Jihad of the Pen, by: Rudolph Ware, Zakary Wright and Amir Syed, (Cairo: AUC Press), 2019. 320 pp.
The American University in Cairo Press has recently published a book entitled ‘Jihad of the Pen: The Sufi Literature of West Africa’ by authors Rudolph Ware, Zakary Wright and Amir Syed.
The book offers the readers a window to the renowned voices of West African Sufism, which have long gone unheard outside of their respective constituencies.
The book brings together writings by Uthman b. Fudi (d. 1817, Nigeria), Umar Tal (d. 1864, Mali), Ahmad Bamba (d. 1927, Senegal), and Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975, Senegal).
Jihad of the Pen offers translations of Arabic source material that proved formative to the constitution of a veritable Islamic revival that swept West Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Recurring themes shared by these scholars—etiquette on the spiritual path, love for the Prophet Muhammad, and divine knowledge—demonstrate a shared, vibrant scholarly heritage in West Africa that drew on the classics of global Islamic learning, but also made its own contributions to Islamic intellectual history.
The authors selected relevant primary sources and richly contextualised them within broader currents of Islamic scholarship on the African continent.