The Religious Men in Jebel Marra: The Process of Learning and the Performance of Islamic Rituals and Practices


Dr. Bakheit Mohammed

Research Area:


This study examines the roles of religious men who are locally called Fuqqarâ in the Muslim Jebel Marra communities. It further investigates how they learn in the Qur’anic schools, where they usually spend many years memorising the Qur’an and obtaining other associated knowledge. Thus, the learning process involves a deepening of social participation in the communities of practice where Fuqqarâ learn how to perform different practices such as charms and techniques, e.g. amulets and mahâya. These rituals and techniques are employed for various purposes, for instance to bring about various desired ends, to protect people, animals and properties from misfortune and to heal illnesses. Secret knowledge is primarily discovered in a collaborative process in which every student has something to share with others. The exchange of ideas and secrets does not end with the completion of one’s apprenticeship but continues even after graduation, particularly among those who engage in performing rituals and techniques as a profession. The knowledge they gain during their academic careers allows them to become acknowledged Fuqqarâ and deal competently with the different types of local issues that fall into their realm.