Realizing Islam

The Tijaniyya in North Africa and the Eighteenth-Century Muslim World

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Zachary Valentine Wright
Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks
  • Chapel Hill, NC: 
    University of North Carolina Press
    , October
     326 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


The Tijaniyya is the largest Sufi order in West and North Africa. In this unprecedented analysis of the Tijaniyya’s origins and development in the late eighteenth century, Zachary Valentine Wright situates the order within the broader intellectual history of Islam in the early modern period. Introducing the group’s founder, Ahmad al-Tijani (1737–1815), Wright focuses on the wider network in which al-Tijani traveled, revealing it to be a veritable global Islamic revival whose scholars commanded large followings, shared key ideas, and produced literature read widely throughout the Muslim world. They were linked through chains of knowledge transmission from which emerged vibrant discourses of renewal in the face of perceived social and political corruption.

Wright argues that this constellation of remarkable Muslim intellectuals, despite the uncertainly of the age, promoted personal verification in religious learning. With distinctive concern for the notions of human actualization and a universal human condition, the Tijaniyya emphasized the importance of the realization of Muslim identity. Since its beginnings in North Africa in the eighteenth century, the Tijaniyya has quietly expanded its influence beyond Africa, with significant populations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North America.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Zachary Valentine Wright is associate professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.