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When Is Kafāʾa Kifayah? Sufi Leadership, Religious Authority And Questions Of Social Inequality

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Chapter Summary

Many of the moral guidelines laid down by the Sufi leaders of the Benaadir were hardly divisive issues. The wider moral program of the Benaadir?s religious leadership contained at least one element that was contentious even within the ranks of the ʿulamāʾ: the inherent spiritual—if not social—equality of all believers. This chapter looks to broaden that conversation by exploring the perspective of some of those on the other side of the equation: the urban elite. Successful or not, many religious scholars of the twentieth-century Benaadir—regardless of social background— saw it as their duty to mitigate some of the greater social injustices of their community. Relying on the idea that all souls were equal before the eyes of God, they tried to improve the lives of all believers by preaching against what they saw as an inherent social ill.

Keywords: ʿulamāʾ; Benaadir?s religious leadership; religious scholars; Sufi leaders



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