Being a Murid. The Ritual Practice of Work

Claudia Venhorst


The Muridiyya Sufi order was founded by Amadu Bamba in Senegal, West Africa around 1880. Today, of Senegal’s approximately 13 million inhabitants about 94% is Muslim and most of them are affiliated with one of the country’s Sufi orders − a remarkable statistic in the Islamic world where Sufis are generally a minority. With an estimated four million adherents the Muridiyya is the second largest order, immediately after the demographically dominant Tija-niyya. The Murids maintain a centralized allegiance to the holy city of Touba, where Bamba’s descendants reside and from where his heritage is kept alive. Extensive urbanization and a steady flow of migrants to urban areas over recent decades mean that Murids are practicing their faith in changing circumstances, as the urban scene differs from the predominantly rural context where the order originated. Because we are particularly interested in the ritual dynamics of changing contexts, we focus on Murids living in the Senegalese capital of Dakar.

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