by F Ghoulaichi · 2005 · Cited by 8 — Westermarck observed in his Ritual and Belief in Morocco that popular piety accorded 4 Fitna is a highly poignant concept in the Islamic tradition. disorder. During Moulay Ismail’s rule, Morocco was especially strong and secure. let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some fitnah should.
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ABSTRACT Title of Thesis: OF SAINTS AND SHARIFIAN KINGS IN MOROCCO: THREE EXAMPLES OF THE POLITICS OF REIMAGINING HISTORY THROUGH REINVENTING KING/SAINT RELATIONSHIP Fatima Ghoulaichi, Master of Arts, 2005 Thesis directed by: Dr. Orrin Wang The Comparative Literature Program The relationship between sainthood and the sharifian monarchy in Morocco has attracted much attention from researchers within the area of Moroccan studies. The analysis of this relationship can offer invaluable insights into the dynamics of Moroccan history because the king and the saint are widely regarded as the two most salient actors in this history. Yet, the study of the relationship between these two figures has suffered a tendency towards downplaying its historically dynamic nature, and essentializing the cultural constructs upon which it is predicated. In this thesis, I offer a revisionary reading of king/saint relationship through analyzing three examples from the ‚Alawite dynasty. I argue that this relationship has been highly dynamic, and has capitalized on baraka and sharifism as versatile cultural constructs. More significantly, the dynamics of king/saint relationship in Moroccan culture allows the strategic reinvention of history in order to meet the demands of changing historical contexts.
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OF SAINTS AND SHARIFIAN KINGS IN MOROCCO: THREE EXAMPLES OF THE POLITICS OF REIMAGINING HISTORY THROUGH REINVENTING KING/SAINT RELATIONSHIP By Fatima Ghoulaichi Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts 2005 Advisory Committee: Prof. Orrin Wang, Director Prof. Ahmed Karimi Hakkak Prof. William Taft Stuart
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iii Acknowledgements My sincere thanks go to my supervisor, Dr. Orrin Wang, for his academic assistance and insightful comments which helped me redefine the current project. His support during hard times was invaluable. Iowe a debt of gratitude also to Dr. Regina Harrison who supervised me during the early stages of this project, and to Dr. Ahmed Karimi and Dr. William Stuart for their very helpful comments and suggestions. Finally, I would like to express my immense gratitude, love, and respect for my mother who, together with my late father, has always been willing to take on my responsibilities so that I can go on with my academic work.
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iv Table of Contents Introduction –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 1 I- Introducing baraka and sharifism ––––––––––––––––––.––. 8 II- Moulay Ismail and Lyusi: The politics of baraka and sharifism –––––––– 18 III- Sultan Moulay Slimane against the Saintly Institution ––––––––––– 29 IV- King Mohamed VI and Sufism after 9/11 ––––––––––––––––. 39 Conclusion ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 47 Appendix ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––.. 52 1- Moulay Slimane™s letter against zawaya and mawassim–––––––– 52 2- King Mohamed the Sixth™s letter to the International Sufi Conference –– 57 Glossary –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 60 Bibliography ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 62
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1Introduction: The relationship between the sharifian sultanate and the saintly institution in Morocco has attracted much attention from historians, anthropologists, and political scientists. Researchers have traditionally sought an explanation for the longevity of the world™s oldest potent monarchy 1in its relationship to a peculiarly Moroccan form of sainthood. Clifford Geertz, for example, has long read Moroccan history in terms of a static pattern of ﬁstrong man politicsﬂ and ﬁholy man pietyﬂ whose heroes are the saint and the king. He writes: that it was self-made warrior saintsŠhommes fetichesŠas Bel again so aptly calls themŠwho forged the uncreated conscience of Morocco, indeed forged Morocco itself, is beyond much doubt. 2Geertz is referring here to the French colonial historian Alfred Bel whose La Religion Musulmane en Berberie (The Islamic Religion in Barbary) (1938) he regards as ﬁthe best book on the development of North-African Islam, and – one of the finest books ever written on the area.ﬂ 3Geertz includes in the category ﬁhommes fetichesﬂ the Moroccan king as well. He argues that ﬁtraditionally the Moroccan king has been in fact himself a homme fetiche ,aman alive with charisma of both the hereditary and personal sort.ﬂ 4According to him then, both saint and king share in charisma, a term he uses in this context as equivalent to the Moroccan concept of baraka .Moreover, as hommes fetiches ,both possess, or at least work hard to possess, holy-man piety along with strong-man 1See M. E. Combs-Schilling, Sacred Performances: Islam, Sexuality, and Sacrifice (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989). 2Clifford Geertz, Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 26. 3Islam Observed ,note p. 120. 4Islam Observed ,53.
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3from the prophet confers baraka and interferes with its operation, but also because I am interested in the relationship between the king and the saint within the context of the sharifian state. The examples I consider are all from the rule of the ‚AlawitesŠa sharifian dynasty that has been ruling Morocco since the seventeenth century. 10 The historically dynamic nature of king/saint relationship and the versatility of the symbolic capital they deployed contribute to the shaping of a field of multiple power relations as well as plural models of power. The examples I examine in this thesis are ultimately meant to demonstrate that the culture of power in Morocco is rich and complex. The saint and king cannot be subsumed in the figure of the ﬁhomme feticheﬂ who then becomes ﬁthe axial figureﬂ of Moroccan history. 11 Before proceeding to analyze three examples of king/saint relationship, I introduce baraka and sharifism and outline their politics in general terms. I then examine the three examples which are drawn from different stages of the ‚Alawites™ rule. My first example comes from an early stage (late 17 th century) when the rule of the ‚Alawites was being consolidated by the all-powerful Moulay Ismail. His historical encounter with Lyusi, which has been mythologized by popular imagination, serves as a classical example of the politics of baraka and sharifism and how these are played out by both saint and king. In this sense, this example provides a basic background against which the two other examples are read. The second example comes from a period of crisis for the sharifian king (19 th century) when external threats and internal dissent were about to bring the sharifian state to an end. In this example, I read Moulay Slimane™s letter against the saintly institution as 10 It is worth mentioning that this is the same dynasty upon which Geertz focuses his analysis in Islam Observed ,After the fact ,and elsewhere. 11 Geertz, Islam Observed ,8.
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4symptomatic of his anti-Berber political policy. I analyze how historical factors, as well as the characters of both king and saint, affect the relationship between these two figures, define baraka and sharifism, and determine the circulation of power. My third example, from contemporary Morocco, illustrates an almost opposite pattern of king/saint relationship. The sharifian king in this example writes a letter of support for the saintly institution as part of his larger policy of promoting Sufism as an alternative to Islamism in the post-9/11 global context. The three examples illustrate the historical dynamism of saint/king relationship and the versatility of the cultural determinants of this relationship; namely, baraka and sharifism. They also reveal the ongoing reimagining of Moroccan history via the dynamics of saint/king relationship. Nowhere is this process of reimagining better dramatized, however, than in king Mohamed the sixth’s post-9/11 religious politics where history is reinvented as an anti-terrorism strategy. My discussion of king/saint relationship presupposes the following points: 1- the saint and sharifian king are distinct but overlapping figures; they share in baraka and sharifism, but they access and deploy them differently, 2- personal baraka is the defining feature of the saint whereas sharifism and the hereditary baraka it confers are distinguishing features of the sharifian king, 3- although Sufism and sainthood correspond to distinct orders of religious and social experience, I use the two terms synonymously here because the distinction between the saint and the Sufi does not affect my argument, 12 4- whenever I use the term ﬁsharifian state,ﬂ I am not referring of course 12 It is a slight and problematic distinction to make anyway.
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5to the Western model of state but, to use Darif™s terms, to ﬁthe ultimate stage in the development of the traditional Moroccan state.ﬂ 13 My study of the dynamics of king/saint relationship in Morocco is in a large part a comparative study of different historical contexts, and how these contexts are reinvented retrospectively. In the story of the confrontation between Moulay Ismail and Lyusi, which I draw from Geertz, history is the product of popular imagination. It, therefore, reflects the worldview of the Moroccan popular classes among whom Geertz conducted his fieldwork in Sefrou. In Moulay Slimane™s letter, on the other hand, history is filtered through the Wahhabi doctrine, and reproduced as a discourse aimed at de-legitimizing the Berber uprising against the king under the leadership of a ﬁsaint.ﬂ 14 As for Mohamed the Sixth™s letter to the international Sufi conference, it is symptomatic of a post-9/11 religious policy wherein history is spectacularly reinvented in order to fight against the spread of international terrorism into Morocco. By stressing the creative element in the making of a dynamic Moroccan history, this thesis is, in part, a critique of Geertz™s one-dimensional reading of this history. Despite his contributions to an interpretive theory of culture and an awareness of the role of representational dynamics in anthropology, Geertz has popularized an over-reductive version of Moroccan history where the homme fetiche ,aterm he borrowed from French colonial historian Alfred Bel, functions as the emblem of an essentially static culture. Moroccan history, according to Geertz, witnessed change only on the surface while the 13 Mohamed Darif, Muassasat az-Zawaya bil-Maghreb (The Institution of the Zawaya in Morocco), Rabat, 1992, 45 14 I argue in the third section that Mhawesh, to whom I am referring here, underwent a metamorphosis during the Berber rebellion. The extent and nature of his involvement in this political campaign turned him into a military leader rather than a saint. I am therefore using the term saint with reservation here.
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6same patterns persisted deep in the social and political life of the country. Conversely, I argue that the apparently static patterns in fact camouflaged highly versatile dynamics. Iapproach the study of king/saint relationship with the assumption that history is in a large part textual. It lends itself to a representational economy that can be best decoded through careful textual analysis. I thus examine the texts of Geertz™s rendition of apopular story, Moulay Slimane™s letter against zawaya ,and Mohamed the Sixth™s letter in support of Sufism as instances of the making and remaking of a cultural history. This history is imagined through a dynamic relationship between two figures who have come to be regarded as the two most salient actors in Moroccan history. My analysis of these examples draws upon history, anthropology, and rhetoric, and is informed to a large extent by the theoretical insights of New Historicism. Finally, a brief historical account of the early dynasties that ruled Morocco, the maraboutic crisis and the rise of the sharifian state is in order since it is crucial for understanding the dynamics of king/saint relationship in the sharifian state. In 788 A.D., Idriss Ben Abdallah al-KamilŠa descendent of the prophet MohamedŠarrived in Morocco after he had fled persecution at the hands of the Abbasid Caliph Haroun Ar-Rachid. A group of Berber tribes already fully converted to Islam by the earlier Arab arrivals welcomed him and proclaimed him king. The Moroccan royal tradition was thus launched by a sharif. Although it attained its own glory under the rule of Idriss IIŠthe founder of the city of FezŠthe Idrisside dynasty did not stay in power for long (788-1016). The age of the great Berber dynasties was soon to be launched. The heyday of Moroccan history corresponds to the rule of the three Berber dynasties that succeeded to the throne from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries: the
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