Al-Sanusi was both a Sufi teacher and a scholar of Islamic Law. He advocated reform in the development of the Law, putting greater stress on the study and interpretation of original sources of dogma. At the same time, he was a traditional Sufi, combining mystical teaching and practical organizing. This study of al-Sanusi focuses on the scholarly tradition that formed him, a tradition of Islamic learning and reform that spanned the Islamic world from Morocco to Mecca and beyond. The book discusses al-Sanusi's role in the Sufi network created by his teacher, Ahmad b. Idris, and in the scholarly milieu of the Qarawiyin in Fez. It also presents al-Sanusi's writings, and gives an overview of the Sanusiya order in the mid-nineteenth century.
Knut S. Viktor, director of the Center of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway, is editor of "Sudanic Africa: A Journal of Historical Sources. "