The pattern of lineage differentiation approximated to the Chinese model in which the mass of people were rice-growing peasants while a few were rich traders, scholars and officials. The upper stratum consisted of those they used to call ummargabila people distinguished from others by their wealth and concomitant social power. Shaikhs were essentially holy men venerated tor their well-known piety and miraculous power. The overwhelming majority of people in the White Nile area were content to put their faith in a particular religious leader irrespective of his tariqa. The tariqa was something concerning the shaikh, and remained his own business for it was the unknown source of his miraculous power. The degree to which an amir would assume this authority depended on his social and economic power and the number of other ummar like him. The tariqa was something concerning the shaikh, and remained his own business - for it was the unknown source of his miraculous power.