Research Article

DOI :10.26650/di.2019.30.1.0004   IUP :10.26650/di.2019.30.1.0004    Full Text (PDF)

Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal

Thomas Douglas

Limamou Laye (1844-1909) redefined the concept of the Mahdi with his proclamation. Though the concept of Mahdi has a history of variations across the Islamic world, Limamou Laye added a previously unknown characteristic: Mahdi as reincarnation of Muhammed. This article explores the history of the concept of the Mahdi focusing on the Sunni and Shi’a traditions. On the 24 May 1883, Libasse Thiaw (later known as Limamou Laye) proclaimed himself the Mahdi. His proclamation went on to say that he was the Prophet Muhammed returned to earth. Studying this event historically begs the question, why was this particular detail added to an honored Islamic messianic tradition? The answer lies in the history and geographical positioning of the Lebu, the ethnicity to which Libasse Thiaw belonged. I argue that three cultural influences helped shaped the Lebu expression of the Mahdi. The first influence was the Lebu traditional religious belief system. The second was Islam as expressed and practiced in the Senegambia. The third was the Christianity that the French brought with them to the area. 

DOI :10.26650/di.2019.30.1.0004   IUP :10.26650/di.2019.30.1.0004    Full Text (PDF)

Mehdi’yi Yeniden Tanımlamak: Senegalli Layeciler

Thomas Douglas

Limamou Laye’nın (1844-1909) mehdilik iddiası ‘mehdi’ kavramının yeniden tanımlanmasına neden olmuştur. İslam dünyasında mehdi kavramına yönelik farklı yaklaşımlar olmasına rağmen mehdinin Hz. Muhammed’in tekrar dünyaya gelmiş hali oluşu (reincarnation) fikri ilk kez Limamou Laye tarafından gündeme getirmiştir. Sünni ve Şii gelenekleri temel alarak mehdi kavramının tarihinden hareketle konuya yaklaşan bu makale Limamou Laye’nın mehdilik iddiasını araştırmaktadır. Limamou Laye ismiyle tanınan Libasse Thiaw, 24 Mayıs 1883’te kendisinin mehdi ve Hz. Muhammed’in yeryüzüne yeniden gelmiş hali olduğunu iddia etmiştir. Bu olayı tarihsel açıdan incelemek, İslami mehdi geleneğine bu yeni iddianın neden eklendiği sorusunu gündeme getirmektedir. Bu sorunun cevabı, Libasse Thiaw’ın da mensup olduğu etnik grup olan Lebu’nun tarihi ve coğrafi konumunda aranmalıdır. Bu noktada makale, Lebu’nun mehdi anlayışının şekillenmesinde üç kültürel etkinin yardımcı olduğunu ileri sürmektedir. Bunlar; Lebu’nun geleneksel dini inanç sistemi, Senegal - Gambiya bölgesinde ifade edildiği ve uygulandığı şekliyle İslam ve Fransızların bölgeye getirdiği Hristiyanlıktır. 

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Douglas, T. (2019). Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal. darulfunun ilahiyat, 30(1), 171-186.


Douglas T. Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal. darulfunun ilahiyat. 2019;30(1):171-186.


Douglas, T. Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal. darulfunun ilahiyat, [Publisher Location], v. 30, n. 1, p. 171-186, 2019.

Chicago: Author-Date Style

Douglas, Thomas,. 2019. “Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal.” darulfunun ilahiyat 30, no. 1: 171-186.

Chicago: Humanities Style

Douglas, Thomas,. Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal.” darulfunun ilahiyat 30, no. 1 (Jul. 2022): 171-186.

Harvard: Australian Style

Douglas, T 2019, 'Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal', darulfunun ilahiyat, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 171-186, viewed 6 Jul. 2022,

Harvard: Author-Date Style

Douglas, T. (2019) ‘Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal’, darulfunun ilahiyat, 30(1), pp. 171-186. (6 Jul. 2022).


Douglas, Thomas,. Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal.” darulfunun ilahiyat, vol. 30, no. 1, 2019, pp. 171-186. [Database Container],


Douglas T. Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal. darulfunun ilahiyat [Internet]. 6 Jul. 2022 [cited 6 Jul. 2022];30(1):171-186. Available from: doi: 10.26650/di.2019.30.1.0004


Douglas, Thomas. Redefining al-Mahdi: The Layennes of Senegal”. darulfunun ilahiyat 30/1 (Jul. 2022): 171-186.


Published Online20.05.2019


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