A yellow cover


SÉRIE ISLAMO-LOGIQUES Savants musulmans au Maghreb


Sabrina Mervin, Augustin Jomier (eds.)


328 pages, 145x225mm




May 25, 2023



Published by

Diacritiques Éditions

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As its title suggests, this book deals with modern or contemporary Muslim religious scholars whose genealogical or educational roots are situated in the Maghrib (the “Western Arab” region that corresponds with modern-day Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya). Each of the 12 chapters, written by historians, anthropologists, and sociologists, features one individual. In the introduction, the editors (Sabrina Mervin and Augustin Jomier) explain the choice of the Maghrib as the geographical focus of the study such that the region’s cultural productivity has been underestimated by specialists of Islam, who often regarded the Mashriq, the “Eastern Arab” region, as the center of the Islamic sciences while looking to the Maghrib for a “popular Islam” or an Islam of mythical worship and superstitions. Given this context, the fact that many of the Muslim scholar discussed in the book are of modern “reformist” tendency is no accident. Beginning in the 18th century, the reformism in Islam (al-iṣlāḥ) encompasses different movements that promoted reconfiguration of religious interpretations and social practices in Islamic communities to be able to adapt to (while appropriating) changing political and material orders of the modern times. The book examines Muhammad Bayram V from Tunisia, Abdelhamid ibn Badis and Ibrahim Bayyud from Algeria, and Muhammad al-Hajwi and Muhammad al-Fasi from Morocco as examples of the reformists from the Maghrib between the 19th and 20th centuries. These contributions would help to relativize the Mashriq-centered (especially Egypt-centered) vision on Islamic reform.
In addition, other chapters are devoted to the trajectory of Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi, the founder of the Sanusi Sufi order, of Ahmad Bularaf, from southern Morocco and an important actor in the transmission of literal culture in the Tombouctou region, and of al-Mukhtar wuld Hamidun, a Mauritanian intellectual and the author of the ambitious Encyclopedia of Mauritania. The book also comprises chapters on those who remain relatively less examined in many academic books on Muslim ulama. These figures include Abdelhay al-Kattani, a Moroccan scholar who lived in French protectorate Morocco and was eventually condemned as a traitor of the nation, Dalil Boubakeur, who succeeded to his father’s status of rector of the Paris Mosque while his early education was basically profane (medicine), Abdallah Serge Althaparro, a French convert in Islam who, like many other European converts, opted for training in traditional Islamic sciences in Mauritania, and Aicha el-Hajjami, the sole female scholar discussed in the book, a university scholar in law who played an active role in Moroccan feminist movement with religious inclinations.
Although the methodology employed in these chapters varies according to the authors, the interests in roles of Muslim scholars to perceive and reflect the social needs of the community in which they were living and whose legitimate representatives they believed themselves to be, combine these chapters into a book. The book is one of the achievements of an international research project, L’enseignement de l’islam au Maroc (XVIIIe-XXIe siècles): Islamologie et sciences sociales [Islamic Learning in Morocco (18th-21st Centuries): Islamology and Social Sciences], led by Sabrina Mervin and financed by the French l’Agence nationale de la recherche, between 2017 and 2020.

(Written by WATANABE Shoko, Associate Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia / 2023)

Table of Contents

・Introduction (Augustin Jomier & Sabrina Mervin)
・Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi (1787-1859). Une voie soufie entre Maghreb et Arabie (Dyala Hamza)
・Ahmad Boularaf (1884-1955). Entre culture livresque et commerce du livre au Sahara (Rahal Boubrik)
・Muhammad Bayram V (1840-1889). Un ouléma tunisien défenseur des réformes ottomanes (Anne-Laure Dupont)
・Muhammad al-Hajwi (1874-1956). Créer la femme marocaine moderne (Etty Terem)
・Muhammad al-Fasi (1908-1991). La réorganisation du savoir au Maroc (Shoko Watanabe)
・Ibrahim Bayyud (1899-1981). Un guide pour les ibadites d’Algérie (Augustin Jomier)
・Al-Mukhtar wuld Hamidun (vers 1897-1993). Le bouillon généalogique (Abdel Wedoud Ould Cheikh)
・Abdel Hamid ibn Badis (1889-1940). Du savant professeur à la figure mythique en Algérie (Charlotte Courreye)
・Abdelhay al-Kattani (1884-1962). De la gloire à l’exil (Ilyass Amharar)
・Dalil Boubakeur (né en 1940). Le recteur et le politique (Ricarda Stegmann)
・Abdallah Serge Althaparro (né en 1966). Un firansî devenu cheikh (Younes Johan Van Praet)
・Aïcha El Hajjami (née en 1952). Une jurisconsulte en action (Naïma El Makrini)

Related Info

Livres & MAM - Savants musulmans au Maghreb (Sabrina Mervin, Augustin Jomier & Charlotte Courreye)  (IREMAM | YouTube  August 29, 2023)
Sabrina Mervin、Augustin Jomier、Charlotte Courreye  (Livres & MAM (mondes arabes et musulmans) | Spotify  August 29, 2023)
Open Access:
Ilyass Amharar (p.180-197): Abdelhay al-Kattani (1884-1962) De la gloire à l’exil  (OpenEdition Books)

Book Reviews:
By Faker Korchane  (Revue Etudes No. 4312 Feb. 2024)
By Meryem Sebti  “« Savants musulmans au Maghreb », sous la direction de Sabrina Mervin et d’Augustin Jomier : penser l’islam au Maghreb”  (Le Monde  30th Jun. 2023)
Related Event:
Institut Du Monde Arabe 29th Feb. 2024

Présentation de l’ouvrage « Savants musulmans au Maghreb »  (IRMC  Dec 14, 2023)

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