Change in the Significance of Affiliation to Ṭarīqa The Case of Tiǧāniyya in and around Ǧimma
Keywords:Sufism, islamization, mysticism, religious NGO, biography
This article deals with Sufism in Ethiopia, how people came to affiliate themselves to certain Ṣūfī orders and how the ṭarīqa, or Ṣūfī order, underwent change in providing alternative ways for Muslims to follow their career under the present regime. The first part of this article will show how Islam was introduced into the region, i.e. in and around Ǧimma Zone, and how the royal family was instrumental in the Islamization process. The role of the royal family in the Islamization process is central to understanding why Tiǧāniyya, the most popular Ṣūfī order in the region, became widespread in the region. The second part deals with the careers and life histories of some Tiǧānī masters, widely known in the region. The careers of these masters reveal that personal connections and networks extended both nationwide and abroad. The third part places Tiǧāniyya in the politics of religion under the present regime. The 2006 incident in which Muslim radicals attacking Orthodox Christians in the region revealed that the Christian community was not unaffected by internal Muslim strife. Thereafter, the government chose to support one Muslim wing against the other. Affiliation to ṭarīqa is becoming a political stance and, in recent years, Tiǧāniyya, the most visible ṭarīqa in and around Ǧimma, is increasingly being co-opted by the present regime.
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