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Fur also known as “Darfur” Pitek, Emily


“Darfur, or Darfor, means the land of the Fors, who were once the owners and sole inhabitants of the whole province. They have, however, been driven back into the western part of the country, the remainder of which is now inhabited by various invaders…” (Felkin, 1885:205). This entry focuses on the Fur living in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur around the time of 1880. Although Darfur was taken by the Egyptians in the 1870’s, the province of Jebel Marra was not actually subjugated until 1881 when the last sultan (Haroun) was killed. Darfur later became a province of Sudan in the 1910’s. At the time this entry focuses on, Darfur was divided into five provinces (each ruled by an official), with each province subdivided into smaller districts led by local governors. A hereditary sultan oversaw Darfur as a whole. After centuries of cultural contact with Arab peoples and Islamic beliefs, the Fur are primarily Muslim, but elements of their original beliefs remain (such as agricultural festivals, and they have laws differing from those of the Koran). The Fur religious beliefs center on Molu, the one high god. Also present are spirits of the deceased, but these supernatural beings are not involved in daily life. Religious practitioners known as puggee’s had influence over the Sultan and chiefs, and were often more powerful than chiefs. Any male could become a puggee after training in reading, writing, and the Koran, as well as Fur law. Religion does not have its own distinctive sphere in Fur life; rather, it is bound up with the functioning of society as a whole. Consequently, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society.

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