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Shaykh Yusuf al Maqassari (1626-1699) is noted for both resisting Dutch expansion in the East Indies as well as his role in building the Cape Muslim community. But rather than politics, his writings focus on mysticism, in particular, the principles of the Sufi path and Sufi metaphysics. When there is a reference to politics, it is ‘anti-politics’ in that he advises the spiritual aspirant to withdraw participation in matters of the state. This paper explores the effects of Shaykh Yusuf’s ‘anti-politics’. It argues that in the context of the post-Westphalian state, Shaykh Yusuf’s ‘anti-politics’ was a way of resisting being inscribed by the economic logic of that state and its reduced notion of the self; that his mysticism offered alternative ways of being and acting in the world; and that these alternative ways helped the Cape Muslim community maintain its durability in the face of a number of historical pressures.
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