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Muhammad ibn Ali al- Sanusi

(d. 1859)


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(d. 1859)

Algerian disciple of Ahmad ibn Idris and founder of the Sanusi Sufi tariqah. A reformist and revivalist who, after study in Fez and Mecca, advocated return to the Quran, Sunnah, and the practice of ijtihad. Rejected legal principles of ijma, qiyas, and taqlid. Promoted contemplation of Muhammad and a devotional, quietist mode of dhikr and meditation. Rejected inclusion of music and dancing in Sufi practice but permitted popular practices honoring saints. Tried to establish a theocratic state by peaceful means in Libya. Encouraged missionary activities, particularly in West and Central Africa. Developed the zawiyah (Sufi lodge) into a center for agriculture, education, and worship. Author of a work detailing the rituals, dhikrs, and organization of numerous Sufi orders.

See also Sanusi Tariqah

Subjects: Islam.


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