Northwestern University

Mar
7
Wed 12:00 PM

Oludamini Ogunnaike: Philosophical Sufism in the Sokoto Caliphate

recurring see all events in this series

When: Wednesday, March 7, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Co-Sponsor(s):
Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Join the Program of African Studies for our weekly lunch and lecture.

Cosponsored by the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

ISITA seminar: Philosophical Sufism in the Sokoto Caliphate: The Case of Shaykh Dan Tafa

Oludamini Ogunnaike, Religious Studies, College of William and Mary

Abstract:

It has long been assumed that the discipline of falsafa (Islamic philosophy) died out in the Western lands of the Islamic world after the fall of Andalusia, and that philosophical intellectual work was largely limited to the disciplines of theology (kalām) and Sufism (tasawwuf). Moreover, the more creative and discursive tradition of theoretical of philosophical Sufism is also supposed to have migrated East in the 13th-C along with figures such as Ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 1240) and Ibn Sab‘in (d. 1271). However, the oeuvre of the Sokoto scholar Shaykh ‘abd al-Qādir ibn Muṣṭafā (d. 1864) (better known as dan Tafa, the grandson of Shaykh ‘Uthmān dan Fodio) poses a significant challenge to these assumptions. Shaykh Dan Tafa's works include a defense of philosophy, a treatise on universals (kulliyāt), a versified introduction to the study of philosophy, a critical evaluation of materialist and naturalist philosophies, as well as several works of philosophical Sufism, including a treatise on certain topics from ‘abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī's (d. 1424) masterpiece of Philosophical Sufism, al-Insān al-Kāmil. It seems unlikely that Shaykh Dan Tafa studied and produced these works entirely on his own, indicating the existence of little-known West African traditions of Islamic philosophy and/or philosophical Sufism. In this paper, I will evaluate some of Shaykh Dan Tafa's works and their ramifications for our understanding of the history of Islamic philosophy and philosophical Sufism in West Africa, and the role of these two traditions in the intellectual history the region.

Bio:

Oludamini Ogunnaike is an assistant professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary. He holds a PhD in African Studies and the Study of Religion from Harvard University, and spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University's Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies.

Ogunnaike's research examines the philosophical dimensions of postcolonial, colonial, and pre-colonial Islamic and indigenous religious traditions of West and North Africa, especially Sufism and Ifa, an indigenous Yoruba religious tradition. He seeks to understand the philosophical dimensions of these traditions by approaching them and their proponents not merely as sources of ethnographic or historical data, but rather as distinct intellectual traditions and thinkers, even as sources of theory and possible inspirations for methods of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. He is currently working on a book entitled, Sufism and Ifa: Ways of Knowing in Two West African Intellectual Traditions and maintains a digital archive of West African Sufi poetry.

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