THE RESPONSE TO PROPHESY: AN AFRICAN CASE STUDY
AbstractThe work and life of Muhammed Jumad Imam, a Yoruba prophet and founder of the Mahdiyya movement, is discussed in some detail. Particular attention is given to the questions as to how opponents and followers understood his leadership and charisma using categories and notions developed by Max Weber. The response of the colonial administration, Traditional, Muslim and Christian leaders alike is given as the Mahdi-Messiah set himself up as being relevant to all religious communities in Nigeria (in fierce opposition to traditionalist, irenic towards Christians and claiming leadership amongst Muslims). Perspectives from government correspondence, personal letters and interviews give a multifaceted view of the person, his work and influence. The movement stemming from his influence is one of the few influential Muslim millenarian movements in Nigeria and understanding the leadership role of Muhammad Jumad Imam can be important in understanding publicly influential millenarian movements.
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