Urban woes and pious remedies: Sufism in nineteenth-century Benaadir (Somalia)

Scott S. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In the Benaadiri region of southern Somalia, saint stories contained within locally compiled hagiographies provide valuable insights into aspects of social history that would otherwise remain unrecoverable. In this article I draw upon these familiar but underused written sources to challenge some commonly held assumptions about the relationship between urban commercial life and Sufism in Somalia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. First I explore the complex linkages between urbanites and Sufi organizations during this period. Then I examine the nature of locally perceived social crises as they were understood within the hagiographical works, particularly the Qadiri work Jawhar al-Nafis and the Ahmadi collection Manaqib Nurayn Ahmad Sabr, and their suggested paths of remedy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-192
Number of pages25
JournalAfrica Today
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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