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University of California Santa Barbara (2021)

Sufism in Moroccan Public Life : Teaching Ethics and Performing Piety

Thibdeau, John C

Titre : Sufism in Moroccan Public Life : Teaching Ethics and Performing Piety

Auteur : Thibdeau, John C

Université de soutenance : University of California Santa Barbara

Grade : Doctor Philosophy (PhD)in Regional Studies 2021

Résumé partiel
This dissertation unpacks the role of Sufism (taṣawwuf) in the Moroccan state’s current efforts to regulate religion not only to shed light on relationships of religion and power in Morocco, but also to bring into relief the embodied aspects of taṣawwuf as a practical tradition often elided in scholarship that conceives of Sufism as Islamic mysticism. I argue that as a practical tradition, taṣawwuf involves the cultivation of virtuous piety (iḥsān) and that in its role as an element of Moroccan religious identity, iḥsān constitutes a form of public piety in which spiritual development and social reform operate in conjunction with one another. In my comparative analysis of three Sufi organizations, I analyze different dimensions of iḥsān through their varied curricula of ethical education (minhaj al-tarbiya) used in the formation of pious subjects and the disciplining of bodies capable of entering into relationships with themselves, others, and the divine. More broadly, I show how the public performance of Sufism as an ethical tradition simultaneously shapes and gives expression to alternative modes of political affiliation that cut across existing national or regional distinctions.Over the past twenty years, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, Morocco has implemented a program of regulating and reforming the religious field (al-ḥaql al-dīnī) domestically and regionally. In the process, the state has established an array of governmental and quasi-governmental institutions aimed at constructing and propagating a Moroccan religiosity as an alternative to other global brands of Islam (e.g., Saudi Wahhabism, Iranian Shi’ism, militant Jihadism). While defined as Sunni, Maliki, and Ashʿari, this authorized Moroccan Islam is distinguished from others primarily by its inclusion of taṣawwuf as a constitutive element. As a result, Morocco has explicitly sponsored taṣawwuf as part of a strategy to combat the influence of alternative authorities within the country and to cultivate ties regionally as part of a tactic of spiritual diplomacy.

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Page publiée le 25 janvier 2023