The Power of Islam in Morocco: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Power of Islam in Morocco

Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, 1st Edition

By Mohamed El Mansour


200 pages

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Hardback: 9780367264154
pub: 2019-10-18
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The study of Muslim societies has been for a long time the appanage of western Orientalists and European ethnographers whose view from the outside rarely accounted for the complex reality of these societies. This Variorum volume by an eminent North African historian follows the development of Islam in Morocco as a social phenomenon over the last five centuries. During this period the nature of North African societies and political systems was profoundly changed and shaped by the emergence of a new form of Islamic religiosity based on the glorification of Prophet Muhammad and the veneration of popularly acclaimed saints. From being a purely religious phenomenon the devotion shown to the Prophet and his lineage turned into a major principle of legitimacy, in both the religious and political fields. In fact, as legitimacy tended to center around the prophetic lineage, Moroccan society witnessed an intense rivalry between saints and sultans, or spiritual and temporal leaders, with the latter trying to keep the saints and the sufis within a strictly religious sphere. This rivalry between the two parties is crucial to the understanding of modern Maghribi history, as well as the present Moroccan political system.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Moroccan Islam Observed / Chapter Two: Saints and Sultans / Chapter Three: Sharifian Sufism / Chapter Four: The Sanctuary (hurm) in Pre-colonial Morocco / Chapter Five: Sanctuary Immunity in Early Nineteenth Century Morocco / Chapter Six: Muhammad’s Birthday and the Ascendancy of the Prophet’s Lineage in Morocco / Chapter Seven: Hospitality, Charity and Legitimacy in Pre-modern Morocco / Chapter Eight: Maghribi Islam in the Mashriq / Chapter Nine: Moroccan Observers of Western Civilization / Chapter Ten: Salafi-s and Modernists in the Moroccan Nationalist Movement.

About the Author

Mohamed El Mansour is senior professor of modern history at Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco. He completed his doctoral studies at The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK (1981) and his publications include Morocco in the Reign of Mawlay Sulayman (1990) and Morocco Before Colonialization (in Arabic, 2006).

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Africa / North
HISTORY / Middle East / Arabian Peninsula