Chapter

The Tasbirwol (Prayer Beads) Under Attack: How the Common Practice of Counting One's Beads Reveals Its Secrets in the Muslim Community of North Cameroon

José C. M. van Santen

in Things

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239450
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239498 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0011

Series: Future of the Religious Past (FUP)

The Tasbirwol (Prayer Beads) Under Attack: How the Common Practice of Counting One's Beads Reveals Its Secrets in the Muslim Community of North Cameroon

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Drawing on fieldwork among the Fulbe in northern Cameroon, this chapter uses the tasbirwol as a material point of entry into the contested and submerged mystical Islamic brotherhoods. The tasbirwol is a string of ninety-nine prayer beads, corresponding to the ninety-nine beautiful names of Allah. It is used for tashbugo, “counting one's beads,” a practice historically associated with mystical Sufism. Even though the Sufi brotherhoods have been banned for political reasons since the 1960s, their sympathizers can still be recognized by this practice of tashbugo, currently under attack by Islamic reform movements who consider it an improper “pagan” influence.

Keywords: Tasbirwol; Tashbugo; Prayer beads; Sufism; Mysticism; Islam; Sufi brotherhoods; Cameroon

Chapter.  7883 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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