ABSTRACT In this thesis, I probe into the ways in which the much-debated word Jihad lends itself to multifarious meanings within the Mourid Sufi Order and examine the foundations of the principles of peace and non-violence that informed the relationships between Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, the founder of Mouridism (1853 ca - 1927) and the French colonial state from 1883 to 1927. As a matter of fact, unlike some Senegalese Muslim leaders who had waged a violent Jihad during the colonial conquest and expansion, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba promoted peaceful forms of Jihad which partook of his reform and revival movement in the Senegalese society. Yet, it is worth pointing out that the Mourid leader's ethics of peace and philosophy of non-violence as methods of struggle (the etymological sense of the word Jihad) during colonial times have been largely unexplored within academia. The contours of these new forms of resistance were grounded on a peaceful and non-violent approach which, according to Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, was the only way to reach his spiritual, educational and social goals. This thesis proffers a counter-example to religious violence often associated with and perpetrated in the name of Islam. I argue in this thesis that a close investigation into Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba's epistemology of Jihad evidences that the term Jihad has spiritual, educational, social, cultural and economic functions which naturally contrast with its one-sided and violent connotation spotlighted over the last two decades. In conducting research for this work, I used a transdisciplinary approach that can allow me to address the complex issues of Jihad, peace and non-violence in a more comprehensive way. Accordingly, I have used a methodology that crosses the boundaries of several disciplines (historical, anthropological, sociological and literary).
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