Mystical Wanderers

Photos by Fabrice Monteiro
June 17, 2015 Perception — Issue 1

The Baay Faal community, which belongs to the Murid brotherhood of Senegal, has endured stigmatization by external observers since its constitution at the end of the nineteenth century, first by French colonists.


Denounced as “crazy” and considered “bad” Muslims because they do not observe all traditional worship practices, the Baay Faal, however, assert their full inscription in Sufism and have tried since the 1970s to establish their legitimacy. This goal is partially achieved today, although the community must face a new challenge: the incorporation of marginal urban and young disciples often disconnected from the maraboutic hierarchy.

Original text in French by Charlotte Pezeril, « Histoire d’une stigmatisation paradoxale, entre islam, colonisation et « auto-étiquetage ». Les Baay Faal du Sénégal », Cahiers d’études africaines 4/2008 (No 192) , p. 791-814