In early 1977, the main fuqahā of the recently organized Sahrawi refugee camps met in the dāira of Sbetīn to discuss whether the population of the settlement should practice taqsīr al-salāh (the shortening/abridgment of prayers). This theological discussion was animated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (the Polisario Front). The practice of performing abridged prayers spread widely in the camps during the late 1970s and 1980s. Although no longer practiced, it continues to spark controversy in the discourse on the liminality of the first years of the camps. This case study offers an anthropologically informed historical reflection on the process of negotiating religious authority and the embodiment of nationhood.
- Western Sahara