The Kingdom of Sennar (AMW)

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United Kongo
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Founded: Dec 15, 2012

The Kingdom of Sennar (AMW)

Postby United Kongo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:25 am

The Kingdom of Sennar
al Mamlakah al Sinnar



Population: 15,060,298

Capital City: Wad Medani

Official Language: Arabic

Demonym: Sennari

Government: Absolute Monarchy
- Malik Muhammad Ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad ibn Said Abu Sini


Land Area: td

GDP: tbd
GDP per capita: tbd
Currency: tbd

Time Zone: tbd
Last edited by United Kongo on Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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United Kongo
Posts: 105
Founded: Dec 15, 2012

Postby United Kongo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:21 pm


The single largest ethnic group in the kingdom, Sennari Arabs can be found throughout the entire country, but have traditionally been located along the flat plains of the Gezira (between the White and Blue Nile), the Butana (between the Blue Nile and the Atbara) and the plains to the east of the Atbara river. Despite their self identification as Arabs, most Sennari Arabs are either of mixed or full African stock that have become culturally Arab through centuries of migration, intermarriage and assimilation. Thus while the local population was culturally Arabised, the Arabs themselves were physically Africanised. Sennari Arabs have traditionally practiced both nomadic pastoralism and sedentary agriculture. The first Arabs arrived in Sennar during the the period of the Kingdom of Alwa,where through intermarriage with the local Nubians they were able to gradually usurp land from the Christian Kingdom. Although the Arabs managed to overthrow Alwa and briefly establish a state under their leader Abdllah Jama'a in the 16th century, they were quickly conquered by the invading Funj from the south and incorporated into the old Sennar state. Nevertheless, under the Funj, the process of Arabisation continued, with many Funj becoming culturally Arab and many more Arab tribes continuing to immigrate. With the collapse of the Funj, Sennari Arabs quickly filled the power vacuum with many tribes carving up the remains between themselves and expanding at the expense of non Arab peoples. During the Mahdist period, the Sennari Arabs were often divided between pro and anit Mahdist factions depending on local circumstance and politics, with several Arab tribes proving critical to aiding the Mahdists, and also defeating them . Since Mariamaian colonization and independence, Sennari Arabs continue to be major force int he Sennari state, dominating politics, business and the military.

Although Sennari Arabs are united by a common language, religion and cultural identity, they have traditionally been divided into many different Kabilas (tribes) that have served as the base political organisation, both in the past and present. Heavily tied to this concept of tribe is the Dar (homeland), lands granted to tribes by the state in order to reside in. This Dar system has served as an important means of securing the loyalty of many Sennari Arab tribes, as well as serving to prevent the creation of a pan-Arab political movement that could potentially rebel against the state. Two broad groups can be identified among the tribes, the Ja'aliyan and the Juhayna. The Ja'aliyan are sometimes referred to as the Abbasiyya due to their claimed relation to al Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, and are named after their ancestor Ibrahim Ja'alin. They arrived in the 13th century and have traditionally practiced sedentary agriculture along the Nile. The Juhayna are named after Abdallah al Juhani and claim to be descendants of the ancient Juhayna tribe of Arabia. Many of them settled around the time of the Funj and have traditionally practiced both sedentary agriculture and pastoralism on the Gezira and Butana plains. In addition, a number of sub groups of the Juhayna exist, such as the Baqqarra (Cow men) who arrived from west of the White Nile in the 18th century and the Fezara.

While Sennari Arabs are often perceived to be the dominant ethnic group of modern Sennar, in reality it is only certain tribes that dominate the Kingdom. The Shukriyya tribe, under the rule of the Abu Sin family, constitute the controllers of the Sennari state, a position given to them by collaboration with the Marimaian colonisers. They possess the largest Dar and hold a monopoly on power and resources. Other tribes are often played off against one another with grants of lands, patronage networks and military service to ensure their loyalty, ensuring while friendly tribes are rewarded, others are in fact quite poor. However, with the increasing privatization and sale of lands, many Arab tribes have begun to found themselves squeezed into shrinking Dars that have forced them to abandon traditional lifestyles and work as tenants on lands they once owned. This pressure for land has not only increased communal violence between Arab tribes and also Arab-non Arab people over land, but also increasingly sapped support for the Sennari state.

The Arab tribes of Sennar are as follows:

Abdullab A small, poor Ja'aliyan tribe found mostly along the Blue Nile in Sennar province, the Abdullab non the less proudly claim descent from Abdullah Jama'a, the conqueror of Alwa. Although they were once lords of all the Arabs of Sennar, the modern Abdullab are a marginalised group that are forced to work on irrigated farming schemes.

Abu Jarid: A small tribe found in Sennar province, the Abu Jarid are known for their unique religious practices, as they consider their founder, Abu Jarid, to be a prophet and disregard all else. This religious belief has often drawn the ire of religious fundamentalists from time to time.

Ahamda: A Juhayna tribe of mixed Arab and Beja ancestary, the Ahamda Dar was traditionally found in the north in White Nile, Gezira and Sennar province, and also east of the Blue Nile river in Gedaref province. They have traditionally practiced both pastoralism and sedentary agriculture and have been known to have frequenlty clashed with many other tribes over land.

Amaran: A small Juhayna tribe whose Dar lies in Gezira province.

Awayyda: A Juhayna tribe that were originally Kababish (Camel Herders), the Awadayya traditionally lived among the Rufa'a tribe in Sennar province, although many have emigrated to west of the White Nile.

Awamra: A small Juhayna tribe whose Dar lies in Gezira province.

Bawadra: A small Juhayna tribe whose Dar lies in Gedaref province.

Batahin A Ja'aliyan tribe named after the Batah tribe of the Quraysh, the Batahin Dar traditionally resided in Gezira province near Wad Medani. The Batahin traditionally lead a nomadic existence and often clashed with the Shukriyya and Kawahla over grazing grounds, leading them to ally with the Mahdists in order to defeat the Shukriyya. Since Sennari independence, the Batahin have become marginalised and have lost much of their Dar lands.

Beni Gerar: A Juhayna tribe originally of Fezara descent, the Beni Gerar mostly reside within White Nile province where they were one notorious for being raiders.

Beni Selim: A Juhayna tribe that are also of Baqqara descent, the Dar of the Beni Selim lies in White Nile province and they often extend thier actvities to Upper Nile province as well. This has lead to a long history of interaction with the nilotic Shilluk and Dinka in Upper Nile province, who have at times intermarried but also clashed with the Beni Selim.

Dabaniyya: An Arabised tribe of likely Gumuz or Beja descent, the Dabaniyya mostly reside within Gedaref and Kassala state, where they hav traditionally lived a sedentary existance under the Abu Zaid family. Their numbers were devastated by the Mahdists.

Deghaym: A Juhayna tribe who resides in White Nile province, the Deghaym were supporters of the Mahdists and subsequanlty lost many men, resulting in thier small presence today and lack of Dar.

Dwayhiyya: A small sedentary tribe, the Dwayhiyya are Juhayna Arabs that live in scatteered villages in Sennar and Blue Nile province.

Dubasiin: : A Juhayna tribe that are connected to the Shukriyya, the Dubasiin Dar lies in Gezira province.

Hamran: A Juhayna tribe that lives along the footills of Gedaref and Sennar province, the Hamran claim to be descendents of nobles from Hijaz. The have frequanlty clashed with the settled Gumuz and Berta communities and often serve in the Sennari armed forces.

Hassaniyya: A Juhayna tribe that was once apart of the Kawahla tribe, the Hassaniyya have since split and become a large tribe whose Dar dominates White Nile province. A section of the tribes also resides in the Butana plain in Gedaref province.

Humran: An arabised Beja tribe, the Humran live primarily in Gedaref state and were devasted by the Madhdists.

Husaynat: A Juhayna tribe who lead a semi nomadic existance in White Nile province.

Inkeriyyab: A Juhayna Arab tribe settled in Gezira and Sennar province, the Inkeriyyab are connected to the Abdullab.

Jallaba: A collective term used to refer to the various Arab and Nubian tribes from north of Sennar who settled during the 19th century following the collapse of the Funj and during the Marimaian period as well. The Jallaba due to thier connections with the north, have traditionally been amajor politicl force in Sennar with economic control over trade, mainlyr residing in cities such as Wad Medani and Kassala. They constitute a powerful ruling group in the modern day.

Jamu'ia: A small Ja'aliyan tribe scattered between White Nile, Gezira and Sennar provinces.

Jawwama: A large Ja'aliyan tribe that was traditionally located on the plains to the west of the White Nile,sections of the tribe settled in White Nile prvince along the river. The tribe suffered harshly under the Mahdists.

Jima'a: A Ja'aliyan tribe that was traditionally found west of the White Nile, many members of the tribe were forcibly resettled in Sennar province during the Mahdist period. They currenlty posses no Dar.

Jimi'ab: A small Ja'aliyan tribe that claims common descent with the Jam'uia, the Jimi'ab are found within White Nile, Jazira and Sennar provinces and have traditionally lead a semi nomadic existence.

Juhayna: A member of the Juhayna after which they are named, the proper Juhayna as they are sometimes called are a small tribe that traditionally lived among the Rufa'a in Gezira and Sennar provinces, and have long been subject to the Shukriyya.

Kenana: A powerful tribe in central Sennar, the Kenana are Juhayna and claim descent from the Kenana tribe of Arabia. They are primarily pastoralists who live Gezira and Sennar provinces and migrate into Gedaref state in the Butana.

Khawala: Another of the major tribes of Sennar, the Khawala are a Juhayna tribe whose Dar primarily lies east of the Blue Nile in Gedaref, Kassala and Sennar state, as settled communities along the Atbara and Rashad rivers and nomads on the Butana plain. Sections of the Khawala have also settled in White Nile province and Gezira, as well as at the foot of the Bela Shangul highlands. The Khawala claimed to beconnected to Zubayr ibn el Awwam, a comanion of Muhammad, and claim many Beja clans within their organisation. the Khawala allied with the Shukriyya in the 19th century in order to fight the encroaching Ja'liyyan tribes, although the loss of much land has soured the relationship in recent years.

Khawalda: A small Juhayna tribe whose Dar lies in Gezira province.

Lahawiyyan: A Juhayna tribe, the Lahawiyyan were Baqqarra that settled in Gedaref province during the 18th century, although a section of the tribe also settled in White Nile province. They allied themselves with the Shukriyya.

Mahass: An Arab speaking Nubian tribe from north of Sennar that settled along the Blue Nile during Funj rule, the Mahass are renowned for having produced many Faqi during the Funj early period. Most Mahass live a sedentary existance in Blue Nile and Sennar states and often clash with the pastoralist Rufa'a over land.

Marimaian: A collective term used to refer to most people who either originate or descent from the Marimaian Caliphate. A majority of Marimaians in Sennar either settled in the country during the 19th and 20th century under colonial rule and practiced a broad range of professions from soldiers, small scale farmers, administrators, plantation owners and merchants. Their modern descendants still maintain strong ties with the Marimaian Caliphate and serve as an important bridge between the two states.

Messalamiyya: Another large Sennari tribe, the Messalamiyya are a Fezara tribe of Juhayna descent that claim to also be descendents of Abu Bakr al Siddiqi, hence their name the Bakriyya. Their Dar stretches across White Nile, Gezira, Sennar and Blue Nile provinces.

Mogharaba: Descendants of a North African tribe that settled in Sennar during the 19th century, the Mogharaba traditionally were mercenaries that served the Marimaian and later Sennar state, resulting in them being granted a Dar in Gedaref and Gezira provinces.

Rashayda: An Arab tribe that migrated from the Arabian peninsula to East Africa during the 19th century, the Rashayda are renowned for keeping many cattle despite not having a Dar of thier own. They currently reside in Gedaref and Kassala provinces, and often clash with the Hadenowa Beja's and other Arab tribes who consider them to be intruders.

Rufa'a: One of the largest tribes in Sennar, they are named after the ancestor Rafa'i. While they are a Juhayna tribe, the Rufa'a often deny this ancestry and claim to be Ashraf (descendents of Muhammad) They originally lived among the Beja on the Red Sea coast before migrating to thier present location along the Blue Nile in JGezira, Sennar and Blue Nile provinces, with sections of the Tribes living on the Butana in Gedaref state and in White Nile state as well. Notable Rufa'a families the Abu Jin and Abu Rof have long ruled over sections of the Rufa'a. While the Rufa'a initially supported the Mahdist movement, they were later punished for refusing to relocate. In the present day, the Rufa'a have become engaged in a number of conflicts with both Arab and non Arab peoples as a result of pressure from the increasing loss of lands to irrigation schemes.

Shenabla: A Fezara Juhayna tribe, the Dar of the Shenabla mostly lies within White Nile province although their cattle herds traditionally crossed eastwards on the Gezira to graze.

Shukriyya: One of the largest and the most powerful Arab tribe of Sennar, the Shukriyya are a Juhayna tribe that live primarily on the Butana in Gezira, Sennar and Gedaref state and also in the east in Kassala state.The Shukriyya first arrived in the Butana in the 18th century where they practiced cattle herding and small scale agriculture. Under the Abu Sinn family, the Shukriyya soon rose to prominence first under the Funj, later taking over control of the Butana with the Funj collapse in the 19th century, forming alliances with many northern merchants. Although they were later devastated by famine under the Mahdists, the fortunes of the Shukriyya revived under the Marimaian Caliphate, where they became key allies to the colonial state. Following Sennari independence, the Abu Sinn family now ruled the country with many members of the Shukriyya tribe now occupying key positions in the government, military and economic sectors.

Ta'aish: A Juhayna tribe that were originaly Baqqara from west of the White Nile, the Ta'aish were strong supporters of the Mahdists movement and settled in Sennar under the Mahdist Khalifa Abdallah ibn Muhammad, who belonged to the tribe. Although members of the tribe reside in Sennar and Kassala provinces, they possess no Dar of their own.
Last edited by United Kongo on Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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United Kongo
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Founded: Dec 15, 2012

Postby United Kongo » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:57 pm


Agaw: A Cushitic speaking people, the Agaw have settled in the highlands of Bela Shangul province over several centuries as a result of being pushed out of their original homelands to the east. The Agaw of Sennar a divided into two distinct sub groups speaking separate dialects, the Qemant Agaw and the Awi Agaw. The Qemant Agaw, also known as the lowland Agaw, traditionally live in autonomous villages amongst the Gumuz people in the Bela Shangul lowlands where they practiced subsistence agriculture and herding. A number of the Qemant were known as Falasha, a term used to describe a Judaic sect in the Abyssinian highlands before they converted to Islam in the 20th century. The Awi Agaw, or highland Agaw, traditionally occupied the highlands, where they frequenlty ruled over and raided the lowland Gumuz and Qemant Agaw peoples. Many Awi Agaw are often recruited into the Sennari army as result of this historical position.

Beja: A Cushitic people, the Beja are a group of nomadic and sedentary tribes who refer to themselves as the TuBedawiye, most of whom possess Dars that reside in Kassala and Gedaref provinces. The Beja can trace their history back to ancient Egypt, where they were referred to as the Blemyes. They were known to have raided agricultural settlements along the Nile under the Roman Empire in Egypt and the Nubian states of Meroe and Alwa. Although they initially converted to Christianity due to Roman influence, they quickly reverted back to paganism following Rome's decline. As a result of extensive intermarriage and contact with the migrating Arabs, the Beja are today Muslims. Historically subject to the Funj Sultans, the Beja's subsequently suffered in the resulting chaos following Funj's collapse, leading some sections to support the Mahdists. Since Sennari independence, the Beja's have become political force in the east in alliance with the central government. However, while the modern Beja tribes possess their own Dars, and are thus better of than many Arab tribes, they have increasingly become marginalised by the state. The following Beja tribes are present in Sennar.

Beni Amer: The Beni Amer reside primarily in southern Kassala province along the Sennari border, although many have subsequently resettled in the cities. The Beni Amer differ from the other Beja tribes namely because instead of speaking TuBedawiye, the Beni Amer speak the Semitic Tigre language. Also different from other Beja, the Beni Amer are not organised according to lineage but instead by caste, divided into the Nabtab (nobles) and Tigre (serfs).

Bishariyyin: Inhabiting Kassala and Gedaref provinces, The Bishariyyin emerged as a tribal entity between the 10th and 14th century and trace their origin to the figure Bishar Ibn Marwan. They traditionally lead a nomadic existence breeding camels in the arid regions of Sennar. They expanded their homelands across the Atbara river during the 18th century coming into conflict with many of the Arab tribes of the area. Lying along a traditional Hajj route, the Bishariyyin became wealthy from providing security to pilgrims on the way to the holy cities, and due to their nomadic lifestyles were often left alone by central governments.

Hadenowa: The largest and most influential of the Beja tribes in Sennar, the Hadenowa were formed during the 17th century under the leadership of Wali Ali who drove out the Funj. Like their neighbours the Bishariyyin, the Hadenowa expanded their homelands in the 18th century, settling and later dominating the area around the Gash river. Here the Hadenowa practiced a mix of agro-pastoralism and benefited from the Hajj routes through their territory. Although they often clashed with the Bishariyyin and many of the Arab tribes in the area, the Hadenowa joined forces with these groups to fight the encroaching Jallaba and their mercenaries from the north that took control of Hadenowa land. As a result of this, the Hadenowa became ardent supporters of the Mahdist movement in eastern Sennar. Following Sennari independence, the Hadenowa became a key ally to the Sennari government in exchange for the granting of a large Dar in Kassala and Gedaref provinces. Extensive loss of lands to irrigation schemes in recent years has weakened this traditional alliance.

Halanqa: A small tribe that lives a mostly sedentary existence along the Gash river and in Kassala city, the Halanqa were once influential but became decimated due to internal conflict, they currently possess no Dar. They venerate the saint Abd Allah at Mekali.

Kumailab: A small tribe that resides in Kassala province.

Berta: The Berta are a Nilotic people who speak the Berta languages which are considered a separate language family of their own. They traditionally reside within Bela Shangul province, where they form the largest ethnic group in the heterogeneous province, and also inhabit the bordering areas of Blue Nile and Sennar provinces. The Berta of Bela Shangul arrived in the area during the 17th century from the Funj Kingdom, with many Berta claiming to be Funj as a result. Here they displaced and assimilated the existing local populations, resulting in the creation of separate Berta sub groups. The Fa Kunkun Berta live on the lowlands and speak the Gamili dialect, and are looked down upon by other Berta for having mixed with many of the local Mao peoples. The Fadasi speak the Fadasi dialect and live around the old city of Fadasi, and are considered to have been of mixed Arab and Koma blood. The Mayu live in many of the cities of Bela Shangul and claim to be descendants of the Umayyad dynasty through intermarriage with the Funj royal family. The Jaballain are also mixed with the Funj and formed the traditionally ruling class of the Bela Shangul Berta during the 17th-19th centuries. They were the usurped by the Witawit, those Berta who mixed with Arabs and who today hold a predominant position amongst the Berta and consider themselves racially distinct.

Although they were vassals under the Funj, with the collapse of the Funj state a number of independent Shakhydoms emerged in Bela Shangul under the Witawit, while those living in Fadasi were ruled by remnants of the Funj dynasty. Although many of the Bela Shangul Berta allied themselves with the Mahdists, the increasing authoritarian rule of the Arab dominated movement alienated many Berta. With the Mahidsts collapse, many of the Witawit Shayks were able to increase their influence on the region, becoming notorious for slave raiding before submitting to Marimaian rule. The Bela Shangul Berta continue to occupy an important position in the modern Sennar state, acting as key collaborators for the Kingdom in the highlands.

The Sillok Berta are a distinct subgroup of the Berta who speak the Sillok language and inhabit the hills of southern Blue Nile province, where they are divided into two distinct geographic groups. The Sillok Berta, like many other inhabitants of the southern Blue Nile, were raided heavily by both the Mahdists and the Bela Shangul Berta, and continue to be marginalised to this day. The Dauwala Berta represent another distinct sub group that is of mixed Arab ancestry and lives on the plains east of Kurmak in Blue Nile province.

Burun: : Once used as an umbrella term for all the small peoples that inhabited the southern Blue Nile and its borderlands, the Burun now refers to a more distinct group of Nilotic peoples in Southern Blue Nile and Upper Nile province who speak a dialect continuum known as the Burun languages. The Northern Burun encompass the inhabitants of group of hills which each traditionally formed its own autonomous political unit and dialect, frequently feudeding with one another. The Southern Burun refers to a number of different groups, such as the inhabitants of Ule and the surrounding hills who were said to be of mixed Funj blood, the Mebaan who live on the plains of the Blue Nile-Upper Nile borderlands, and the Jumjum who live on a series of hills and the river system of the Blue Nile-Upper Nile border. All of the Burun people were traditionally targets for raiding by their larger Arab, Berta, Dinka and Nuer neighbours, and continue to occupy a marginal position in modern Sennar, especially since the discovery of gold in their land is likely to lead to its sale.

Bussasse: A small Omotic speaking people residing in Wellega province, the Bussasse are believed to be descendants of an ancient Gonga speaking kingdom from the east of modern Sennar that have connection with the Shinasha people. Driven westwards by the migrating Oromo, the Bussasse arrived in what is now Wellega province and formed the ruling class of the new Anfillo Kingdom together with the southern Mao as serfs.

Dinka: The Dinka, who refer to themselves as the Jiang, are a large Western Nilotic speaking group that primarily inhabit Upper Nile province and the borders of Blue Nile and White Nile provinces. The Dinka are believed to have originally resided in the ancient Jazira region before the collapse of Alwa in the 15th century drove them to migrate south into Upper Nile province. Successive waves of Dinka clans would then continue to migrate in and out of Upper Nile province over the centuries, leading to particular bitter conflicts with the Shilluks over land in the White Nile during the 17th century. Although the Dinka also frequently clashed with the Arabs and Funj to the north, many also settled in Sennar as traders and mercenaries. The Dinka were in turn partially displaced by the arrival of the Nuer in the 18th century, and with the collapse of Sennar in the early 19th century, the Dinka were heavily raided by Jallaba and soldiers from the north. This lead to a brief alliance with the Mahdists in the 1880s to oust the Jallaba that had settled amongst the Upper Nile. Since the creation of the Sennari colonial state, the Dinka have largely been a marginalised people, having forcibly pacified and often subject to a predatory state. The increasing sale of land to irrigation schemes and oil concessions have placed strains on Dinka society and lead to conflicts both with the state, and with their Arab, Nuer and Shilluk neighbours.

The Dinka traditionally possessed no centralised state and were characterised by leading a transhumance lifestyle based on cattle grazing and some agriculture. They have traditionally been lead by ceremonial chiefs and priests who were believed to possess divine powers. When a Dinka community grew to large, they would often fissure into to separate clans, leading the creation of numerous Dinka groups. The majority of the Dinka of Upper Nile province belong to a subgroup known as the Padeng Dinka, who are further subdivided into clans. In Sennar these clans are the Abialang living to the north around Renk,who have long history of association and conflict with the Beni Selim Arabs. Towards the south their is the Dunghol clan, the Ager, Nyiel and finally the Eastern Ngok who live on the border of the Sobat River. Although traditionally following their own faith, many Dinka have since converted to Islam while maintaining their own customs.

Fellata: Also known as the Um Bororo, Fellata is a collective term given to the descendants of West African migrants that have settled in Sennar over the centuries. Although many were those who settled along the Hajj routes in precolonial times, many also descend from early 20th century migrants who came to work on the irrigation schemes of the colonial government. Despite having produced a number of influential Faqi, the Fellata are mostly a poor group that possesses no Dar of their own and are often reduced on working on the land of others. This has lead to many conflicts between the Fellata and other groups of Sennar that resent them as intruders, but also lead to the recruitment into the Sennari army. Communities of Fellata can be found throughout White Nile, Gezira, Blue Nile, Sennar, Gedaref and Kassala provinces, although they are most likely to migrate for work. The Fellata mostly speak Arabic and are divided between those who practice sedentary agriculture, called Hausa, and nomads called Fulani.

Funj: A somewhat ambiguous and confusing term, Funj is often used to refer to the ruling group of the old Sennar Sultanate. They are believed to have been a coalition of Nilotic speaking peoples on the fringes of the Blue and White Nile that were ultimately driven into Sennar under pressure from the expanding Shilluks. Once in power, the Funj often intermarried with many of the various groups under the control, creating local dynasties claiming Funj descent. In addition, the increasing Islamisation of the Funj lead to adopting of Arabic by many members of the Funj, including claims of descent from the Umayyads by the royal family. After the collapse of the Funj Kingdom in the 1820s, many remnants of the Funj royal family retreated to the south while most of the Jazira and Butana was usurped by Arab and Jallaba rule. These Funj remnants continued to rule from capitals such as Fadasi, Fazoghli, Kelle, Gubba and Ghule until the advent of the Mahdists. In modern Sennar, Funj is an identity that is claimed by several groups who were culturally influenced by the people, including the Berta, the Ghule and the various small peoples of the southern Blue Nile that have increasingly adopted the collective identity of Dar Funj as a means of social cohesion.

Ghule: A small Nilotic people that inhabit the hill of Ghule and its surrounding area in Blue Nile province, the Ghule are believed to be the closest descendants of the Funj. Ruled by Idris Adlan, a member of the Funj royal line, Ghule continued to rule over much of the southern Blue Nile until the arrival of the Mahdists. The Ghule were then heavily raided by the Mahdists and subsequently Berta before being incorporated into the colonial state. Many Ghule then either fled into the mountains or migrated to work in gold mining or farming. The modern Ghule continue to speak their own language Ghule, which forms an isolate in the region, and are a generally marginalised people.

Gumuz: A Nilotic speaking people, the Gumuz inhabit a long stretch of territory in Bela Shangul province and the adjoining areas of Sennar, Gedaref and Blue Nile provinces. They are divided into the Northern Gumuz of Sennar, Gedaref, Blue Nile, and northern Beni Shangul, and the Southern Gumuz who live in the Dedessa valley, with both groups being divided into numerous clans. Gumuz history has long been charaterised by migration and marginalisation by stronger neighbouring powers. The arrival of the Oromo in Wellega and Bela Shangul provinces in the 17th century forced many Gumuz to settled in the inhospitable lowlands in these two provinces, while raids by the Awi Agaw forced them to settle along the borders of the lowlands. It was here the Gumuz also became a target for the Shukriyya and Dubayana nomads, along with the Funj of Gubba. The modern Gumuz are a mostly marginalised people who often express a hostility to many of their neighbours and the state, with inter and intra communal feuds common. Paradoxically, many Gumuz, especially from Bela Shangul, are also recruited into the armed forces.

Hamaj: A term applied by the Arabs and the Funj to the ancient inhabitants of the Jazira, possibly the Gumuz or Berta, the Hamaj constituted a social group under the old Sennar Kingdom that were able to wrest control of the state away from the Funj under the leader Abu Likaylak in the 18th century. Today Hamaj identity is claimed by a number of groups in Blue Nile and Sennar provinces.

Ingessana: The Ingessana, who refer to themselves as Gaam, are a small Nilotic people that inhabit the Tabi hills and surrounding areas in Blue Nile province. The Ingessana are known to have been vassals of the Funj and intermarried with royal family, being a major gold producing region for the Kingdom. Following the collapse of Funj state, the Ingessana continued to be ruled by these Funj descendants and paid at least nominal allegiance to Idris Adlan of Ghule. Under the rule of three independent Maliks, the Ingessana gained a reputation for warlike and hostile behavior to outsiders due to conflicts with the Rufa'a Arabs, Mahdists, Berta and Dinka who frequently raided their lands. The Ingessana practiced a mix of agricultural and pastoralism and divide themselves into three subgroups, the JokTau, the JokKuthulok and the JokGor. The modern Ingessana continue to clash with the Arabs and Dinka over grazing land, and the discovery of large gold deposits in their territory has made conflict with the state increasingly likely.

Koma: A small Nilotic people, the Koma speak the Koma language and live in scattered communities in Blue Nile, Wellega and Bela Shangul provinces. The Koma of Blue Nile and Wellega are divided into the Daga, who inhabit the Daga river valley, and the Yabus of the Yabus river valley, while those in Bela Shangul are known as the Gwama and Sabu. The Koma have historically been raided by many of their neighbours such as the Arabs, Berta, Oromo and Nuer. The Gwama in particular were expelled into the lowlands by the Berta and Oromo and consider themselves to be Mao. The Koma continue to be a poor, marginalised people today.

Mao: Descendants of the ancient Gonga civilisation that once inhabited the Highlands, the Mao are in fact a collection of various Omotic speaking peoples that live in scattered clusters in Wellega, Bela Shangul and Blue Nile provinces. They are divided into the Northern Mao, who consist of the Seze, the Hozo and Bambassi. The Seze and Hozo live in Wellega province are known to have mixed with the Oromo in the area while the Bambassi continue to live in scattered clusters in Bela Shangul. The Sith Shwala speak a Nilotic language that is similar to Koma and reside in Wellega. The Southern Mao are known as the Anfillo Mao as they traditionally formed the subaltern population of the Anfillo kingdom under the Bussase, of whom they adopted their language and culture. The Ganza originally inhabited Wellega province before being forced to flee under Oromo pressure and settled among the Koma of Blue Nile province.

Nuer: The Nuer, who refer to themselves as the Naath, are another major Western Nilotic speaking people who reside mostly within Upper Nile province and the borders of Blue Nile province. Emigrating from their old, arid homeland west of the White Nile in the 18th century, the Nuer are believed to have been a split off of the Dinka due to the similarity in culture and lifestyles. By the 19th century the Nuer had become well established in thier new lands in Upper Nile province, having successfully driven many Dinka sections northwards or absorbed them, and often continuing to engage in raiding against their neighbours and other Nuer tribes. The Nuer were subsequently targeted for raiding first by the Jallaba and later the Mahdists, while the Marimaian colonial government was forced to resort to punitive measures for many years in order to successfully subordinate the Nuer tribes. The Nuer continue to be marginalised in the Sennar state, more so than other inhabitants of the Upper Nile province due to the loss of much of their to oil concessions, driving them into conflict with both the state and neighbours.

Like the Dinka, the Nuer possessed no centralised state and instead lead a transhumance lifestyle based around herding cattle. Although they possessed no formal hierarchical leadership, the Nuer possessed an age set system that governed relations and were also influenced by elders and prophets. Prophets in particular, have acted as focal points for mobilising many Nuer in opposition against opponants, a factor that has not changed since their Islamisation. The Nuer are divided into a number of tribes, most of whom belong to the Eastern section and consists of the East Jikiany and Luo.

Oromo: A Cushitic people, the Oromo form the majority ethnic group of Wellega province as forming a signigificant part of the neighbouring Bela Shangul province as well. The Oromo arrived in their present location in the highland provinces of Sennar during the 17th century when the Oromo clans swept across the Horn of Africa. The Oromo that arrived in modern Sennar belonged to the Macha subgroup and were able to either drive off or assimilate the the local Omotic speaking population. Although the Oromo traditionally possessed no centralised structures and were instead governed by a more egalitarian age grade system, following the conquest and settlement of their new territories, the Oromo gradually began to develop a number of more centralised kingdoms in the 18th and 19th century. This occurred jointly with the adoption of sedentary agriculture along with pastoralism. Never subject to the Funj, many of the Oromo states were conquered by a joint Mahdist-Berta force, and then subsequently submitted to the Marimaians. The contemporary Oromo have traditionally enjoyed a degree of autonomy similar to the Berta neighbours in the Sennari state, although this has changed recently with the sale of much Oromo land to cotton and tobacco plantations.

The Oromo are traditionally divided into a number of different clans and sub clans, with the Sayyoo Oromo clans dominating in Wellega province and the Sibbuu and Leqa in Wellega and Bela Shangul. Although the Oromo were once divided between those of “pure” Oromo stock and those that descended from subjugated populations, such divisions have largely been erased in modern times.

Shilluk: A western Nilotic speaking people, the Shilluk are primarily found within Upper Nile province as well as the southern areas of White Nile province. They are believed to have arrived in their current homelands in Upper White Nile in the 15th century where they subsequently pushed out many of the smaller Nilotic peoples known as the Funj. Under their legendary leader Nyikang, the Shilluk were unique amongst the Western Nilotes in establishing a centralised Kingdom under the Reth, and engaging in a mixture of settled agriculture and pastoralism. By the 17th century Shilluks lands were dense enough that they began to expand down the Nile, coming into frequent conflict the Funj, although the two would also ally in order to fight the marauding Dinka. Between the 17th and early 19th century the White Nile was often known as the Bahr al Shilluk by Muslims due to the dominance of the Shilluks who frequently raided the Arabs and Funj downstream. With the decline of Funj in the 18th century, the Shilluk became the ascendant power on the White Nile, controlling trade in the area and building a capital at Fashoda (near Kodok). This power was ultimately broken first by a mass migration of Dinka in the 18th century, and secondly by the collapse of Funj in the north that opened up the land for exploitation by the Jallaba. Beginning in the mid 19th century, Shilluks lands were heavily raided by the Jallaba for slaves, and by the 1870s they were forcibly pacified. The Shilluk continued to suffer under the Mahdists and only began to recover under the Marimaians, where their agriculturally lifestyles and centralised leadership proved conductive to colonial rule.

The modern Shilluk remain mostly excluded from the modern Sennari state although their situation remains far better off than their Nuer or Dinka neighbours. The Reth traditionally formed the focus of Shilluk worship, performing a priestly function and believed to possess divine powers. In the modern day, this practice has become somewhat Islamised, as the early 20th century marriage of the Shilluk Reth into a notable Sufi family has now meant that his power are justified as being Baraka. The Shilluk often find themselves engaged in communal clashes with their Dinka neighbours to the east and Beni Selim Arabs to the north.

Shinasha: Also known as the Boro by many of their neighbours, the Shinasha are an Omotic speaking people that primarily reside within Bela Shangul province in the low lands with the Gumuz and Qemant Agaw. Believed to have a distant connection with the fellow Omotic Bussasse, the Shinasha once inhabited Wellega province before many were driven off or assimilated into the society of the invading Oromo in the 17th century. Since arriving in Bela Shangul, the Shinasha were forced to inhabit the hot lowlands where they clashed with the Gumuz over resources, although the two groups often allied against the predatory raids of highland peoples such as the Oromo, Berta and Awi Agaw.

Uduk: A small Nilotic people that live in scattered communities in Blue Nile and Wellega province, the Uduk are divided into the southern Uduk, or Kamus, and the northern Uduk, the Kwanim Po. They are further divided into several clans that traditionally lead a mobile lifestyle that can be traced back to attempts to flee from Funj control. Like many of the small peoples of the Blue Nile province, the Uduk have repeatedly been raided by their neighbours throughout history and continue to live a marginalised existence in the modern day.
Last edited by United Kongo on Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby United Kongo » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:25 am



Islam is the religion followed by a majority of the inhabitants of Sennar, which serves as a unifying force throughout the ethnically divided country and one that enjoys the support of the state. Islam was first introduced into Sennar at the beginning of the 7th century, when Arab merchants began settling among the cities of Meroe and later Alwa, bringing with them their faith. Another important vector for Islam was the migration of Arab tribes into modern Sennar, as the process of Arabisation of the population was heavily tied with that of Islamisation.

The religion practiced by these migrants and merchants however was not a well developed one and the true conversion Sennar to Islam did not begin until the ascendancy of the Funj in the 16th century. After adopting the religion from their conquered Arab subjects, the Funj began to patronise both foreign and Sennari holy men to spread the faith in theirr country. Many important holy figures from this early period hailed from region such as the Hijaz, Egypt, West Africa and the Magreb, as well as Sennari who studied abroad at centers of learning such as al Azhar. Ultimately, the Maliki school of jurisprudence came to predominate in Sennar due to the influence of many Maghrebi scholars who settled in Sennar enroute to the Hajj, and due to the pioneering work of the Sennari Faqi Ibrahim al Balud ibn Jabir. These colonies of pilgrims soon created islands of Islam that served to spread the religion amongst the Sennari. The first Islamic schools were established by Muhammad al Araki in the 16th century, followed by the settling of a number of important Sufi holy men, such as Tadj al Din al Bahari of the Qadiriyya Tariqa (Order) and Hammad ibn Muhammad al Madjub of the Shadhiliyya.

In time these holy men, called Faqis, believed to posses powers given to them by God called Baraka, came to combine the role of mystic and jurist, filling the scholarly niche traditionally held by the Ulema in many Muslim societies. These Faqi subsequently established their own religious dynasties and were centered in urban areas. Granted tax exemptions and legal autonomy, the Faqis soon began to acquire increasing political and social power at the expense of the Funj nobility. Thus increasingly, independent networks of Holy men and their Zawiyas (lodges) and Khalwas (Schools) existed in Sennar. By the beginning of the 18th and 19th century, many of these Faqi became affiliated with Sufi Tariqas outside of Sudan, who were able to incorporate these holy figures into their religious system and create powerful networks across the state. In the chaos that would occur with the collapse of the old Sennari state in the 19th century, a powerful revivalist movement known as the Mahdists would emerge, seeking to drive out the foreigners that had settled in Sennar and create a strict Islamic state based on solely on the teachings of the Quran, Sunnah and the Mahdi's own teachings. In seeking to establish an Islamic state at the time of Muhammad, the Mahdists increasingly began to ban practices they saw as Bidah, such as works of Kalam and philosophy, the veneration of Sufi shrines, the use of amulets, and eventually the Sufi Tariqas and the Madhabs. Paradoxically, the Mahdists introduced a number of practices that many considered to be deviation, changing the Shahadah and replacing the Hajj with Jihad to the Mahdist cause.

After the defeat of the Mahdists, the new Marimaian colonial government sought to eradicate the what was seen as a dangerously radical movement and instead build a more orthodox religious estbalishment that would be more pliable to the interests of the Caliphate. However, while Sennar was always connected with the wider Islamic world, the unique development of Sennari Islam meant that attempts to create a legalistic Ulema in the style of al Azhar was bound to provoke a negative backlash amongst Sennar, who would have seen it as a foriegn imposition. Thus, the new colonial government sought to co-opt the Faqis into the new system, recognising them as Qadis (judges) and giving them financial resources in return for loyalty. In particular, Sufi Tariqas such as the Khatimiyya were favoured due to their pro Caliphate stance. Along with instituionaling the Sufis into the new order, the colonial period saw the builfing of numerous Islamic schools and universities, brining into Sennar many more of the modernists trends emerging in the Islamic world.

The system built during the Marimaian Wilayah has thus continued into modern day Sennar. Practicing a mix of Shariah and imported laws, Islam still plays a powerful role in Sennar's legal system, while state support for the Sufis and Faqis have ensured that they continue to play an important role in public life. For their part, the Sennari religious establishment has continued to support the Sennari Maliks and government, whilst otherwise remaining mostly apolitical and instead focusing on social issues. Generally, much of the religious establishment of Sennar remains deeply conservative, although not fundamentalist, content to continue with many of the practices that have defined the generation. However, a growing number of reform movements, both fundamentalist and modernist in nature, have increasingly began to emerge throughout the 2000's and 2010s. Less tied to the formal religious establishment, these newer religious movements have proven more prone to criticism of the Sennari government than their institutionalised counterparts and are increasingly facing repression. This in turn has given rise into an increase in organised Islamic protest and political groups, increasingly raising the specter of religious based opposition to the monarchy.

Sufism in Sennar has a long established history that has made it the dominant form of Islam practiced by the Sennari to this day. The integration of the Suf Faqi into the tribal system of many Sennari people, coupled with their co-option into the Sennari state has ensured the mystics continued strength in modern society. The Sufis are characterised by their devotion to the mystical interpretation of the Qur’an, seeking to come into greater physical contact with God through prayer, meditations and remembrance. Key aspects of the Sufi includes chants of Zhikr, prayers to God to achieve Union or Annihilation with God, and also belief in Baraka, a spiritual force from God that flows through the Faqi and allows him to dispense blessings to his followers. The Shrines of these Faqis are often sites of worship and pilgrimage amongst many Sennari Muslims and the Faqis often found religious dynasties that continue to wield social influence to this day. Many Sufis are organised into Tariqas, which follow the teachings of individual Shaykhs and give Bayah (Pledges of allegiance) in return.

Today Sufism is still undoubtedly the most popular form of Islam practiced in Sennar, both in a rural and urban settings. Many tribal populations still adhere to traditional Sufi orders while popular Sufi preachers primarily belonging to the bigger orders, such as the Khatimiyya, attract adherents in urban areas. With the exception of the Ansar, the Sufi tariqas of Sennar are traditionally supportive of the Sennari government, receiving generations donations and land grants in return. This subservience has been challenged in recent years by a recent trend of younger Sufis that have rejected what they see as the stagnated state of the order leadership while still retaining membership to the tariqa. Some of the Sufi orders that exist in Sennar today are as follows.

Ansar: The Ansar are the modern day followers of Muhammad Ahmad and the 19th century Mahdist movement. Muhammad Ahmad was a Sennari Faqi born on the island of Abba on the White Nile to parents of northern descent. Studying under a Sammaniyya Shaykh, the young acolyte proved himself to be a keen student but a strict one at that, eventually falling out with his original teacher after chastising him for excessive celebrations at a wedding ceremony. Continuing his studies under another Shaykh, Muhammad Ahmad was soon confirmed into the order in his own rights before settling back in Abba island as a mystic where he became renown for his asceticism. A strong critique of the decay of Sennari society since the collapse of the Funj, Ahmad soon came to agitate against the influence of the Jallaba and call for a return to a pure Islamic state. He was soon joined by many disciples disaffected by Jallaba rule and many other Faqis of different orders. In 1888, he declared to his followers that he was in fact the Mahdi and launched a revolution that would conquer the whole of Sennar. Dying shortly after the conquest, the Mahdist state soon fell to his successor Khalifa, Abdallahi Muhammad, where leadership troubles soon plagued the movement between Abdallahi and the family of the Mahdi.

Following the conquest of Sennar by Marimaian forces, a majority of the Mahdi's family had been killed save for his post homorous son Abd al Rahman al Mahdi. Although initially suppressed by the colonial regime, the Mahdist movement survived under the last surviving member of the al Mahdi, who rebuilt the Ansar's wealth and influence through investment in irrigation schemes, giving the Tariqa a powerful economic as and helping to employ many disciples. With the increased wealth and influence of the family,the Ansar became assertive in politics once more, taking a moderate, but also vocal stance for Sennari independence in the middle of the 20th century. With the increasing tensions and violence surrounding the decolonisation of Sennar in the 1960s and 1970s, the Ansar were targeted in a major crackdown in 1973 where their headquarters at Abba Island were attacked and many followers massacred.

Since then, the Ansar have recovered to a position of influence, although they still maintain a somewhat uneasy relationship towards the state. Under the leadership of Saif al Mahdi, the Ansar have continued to build their network of Zawiyas across Sennar, along with the acquisition and investment in land. Their power base however, still lies in White Nile province at Abba Island. Although once known for the radical puritanism, the modern Ansar are somewhat more relaxed movement practicing a softer conservatism, while Saif has been known to gentle agitate for greater democratisation.

Khattimiyya: Sennar's largest and most influential Sufi order, the Khatimiyya are the strongest ally to the Sennari state, forming one of its foundation pillars. Formed in 18th century Hijaz under the teachings of the Sufi reformer, Ahmed al Idris, the Khatimiyya was founded by his disciple Muhammad Uthman al Mirghani. Initially sent to preach in the Sudan, al Mirghani returned to Hijaz following al Idris' death succeeding him. After which, Muhammad Uthman announced his intention to create a single Tariqa that would supersede all others, the Khatm (seal) of the Sufis, hence founding the Khattimiyya. The actual establishment of the Khattimiyya was done by one of Muhammad Uthmans sons,Sayyid al Mighrani, who founded the first Khattimiyya Zawiya in Sennar in 1853. Unlike many of the other Sufi Tariqas in Sennar at the time, the Khattimiyya were highly organised and based on a hierarchical leadership. This allowed the Tariqa to rapidly build a centralised network of Zawiyas across Sennar and incorporate many older Faqis into this organisation. The Khattimiyya were also very effective at building alliances with both many tribal leaders and the Jallaba that settled in Sennar.

Following the rise of Mahdists, the Khattimiyya were harshly persecuted, as many of the Faqis who feared the rise of their order joined the Mahdists in order to oust them. The Mirghani family was sent into exile in the 1880s and many of the Khattimiyya Zawiyas destroyed. With the advent of the Marimaian colonial rule, the Khattimiyya once more regained their previous influence, acting as key collaborators for the state. Since independence, the Khattimiyya have retained their importance as the largest Sufi Tariqa in Sennar. Under the leadership of their current Khalifa Abd ar Rahman al Mirghani, the conservative order has mostly voiced support for the Sennari monarchy while remaining mostly aloof from politics. Although their spiritual headquarters are at Kassala with the tomb of Sayyid al Mirghani, the Tariqa has moved most of its day to management to Wad Medani. It maintains a robust network of Zawiyas around Sennar.

Qadiriyya: One of the oldest Sufi Tariqas in the world, the Qadiriyya were founded by Abdul Qadir Gilani in the 12th century. The Tariqa was first brought to Sennar in the 16th century when many of the early Islamic scholars invited by the Funj had ties to the order such as Muhammad Taj al Din al Bahari, Ghulam Allah bin Ali, Idris bin Muhammad al Arabr, whose tombs soon became centers of worship and Islamisation. Despite being affiliated with the Qadiriyya, the Qadiri scholars were not hierarchically organised in the sense of many later Sufi Tariqas, resulting in each Faqi establishing his own branch of the Tariqa throughout the country. Several notable branches of the Qadiriyya include the Arakiyyan in southern Gedaref, The Badrad of Gezira, the Yaqubab in Sennar and the Sadiqab in northern Gedearef, Kassala and Sennar. The Messelimiyya tribe is heavily associated with the Qadirirs due to claims that their ancestor al Mussalam was a descednent of al Gilani. Recent additions to the Qadiriyya Tariqa have included many Shilluk after their intermarriage of the Reth into a Faqi's family,resulting in its expansion among the traditionally Pagan people. While individuals wield influence over established areas and tribes, the Qadiriyya as a whole does not wield strong political clout on a national level.

Sammaniyya: A widespread but disorganised Tariqa, the Sammaniyya were founded in the 18th century by Muhammad ibn Abdul Karim as Samman, himself a student of the older Khalwatiyya Tariqa. The order was brought to Sennar by his student, Ahmed Atteyeb wad al Bashir, who initially preached in the Jazira and proved very succesful in attracting adherents from many Qadiriyya sufis (including the Yaqubab family). Like the Qadiriyya, rather than being centrally organised, the Sammaniyya are divided into numerous sub orders centered around holy families. These include the Hindiyya who follow the 19th century mystic Yusuf ibn Muhammad al Amin al Hindi, the Ashraf in Gezira, and the Qaribiyya of Qarib Allah Salih al Tayyib. Many of the Sammaniyya left to join the Mahdists after Muhmmad Ahmad's declaration of himself as the Mahdi.

Sanusiyya: Founded by another student of al Idirs, Muhammad ibn Ali al Sanussi in the 18th and 19th century, the Sanusiyya hail from the Sahara and were brought to Sennar by Baqqara and Fellata immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. The order thus maintains a small presence in modern Sennar.

Shadhiliyya: Another ancient Sufi Tariqa that traces it’s origins to Abu Hassan ash Shadhili in the 13th century, like the Qadiriyya, it was introduced into Sennar during the 16th century through notable Faqis such as Hammad ibn Muhammad al Madjhub, Hamad Abu Dunana and Khogali Abd al Rahman. Also similar to the Qadiriyya, the Shadhiliyya did not possess a single hierarchical leadership but are instead divided into numerous religious sub orders headed by holy families. One of the most influential of the Shadhiliyya are the Madjhubiyya of al Madjhhub, who were traditionally based south of the Atbara-Nile confluence and exercised influence in the Northern Butana.

Tijaniyya: Founded by the North African Sufi Ahmed al Tijani in the 18th/19th centuries, the Tijaniyya was primarily brought to Sennar by the Fellata and the Mogharabiyya tribe and maintains a small presence in modern Sennar.


Standing in contrast with Sufisms long established history in Sennar, Salafism is a far more recent invention that was introduced primarily in the 20th century. Although grouped together as one, Salafi can be used to to distinguish several distinct trends. The terms Salafi comes from the notion of Madhab al Salaf, the schools of the forefathers with their strict allegiance to the Qur’an, Sunnah and traditions of the early Muslims. It is heavily influenced by the work of earlier Muslim thinkers such as Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyya, who frequenlty cirtiicsed what they saw as deviation and foriegn influence on many of their peers at the time. Thus, a common claim of most Salafis is that they practice a purified version of Islam as opposed to the bidah of the Sufis in particular. The Salafi reject many Sufi notions of Baraka, Sainthood and pilgrimage to shrines.

Similar to the introduction of Islam into Sennar, Salafist thought entered Sennar through Sennari students studying abroad and encountering its doctrines, or through foreign scholars, especially uniersvity lecturers, settling in Sennar and subsequenlty establishing thier own Schools and organisations. The Salafist movement is generally confined to an urban movement, especially amongst the more de tribalised populations or recent immigrants from the countryside that do not have strong ties to the area. it has also proved popular with non Arabs due to the dominance of Arabs in the religious structures of Sennar. The Salafis are generally opposed by the Sennari government that sees them as potentially subversive religious group as they are their criticism of the Sufis threatens a major pillar of the Sennari state, and their lack of incorporation into the state makes them far more likely to criticize the government. Many Salfi groups range from the apolitical to those who vehemently oppose the Kingdom.

The Salafis are not organised, and instead are centered around various Mosques and Imams who sometimes form a looser association with one another. A notable figure is the aged Salafi jurist Muhammad Idris of Wad Medani, whose disciples teach in many Salafi mosques. Many tend to follow the Hanbali school of fiqh as opposed to Maliki. Imams of the Salafi do not consider themselves to have any sought of higher interpretation or divine inspiration such as the Sufis. Not tied to the tribal system, little appeal to the rural populations, although its has made some inroads in the lowland peoples of Bela Shangul and Wellega province, where the lack of a deep historical Sufi tradition has seen the rise of Salafi movemnts instead.

The second strand of Salafism is often known as Modernist Salafism, Scientific Salafism, Liberal Salafism, although many often reject the term Salaf to avoid confusion with Fundamentalists. Like the Fundamentalist Salafis, the Modernists were a product of the 20th century and are especially influenced by many political developments in the north that eventually filtered down into Sennari Universities. Also like the fundamentalists, the Modernists reject much of the tradition associated with Islam in Sennar as irrational and backwards. However rather than adopting a strict fundamentalist approach of emulating the Salaf, the modernists instead seek a synthesis of what they see as modern rationalist thinking and Islam, which they believe represents its true authentic form. Heavily tied to the Universities, like its namesake, Modernist Salafism is tied heavily to urban centers. Although its is sometimes named liberal Islam, the Modernists hold a wide array of political beliefs, while some are strong advocated of liberalism such as democracy, free markets and human rights, others are instead more influenced by Socialist movements or even Fascism.

Modernist Salafis enjoy poor relations with the government, which they frequently criticise as backwards and authoritarian, while the more Socialist inclined see it as a neo colonial institution exploiting the people.Several outspoken critics have been arrested and indeed executed on accusations of apostay for more radical ideas.
Last edited by United Kongo on Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Founded: Dec 15, 2012

Postby United Kongo » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:34 am



Officilly, the government of Sennar is an absolute monarchy where the Malik is theoretically subject to the whims of non other than God, although it is expected of him to listen to the advice of his ministers and consult with representatives of the people. In actual practice, the Sennari government, despite having monopolised a lot of political and economic control around the royal family, operates as a patronage system that is dependent in keeping powerful interests groups on side in return for generous payoffs and gifts. Thus, the Sennari Kingdom, rather than being an autocratic state as it is sometimes depicted as, in fact operates as a patronage system, always in a balancing act of maintaining enough resources and power to ensure its control of the state apparatus while redistributing enough to loyal followers to ensure their loyalty.

Government Functions

As an absolute monarchy, the Malik of Sennar acts as the countries head of state, head of government, chief of staff and chief legislator, only theoretically being subject to God and thus the Sharia, which forms a major part of Sennar’s law code. Thus as the supreme executive and legislative arm of the state, the Malik is at the center of all major descions and policy making processes, having full control over budgets, political appointments, foriegn policy, economic policy ext.. In order to assist in the day to day management of government however, the Malik maintains a Diwan al Dawlah, council of state, which acts as a cabinet dispensing advice, policy proposals and uverseeing senior responsibilities of the state at the whims of the Maliks. This Diwan consist of a number of Wazirs (ministers) who are given specific portfolios, often with single Wazirs having several responsibilities at once. Thus the Diwan possesses no permanent number of members, which can fluctuate in size, and is indeed subject to dismissal as the Malik sees fit. The current composition of the Diwan is as follows.


As well as the Diwan, two other consultative bodies exist in order to theoretically aid in the supervision of the state. These are firstly the Majlis wal Nazir, the chamber of Nazirs, initially set up as a consultative body between the colonial regime of the Wilayah and the various heads of the Dars that were responsible for law and order of the countryside. Secondly there is the Majlis wal Wilayah, Chamber of States, initially set up after the Nazirs to act as a consultative body for the various urban areas and councils that grew up during the Wilayah period. Although each one was gradually envisioned to grow into democratic bodies as a bicameral system during Sennari decolonisation, the political crisis that ensured during the 20th century saw these plans scrapped in favour of a powerful executive arm. As a result, both of these bodies are rarely consulted, with Nazirs and other persons instead having to go directly to the Malik his representatives to seek redress.

All appointments to levels of government are in theory subject to the Malik, who appoints Walis (Governors) to oversee the day to day governance of the provinces, who are in turn served by a bureaucracy with theoretical jurisdiction over the provinces. The Malik typically appoints the Walis and leaves lower level administration to the Walis and Wazirs themselves. The Walis are expected to follow central directives of the Sennari state and report back to the central government on affairs in the province, as well as listening to the people. Various sub provincial officials are appointed by the Wali although the Malik in theory retains the right to appointment. Usually, the day to day running of government by the Walis is restricted to urban areas and government owned land, where he appoints members of the bureaucracy to administer.

Underneath the Walis sits the Nazirs, a system of local government formally organised under the Marimaians, but in fact reaching further back. The Nazir system is a form of local government where each tribal grouping in Sennar is given a homeland (Dar) in which they are given exclusive right to cultivate, graze, and are subject to the rule of the tribal head, the Nazir. The Nazir has recognised authority over these Dars and is responsible for their administration. He receives government pensions and is expected to carry out central directives from the Malik or his representatives, although he is allowed a degree of autonomy. Often these tribes are broken down into various clans and sub clans ruled by Shaykhs and Omdas who each possess their own degree of authority, creating a complex chain of hierarchy throughout the countryside. Although Nazirs are in theory the recognised traditional leaders of a tribe, in actual fact their association with the state has meant that the nature of governance has changed. While traditional leaders were often picked from tribes, the colonial and post colonial state frequently chose loyalty over tradition, leading to many figure previously possessing no past authority being elevated to the rank of Nazir. In addition, the official sanctioning of executive power in the Nazir has often changed the nature of governance in Dars, creating an authoritarian system in previously more egalitarian decision making societies. With significant financial resources and legal authority, the Nazirs are powerful actors and agents of the state in much of Sennar.

In theory, the only separate branch of the government is in the judiciary branch. Although the Malik serves as Amir al Muimin to the people of Sennar, Sennar’s Islamic foundation prevents the Malik from going against the sharia, thus acting as a check on his power. Sahria is typically dispensed by Qadis (Judges) in urban and state zones, and Faqis in Dars. Although the Malik may appoint Qadis, he is forbidden from overturning their decisions making. The Judiciary branch is headed by the Qadi al Qudah (Grand Qadi), with all Qadis having supposed to be trained at various legal schools throughout Sennar. In the case of the Faqis, they are often heavily tied to the tribal system of the Dar they are embedded in, and often posses numerous lands of their own, making them Nazirs in some cases.

The Practice of Governance in Sennar

To truly understand politics in Sennar,One must instead conceptualize it as a grand series of patronage networks with the center being concentrated in the Malik and Abu Sinn family, who rely on various powerful interests groups in order to maintain control over key areas of the state. This patronage system is truly what defines governance in Sennar.

At the centre of the Sennari state lies the Abu Sinn family and members of the Shukriyya tribe. Although the Abu Sinn have lead the Shukriyya since the 18th century and have been a major actor in Sennar for a long time, their control of the Sennari state did not emerge until the advent of Marimaian colonisation, where their strong position and close alliance with the Marimaians ensured their favoured rule during the Wilayah. With the beginning of the decolonisation process, the continued loyalty of the Abu Sinn ensured that they were gradually vested with more political and economic control by the Marimaians, being govern key positions in government, favorable land grants and economic assistance. With these resources, the Abu Sinn ensured the elevation of their own tribal members to power in Sennar, with the Shukriyya holding tight control over the military leadership, holding key positions in the bureaucracy and dominating many powerful corporations. Today this pattern has continued, as almost all members of the Diwan al Dawala are Shukkriyya, the Shukriyya possess significant Dars and dominate the armed forces, and receive generous funding from the government. Thus, the Shukriyya lie at the center of the Sennari state and are the foundational pillar of the monarchy

Outside of the core tribal constituency, lies a series of key interests groups that are maintained by the government for the effective functioning of the state.The first of these are the Nazirs, who acts as key intermediaries for tribes that are seen as loyal to the Sennari state. Thus, powerful Nazirs that are close to the Abu Sinn are given greater grants of lands and access to financial resources, in return for loyalty. With access to finances and also the political system of the Sennari elite, the Nazirs in turn act as major patrons for their communities, giving significant social welfare in the form of pensions, unemployment benefits, acting as employers and running schools, as well as being major disperses of investment and able pull political favours for individuals. Thus Nazirs are empowered in their alliances with the Monarchy, as their tribe becomes even more dependent on them for survival.

Secondly the Sufi Tariqas act as important arm of the state. Most appointments to Mosques and Qadis that are dispensed by the government are given to members of the Tariqas, ensuring the loyalty of the order in return for positions of influence. This also has the effect of making the theoretically independent judiciary compliant to the Sennari state, as many Qadis and their Tariqas are loathe to potentially lose their privileges by going against the will of the Abu Sinns. The Tariqas and Mosques also frequently act as social welfare networks, being the major sponsor of schooling, benefits and social support that again strengthen their social role in society by creating a safety net for the Sennari population.

The other major pillar of state in Sennar are the major Corporations. In order to maintain the payment of the patronage system, the Sennari state relies heavily on the economic investment and trade with foreign corporations in order to fund the system. This is gained through low tariffs, low income tax payments and generous sales of land by the government to private groups, as the Malik's absolute control over society allows for the usurpation and sale of land. In return for generous concessions, corporations contribute funding to the Maliks in the form of investment in family run business, generous loans, and various kickback schemes that strengthen the finances of the monarchy.

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United Kongo
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Founded: Dec 15, 2012

Postby United Kongo » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:53 am


Unlike in many other states where the Military is expected to act as the prime defender of national interests, or as the oppressive arm of government, in Sennar it is more apt to describe the military as acting more as a personal militia of the Maliks rather than an effective institution itself. Fear of military revolt, especially from the non ruling elements of Sennar who find their way into national service, as well as a desire to maintain the royal family monopoly on power, has ensured that the military is a poorly trained force and lead force compared to many other national militaries, one that emphasises loyalty and kinship ties over effective leadership and discipline.

The Sennari Royal Army (SRA)

The largest military branch in the Kingdom, the SRA operates more closely to that of a gendarmerie or a tribal militia rather than an actual army, more concerned with securing the control over key resources of the state and ensuring ensuring a bare minimum of government authority throughout the country. This state of affairs is due not only to the desire of the Maliks to keep the army subourdinate and dependent on royal authority by not developing an independent network of authority that could pose a credible threat, but also due to Senna'r geopolitical realities. With a lack of larger hostile states threatening Sennar's sovereignty their had been little need to develop a powerful national defense force to repel foreign invasion. Importantly the close ties enjoyed by the Maliks and their former colonial rulers the Marimaian Caliphate has also negated the need to develop and effective armed forces. This is based on the shrewd calculation of the Malik that the Caliphate would be forced to intervene on their behalf should they ever be threatened by foreign powers or significant domestic revolt.

Thus, the Sennari armed forces acts more akin to a rent seeking organisation in most areas, ensuring the Malik's authority is enforced. Members of the Shukriyya tribe dominate the officer corps and make a sizable number of its recruits, while key ethnic/tribal groups that are close to the Malik make up the majority of its soldiers. This means for many marginalised groups, the SRA is seen even more so as tool of occupation and oppression. The SRA is divided into 4 divisions that are given over military regions to cover. The Brigades that comprise these divisions are recruited are generally drawn from a single province or comprise of battalions drawn from separate provinces, and are always stationed outside of their home regions in a bid to halt ties based on kinship between civilian and military developing. Military Organisation is as follows.

First Division-HQ Wad Medani

The First Division is responsible for security in Gezira, White Nile and Sennar provinces, and differs from other Divisions in that many of its soldiers are in fact local to the province they serve in. This reflects the fact that the First Division is responsible for defending the center of the Sennari state, and Shukriyya tribal elements are even more dominant throughout the Division that the others. The First Division in commanded by Major General Ibrahim Yaqub, who also serves as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and is a long time close ally to the Malik.

--1st Brigade-Gezira (HQ Wad Medani) (4 Battalions)

--2nd Brigade (HQ Rabak) (4 Battalions)

--3rd Brigade (HQ Singar) (3 Battalions)


Second Division- HQ Kassala

Responsible for the defense of Kassala and Gedaref provinces, the Second Division is mostly based within the major population centers of Kassala and al Qadariff and is currently the smallest of the four divisions, owing to the lack of major threats to government authority in the area. Many of its soldiers are either drawn from various highland peoples of Bela Shangul such as the Gumuz and Berta, or are Arabs and Fellata from White and Blue Nile. It is commanded by the Malik's oldest son, Muhammad Muhammad Abu Sinn.

--4th Brigade (HQ Kassala) (3 Battalions)

--5th Brigade (HQ- al Qadariff) (2 Battalions)

Third Division-HQ Asosa

The Third Division is responsible for the defense of the Highland provinces of Bela Shangul and Wellega, a somewhat difficult task due to the rough terrain of the region. A low level insurgency occurs in Wellega and parts of Bela Shangul, although it currently does not threat major government control. The Third Divisions soldiers hail from many porvinces and are a mix of Arabs, Fellata and Bejas, they are commanded by Major General Abd al Kareem Mustafa.

---6th Brigade (HQ Asosa) (2 Battalions)

---7th Brigade Guba (HQ Guba) (1 Battalion)

---8th Brigade (HQ Gimbe) (2 Battalions)

----9th Brigade (HQ Dembi Dollo) (3 Battalions)


Fourth Division-HQ Malakal

The largest of the five military Division, the Fourth Division is responsible for defending Upper Nile province, whihc contains much of Sennar's oil reserves and thus is of vital economic importance to the state. The lack of established government institutions and coopted elites has meant that the SRA is particularly coercive in Upper Nile State. It's soldiers hail from all over Sennar and is thus very ethnically diverse in its makeup, it is commanded by Abdirashid Zurgi.

---12th Brigade (HQ Ghaat) (2 Battalions)

---13th Brigade (HQ Malakal) (3 Battalions)

---14th Brigade (HQ Melut) (3 Battalions)

--- 15th Brigade (HQ Nasir) (2 Battalions)

Fifth Division- HQ Ad Damazin

The smallest of all the SRA's Divisions, the Fourth Division is responsible for the defence of Blue Nile province alone and was only recently detached from the Fourth Division. It is mainly tasked with the defence of the key population and economic centers of Ad Damazin and Kurmuk and is made up primarily of Highlanders such as the Berta and Agaw, and Arabs. It is commanded by major General Muhammad al Akari.

---10th Brigade- (HQ Ad Damazin) (2 Battalions)

---11h Brigade Ghaat ( HQ Kurmuk) (1 Battalion)

Royal Guard- HQ Wad Medani

A separate force from the military, the Royal Guard is a single Brigade sized unit that is responsible for the defense of the Malik himself, and is exclusively drawn from Shukriyya tribe members. Although the Royal Guard moves according to the person of the Malik, it is generally based in the capital of Wad Medani.

[u]Royal Sennari Airforce

The other major arm of the Sennari Armed Forces, the Air force remains a small branch that is reliant mostly on outdated equipment and whose prime function is to assist the ground forces in counter insurgency operations, although this has not been utilised for some time. Despite the neglected nature of the Air force, under the stern command of the Malik's youngest son, Saif Muhammad Abu Sinn, the Air Force has become a surprisingly disciplined and effective force.

15th Paratrooper Brigade (HQ Singar

A separate Infantry brigade that is placed under the command of Saif Muhammad, the 15th Paratrooper Brigade was initially formed due to the repeated requests of the Malik's son. Since its creation, the Brigade has gained reputation for being a well drilled and trained unit, although it is yet to be proven in combat thus far.

Internal Security Brigade-HQ Wad Medani

Under the command of the Minister of the Interior, the ISB specializes in counter insurgency and acts as a security unit to the other brigades it monitors. Highly feared and ruthless, the ISB is currenlty based in Malakal although its HQ lies in Wad Medani.
Last edited by United Kongo on Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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