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In his Introduction to Faces ef Islam, Kenneth Harrow refers to Clifford Geertz's elaboration of three forms of lslam that he observed in Morocco.The first was based upon a cultic veneration of dead saints and those in a patrilinear descent (the "siyyid complex"); the second was centered around individual holy men, marabou ts, and their set of practices (the" zawiya complex"); and the third was focused on the "royal assumption of sacred power assured through descent in the Prophet's line" (Harrow 1991, 6).This last form Geertz called the "maxzen complex" (Geertz 1968, 49-53).While it can be reasonably argued that Driss ChraÏbi's many novels focus almost obsessively on characters whose identity as Muslims is foregrounded, the sociological, or even theological, distinctions that Geertz observes are not central to the novelist's concerns. On the other hand, Harrow goes on to observe that

as concerns Islam in Africa, and its subsequent literary expression, what occurred was a series of adaptations in which Islam came to occupy increasingly important spaces in the lives of va rio us people-psycho logical spaces, govern ing first the territory of the mind, at times motivated by economic or other self-interested concerns, and then larger, external spaces of an increasingly political and social nature (Harrow 1991, 7- 8).

This chapter will argue that Driss ChraÏbi , while no clear exponent of Islamic doctrine, follows Harrow's pattern to a tee. His whole adult life continues to be a journey of self-discovery that centers around his place in the religion of his birth.

Chapter of

The Marabout & The Muse: New Approaches to Islam in African Literature


Kenneth W. Harrow


Copyright @ John C. Hawley.



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