The Ontological Absolutes of the Wolof

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A summary of Peace is Everything: World View of Muslims in the Senegambia by David Maranz 1993 (International Museum of Cultures Publications, No 28) as found in Appendix 5 of the same book.

The ontological absolutes (ultimate causes or metacauses) that have been identified for the Senegambian culture are:

1. God (Ylla). God is transcendent, remote, and little concerned with, or at least little involved in, the daily affairs of his creation. For Sufi Muslims, although God (Allah, A.) is transcendent, the divine reality can be experienced through proper action.

2. Universe. The universe is composed of both visible and invisible reality (to man), but the invisible is of greater ontological significance than the visible.

3. Peace. Peace is the ideal state, and harmony is the ideal relationship of the universe.

4. Integration. At all levels of the universe, the ideal condition is integration. That is, all parts need to be brought together through interdependence.

5. Destiny. Every being and part of the universe has an assigned role that needs to be filled. For Muslims, submitting to divine law will provide assurance of approval on the Day of Judgment.

6. Hierarchy. The universe is organized on the basis of hierarchies of position and power on every level and within each domain.

7. Power. The universe is administered through the exercise of inherent and derived power.

8. Reality. All reality is dichotomized into exterior and interior.

9. Human beings. Man is the ceremonial center of the universe.

1O. Transfer. All spiritual good or evil and abstract qualities are transmitted through the principle of transfer, by means of the mechanism of intent.

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