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The Revolt of Islam, 1700 to 1993: Comparative Considerations and Relations to Imperialism

University of California, Los Angeles Within the Muslim world, revolts with a religious aspect or ideology have had a long history. My current comparative research on this topic indicates that these revolts, common in the early centuries of Islam, became less frequent thereafter. These revolts may generally be characterized as either "left" sectarian or "orthodox" revivalist. The latter revived after circa 1700. It is part of my thesis to see three phases to these modern revivalist revolts and to say that all three phases were, in different ways, tied to interaction with the West, although this was far from being their only cause. These three phases were the pre-colonial phase, early resistance to colonialism, and the recent Islamic revival. The scope here covers the whole Muslim world, and the approach is comparative. Before discussing these movements I will give some background about the relations between Islam and politics, which influenced the movements. It is widely believed that Islam and politics are unusually closely intertwined in all spheres and periods, with the partial exception of the past century. This view understates the close church-state relations of the Eastern Orthodox churches and of religion and politics in the pre-modern West, with the difference between Islamic and Christian lands being partly when and how they reached modernity. In practice, despite the often-cited special role of Roman law and the existence of a clear relationship between church and state in the West, Christianity and Islam had rather similar levels of relations between religion and politics in pre-modern times. The supposed near-identity of religion and politics in Islam is more a pious myth than reality for most of Islamic history. After the first four pious caliphs, there arose essentially political caliphal dynasties that worked through political appointees and broke religious rules when they wished. The body of 'ulama helped to create the schools of law partly to create a sphere independent of such essentially temporal rulers, but the 'ulama's rulings generally had less force than those of rulers. The independence of rulers from religious control grew as tribal and military converts took increasing power. Authors of
0010-4175/94/3308-9326 $5.00 1994 Society for Comparative Study of Society and History




advice to rulers often stressed the importance of backing religion, but this was pragmatic advice, not really advice to be good Muslims.1 Views similar to mine on the essential separation of religion and politics have been voiced by Ira Lapidus, Sami Zubaida, Muhammad Arkoun, Nazih Ayubi, and Emmanuel Sivan; but the older view remains dominant.2 It would be useful to do a careful comparison of the actual relations of religion and politics and of church and state in pre-modern Europe and the Middle East. The differences are not all in the direction of greater political power for Islam than for the Christian Church. I suspect that de facto the medieval relationship between religion and state was a standoff between the Muslim Middle East and the Christian West, with Christian institutions stronger in some ways and more limited in others than Islamic ones. What does seem clear and may make people mistake the premodern situation is that in modern times religious institutions, movements, and beliefs have had more political importance in the Muslim world than in the West. This is often attributed to special features of Islam, which are of some importance, but there appear to be other causes, such as, first, the great changes in the West from the late Middle Ages on, including those in trade, production, exploration, the Enlightenment, and representative government, which occurred in the Muslim World only recently and in different ways. In this period there was less structural change in the Muslim World than the West; hence, Muslims entered modern times with structures, ideas, and religious beliefs quite similar to past ones, while the West did not. Second, the long history of conflict between Christians and Muslims tended to make Muslims defensive about Islam and to define (as did some Westerners) the situation in religious terms. I do not deny special features to Islamic thought. Before discussing these I note that it has become fashionable, among members of a group different from those who point to long-term ties of religion and politics in the Muslim world, to attack the attribution of significant unity or continuity to various phenomena over time or place as essentialist and ipso facto benighted. In my field it is almost as bad to be an essentialist as to be an orientalist. In fact, no one calls herself or himself an essentialist. Much as it is called biological essentialism is used to say there are significant non-cultural differences between women and men, so it is ideological essentialism to say that Islam has important en1 See. for example, Nizam al-Mulk, The Book of Government or Rules for Kings (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 2nd ed., 1978), 190-238, stressing heretical movements and revolts. 2 Ira M. Lapidus, "The Separation of State and Religion in the Development of Early Islamic Societyr," International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 6:4 (1975), 364; Sami Zubaida, Islam, the People and the State (London: Routledge, 1989), 41-42; Nazih N. Ayubi, Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World (London: Routledge, 1991); Emmanuel Sivan, Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 175, with citations to two articles by M. Arkoun. I quote and discuss this point and its literature at greater length in "Islam, Politics, and Revolt: Some Unorthodox Considerations," in Nikki R. Keddie, Iran and the Muslim World: Resistance and Revolution (London: Macmillan. 1994).

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during features. Although I sympathize with much of this, if carried to its logical end, anti-essentialism means that nothing has any special features except those displayed at a particular moment.3 My view is that religions do have a shape and influence coming from the past, although particular adaptions vary with time and circumstance. Hence, it is important to note that Muslims themselves have often considered Islam a total world view comprising religion and politics, however little this unity has been realized. This totalizing aspect of Islam appears especially in periods of Islamic revolts and revivals, rather than during stable empires. Although the often radical Islamic revival of recent decades is in many ways novel, it has some important resemblances to religious revolts of the past. Among these resemblances is a return to the early combination of religion and politics with enforcement of Quranic and legal provisions. Looking at several unconnected Islamic militant movements suggests ideological similarities that owe something to a widespread belief in what relations between religion and politics in Islam should be. Not counting the very early civil wars in Islam, its earliest religious revolts were carried out by the first sectarians, the Shi'is and the Kharijis, both of whom had a total alternate view of Islam. The Sevener branch of the Shi'is continued to be frequently rebellious through the age of the so-called Assassins. The variability of Islam and politics is suggested by the fact that the line of Assassin leaders ended with the Aga Khans, the wealthy pillars of order. An opposite evolution was traced by the Twelver Shi'is. Although many scholars say that Shi'is as such justified revolt, this is false. The Fifth and Sixth Twelver imams laid down lines dividing religion and politics and enjoining obedience to rulers. The doctrine that the Twelfth imam had disappeared was probably adopted to remove from the world an alternate source of allegiance, which might encourage revolution.4 For some centuries both Shi'is and Sunnis in the central Muslim lands had a
3 Any kind of continuity not caused by immediate factors could be characterized as essentialist, even though few people carry their thoughts to this logical extreme. The views that do carry anti-essentialism to its logical conclusion are primarily those called "occasionalism" in the early modern West, which were put forth earlier by a school of conservative Ash'arite theologians in Islam who said that there are no secondary causes and that God recreates the world every moment. The late Ash'arites said that apparent worldly causation and order were due only to God's mercy to humanity and that God could equally create a completely new world, or none at all, at each moment. This is a theory designed to combat all natural law and, some say, to mirror arbitrary rule; and it is in some ways ironic that the strongest anti-essentialists of our day are mostly on the left, although they have either not thought of the implications of a totally antiessentialist position or would renounce such totality. 4 W. Montgomery Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1973); Idem, "The Significance of the Early Stages of Imami Shi'ism," in Religion and Politics in Iran, Nikki R. Keddie, ed., 21-32; and Nikki R. Keddie and Juan R. Cole, "Introduction" to Shi'ism and Social Protest, Cole and Keddie, eds. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986).



doctrine of obedience to existing rulers. It was only after Iran became Shi'i in 1501 that a more centralized, independent clergy arose and was given doctrinal power that Shi'i clerical resistance began. Another widely held myth is that the denial of legitimate resistance and revolt by normative Islam left people without any but sectarian means to justify revolt. Here again, comparison with pre-modern Europe would be useful. Did main-line European Christianity provide any more justification for revolt than did Islam? Although leading Muslim thinkers spoke and wrote against revolt, considering it worse than an evil ruler, there were ways around this in the Islamic tradition. It was almost unknown to speak of one's own movement as a revolt, and the words we translate as "revolt" were pejorative (again as in Europe?). But there were other important ways to conceive a revolt. One was millenarian: A rebel could claim to be the renewer of Islam or the precursor of the messianic Shi'i or Sunni mahdi or the mahdi himself. Another was to declare one's ruler an unbeliever and the war against him a holy war. The possibility of declaring Islamic rulers unbelievers is found in the great theologians, Ibn Taimiyya and the North African al-Maghili, whose ideas were cited by West African rebels. Both jihad and mahdism were frequently used, often both at once. Before going into the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century revolts, I note that the idea that Muslims were so hostile to revolt is partly based on a simplistic translation of ideas of revolt from the modern West. The words in fact used for revolt do not translate as revolt and have a positive meaning. It should again be stressed that Sunnis used these ideas as much as Shi'is. The notion that Shi'ism as such is especially prone to revolt comes not only from the early centuries but also from a false belief that Shi'is generally justified revolts by appealing to the model of Imam Husain's martyrdom in battle. A recent investigation indicates this paradigm was not used for revolt until very recently and that earlier Shi'i revolts usually had a Mahdist paradigm, much like many Sunni revolts.5 My remarks containing some reservations about anti-essentialism should be noted here. From one end of the Muslim world to the otherSenegal to Sumatra in my travelsMuslim revolts used many of the same themes: mahdism, jihad, and a return to stricter Quranic and Islamic laws and practices, including those affecting gender. Hence, there is almost surely something in Islamic content that helps determine the form and ideology of movements in different parts of the Muslim world, even lacking direct contact.

The rise of militant politicized Islamic movements in the 1970s and 1980s in Iran and elsewhere has increased interest in the past of militant Islam. There

Interview with Mansour Ehsan. based on his University of Oregon Ph.D dissertation.



has, however, been little new serious monographic study and also little serious comparative study of militant movements, though there are exceptions.61 will here attempt a comparative study of some militant Muslim movements that, like most recent ones, claimed to be reviving pure Islam and its holy law. The movements studied comparatively here are related to different phases of interaction with the West, although they have indigenous roots. The past movements are sometimes called puritanical movements or reform movements. The latter phrase, reform movements, seems unsatisfactory, since the term Islamic reform is equally used for a liberal modern school with tenets and practices very different from those of the revivalists. Anything that changes ideas and practices in a way that its proponents consider a major improvement may be called reform, but the term may be confusing if others use it to refer to very different movements. Similarly, the word puritan may be objected to as referring to a particular Western group; and so both will be used sparingly here. Another name for these movements is jihad movements, meaning that they called for holy war against external non-Muslim enemies or that they practiced jihad against local rulers and enemies whom they considered not truly Muslim. These movements wished to replace these rulers and practices with truly Islamic ones. Among such movements were those of the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, movements in West Africa in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and a major jihad in Sumatra in the early nineteenth century. These occurred without Western conquest, while in the period of early Western conquest there were similar movements directed wholly or in part against the Westerners. These included the Wahhabis and Fara'izis of South Asia, Shamyl in the Caucasus, Abdel Qadir in Algeria, and the Senussis in Libya; while the Mahdists in the Sudan show similarities. The causation of the latter movements include Western, infidel conquest; while the causes of the preconquest movements are more complex and less obvious. There are some features and causes found in both groups. Most of these movements have only recently become the topic of serious study, and thisplus the fact that they occurred in such widely dispersed places and cultureshas meant that there has been very little comparative study of them. Yet it remains a dramatic and puzzling fact that, after many centuries in which such large-scale revolutionary jihad movements were quite infrequent, there was a sudden concentration of them in a period of about a
6 Some of these movements are discussed comparatively in the following works, which I have used with profit: John Obert Voll, Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982); Nehemia Levtzion and John Voll, Eighteenth Century Renewal and Reform in Islam (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987), especially relevant articles in the book by Levtizan Voll and Louis Brenner. See also William Roff's arguments in the book he edited. The Political Economy of Meaning (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987). I have also benefited from travel to, and discussions in, Senegal, Nigeria, North Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, England, and France.



century. It seems unlikely that this is a coincidence, and it should be instructive to ask what common factors may have operated in some or all of these diverse regions to produce similar results. In the past, one common factor adduced regarding some of these movements was the purported influence of the Arabian Wahhabi movement, which stood for a puritanical Islam and for holy war against those not considered to be true Muslims. Recent researchers have generally concluded that the influence of the Wahhabis has been overstated. This influence is no longer considered key in the main West African movement, the Nigerian jihad of Usman dan Fodio; and it could not have entered into the Senegambian eighteenthcentury movements, which came too early. South Asia's jihad movements also seem to have been less Wahhabi-influenced than was once thought. In Sumatra the fact that three movement leaders made the hajj at the time the Wahhabis controlled the Hijaz is of some importance, but it was probably only a minor factor in a movement that can be shown to have had strong local roots. Wahhabism retains a place among the causes of the simultaneous jihad movements in the Muslim world, but it no longer appears to be the major explanatory cause. One reason why there have been few comparative studies of Islamic revivalist movements is that scholars of Islam tend to be divided by geographic specialty, with Middle East specialists confident that they represent the central Muslim world and are happy to ignore the great majority of the world's Muslims who live outside the Middle East. There has begun to be a recognition of the role of South Asia in eighteenth-century religious reform and in the origins and spread of eighteenth-century neo-Sufism, but this has not yet led to a comprehensive interest in what was happening in the Muslim world outside the Middle East. If one is studying militant revivalist movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, one finds the first major examples in what may be called the periphery and the semi-periphery, and even later examples are concentrated in tribal areas not near imperial or power centers. (Here the words periphery and semi-periphery are used purely geographically for areas near the edges of the Muslim world or far from urban imperial centers.) Thus, in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the largest militant puritanical movements occurred in present-day Saudi Arabia; in West Africa; and in Sumatra, Indonesia. Later movements, largely in response to Western conquests, occurred in South Asia, North Africa and adjacent African lands, and the Caucasus. There were a number of conditions that help explain the rise and location of these movements, although available sources and scholarship do not allow convincing comparison on all points. I would suggest the following factors as probably important in most of the movements. First, in West Africa and Sumatra, the impact of the significant rise of European trade weakened some classes, strengthened others, and helped ere-

THE REVOLT OF ISLAM, 1700 TO 1993 469 ate preconditions for a united state with a united law and ideology and were important to internal socioeconomic change. A similar change in class structures and demands may also be found in the areas of some of the Muslim revivalist movements occurring after European conquest, and it is conceivable the growing Western trade in Persian Gulf ports had an influence in inland Najd. Second, European-induced changes interacted with internal socioeconomic changes. These may include a growth of population, which some scholars have seen as characterizing the eighteenth century world-wide.7 Along with apparent population growth, there was more clearly new trade and urbanism, as well as new social tensions, problems, and possibilities. It is significant that Najd, West Africa, and West Sumatra were all areas either without a state, as was the case in Najd and Sumatra, or with weak states, as in West Africa, so that a rise of trade, population, and economic quarrels provided an impetus for stronger states, in which original Islam could provide effective law and ideology. Third, in religion and ideology, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a spread of Islamic learning and the rise of so-called neo-Sufism, including strong Sufi orders with types of scholarship and practices closer to normative Islam and classical scholarship than were most of the earlier Sufi orders. In the periphery and semi-periphery of the Muslim world, neo-Sufi orders were especially important, often providing the main force for spreading Islam and its teachings.8 Notably, although the Islam of the Arabian Wahhabis is associated with hostility to Sufism, most of the non-Arabian purist leaders began as, and often continued to be, leaders of the Sufi orders. This includes such charismatic giants as Usman Dan Fodio in Nigeria, Abdel Qadir in Algeria, and Shamyl in the Caucasus. Sometimes, as with Shamyl, stress on the strict shari'a was combined with the Sufi idea that the Sufi path was only for the select few, while the literal shari'a was for the majority. In addition to neoSufism, there was a general spread of Islamic learning and an increase in the number of Islamic scholars that was especially important in lightly Islamicized areas. Fourth, in the political sphere, the eighteenth century saw the decline of the great Islamic empiresOttoman, Safavid, and Moghuland their breakup into smaller states or regions. This provided the Wahhabis the opportunity to expand into territories that had been loyal to the Ottomans, until the Ottomans were able to enlist Muhammad Ali of Egypt to send troops against the Wah7 See Jack Goldstone, "East and West on the Seventeenth Century: Political Crises in Stuart England, Ottoman Turkey and Ming China" (unpublished paper); Joseph Fletcher, "Integrative History: Parallels and Interconnections in the Early Modern Period, 1500-1800," Journal of Turkish Studies, 9 (1985), 37-57. 8 There is some controversy among scholars about neo-Sufism. See R. S. O'Fahey, Enigmatic Saint: Ahmad Ibn ldris and the Idrisi Tradition (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1990), ch. 1.



habis in the early nineteenth century. Eighteenth-century political fluidity, along with economic changes, made it a propitious period to build new states. Nineteenth-century movements in Algeria, Libya, and Sudan were clearly influenced by Ottoman decline. And South Asian state-building puritanical movements were reacting, among other things, to the decline of the Moguls and the Muslim power vacuum it left. Fifth, also important in the sphere of religious intellectuals was the development of learning, of travel over large distances to learning, and of the pilgrimage to Meccafactors important in the personal history of several leaders of revivalist movements. John Voll has traced the eighteenth-century spread of learning networks which tied many 'ulama to the same scholars in the Hejaz or Yemen, and Juhany has noted the growth of learned 'ulama in eighteenth-century Najd, some with ties to the network discussed by Voll.9 Several leaders of revivalist movements, such as those in Sumatra and some in West Africa, had histories of pilgrimages to, or education in, Mecca and Medina. There was a growing understanding of early Islamic tenets arising from greater education in Hejaz, Egypt, and Syria. Cumulative improvements in transport and communication, which mostly originated in the West, were important to the rise in pilgrimage to and education in Arab territories. The sixth and final point is that, unsurprisingly, nearly all these movements had charismatic religio-political leaders. Several of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century jihad movements echo parts of the original Islamic experience.10 Like early Islam, these movements arose in a period of the decline of empires, often near the borders or just beyond those empires. Islam in most of these regions was especially the religion of traders, and in all the so-called Fulani jihads of West Africa, the jihadists were composed, like the early Muslims, of traders, scholars, and fighting nomads. Similar alliances were found in Arabia and South Asia, although the trade element may have been less important there. Traders and scholars were very important in the Sumatran movement, where the tropical terrain precluded pastoral nomadism. I have not considered here deliberate imitations of Muhammad, notably the hijra emigrations of believers undertaken by Usman dan Fodio and other West African jihad leaders before they launched their jihads; the list above includes only structural similarities that presumably were not deliberate but,
9 John Obert Voll, "Linking Groups in the Networks of Eighteenth-Century Revivalist Scholars," in Levtzion and Voll, eds., Eighteenth Century Renewal; and Uwaidah Metaireek AlJuhany, "The History of Najd Prior to the Wahhabis; A Study of Social, Political and Religious Conditions in Najd during Three Centuries Preceding the Wahhabi Reform Movement" (Seattle: Ph.D dissertation. History Department, University of Washington. 1983). 10 \v Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Mecca (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953), and Muhammad at Medina (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956); and Maxime Rodinson, Mohammed, Anne Carter, trans. (New York: Vanguard Books, 1974). This interpretation has been opposed by various recent scholars, including Patricia Crone and Michael Cook.

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rather, may express a similarity of movements occurring in partially similar socioeconomic and intellectual environments. The revivalist movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, all of which engaged in jihad (holy war) either against local rulers or against westerners, were in part responding to a combination of economic, political, and cultural changes which had some similarities to the changes felt at the time of the rise of Islam. Naturally, there were also differences; these, in particular the growing role of capitalism and of Western trade and conquest, made the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century movements into new phenomena. Modern Western trade, even before colonial conquest, had a more dramatic structural effect on societies than did the more restricted trade of ancient times.

Despite their recognized importance, the early Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia have been the subject of very little scholarly publication, although there are some dissertations about them.11 The most important discussion of the socioeconomic and cultural background of the eighteenth-century movement of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and his followers in Najd is found in the recent dissertation by Uwaidah Al-Juhany. By means of painstaking work in the sources, Juhany tries to demonstrate the growth of population and of settlements in eighteenthcentury Najd.12 Others have spoken of a world-wide trend in population growth in the eighteenth century, possibly the result of favorable climatic and agricultural conditions. Juhany's work also suggests a rise in trade and a growing need for economic rules and laws in an increasingly stratified society with a growing number of tribal conflicts between nomadic and settled people. Also, the rise in Najd of Islamic scholarship and the growth of its 'ulama created a group competent to carry out Islamic legal rules in the face of dominant tribal customary law. There was no state structure in Najd, and there were increasing problems and divisions that could best be met by a unified state and legal system. The decline of Ottoman power in Arabia opened the way for the rise of an independent and powerful state, at least until
11 In addition to the Juhany dissertation in note 3, above, see especially George W. Rentz, "Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (1703/4-1792) and the Beginning of Unitarian Empire in Arabia" (Berkeley. Ph.D dissertation. History Department, University of California, 1948); Muhammad S. M. El-Shaafy. "The First Saudi State in Arabia" (Leeds, Ph.D. dissertation. University of Leeds, 1967). A vivid and instructive contemporary account is in John Lewis Burckhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys, 2 vols. (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831). On Wahhabi doctrine, see Henri Laoust, Essai sur les doctrines sociales et politiques de Taki-d-Din Ahmad b. Taimiya (Cairo: Institut Frangais d'archaeologie orientale, 1939), Book III, ch. 2. For contemporary information, see John Lewis Burkhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1831), and M. Niebuhr, Travels through Arabia and Other Countries of the East, Robert Heron, trans. (Edinburgh, 1792). 12 Juhany, "History of Najd. " first chapters. Goldstone, "East and West"; Joseph Fletcher, "Integrative History."



the Ottomans could suppress it via Muhammad Ali in the early nineteenth century. Michael Cook, while recognizing the importance of Juhany's work, thinks he has overstrained limited evidence of indigenous socioeconomic change. Cook says that Juhany takes immigration as a sign of population growth and emigration as a sign of overcrowding, so that both are seen as evidence of population growth. While some evidence points to internal socioeconomic change or exogenous influences from foreign trade, Cook believes that this evidence is not strong enough to make it certain that either indigenous or exogenous socioeconomic changes were great enough to be major factors in the Wahhabi movement.13 Although Cook's argument is effective, it appears to me that it does not destroy all of Juhany's case. As major new sources may not be found, the non-specialist should keep in mind Cook's points and realize that the economic evidence concerning Najd is weaker than it is for Sumatra and West Africa. Sumatra and West Africa in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were heavily involved in foreign trade, which left records; but Najd was not. It seems fair to say that the case for important socioeconomic influences on the early Wahhabis is weaker than it is for most other militant revival movements, but such a case may still have some validity based on the evidence. Alternatively, one may accept that not all major revivalist movements have socioeconomic causes. Since the original Wahhabi movement seems barely related to the West or its trade, I will omit discussion of it here.

For the Islamic Revival movement in West and Central Sumatra, we have the convincing and documented study by Christine Dobbin, which takes into account socioeconomic and ideological factors.14 Dobbin's book and articles provide a unique total study of a jihad movement, for which there are, unfortunately, no equivalents for the other movements under consideration. Her works deserve consideration by all students of similar movements. Her stress on the socioeconomic impact of early modern Western trade is especially important. There are no other works on the subject that make extensive use of primary sources in several languages. West Sumatra, usually called Minangkabau, comprises an ethnically related, matrilineally organized society speaking a dialect of Malay. The society
13 Michael Cook, "The Expansion of the First Saudi State: The Case of Washm," C. E. Bosworth et al., eds., The Islamic World from Classical to Modern Times: Essays in Honor of Bernard Lewis (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1989), 661-700. 14 Christine Dobbin, Islamic Revivalism in a Changing Peasant Economy: Central Sumatra, 1784-1847 (London, 1983). Dobbin has also published related articles. The padris are also discussed in a number of Dutch sources and writings, as well as in a smaller number of English works that have been largely superseded by Dobbin's book. O'Fahey, Enigmatic Saint, 188, n. 48, says: "Professor Anthony Johns of the Australian National University points out (personal communication) that no study of the religious writings generated by the movement has yet been made; this he hopes to undertake."

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is based on agriculture, particularly wet-rice cultivation. Its basic organizational unit was long the negari, or cluster of villages. We know little about change within Minangkabau society before Hindu rulers came from Java to create a state in the fourteenth century, but it seems probable that the population grew and that most of the good inland territory was occupied in this period. Also, gold was mined and traded before the fourteenth century. Dobbin cites convincing evidence that the Hindu rulers who came from Java and set up the first Minangkabau kingdom were seeking gold and remained dependent on the gold trade, which at first flourished but later declined. They never controlled enough wealth to have effective armed forces, and the local negari remained virtually autonomous. Under these kings Muslim traders apparently entered Minangkabau and made many conversions, and by the seventeenth century we find a triumvirate of rulers in the originally Hindu royal family, all with titles whose second words were Arabic and Islamic in origin. At the top was the Raja Alam (King of the World), and below him were the Raja Mat (custom) and the Raja Ibadat (Islamic worship). It is significant that we find no mention of the non-ibadat part of Islammu'amalat (this-worldly transactions), which cover the great majority of this-worldly questions dealt with in Islamic law. From the first, Minangkabau Islam centered on worship and ritual, primarily the so-called Five Pillars of Islam, while this-worldly matters came mostly under adat, or customary law, as they still do in most Minangkabau villages.15 Islam was apparently brought to Minangkabau by traders and spread largely through teachers from three international Sufi orders. All three were among the more orthodox orders, but they still stressed the individual's relations to God, rather than Islamic law or the this-worldly side of Islam. Once, however, Minangkabau socioeconomic conditions developed sufficiently to make the this-worldly side of Islam relevant to Minangkabau society, a movement of Islamic Revival grew up in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that addressed many new needs. With the decline in the monarchy after the depletion of known sources of gold, which formed the monarchy's main support, there were increasing wars between negaris. At the same time, new forms of trade developed from
15 See Nikki R. Keddie, "Islam and Society in Minangkabau and in the Middle East: Comparative Reflections," Sojourn (Singapore), 2:1 (1987); Taufik Abdullah, "Adat and Islam: An Examination of Conflict in Minangkabau," Indonesia, II (October) (Cornell University, 1966); Harsja W. Bachtiar, "Negari Taram: A Minangkabau Village Community," in Koentjariningrat, ed., Villages in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967); Elizabeth Graves, The Minangkabau Response to Dutch Colonial Rule in the Nineteenth Century (Ithaca: Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, 1981); F. Benda-Beckman, Property and Social Continuity and Change in the Maintenance of Property Relations through Time in Minangkabau (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1979); Frederick K. Errington, Manners and Meaning in West Sumatra: The Social Context of Consciousness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984); Joel S. Kahn, Minangkabau Social Formations: Indonesian Peasant and the World Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980).



increasing trade contacts within Sumatra; India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia; and, importantly, such Western states as Portugal, Holland, Great Britain, and the newly independent United States. These foreigners, in addition to their interest in what gold remained, developed an even greater interest in what became very lucrative Sumatran export cropschiefly pepper, gambir, cassia, and especially coffee after Arabica coffee was introduced from Yemen. These crops were mainly grown in hillside areas not suitable to Sumatra's older staples, and the growth and transport of the new export crops attracted persons in search of new means of making profits. Transporting crops that were much bulkier than gold was difficult and costly, given the area's mountainous terrain and lack of roads; and traders were subject to robbery and to village tolls. Nonetheless, international trade grew rapidly, so that by the late eighteenth century there was a socioeconomic situation with significant parallels to the Hijaz in Muhammad's time. The old local adat did not cover the needs of traders, who required a supra-village law, morality, and enforcement mechanism, and indeed a new state that could enforce law and order better than the old monarchy ever had. The application of Islamic law, including its this-worldly protection of trade and traders, could provide an ideal, already available, solution to many of the problems of a society with a growing trading interest but without centralized law or government. In this situation an outstanding late-eighteenth-century Islamic reformer, who had many important pupils, began to advocate the more thorough application of Islam and its laws. His stress on trade was such that he was called the "patron of traders." Minangkabau's new wealth and increased interest in Islam led to a rise in the number of its pilgrims to Mecca. In 1803, three important such pilgrims witnessed the rule of the militant puritanical Wahhabis applied in Mecca and returned to Minangkabau determined to apply uniform Islamic laws, forcibly if necessary. The reformist "Patron of Traders" who had been their teacher at first backed them, but later opposed their use of force. These militant Muslims became known as Padris, apparently after the name of the port from which they went to Mecca (although some derive it from the Portuguese word for priest). For almost three decades, they spread their influence throughout Minangkabau by both peaceful and violent means. They were only defeated in the 1830s by the Dutch, who had received appeals from that section of adat leaders who opposed the Padris. The last Padri leader to resist the Dutch, a man called Imam Jombol, after the town on the equator from which he came and in which he fought, has become a Sumatran and Indonesian national hero. He represents today not so much puritanical Islam as one of the first to offer sustained resistance to Dutch conquest and rule.16 The Dutch were glad to
16 In Imam Jombol's home town of Jombol, on the equator in Sumatra, I saw a fighting statue of him, in which he was characterized in a typical Malay lingua-franca mixture of words from Arabic, Persian, and Dutch, as the "Martyred National Hero."

THE REVOLT OF ISLAM, 1 7 0 0 TO 1 9 9 3


have a pretext to conquer Minangkabau. The adat leaders who appealed to them had no more legitimacy than the adat and Islamic leaders who sided with the Padris who were probably greater in number and certainly in power. The doctrines of the Padris had the same puritanical and strict Islamic flavor as those of the Wahhabis, although they were not carried as far. Also, the Padris became milder and more compromising over time, as they had to win over people tied to a matrilineal, village-centered customary law radically different from strict Islamic law. Originally, in addition to protecting traders from robbery and extortion, the Padris called for the abolition of opium and alcohol, along with the cockfighting and the gambling that accompanied it. The latter was a more important change than it might seem, as villages featured public space devoted largely to this highly popular practice. The Padris called upon men to wear beards and on women to use the veil, which they had not done before (and have done rarely since) and made other demands consonant with puritanical Islam. Over time, as noted, they compromised with adat, which was widely practiced and had powerful representatives who could not be totally converted. Had the Dutch not conquered Minangkabau, the Padris might have set up a state in which Islamic law played a greater role than it did either before or since but in which adat and its officials also continued to have some power. Internal divisions in the movements meant that this was only a possibility and not a certain outcome, however. The Sumatran case is one in which the spread of Orthodox Sufi orders, often together with Muslim traders and scholars, and especially the need for state formation felt with the growth of international trade, helped create a situation in which a handful of Wahhabi-influenced leaders could rapidly influence a society for which large parts of their message were then appropriate. Like other contemporary jihad movements, the Padri movement evinces a socioeconomic change and dislocation brought on partly by a growth in Western trade, a felt need for state formation and unified law in a developing but decentralized society, charismatic leadership, and an influence of the spread of Islamic learning. In both Sumatra and West Africa the process of Islamization had for centuries before the jihad movements been a peaceful one carried out not by conquering states and rulers but largely by traders who either came from abroad or were influenced by travel in Muslim lands. In Sumatra, these traders were often at first identical with the members of tarigas, usually called Sufi orders in English. This form of peaceful Islamization, largely by means of traders, contributed to special features in Indonesian and most West African Islam. Lacking coercive powers, the convinced Muslims were in no position to make either rulers or believers follow Muslim law; and even relatively orthodox Sufis were generally more concerned with making converts than with assuring practice of the shari'a. Rulers and village heads in Sumatra and most of Islamized West Africa, even when they were nominally Muslim,



generally enforced little Islamic law and practice. They found it more convenient both for popularity and to justify their own rule on traditional grounds to mix older local religious practices with Islamic ones, often giving the latter a secondary place. This situation, both in Sumatra and West Africa, provided a fertile ground, given other preconditions, for supporters of jihad to say that existing authorities were unbelievers against whom holy war was incumbent. In West Africa the spread since the eighteenth century especially of first the Qadiri and then the nineteenth-century Tijani orders may have been important in generalizing a devotion to Islam that provided fertile ground for the jihad movements. A similar hypothesis may be made about the spread of tariqas in Sumatra, although this phenomenon has been less studied.

Among the many difficulties in comparing West African eighteenth- and nineteenth-century jihads with Sumatra's, is that the nature of documentation, and scholarly orientation of research, is quite different. For Sumatra there is good documentation for international trade and its impact on Islamic reformers, and little known documentation and, to now, little study of what these reformers actually said and wrote. For West Africa, although certain kinds of trade are documented, the whole question of trade, particularly the size and impact of the slave trade, is highly controversial and difficult for a non-Africanist to assess. On the other hand, in recent years a mass of original tracts written by jihad leaders has become available, especially in Nigeria. These tracts provide an invaluable source for the study of these movements, but some scholars have been inclined to limit themselves to analyzing these documents and to taking the motives and forces behind the jihad to be those expressed in the ideology of its leaders without looking for others, including socioeconomic causation. To some degree there is a division between Africanists who study social or economic history and those who study jihads, and the socio-economic interpretations of jihads that have been put forth, for example, by the Senegalese B. Barry, have been controversial. What is said below is thus provisional. The influence of trade in West Africa, primarily but far from exclusively the slave trade, on West African jihad movements is suggested by the fact, not noted in any work I have read, that these jihads followed the chronological path of this trade. They began in Senegambia, which was involved early in trade with the West, and came only in the nineteenth century to Nigeria and Mali, where Western trade, centered on the slave trade, also came later. (A 1985 paper by Humphrey Fisher demonstrates considerably more presence of the slave trade in Nigeria before its early nineteenth-century jihad than most previous writers had granted, and this supports the hypothesis that this trade influenced the rise of the jihad movements.) From the early nineteenth century, the end of the slave trade and the rise of what was sometimes called "legitimate" trade with the West brought further transformations.



The ways in which European trade appears to have influenced the rise of jihad movements were not identical in Sumatra and West Africa, but there were some similarities; and each situation may suggest important research questions for the others. The size and effects on Africa of the African slave trade has been a subject of intense controversy among Africanists for several years. Although I am not competent to enter into this controversy, it seems likely that the slave trade had a very important disruptive effect in Africa. Devastation alone, which is stressed by some historians, would not, however, give rise to militant jihad movements. It is not the most devastated and depopulated areas that have revolutions, but usually those where socioeconomic and ideological changes have been rapid, bringing about the rise of new classes and the weakening of the old ruling classes. The French, Russian, Chinese, and Iranian revolutions are all examples of this. The major African jihad movements may be considered revolutionary, and one might expect the socioeconomic changes that preceded them not to be limited to devastation and depopulation, whatever weight these factors may have, but also to include a rise of new groups and classes and a weakening of old ruling classes. The available evidence indicates that this is indeed the case. Although many, perhaps most, Africans remaining in Africa may have been hurt by the slave trade, there were also groups and classes who profited from it and entered new lines of economic activity. Many Africans and part-Africans engaged in the slave trade in various capacities, and the presence of European trade gave rise also to increased trade, both in Africa and overseas, in other products, including kola, gold, ivory, gum Arabic (important to European textile industries), and others. There was a rapid development of groups and classes involved in this growing trade, including wealthy long-distance traders, local traders who dealt with them, and various kinds of middlemen, despite the prevalence of elite and state control of trade. The growth of trading classes increased after the end of the slave trade. In addition, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a development of large-scale village and plantation slavery in West Africa itself, where slavery had formerly been predominantly small-scale and family-centered. (Slaves, who sometimes carried out independent revolts, do not seem to have been important participants in the jihad movement.) African slaveholders were often traders or men involved in trade in slaves or in the commodities grown on plantations, so that the growth of large-scale slavery suggests another sign of the importance of the growth of trade and trading classes. Although wealthy Africans might be involved in slave trade, it was often not in their interest to permit this trade to be unregulated or to catch and enslave local persons who might be engaged in production. This was perhaps one reason why jihad movements were generally strict in enforcing Islamic law against the enslavement of Muslims, who were often taken from among the local population. Jihad leaders themselves accumulated non-Muslim or "heretical" slaves, mainly by warfare designed to expand their states, and to take power



from those who were, or were considered to be, non-Muslims. The acquisition of firearms and horses from the West helped make stronger states possible.17 The few scholars who have looked into the socioeconomic basis of African jihad movements note the dislocations formed in the coastal societies of Mauritania and of Senegambian Futa Jalon beginning in the sixteenth century. In Futa Jalon the Islamicized Fulbe (Fulani) became the richest and strongest social group and the bearers of militant Islam. The Muslim Fulbe spearheaded a revivalist revolt that set up a more Islamicized state than had previously existed. The slave trade contributed to social conflict and reorganization. As in many previous cases, nomadic warriors united by a militant Islamic ideology won out. A combination of traders, religious leaders, and nomadic warriors proved potent, as they did in later West African jihads. Similarly, Peter Clarke ties the Mauritanian-Senegalese jihad of Nasir alDin in the late seventeenth century to tensions arising from the slave trade, the import of firearms, and the competition from European powers for control of trade. He says European trade contributed significantly to socioeconomic and political change. The growth in firearms allowed fighting over wider territories and encouraged greater warrior power. People began to look to the Muslim Fulbe for political leadership and ideology.18 The jihad movements in Senegambia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, even though they did not set up strong and long-lived states, increased the influence of Muslim scholars and orthodoxy and the identity of Muslim communities. Such identity was important in a situation in which "society was
17 Among those who most convincingly tie jihad movements to socioeconomic conditions and trade, including slave trade, is Peter B. Clarke, West Africa and Islam (London: Edward Arnold, 1982). Also suggestive of such ties is the dissertation (unfinished when I saw it in 1985) of B. Barry of Senegal, which was, however, when I saw it, in part problematic. Other useful works include Allen Christelow, "Religious Protest and Dissent in Northern Nigeria: from Mahdism to Quranic Integralism," Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 6:2 (1985), 375-93; Philip C. Curtin, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa: Senegambia in the Era of the Slave Trade (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975); Idem, "Jihad in West Africa: Early Phases and Interrelations in Mauritania and Senegal, Journal of African History, XII: 1 (1971), 11-24; Michael Crowder, West Africa under Colonial Rule (London: Hutchinson. 1968); M. Hiskett, The Sword of Truth: The Life and Times ofShehu Usuman dan Fodio (New York, 1973); D. M. Last, The Sokoto Caliphate (London, 1967); N. Levtzion, Muslims and Chiefs in West Africa (Oxford, 1968); Paul E. Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); David Robinson, The Holy War of Umar Tal: The Western Sudan in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985); J. S. Trimingham, A History of Islam in West Africa (London, 1962); J. R. Willis, ed., Studies in West African Islamic History (London, 1979); and a significant body of jihad literature in translation, such as 'Abdullah ibn Muhammad, Tazyin al-Waraqat, M. Hiskett, trans, and ed. (Ibadan University Press, 1963). There are numerous translations and scholarly dissertations that are, unfortunately, available only in the universities of northern Nigeria. There is also a considerable local and Western article literature, of which the articles by Marilyn Waldman may be singled out. 18 Clarke, West Africa, 80. Some similar themes are voiced in Barry's thesis and in P. Curtin, "Jihad in West Africa: Early Phases and Interrelations in Mauritania and Senegal," Journal of African History, XII (1971), 11-24.



being turned upside down by the slave trade, the importation of arms and ammunition, the pillaging and devastations wrought by the tyeddo, and people were crying for protection, stability and law and order."19 But the jihad leaders in Senegambia, as was the case later in Nigeria, tended to abandon their early egalitarian tendencies to favor a few powerful families and discourage popular-class participation in politics. Nearly all the challengers of the old political and religious authorities came from Muslim scholars who had received training in mysticism and were members of a Sufi tariqa. Some scholars also give a partly socioeconomic interpretation of the famous early-nineteenth-century Nigerian jihad of Usman dan Fodio. When rulers fought each other, traders profited from the growing trade; but the poor experienced terrible effects from famine, slave raiding, and extortionate taxes. There was also tension between pastoralists (mainly Fulani) and peasants (mainly Hausa). Nineteenth-century jihadists referred to the fifteenth-century Maghrebi writer, al-Maghili, who spent time in West Africa. He wrote strongly against the still-prevalent practice of rulers of mixing local un-Islamic customs, often glorifying rulers, with Islam. He also said that a ruler who imposed unjust and illegal taxes was an unbeliever and reiterated a prevalent Islamic belief that every century would see a renewer (mujaddid) of Islam. He added that "there is no doubt that Holy War against [the above-mentioned "unbelieving" rulers] is better and more meritorious than Holy War against unbelievers."20 Usman dan Fodio of Nigeria, probably the most scholarly of the jihad leaders, learned not only from al-Maghili but also from Qadiri Sufis, although the importance of his ties to the Qadiriyya is in dispute. In his dream or vision, the founder of the Qadiriyya order gave him the "Sword of Truth" to fight God's enemies. In the late-eighteenth-century, Usman built up his orthodox community within the state of Gobir. Usman's jihad began when his community was attacked from Gobir in 1804, which led some to see it as a defensive war. Many rebellious holy wars and revolts begin defensively, however, when the religious leader or reformer, unsurprisingly, fails to convert the powers that be to his reforms. It means little to say that if only the ruling elite had agreed to these changes, there would have been no war. The same can be said for Muhammad and the Meccans and possibly even for the Estates General and their monarch, not to mention numerous others. In his key manifesto of 1804, the Wathiqat ahl al-Sudan, Usman says that qualified jurists all agree that jihad is incumbent against non-Muslims and against rulers who abandon Islam or combine un-Islamic observances with it, which Usman said was common in Hausaland. He says it is illegal to enslave free Muslims or attack non-Muslims who accept Muslim peace terms. Jihad is a duty against oppressors. He says the current rulers imposed a non-Islamic
19 Clarke. West Africa, 87. - Hiskett. Sword, 66.



cattle tax (particularly disliked by Fulani pastorlists, who along with primarily Fulani scholars played leading roles in the jihad), took bribes, and did not observe Islamic laws of inheritance and succession. Although Usman and the brother and son who succeeded him were militarily successful and created in the Sokoto caliphate a long-lived state unparalleled by any other West African jihad movement, it is unclear how much lasting reform they introduced beyond a greater enforcement of certain Islamic rules. Most scholars feel that the strong state structure that followed owes much to pre-existing states in the area and that old pre-jihad governmental and economic elites were often left in place. Abdullahi Mahadi, in his brilliant dissertation on Kano, notes that Usman and his followers did not have a really revolutionary state model in mind, involving reference to the era of the Prophet and first four elected caliphs. Instead, their writings referred to late Abbasid models of the caliphate, which included the kind of dynastic and hierarchical structures that Usman and his followers soon reinstalled in the areas they conquered, with some change in personnel to benefit the largely Fulani conquering class.21 The introduction of a stronger and more centralized state structure than before, along with the spread of a more orthodox Islam, were important changes, but they were not egalitarian and primarily benefitted the trading and ruling classes. In West African jihads we find the common features of important and disruptive economic change influenced by the West, a spread of learning and neo-Sufism, a key role of tribes, and a need for stronger states. Western rule, Islamic ideology, and continuing socioeconomic disruptions and discontents form a line tying eighteenth- and nineteenth-century militant revivalist movements to those of recent years. On the other hand, there are today a host of new factors. This is suggested by the fact that Islamism has now moved from the tribal periphery to the urban centers, requiring detailed independent analysis of these recent movements. It is not at all suggested here that the same socioeconomic and cultural causes lead to militant puritanical revival in all cases. Sumatra and West Africa seem to show similar situations. In each, European and other trade had a disruptive impact; and a small but growing orthodox educated cadre rejected the rulers, people, and policies that they considered only nominally Islamic. Najd appears to have had the latter feature, but the socioeconomic causation was different and perhaps unprovable. European conquest created a clearer cause for holy war than in the above cases. Other causative factors and their different operation in different areas have been discussed above.
21 Abdullahi Mahadi, "The State and the Economy: The Saarauta System and its Role in Shaping the Economy of Kano with Particular Reference to the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries" (Ph.D. dissertation. Ahmadu Bello University. Zaria. Nigeria, 1983). I read this in Zaria and do not know if it is available in the West, though a shortened published version may appear.

THE REVOLT OF ISLAM, 1 7 0 0 TO 1993


What seems clear is that Islamic belief and doctrines provide the idioms for two major types of revolt, namely, the messianic and Wahhabi type. The messianic revolt usually centered on the Mahdi figure and ranged doctrinally from occasional mainstream conservatism to various kinds of heterodoxy. (These movements have been especially prevalent among the Shi'a but are not exclusive to them.) The other, Wahhabi type, is puritanical and literalist and predominates in the movements discussed above. These two categories are permeable. Militant messianists can be puritanical, and militant purists can be messianic. The Sudanese Mahdi seems an example of the former, and the Khomeini movement of the latter. The militance and relative clarity in basic legal provisions that characterized early Islam have provided a continuing model for internal and external militance. It is striking how much unconnected militant movements used some of the same early Islamic models leaders' hijras, deputies called khalifas, the institution of Islamic taxes, the veiling of women, and so forth. When a charismatic leader has been able to use these traditions in favorable socioeconomic and political circumstances, major and significant militant revival movements have occurred.

The second group of Islamic movements occurred chiefly in the nineteenth century and were, as a whole or in part, direct responses to European imperial conquests. In these movements, the desire to keep out the conqueror and to form a united state were often stronger than the goal of Islamic orthodoxy, although most of the movements also had strong revivalist features. Clearly, a unified Islamic ideology was an effective one for a war against infidels and also for state building. The similarities of ideas and practices among these movements and between them and earlier ones suggests some "essential" features coming down through the Islamic political tradition in very different, distant and unconnected lands. At the same time, their appearance only under certain defined kinds of conditions suggests that these essential features could be dormant or unimportant for long periods before they burst forth, owing largely to new social circumstances. Like the earlier group of movements, the nineteenth-century jihads against infidel conquests occurred in rather peripheral areas and have seldom been compared to one another. They do, however, show a number of similar features to one another and to earlier movements. Their leadership still tended to come from powerful figures in major Sufi orders (Shamyl in the Caucasus, 'Abd al-Qadir and others in Algeria) or from disciples of leaders of new Islamic movements (Sayyid Ahmad Brelwi of the South Asian jihad movement). These movements again stressed orthodoxy and state building; the Indian movements were called Wahhabi, especially by outsiders, because they resembled and presumably were inspired by, the Arabian Wahhabis. Some movements moved from the pre-colonial to the colonial situation



without real changes in ideology: The Padris ended up fighting the Dutch; some West African leaders ended up fighting the French; the South Asian jihadists based in the Northwest Frontier started out fighting the Sikhs, then only later clashed with the British. These similarities to early movements and to one another should guard us against seeing these movements simply as a supposedly natural Muslim resistance to imperialism. In most Muslim areas there was little or no initial armed resistance, so although these movements clearly had a strong aspect of "Muslim resistance to the infidel," this is not enough to explain them. In general, settled peoples under urban leaders and accustomed to strong imperial rule on the whole did not support Islamically based resistance to Western imperialist conquest. The 'Urabi movement in Egypt in the early 1880s is a partial exception to this but was a somewhat different kind of resistance from the Islamic revolts named above.22 As was the case in pre-imperial revolts, the immediately postimperial armed struggles against conquest were mostly based on tribal fighters and leaders with important positions in a preexisting religious order. The leaders tended to have an overall vision of a new, united and militant Islamic society; they tended to come from, or (in the case of the South Asian Wahhabis) settle in, peripheral areas not closely tied to an existing or recent empire. Although they were not quite as peripheral geographically as the eighteenth-century jihad leaders, they were not near the center of major Islamic states. To some degree, the appearance of the South Asian movements, despite the above-noted similar features, was based on where European powers made their first modern conquests. Hence, South Asia, an area of some of the first Western conquests of Muslims, saw two important and long-lasting nineteenth-century movements, the Wahhabis and the Fara'izis. The first French conquest of Algeria led to the first jihad movement in the Middle East. Similarly, Russia's conquest efforts in the Caucasus, beginning in the early nineteenth century, led to the first and most important jihad movement against them. Like that of the Indian Wahhabis and of 'Abd al-Qadir, Shamyl's resistance was very longlasting. Some of these movements' peripheral location was thus due to .the fact that the first European conquests in Muslim territories avoided major Ottoman and Iranian centers. Even when Ottoman urban centers were taken, however, this rarely gave rise to major revivalist resistance, which indicates that peripheral features, such as the predominance of nomadic tribes and of non-urban religious forms, were also important in encouraging jihad-oriented resistance to Western conquest. The Indian movements that took place in a context of settled agriculture had an explicit socio22 For a work stressing the revolutionary nature of the 'Urabi movement, see Juan R. I. Cole, Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt's ' Urabi Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).



economic dimension, the Bengali movement being especially a partisan of the poor.23 Two later movements also belong in this general context. First, the Mahdist movement in Sudan employed the messianic more than the jihad argument for revolt but had important elements of fundamentalism and jihadism. P. Holt sees the Mahdist struggle as largely a result of the forced ending of the slave trade, which caused economic disruption; and R. Peters ties this movement to various disruptive features of Egyptian and British colonialism.24 Second, there was the revolt against Italian rule in Libya led by the Senussi order in the early twentieth century, later than the other movements because the Italians took over Libya later. This movement has many similar features to the other jihads, however, including the importance of a Sufi order. Mahdism and revivalist jihad are two alternative ways of justifying revolt in Islamic contexts, with mahdism more frequently being unorthodox, sometimes "heretical" (notably, the Iranian Babis), while jihad movements tend toward "fundamentalism" or a return to literal observance of the scriptures. The Sudanese mahdist movement and some others among the movements discussed in this essay had some combination of mahdist and jihadist elements, but the latter usually predominated. There were also a number of other significant antiimperialist revivalist revolts in Africa and Southeast Asia. Although it is often said that religion and politics in Islam are always intertwined, Islamic principles are often only loosely enforced during periods of normal government. These principles are, however, far more enforced in Islamic militant movements, such as those discussed above, which wish to remake society in an Islamic image. The militance and injunctions regarding morality and gender relations that are believed to characterize early Islam
23 A m o n g the useful works on nineteenth-century revival m o v e m e n t s r e s p o n d i n g to Western conquest are

(1) on Shamyl: John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus ( L o n d o n : L o n g m a n s , (London: Green and C o . , 1908); Baron August von H a x t h a u s e n , The Tribes of the Caucasus C h a p m a n and Hall, 1855); Louis Moser, The Caucasus and Its People: With a Brief History of Their Wars; and Moshe Gammer, Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnia and Daghestan (London: Cass, 1994). (2) South Asia: Qeyamuddin Ahmad, The Wahabi Movement in India (Calcutta, 1966); K. K. Datta, History of the Freedom Movement in Bihar, I (Patna: Government of Bihar, 1957); Peter Hardy, The Muslims of British India (London: Cambridge University Press, 1972); W. W. Hunter, The Indian Musalmans: Are They Bound in Conscience to Rebel against the Queen? (London: Trubner and Co., 1871); Hafeez Malik, Moslem Nationalism in India and Pakistan (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1963); 3. Abd al-Qadir: Col. Paul Azan, LEmir Abd el Kader 1808-1883 (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1925); Raphael Danziger, Abd al-Qadir and the Algerians (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1977). There is a need of further study of these movements and the Senussis by historians with a knowledge of the requisite languages and of Islamist movements elsewhere. 24 Peter Holt, The Mahdist State in the Sudan, 1881-1898: A Study of its Origins, Development and Overthrow (New York: Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 1977); Rudolph Peters, Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History (The Hague: Mouton, 1979).



provide a model for these movements. It is striking how much movements in disparate geographical regions and without obvious ties to one another used the same early Islamic models; most of them, for example, insist on women's veiling and segregation. Such gender separation was not only the result of copying early Islam but also arose from the desire of these movements to form states. This was generally accompanied by a stratification of classes and genders and by an ideology that included the observation of norms considered Islamic. Often, from the eighteenth century down through the Iranian revolution, Islamic movements became more lax and more centered on the leader's desires after they took power.

From the late nineteenth century until after World War II, the main intellectual trend in the Muslim world was Islamic reformism, not militancy. Reformism centered in different areas and classes, especially the urban intellectuals and new middle class. Although this is an essay chiefly about militancy, it should be noted that most people whose works have been studied in modern times have taken a reformist rather than militant approach, especially as the militants everywhere were defeated militarily by Western arms or were otherwise unsuccessful until very recent times. The reformists believed that they could achieve strength and independence only by imitating and naturalizing Western thought. From such Young Ottomans as Namik Kemal onward, early Islamic injunctions were reinterpreted to make them more in accord with Western liberalism on matters ranging from parliaments to women's rights. Periodic backlashes against westernized modernism tended to come in response to Western aggressiveness, as in the dismemberment between 1878 and 1882 of the Ottoman Empire and the occupation of Egypt and Tunisia by Britain and France.25 The recent large-scale repudiation of modernism came in part because Muslims were more inclined than others to reject the West and its ways, due to the centuries-old hostility between Christians and Muslims, to the new obstacle of Israel, and to the failures of rule by Westernized reformers or those who called themselves reformers. One person tied to reformism who has, nonetheless, remained popular, largely because of his anti-imperialist militancy, is Sayyid Jamal al-Din "AlAfghani." He grew up in an Iranian Shi'i tradition that simultaneously stressed rationalist philosophy and Islamic theorizing. He had knowledge of Shi'i struggles and of the militant heretical Babi movement in mid-nineteenth century Iran and sensed the potential of militant Islamic identification as a wellspring of political action in the modern world. Afghani responded to shifting moods. Until the early 1880s his writings were nearly all in a liberal and local nationalist vein, with a strong dose of Islamic modernism and of
25 See Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939 (London: Oxford University Press, 1962). 103.



hostility to British colonialism. The latter feature stayed with him throughout his career. After the major losses of 1878 to 1882 of Muslim lands to the West, Afghani joined those who promoted pan-Islamic unity against Western imperial conquerors. Afghani, whose words were diffused in Arabic by his disciples, was a particularly influential pan-Islamist because he tied pan-Islamism to a strong stand against British encroachments in Muslim lands. Indeed, his antiimperialist, proto-third-worldist approach may be the most influential element in Afghani's thought. This approach had increasing importance after his death. It is significant that Afghani is the only major writer and speaker popular with liberal and nationalist thinkers who retains his popularity with today's Islamists.26

Above we have discussed three phases of Muslim thought and action since the eighteenth century, all of which had a relationship to Western imperialism. The early internal jihad movements of Sumatra and West Africa were in part reactions to a growth of trade with a stronger West, including the very unequal slave trade. This trade helped change the internal class structure of the affected countries, making certain areas ripe for state building along the lines of the original state building of early Islam, while the end of the trade produced further socioeconomic needs. Normative Islam provided an appropriate ideology for state formation. The next stage of jihad movements was a more direct response to French, British, Russian and Italian colonial conquest, which in several peripheral areas was responded to by militant jihads. In the third phase discussed, partly an outgrowth of Islamic modernism, such modernists as Namik Kemal and Jamal al-Din ("Al-Afghani") responded to a new wave of Western imperialist conquest by appealing to Muslim unity and revival as a shield against further Western conquest. Muslim unity was in large part a means to regain territory. Though the appeal of this line of thought never died completely among intellectuals and many rulers, it lost out in the first decades of the twentieth century to various forms of secular nationalism, liberalism, socialism, and communism. Before World War II, there began a new sort of Islamic political revival and organization aimed once again at affirming a vision of original Islam and lessening or getting rid of the political and ideological influence of Western colonialists and neocolonialists in the Muslim world. Contrary to the views of those who tie the contemporary Islamic revival mostly to Iranian Shi'ism, the first important modern revivalists were nonIranian Sunnis: Maududi and his followers in Muslim India, and later
26 See especially introduction, "From Afghani to Khomeini," to the 1983 edition of Nikki R. Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism: Political and Religious Writings ofSayyid Jamal alDin "al-Afghani" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983).



Pakistan, and Hassan al-Banna and the original Muslim Brethren in interwar Egypt. The real expansion of these movements is generally dated to the Arab defeat in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which discredited the hitherto popular secular nationalist government of Gamal Abdel Nasser and also made many Muslims think that the "Jewish" ideology of Israel helped their victory, so a "Muslim" ideology would be similarly helpful. The increased discrediting of Western-type governments and the search for an untried alternative encouraged many to turn to the promise of Islamic rule. Significantly, Islamist movements are strongest not in traditional Islamic states like those of the Arabian peninsula but in countries that have had and been disillusioned with westernized governments: Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt, in the Middle East, for example. Islamism is in part a reaction against the failures of such governments. Much of Islamism is also militantly anti-imperialist and anti-neocolonialist. Often this is presented simply as a question of Muslim "fanaticism" and "xenophobia." It is true that there is more vocal anti-Western feeling in the Muslim world than in most other areas, partly because Islam brooks nonMuslim rule less than other traditions accept outsiders but also because Muslim-Western conflict and the Israeli and Palestine questions have a long history. On the other hand, we must accept the probability that many young educated Muslims do not so much reject the West because they are Muslims but, rather, become Islamists largely because they are hostile to Western dominance. Islamists often come from the same groups and families and are sometimes the same individuals, who once were nationalists or even "socialists or communists. Disillusionment with secular solutions has as much to do with practical political experience as it does with religiosity. Resistance to Western cultural domination, for example, is seen in the ex-communist Iranian intellectual, Al-e Ahmad, whose famous treatise, Westoxication, became a central text and led him to seek in Islam the solution to Iran's problems.27 Similar things happened elsewhere. So we can speak of radical anti-imperialism, including cultural anti-imperialism, leading to Islamism as much as or more than the other way around. Such radical anti-imperialism was one reason for the initial popularity of Khomeini among non-Shi'i and even non-Muslim groups in the third world. It also helps account for his initial Iranian following among anti-shah and antiimperialist secularists, even of the left. Here I may reaffirm something I noted in one of the first articles I wrote over thirty years ago. It is difficult to maintain intellectually a totally anti-imperialist and anti-Western position at the same time as one puts forth a Western-based ideology, such as secular
27 Nikki R. Keddie. "Western Rule versus Western Values: Suggestions for a Comparative Study of Asian Intellectual History," Diogenes, 26 (1959), 71-96.

THE REVOLT OF ISLAM, 1700 TO 1 9 9 3


nationalism, liberalism, socialism, or communism.28 To many people it seems a contradiction to reject Western ways, especially as they are felt abroad, and to adopt Western views. This has led to periodic revivals of neotraditionalist movements, once it was a question of getting an anti-imperialist following among the more traditional masses and not just the educated. In India the movements of Tilak, Gandhi, and recent Hindu nationalism reflect this; and in the Muslim world the various pan-Islamic and Islamic revival movements do the same. The phases of modern Islamic militance have some common features but are also diverse, changing from the periphery to the center, from traditionalism to a kind of modernity, from indirect Western influence to central antiimperialism and from appeal to tribal groups to appeal to the young, urban, and educated. Islamic forms cover a great variety of contents. We have certainly not seen the last of Islamic permutations and combinations to meet the conditions of an ever-changing world.

The literature on what those in the field generally call Islamism is extensive and growing. Among the most useful works are Nazih N. Ayubii, Political Islam (London: Routledge, 1991); Said Amir Arjomand, ed., From Nationalism to Revolutionary Islam (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984); Hamid Dabashi, Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundations of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (New York: New York University Press, 1993); John L. Esposito, ed.. Voices of Resurgent Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983); Michael M. J. Fischer. Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983); Fred Halliday and Hamza Alavi, eds., State and Ideology in the Middle East and Pakistan (London: Macmillan, 1988); the entire issue on "Islam and Politics," Third World Quarterly, 10:2 (April 1988). 473-1103; Gilles Kepel. Le prophete et pharaon: Les mouvements islamistes dans I'Egypte contemporain (Paris: Seuil, 1990), Imam Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, Hamid Algar. trans. (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1981); Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Fundamentalisms Observed, A vols. to date (Chicago: University of Chicago, 199193); Edward Mortimer, Faith and Power: The Politics of Islam (New York: Random House, 1982); Maxime Rodinson, LIslam politique et croyance (Paris: Fayard, 1993); Emmanuel Sivan, Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics (New Haven. CT: Yale University Press. 1985); Sami Zubaida, Islam, the People, and the State (London: Routledge. 1989).