The formation of the Sudanese Mahdist State


Searcy, Kim

Date of creation
2011 Gregorian
Preferred title
The formation of the Sudanese Mahdist State English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Work genre
Textual work

Adult, serious


This book is the first analysis of the Sudanese Mahdiyya from a socio-political perspective that treats how relationships of authority were enunciated through symbol and ceremony. The book focuses on how the Mahdi and his second-in-command and ultimate successor, the Khalifa Abdallahi, used symbols, ceremony and ritual to articulate their power, authority and legitimacy first within the context of resistance to the imperial Turco-Egyptian forces that had been occupying the Nilotic Sudan since 1821, and then within the context of establishing an Islamic state. This study examines five key elements from a historical perspective: the importance of Islamic mysticism as manifested in Sufi brotherhoods in the articulation of power in the Sudan; ceremony as handmaids of power and legitimacy; charismatic leadership; the routinization of charisma and the formation of a religious state purportedly based upon the first Islamic community in the seventh century C.E.

Edition in English
The formation of the Sudanese Mahdist State : Ceremony and symbols of authority, 1882-1898
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2011
Call number