History. Culture. Islam

Louis Brenner
West African Sufi
The Religious Heritage and Spiritual Search of Cerno Bokar Saalif Taal

University of California Press
Berkeley & Los Angeles. 1984. 215 p.

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Part I
The historical context

“There is only one God. There can only be one way to lead to Him, one religion of which the others are only variable forms. This religion can only be called Truth.”
Cerno Bokar, 1933

“The precepts of Muhammad, inspired by a superficial verbalism and by an intransigeance which allows for no conciliation, provides for no possibility of rapprochement with our ideals.”
G. Guy, “L'Enseignement colonial en France,” 1927

“The Sufi aspirant must seek out a shaykh in whose religious faith he has confidence, who is well known for his uprightness and his trustworthiness and is knowledgable about the Sufi way, and he must submit himself to his service.”
al-Suhraward-i, quoted in the Rimâh of al-Hajj Umar, 1845

“The politique des races is one sure method for inhibiting the unification of Islam; … it permits us to initiate an administrative activity near each centre of Muslim influence, not to combat the dogma of a religion, but to prevent it from degenerating into a political force.”
R. Arnaud, “L'Islam et la politique musulmane francaise en AOF,” 1912

“On 17 July Bokar Saalif confirmed that he had become a convinced partisan of Shaykh Hamallah.... He refused to furnish any precise details to explain his conversion and would only say that he was free to choose his religion and that no threat or action could cause him to revoke his decision.”
Commandant de Cercle, Mopti, 1937

"Sincerity is telling the truth in a situation from which there is no escape except by lying." Al-Junaid, quoted in the Rimâh of al-Hajj Umar, 1845