Beginnings: Ibrāhīm Niasse and the Advent of the Flood
This chapter introduces Ibrahim Niasse on the basis of hagiographical sources, offering insights into both scholarly and popular representations of Niasse's career. It focuses on the first three decades of his life, using accounts of his childhood and training to highlight the milieu in which he grew up. It then discusses the “emergence of the flood (fayda),” the pivotal moment that triggered Niasse's movement. An exposition of Sufi cosmology, particularly the notion of fayd (“emanation”) as represented in the thought of Ibn al-Arabi and Ahmad al-Tijani, is followed by an analysis of Niasse's magnum opus Kashif al-ilbas. Niasse wrote this book to justify his claim to be “the bringer of the flood,” who would lead a massive expansion of the Tijaniyya by opening up ways to deeper mystical experiences. The chapter also highlights the reception of the fayda motive as reflected in popular hagiographical literature and poetry.
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