Page:EB1911 - Volume 24.djvu/681

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SEONI—SEOUL

whose influence is believed to be sufficiently strong to prevent the spread of Senussiism among his followers. The general attitude of the Mahommedans in the western Sudan towards the Senussi emissaries was described by European observers in 1907 as one of good-natured tolerance. They are occasionally allowed to preach, but apparently with little effect. In Bornu, which does not acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of Sokoto, the Senussi propaganda meets with less opposition, but the adherents of the order are not numerous. Here and there in the western Sahara are tribes professing Senussiism, but they are regarded as unimportant.

It should, however, be remembered that while other dervish fraternities are mystical and latitudinarian in theology, and only sporadically meddle in politics, the Senussites have exercised a continuous political influence and have sought to revive the Tenets.faith and usages of the early days of Islam. The order is in a sense an outcome of the Wahhabite movement, but, as gathered from the writings of Mahommed el Hechaish, a Tunisian sheik, and other trustworthy sources, appears to be neither mystical nor puritan. There is less of secrecy about their rites than is usual in Moslem fraternities. The use of tobacco and coffee is forbidden, but the drinking of tea is encouraged, and the wearing of fine clothes is allowed. While they profess to belong to the Malikite rite (one of the four orthodox sects of Islam), the Senussites are charged by the Ulema of Cairo with many deviations from the true faith; chiefly they are accused of interpreting the Koran and Sunna without consulting one of the recognized glosses. Thus the Egyptian theologians regard the Senussites as inaugurating a new rite rather than forming a simple fraternity; in this, if not in puritanism, resembling the Wahhabites. Their great work in the eastern Sahara, apart from proselytism, has been colonization and the encouragement of trade. Wells have been dug and oases cultivated, rest houses built along caravan routes, merchants from Tripoli, Bornu, Wadai and Darfur welcomed. Such at least is the report of Mahommedan writers and of French and British political agents; very few Europeans have had opportunities of making personal observations. Gustav Nachtigal was in Wadai in 1873, Gerhard Rholfs traversed the Cyrenaica and visited Kufra in 1879; but in general the Senussi, supported by the Turks at Tripoli, have closed the regions under their control to Europeans. At the oasis of Siwa (Jupiter Ammon), however, they are in contact with the Egyptian administration. Siwa was visited by Silva White in 1898 and by Freiherr von Grünau in 1899. The last-named reports that he found the representative of Sheik Senussi living in perfect agreement with the Egyptian authorities, the inhabitants of the oasis being divided into two sections, known respectively as the Mussulmans and the Senussites, a distinction which goes to show the special position occupied by the Senussites in Islam.

The missionary zeal of the Senussites is undoubted. Outside the regions adjacent to their headquarters they appear to be most strongly represented in Arabia. In the eastern Sahara and Wadai practically all the population are Senussites; the order in other countries draws its adherents from a higher social rank than the generality of Moslem secret societies. Its chief agents are personages of wealth and importance and highly educated in Oriental lore. They are in general on good terms with the rulers of the countries in which they live, as instanced in 1902 by the conferment of the Legion of Honour on the head of the zawia at Hillil in Algeria. These agents make regular tours to the various zawias placed under their charge, and expound the Senussi doctrines at the Moslem universities. From all that has been said it is apparent that the Senussi sheik controls a very powerful organization, an organization probably unique in the Moslem world.

Bibliography.—L. Rinn, Marabouts et Khouan, a good historical account up to the year 1884; O. Depont and X. Coppolani, Les Confréries religieuses musulmanes (Algiers, 1897), an authoritative work; Si Mohammed el Hechaish, “Chez les Senoussia et les Touareg,” in L’Expansion col. française for 1900 and the Revue de Paris for 1901. These are translations from the Arabic of an educated Mahommedan who visited the chief Senussite centres. An obituary notice of Senussi el Mahdi by the same writer appeared in the Arab journal El Hadira of Tunis, Sept. 2, 1902; a condensation of this article appears in the Bull. du Com. de l’Afr. française for 1902; “Les Senoussia,” an anonymous contribution to the April supplement of the same volume, is a judicious summary of events, a short bibliography being added; Capt. Julien, in “Le Dar Ouadai” published] in the same Bulletin (vol. for 1904), traces the connexion between Wadai and the Senussi; L. G. Binger, in “Le Péril de l’Islam” in the 1906 volume of the Bulletin, discusses the position and prospects of the Senussite and other Islamic sects in North Africa. Von Grunau, in Verhandl. ges. f. Erdk. for 1899, gives an account of his visit to Siwa. Sir F. R. Wingate, in Mahdiism and the Egyptian Sudan (London, 1891), narrates the efforts made by the Mahdi Mahommed Ahmed to obtain the support of the Senussi; Sir W. Wallace, in his report to the Colonial Office on Northern Nigeria for 1906–1907, deals with Senussiism in that country. Consult also H. Duveyrier, La Confrérie musulmane de Sidi Mohammed ben Ali es Senoûssi (Paris, 1884), a book containing much exaggeration, and A. Silva White, From Sphinx to Oracle (London, 1898), which, while repeating the extreme views of Duveyrier, contains useful information.

The present writer, in endeavouring to arrive at a just conclusion on an obscure and much controverted subject, is indebted, in addition to the above, to the article by D. A. Cameron in the 10th ed. of this encyclopedia, and to communications from Prof. D. B. Macdonald.  (F. R. C.) 


SEONI, a town and district of British India, in the Jubbulpore division of the Central Provinces. The town is 2043 ft. above sea-level, half-way on the road between Nagpur and Jubbulpore. Pop. (1901) 11,864. It was founded in 1774, and contains large public gardens, a fine market place and a handsome tank.

The District of Seoni forms part of the Satpura tableland, containing the headwaters of the Wainganga. It is largely covered with forest, and 40% of the inhabitants belong to aboriginal tribes. Area 3206 sq. m. The district is remarkable for the beauty of its scenery and the fertility of its valleys. The northern and western portions include the plateaus of Lakhnadon and Seoni; the eastern section consists of the watershed and elevated basin of the Wainganga; and in the south-west is a narrow strip of rocky land known as Dongartāl. The plateaus of Seoni and Lakhnadon vary in height from 1800 to 2000 ft.; they are well cultivated and clear of jungle, and their temperature is always moderate and healthy. Geologically the north part of Seoni consists of trap hills and the south of crystalline rock. The soil of the plateaus is the rich black cotton soil formed by distintegrated trap, of which about two-thirds of the district are said to consist; but towards the south, where cliffs of gneiss and other primitive formations occur, the soil is siliceous and contains a large proportion of clay. The chief river is the Wainganga, with its affluents the Hirī, Sāgar, Theli, Bijnā and Thānwar; other streams are the Timar and the Sher, tributaries of the Nerbudda. The annual rainfall averages 53 in. The population in 1901 was 327,709, showing a decrease of 12% in the decade due to the effects of famine. The principal crops are wheat, millets, rice, pulse, oil-seeds and cotton. Three lines of the Bengal-Nagpur system traverse the district. There is also a town called Seoni, or Seoni-Malwa, in the Central Provinces, a railway station in Hoshangabad district. Pop. (1901) 7551.

See R. A. Sterndale, Seonee, or Camp Life on the Satpura Range (1877); Seoni District Gazetteer (Allahabad, 1907).

SEOUL (Han-yang), the capital of Korea (Chosen), situated in 37° 34′ N. and 127° 6′ E., at an altitude of 120 ft., 25 m. from Chemulpo, its seaport, and 4 from Mapu, its river-port. Pop. about 200,000. It lies in a basin among granite hills, nowhere exceeding 2627 ft., remarkable for their denudation and their abrupt black crags and pinnacles. A well-built, crenelated stone wall from 20 to 30 ft. high, about 11 m. in circuit, and pierced by 8 gateways with double-roofed gate towers, surrounds it. The native houses are built of stone or mud, deeply eaved, and either tiled or thatched. Above these rise the towers of the Roman Catholic cathedral, the high curved roofs of the royal audience halls, the palace gateways, and the showy buildings of the Russian and French legations. The antiquities are the Bell Tower, with a huge bronze bell dated 1468, a marble pagoda elaborately carved, but not of Korean workmanship, seven centuries old, and a “Turtle-Stone” of about the same date.