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Islamic Reform in Twentieth-Century Africa$
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Roman Loimeier

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748695430

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748695430.001.0001

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Reform in Context IV: Tanganyika/Tanzania (and Kenya)

Reform in Context IV: Tanganyika/Tanzania (and Kenya)

(p.317) 6 Reform in Context IV: Tanganyika/Tanzania (and Kenya)
Islamic Reform in Twentieth-Century Africa

Roman Loimeier

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter introduces Tanganyika (since 1964 Tanzania) as the regional context for the emergence of both Sufi- and Salafi-oriented movements of reform. It shows that neither movement of reform was monolithic but characterized by multiple splits informed by generational dynamics as well as family disputes. The chapter presents Sufi-oriented movements of reform as the first movements of reform in Tanganyika and explains why Salafi-oriented groups developed so late, although Salafi ideas of reform had already been presented by Shaykh al-Amin b. Ali al-Mazru’i in the 1930s. Salafi-oriented groups in fact developed only as a reaction to efforts of the Tanzanian state to impose religious hegemony through the agency of state controlled Muslim institutions which were regarded as being highly corrupt by Tanzania Muslims. Since the 1980s, Tanzania’s Salafi-oriented Muslims, known under the term “ansar al-sunna” fought against the alleged marginalization of Muslims by the Tanzanian state and against the massive growth of Pentecostal churches. The chapter finally compares the development of Salafi-oriented reform in Tanganyika/Tanzania with developments in Kenya and shows that the development of Salafi-minded reform in Kenya was again linked with the Kenyan political and historical context and characterized by organizational and doctrinal fragmentation. Neither in Tanzania nor in Kenya were Salafi-minded movements of reform able to become popular mass movements.

Keywords:   Tanganyika/Tanzania, Kenya, ansar al-sunna, Shaykh al-Amin b. Ali al-Mazru’i, Pentecostal churches, Sufi-oriented reform

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