Encyclopedia > Marabout

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A marabout is a personal spiritual leader in the Islam as practiced in West Africa. The marabout is a often a scholar of the Koran and many make amulets for good luck, preside at various ceremonies, and in some cases actively guide the life of the follower.

In the Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal, the marabouts are organized in elaborate hierarchies and the highest marabout of the Mourides, for example, has been elevated to the status of a ruler, almost a demigod, by the faithful.

A major fact of marabouts is the need to give them money from time to time. Often there is obligation to the marabout that has accumulated over generations within a family. Marabouts normally dress in traditional West African robes.

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