Malian youths between Sufism and Satan

TitleMalian youths between Sufism and Satan
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsB.F. Soares
EditorA. Masquelier, and B.F. Soares
Pagination169 - 188
Date Published2016///
PublisherUniversity of New Mexico Press
Place PublishedSanta Fe
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number978-0826356987
Keywordseconomic anthropology, entrepreneurs, Islam, Mali, religion, Sufism, youth

A fee-for-service religious market has developed in Mali since the 1990s, the onset of neo-liberalism, with Bamako as its center. The new entrepreneurs in this religious market are (relatively) young males who are Muslims, non-Muslims or former Muslims. Using elements from Islam (Sufism), Christianity and/or traditional religions in individualist and opportunist ways, they sell blessings, prayers, and other ritual practices and objects. To the astonishment of established religious elites and many other Malians, a few of these young men have become extremely successful, even up to joining the ranks of the country's charismatic religious leaders and major figures in the broader religious economy. The article portrays three particularly successful religious entrepreneurs, two of them so-called "rasta" Sufis (Cheikh Soufi Bilal Diallo and Soufi Adama Yalcouyeï), one a former Muslim branding himself as 'Satan. In his analysis of these developments in the religious market, the author foregrounds the particularities of the current neo-liberal era, including the staggering levels of un- and underemployment in Mali and the dim prospects for young people to achieve economic and social success.

Citation Key8632