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tion.”17 It is this commitment to introspection and quiet meditation that has sustained descriptions of Sufism as being mystical and esoteric.

Each Brotherhood celebrates the efforts of a partic- ular individual to achieve spiritual self-enlightenment. During their lives these saints, as they are usually re- ferred to, displayed a single-minded determination to live piously that eventually led them closer to God. But in addition to the example they set, the saints, through their daily routines, marked out a path for the faithful to follow. The goal of each Sufi therefore, is to emulate their saint, to show the level of commitment and ob- serve the same rituals, practices, rites, and obligations as the saint did. For if they do so, then eventually they too might gain enlightenment and get to know their Maker better.18

Usually, the Brotherhoods take their names from the saint they revere. The Qadiriyya is named after Ab- dul-Qadir Jilani, a scholar and jurisprudent who rose to prominence in Baghdad in the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Similarly, the Tijaniyya is named after Ahmad al-Tijani, who lived and worked mainly in the western Maghreb between 1737 and 1815. As their ori- gins suggest, both Brotherhoods have spread and ex- panded from their respective bases in the Arab world. The communities in northern Nigeria and West Africa, therefore, can be considered local chapters of what are truly global movements. And there as elsewhere, the histories of the two Brotherhoods are closely con- nected. In fact, al-Tijani was at one time a member of the Qadiriyya. Yet he left after growing frustrated with what he saw as its rigid hierarchy and failure to pro- vide greater support to the poor. Arguably, his expe- riences and disillusionment help explain the cool re- lations that have historically existed between the two


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