The organised Sufism of the Islamic religious orders turuq (singular: tariqa) often had its origins in the travels of individuals driven by an intensely personal desire to acquire knowledge and to fulfil religious duties. The emergence of the Algerian Rahmaniyya order in the last quarter of the eighteenth century illustrates how the perigrinations of one man, in this case Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman, contributed to the restructuring of socio-religious bonds in a particular Muslim community as well as the reaffirmation of ties between that community and the wider Islamic ecumene. Thus, a study of the activities of such an individual joins three strands in historiography: biography; world history; and the sociological and social historical study of mass movements aiming at religious renewal and reform. Together, these approaches can isolate the types of social transformations that constitute sea changes in any society, Muslim or otherwise.