Senegambian World View Propositions
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A summary of
Peace is Everything: World View of Muslims in the
Senegambia by David Maranz 1993
(International Museum of Cultures Publications, No 28) as found in
Appendix 3 of the same book.
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- Metatheme 1 Senegambians seek to have a
personal transcendent peace, which is experienced through a moral
conscience, a spirit of personal peace, and social peace.
- Theme 1 To possess peace, human beings
need to establish alliances with the forces and beings that
govern the world.
- Subtheme I-A. Peace in this world
must be sought in accordance with the fundamental,
superior, and unchangeable laws of the transempirical
- Subtheme I-B. Man's role is to
initiate and execute appropriate, specific actions (cults
and ceremonies) that can serve to reestablish and
maintain communion with the beings and forces that
operate in the world of man.
- Subtheme I-C. The beings and forces
of the transempirical world confer on initiated
individuals a consciousness awakened to the supernatural
realm that makes them masters of the laws of the seen and
- Theme 2 Peace in the human spirit is the
consequence of a condition of harmony between human beings
and transempirical beings and forces.
- Subtheme 2-A. When a person has the
interior radiance of peace, it is manifested through
coherence of thought and interior harmony, which together
enable the person to counterbalance the ascendancy of
transcendent forces over him or her.
- Subtheme 2-B. When there is a breach
in the relationship to transempirical beings and/or
forces, man suffers disastrous consequences (such as
insanity, chronic bad luck, and failure in life).
- Theme 3 Peace in the human soul is the
result of living in harmony with the laws established by the
transempirical beings and forces.
- Subtheme 3-A. The state of personal
peace is measured by the fullness of the soul (dënn
- Subtheme 3-B. The condition of
personal peace is experienced in terms of a spiritual
revelation based on:
- (a) Soul memory (xol du fàtte) which is
the reservoir and the sum of all the experiences of
- (b) Soul restoration (dund ag yeegu
xol), which is the re-creating in an individual
of a state of readiness to receive the miracle of
communication with the transempirical world.
- (c) Soul awakening (f'it wu yee
wu), which originates with initiation into the
verities hidden behind the visible and sensible
reality perceived by the uninitiated.
- (d) The attachment of the soul (nooy ci
mbir) to the objects and symbols of
transempirical forces, which is the result of soul
- Theme 4 Transcendent peace results in
spiritual and material blessing (barke), social
supremacy (daraja) and a high place in the social
- Theme 5 Transcendent peace is a
consequence of meeting the demands of the laws of cosmic
balance. These laws emanate from the normal functioning of
transempirical forces. Their purpose is to effect corrective
action, when needed, that will lead to superior justice in
- Metatheme 2 Peace, happiness, and success
are achieved by means of power granted by supernatural forces of
the transempirical world.
- Theme 1 It is possible to obtain
knowledge about one's personal destiny, to understand the
origins and causes of the events of life, and to obtain
prescriptions for improving or altering future events in
one's favor. The same principles and processes apply to
community destinies and events.
- Theme 2 It is possible and desirable to
exercise control over one's destiny, over the events of life,
and over the events of the community.
- Theme 3 Humans should have protection(s)
through esoteric power at personal, family, and community
levels, in order to: (a) be defended against destructive
cosmic forces; (b) resist occult attacks set in motion by
enemies; and (c) avoid or challenge chronic misfortune.
- Metatheme 3 Humans should live in
- Theme I Humans should share material
goods and nonmaterial values.
- Subtheme I-A. Sharing is defined on
the basis of religious principles.
- Subtheme I-B. Sharing has moral,
ideological. and philosophical content; it is not merely
a personal or cultural choice.
- Theme 2 Humans should work
- Subtheme 2-A. The proper ways of
life of mankind have their bases in historical fact.
- Subtheme 2-B. The specific way of
life of a people determines the quality of their whole
culture and civilization.
- Theme 3 Humans should esteem one
- Subtheme 3-A. By following specific
traditional wisdom members of society achieve mutual
- Subtheme 3-B. Mutual esteem is
incumbent upon everyone in society.
- Metatheme 4 Social peace is achieved through
an integrated community life.
- Theme 1 Every community requires
institutions that serve to guard the peace.
- Subtheme I-A. Social peace should be
founded and maintained through established structures
(e.g., pénc committees of elders. mosques,
daayira, religious-based associations; etc.).
- Subtheme I-B. The laws regulating
social peace ~re customary, informal, and flexible
(including joking relations, kal).
- Subtheme I-C. Humans need to be
indulgent toward the faults of others.
- Subtheme I-D. Proverbs, and other
forms of preserved wisdom constitute a socially inherited
reservoir of traditional values that especially serve the
interests of social peace.
- Theme 2 Peaceful values are to be lived
out in daily life through multiple relation-ships as senior
citizens/youth, husbands/wives. chiefs/commoners, citizens/
- Subtheme 2-A. People of age are owed
- Subtheme 2-B. People should readily
ask pardon of each other in cases of social breach
(baal ma àq).
- Subtheme 2-C. Social isolation is to
be avoided (at almost any price).
- Subtheme 2-D. Physical aggression is
prohibited except in cases of extreme provocation (e.g.,
to defend one's honor).
- Metatheme 5 Man lives in symbiosis with
nature, which is for him his source of physical life and
- Theme l The apprenticeship in the laws
of nature is mediated through Senegambian traditional
- Subtheme I-A. Man needs to have a
mystical understanding of the animal, vegetable, and
- Subtheme I-B. Man needs to respect
the taboos related to his position in the functioning of
- Theme 2 Man relates to the
transempirical world by means of participation with and
intervention in the operation of the natural phenomena
through which the world is governed.
- Subtheme 2-A. Certain individuals or
castes have been designated for initiation into the
esoteric knowledge and practices related to the
flora, that they then exercise on behalf of
- Subtheme 2-B. idem:
- Subtheme 2-C. idem: minerals,
ores and metals.
- Subtheme 2-D. idem:
- Subtheme 2-E. idem: the
- Metatheme 6 Man is defined in terms of
kinship and in relation to the cosmos.
- Theme 1 The significance of man
(nit, integral man, i.e., body, soul, and spirit) is
measured by his moral rectitude.
- Theme 2 The character of man is built
upon the foundation of values transmitted by family and
- Theme 3 Man's social status and position
are defined in terms of kinship.
- Theme 4 The comportment prescribed for a
man toward non-kin is determined by respective social
- Metatheme 7 The unique nature of being
Black-African man. and of being Senegambian man in particular,
has profound implications on thought patterns, on comportment,
and on the emotions.
- Theme 1 Having a black skin implies a
heavy burden that can be manifested in attitudes such as
defeatism, fatalism, submission. and dejection.
- Theme 2 The Black-African has been long
oppressed in the world.
- Theme 3 Solidarity between Black-African
peoples is of great importance in confronting the historical
discrimination that persists in the world today.
- Metatheme 8 The uttered word has inherent
power that can he set in action through its proper
- Theme I Sacred texts, both oral and
written. and rhythms can serve to discharge mystical power
through adequate formulations.
- Theme 2 There is an elite number of
inspired men who know the secrets of mystical and powerful
- Theme 3 There are magic formulas that
have a capacity to cause supernatural mutation of, mastery
of, or subjection of visible matter or invisible
- Theme 4 The speech of man can have power
to transfer secret intent, either beneficial or harmful.