Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020): Global Connections

The Role of Sufism in Islamic Reform in West Africa

Published May 14, 2020


This paper is a review of how the rise of a new form of Islamic mysticism called Sufism was a major factor in shaping Islamically integrated cultures and political structures throughout West Africa in the 18th century. As the trans-Atlantic slave trade and imperialism resulted in the region becoming more militarized and destabilized, Islamic reformers embraced Sufism and viewed it as a unifying force amongst Muslims against European conquest.