It is commonly acknowledged that Islam played an important role in anticolonial resistance in different parts of the Muslim world. Muslim countries were under European colonisation for several decades and gained political independence by using Islam as a mode of resistance. But, when we read resistance narratives and major postcolonial works, we infer that religious resistance has been neglected because notions within resistance/postcolonial narratives are defined in secular terms. Instead, nationalist and Marxist anticolonial movements have been highly celebrated, leading resistance and postcolonial narratives to remain silent on Islam as a form of resistance. The failure of Frantz Fanon, due to his Marxist ideology, to link anticolonialism with Islam in his masterpiece The Wretched of the Earth is an excellent example to be mentioned here. In the case of Morocco and numerous other postcolonial societies, to produce a linear and uncontested history – and because of the dependence of history on the politics of nationalism – it has been necessary to silence narratives contradicting the dominant narrative. It is true that Moroccan anticolonialism was ideologically diverse, but it was Islam and not any other ideology that served as the primordial mobilising force. In order to undermine the postcolonial secular historiography that has valorised Marxist and nationalist liberation movements over religious ones, one only has to shed light on Islam as an idélogie mobilisatrice for the Moroccan Nationalist Movement. Put differently, it can be argued Salafism and Sufism played a greater role in framing and shaping Moroccan anti-colonial consciousness. Although Sufism and Salafism are incompatible in terms of their religious and political aims, they often cooperated in their struggle against European colonisation. 

To explore the role of Islam in Moroccan anti-colonial resistance, a postsecular approach can be implemented. There is no doubt that anti-colonial/postcolonial narratives relied on the Eurocentric secular nature of historical interpretive devices, and accordingly they failed to address the fact that historical events are driven by a certain particular religious heritage. Indeed, history continues to be informed by theological narratives that mediate between the sacred and the secular, the temporal and the divine, the religious and the political. In this sense, postsecular history involves and invokes the complex confluence of theological and political ideas. In their 2019 introduction to The Routledge Handbook of Postsecularity, Justin Beaumont and Klaus Elder use the term ‘postsecular’ in a similar way, suggesting that it names both a ‘complementarity of discourses’ and a ‘confrontation of normativities’. Based on this, postsecular history revisits and revises the secularisation of concepts in the philosophy of history and highlights the confluence of theopolitical forces that characterise historical studies. Using postsecularism in analysing historical events is a new approach in historical studies. We can find traces of it in works by scholars who published work around the 2010s, including Dominick LaCapra, Allan Megill, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Ananda Abeysekara. In his book published in 2021 and titled Postsecular History: Political Theology and the Politics of Time, Maxwell Kennel claims secular ideas have a religious provenance, and agrees with Carl Schmitt’s insight that many modern state concepts are really secularised theological concepts. For Kennel, postsecular history goes beyond dualistic oppositions between secular and religious ways of thinking, and instead theorises the complex mediations and entanglements between competing normative orders that structure our world. What is at issue here is that in reading Moroccan history, one may deduce the fact that in contrast to the secular ideals of Eurocentric historiography, the secular and the religious go hand in hand in a postsecular way. 

As a nationalist reaction to European expansion and a reform movement originating in the late nineteenth century in the teachings of Jamal al-din al-Afghani, Mohamed Abduh and Rashid Rida, Salafism or Salafiyya made a deep impact on Morocco. The anticolonial role for early Salafist-liberal thinkers was carried over into the formation of twentieth century nationalist movements. Regarded as a theology of liberation and a protest against oppression and social injustice, the writings of Rida, Abduh and al-Afghani became the banner of anticolonialism in the Muslim world in general, and in Morocco in particular. Salafist ideas deeply affected the spirit of Moroccan anticolonial liberation movement during the first half of the twentieth century, inspiring many nationalists with new political and religious programmes. In his Rebirth of a Nation: The Origins and Rise of Moroccan Nationalism, 1912–1944, John P. Halstead claims Salafism permeated the thinking of the early Moroccan nationalists. Morocco provides a good example of pan-Islam in action in that Moroccan nationalists were eager to exploit pan-Islamic ideas in their struggle against colonialism. 

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