119 Tajdīd as a long-term process is discussed in Wilks, , ‘Learning’, 188–93.
* This article was read in draft form by Humphrey Fisher, for whose comments I am grateful.
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