Sufism and anti-colonial Resistance in Algeria and Libya

In the coming posts, we return to sharing publications on a variety of subjects which are available online. The following is from the open-access journal Open Theology.

Fait Muedini. “Sufism and Anti-Colonial Violent Resistance Movements: The Qadiriyya and Sanussi Orders in Algeria and Libya.” Open Theology 2015; 1: 134–145.

Abstract: In this article, I examine the role of Sufism (and Sufi leaders) as they relate to anti-colonial political and military resistance movements. Sufism is often viewed as a non-violent and non-political branch of Islam. However, I argue that there are many historical examples to illustrate the presence of anti-colonialist Sufi military movements throughout the “Muslim World,” and I give particular attention to the cases of ‘Abd al-Qadir of the Qadiriyya movement and his anti-colonialist rebellion against France in Algeria in the 1800s, as well as that of Italian colonialism in Libya and the military response by the Sanussi order. Thus, while Sufism clearly has various teachings and principles that could be interpreted to promote non-violence, Sufi political movements have also developed as a response to colonialism and imperialism, and thus, one should not automatically assume a necessary separation from Sufism and notions of military resistance.

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