From the Colony to the Post-colony: Sufis and Wahhâbîsts in Senegal and Nigeria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conflicts and encounters between Sufis and Islamists have persisted throughout much of Islamic history in areas such as the Middle East, the North Caucasus, and the Indian sub-continent. In this context, two cases from West Africa are particularly interesting. In colonial Senegal, Wahhâbî influences were common, and during the 1950s, they even seemed to pose an alternative to the hegemony of Sufism in the colony of Senegal. Yet in the creation and development of the post-colonial state, the centrality of Sufism has apparently confined the influence of the Wahhâbîsts to the margins. In Nigeria, on the other hand, the influence of the Wahhâbîyah was marginal in the colonial period and the Sufi tarîqas maintained their status and appeal to the masses; from the 1960s onwards, Wahhâbî influences gradually diminished the power of Sufism amongst Nigerian Muslims. This article explores and compares the dynamics that developed between Sufis and Wahhâbîsts in Senegal and Nigeria, from the colony to the post-colony. Inasmuch as Senegal and Nigeria represent the Francophone and Anglophone colonies and postcolonies, analyzing the historical development of different colonial heritages will clarify the apparent similarities and differences in relations between Sufis and Wahhâbîsts in these two spheres of influences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-445
Number of pages23
JournalCanadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'From the Colony to the Post-colony: Sufis and Wahhâbîsts in Senegal and Nigeria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this