The Tijaniyya Tariqa in Cape Town

  • S M Lliteras University of Cape Town


This article examines the theme of “Engaged Sufism” through the particular experience of the Tijaniyya tariqa in Cape Town. It argues that the spiritual cultivation at the heart of Sufism ultimately actively involves its followers with issues of public ethics, sociopolitical relations and discourses around racial and ethnic pluralism and identity. Based on fieldwork, this essay explores the experiences of members of the Tijaniyya tariqa in Cape Town. Particularly, it focuses on the different reasons that prompted individuals to join the tariqa, the meanings that members attribute to the Tijaniyya, the most essential teachings of this collective, and the issues of race relations within the tariqa. This study finds that the spiritual praxis of the Tijaniyya profoundly influences the social behaviour of its followers, as is exemplified by its impact on issues of race relations and identity in South Africa. The findings suggest that the Tijaniyya tariqa in Cape Town offers the unique opportunity to challenge racism and prejudice, and to contribute to social cohesion.

Journal for Islamic Studies Vol. 26 2006: pp. 71-91

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eISSN: 0257-7062