Islam was introduced to the northern Somali coast early on from the Arabian peninsula, shortly after the hijra. When Genghis Khan let himself loose on the Khwarizm Empire in 1219 (Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran), the subsequent events were so traumatic for the Islamic World that the word "holocaust" has sometimes been used to describe it. The brotherhoods, namely Sufism and tariqa, particularly gained influence during French colonial administration. -Another huge reason of conversion to Islam as a way of saving their ethnicity since they were surrounded by Slavs. From the mid-8th century CE, Muslim traders from Arabia and Egypt began to permanently settle in towns and trading centres along the Swahili coast. Therefore, trans-Saharan trade brought Islam to the Western Sudan, and many of the kings of Mali and Songhai cultivated their relationships with Muslims in Northeast Africa and the Middle East. Not only did Muslim scholars and missionaries visit and stay in African communities but also Muslim travellers and chroniclers like Ibn Battuta and Ibn Khaldin (1332-1406 CE) who made invaluable observations and records of African life in the medieval period. And remember that conversion to Islam is a one way street: "[T]he Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'" As many as ten million African slaves were shipped north as part of the trans-Saharan slave trade between 750 and 1500 C.E.” In summary, the coming of Islam to Sub-Saharan Africa facilitated the rise of political empires, encouraged trade and wealth, and increased the traffic in slavery. Islam reached the Savannah region in the 8th Century C.E., the date the written history of West Africa begins The Muslim-Arab historians began to write about West Africa in the early 8th century. (Vol. Musa took control of Timbuktu, an important trade center that would become a well-renowned center of Islamic scholarship in West Africa. That may seem like a bad deal until you consider that without salt, we die. Islam was more firmly established from the 12th century CE when Shirazi merchants arrived from the Persian Gulf. The spread of Islam among the Yoruba began late, well after the nineteenth century conversions of Wolof (a West African state that ruled parts of Senegal from 1360 to 1890), and increased after Fulbe (an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa) conquests of the 1800s. It is perhaps worth noting at the start that the spread of Islam in Africa was much more than the passing on and adoption of religious ideas. Zeila's two-mihrab Masjid al-Qiblatayn dates to the 7th century, and is the oldest mosque in the city. The legacy of the NOI, however, is that many African-Americans are drawn to Islam out of racial pride, thinking that there is some sort of association with Africa. 30 Nov 2020. Yes, many convert to Christianity, and many are presumed to do so after the book ends. Web. Meanwhile, the religion also spread down through Egypt and swung westwards through the Sudan region below the Sahara Desert. Islam reached the Savannah region in the 8th Century C.E., the date the written history of West Africa begins The Muslim-Arab historians began to write about West Africa in the early 8th century. However, in the Ghana Empire, for example, there is no evidence that kings themselves converted to Islam, rather, they tolerated Muslim merchants and those from Ghana who wished to convert. Mansa Musa Illustrationby M.Hassan.Qureshi (CC BY-SA). During the Hijarat, Muslims sought refuge in Ethiopia's territory having crossed Djibouti, Somalia, as well as Eritrea. West African tribes spoke many different languages and so Islam gave them one language to speak. Who is the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time? In the late 9th century, Al-Yaqubi wrote that Muslims were living along the northern Somali seaboard. A third wave brought the religion to Africa’s eastern shores, the Horn of Africa and the Swahili Coast, directly from Arabia and the Persian Gulf. There were other challenges besides the Christians of Nubia. Ghana, the first large West African kingdom, reigned from 750 to 1235. Many subsequent rulers followed suit, most famously Mansa Musa I (r. 1312-1337 CE) who visited Cairo and Mecca and brought back to Mali Muslim scholars, architects, and books. Muslim artisans and traders spread Islam to Mauritania's territory, and they were later joined by the founders of Islamic brotherhoods. One town was Muslim and boasted 12 mosques while the other, just 10 km away and joined by many intermediate buildings, was the royal residence with many traditional cult shrines and one mosque for visiting merchants. Of course, one way of convincing people is to point out that believing in Islam is better than being killed: "[F]ight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." Islam was introduced to the northern Somali coast early on from the Arabian peninsula, shortly after the hijra. Close Ties and Christianity. Zeila's two-mihrab Masjid al-Qiblatayn dates to the 7th century, and is the oldest mosque in the city. Nearly every Muslim in Timbuktu learned to read and write. In many cases, they have embraced a militant version of the faith, most notably the Nation of Islam (currently headed by Louis Farrakhan). Ghana's capital at Koumbi Saleh was, significantly, divided into two distinct towns from the mid-11th century CE. Islam's presence in African history Islam’s presence in African history dates back to the first phase of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission, when in 615 A.D. he instructed a group of Muslims to seek refuge in Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia). Islam's presence in African history Islam’s presence in African history dates back to the first phase of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission, when in 615 A.D. he instructed a group of Muslims to seek refuge in Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia). Submitted by Mark Cartwright, published on 10 May 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Most Muslims who reside in the continent observe Sunni Islam. The famous scholar Ibn Munabbah wrote … As the historian P. Curtin puts it: "The Muslim religion ultimately became one of the central elements of Swahili identity. They did not accept the Muslim belief in one God. In spite of all the hurdles, it is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States of America. The king of Ghana did not convert to Islam. Aside from genuine spiritual conviction, African leaders may have recognised that adopting Islam (or seeming to) would be beneficial to trade. In addition, Islamic studies were, at least initially, conducted in Arabic, not native languages, and this further impeded its popularity outside the educated clerical class of towns and cities. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. In West Africa, as was the case with Southeast Asia, it was traders who introduced Islam, and many rulers accepted it first, followed by others. Why did West African people convert to Islam? Where can i find the fuse relay layout for a 1990 vw vanagon or any vw vanagon for the matter? Asked by Wiki User. The most influential Malian king was Mansa Musa, who reigned from 1312 to 1337 and took a famous pilgrimage to Mecca, the Holy site of Islam, in 1324. During this time, he captured Timbuktu, an important trade center, and Gao, the capital city of Songhai, spreading Islam to them both. Rulers were not always so keen to adopt Islam, King Sunni Ali of the Songhai Empire (r. 1464-1492 CE), for example, was vehemently anti-Muslim, but King Mohammad I (r. 1494-1528 CE) did convert, and he imposed Islamic law on his people and appointed qadis (Islamic magistrates or judges) as heads of justice at Timbuktu, Djenne, and other towns. This website is for people of various faiths who seek to understand Islam and Muslims. African Muslim scholars became established in the major towns like Timbuktu, and they taught, wrote and practiced Islamic law as judges. The states that accepted Islam first were usually states that sat astride the Trans-Saharan trade routes, they came in contact with Muslim traders and were converted. Then the Christian Portuguese arrived in Africa on both the West and East coasts where they challenged the spread of Islam. Muslim evangelicals in the black communities and in prisons often play this up in an attempt to persuade the gullible into rejecting Christianity as the “white man’s religion.” Contributed by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, PhD. the development of the Muslim religion on the African continent. In many places in the Hadith, he tells his followers that he has been ordered by Allah to fight unbelievers until they profess their faith in Islam (the Shahada). Islam first came to West Africa as a slow and peaceful process, spread by Muslim traders and scholars. converting to Islam improved relations with Muslim merchants from North Africa and brought them recognition and support from Muslim states in the north. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Is there a way to search all eBay sites for different countries at once? Islam was a success on the coast but it made no impact at all on peoples living in the interior of East Africa until the 19th century CE. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply. More superficial changes included the changing of names to those favoured by Muslims. With the religion came other ideas, too, especially those concerning administration, law, architecture, and many other aspects of daily life. West African trade routes Merchants and traders in West Africa saw many advantages in converting to Islam. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. So Islam became the religion of the elites in West Africa, which meant that the Muslim kings were trying to extend their power over largely non-Muslim populations which worshipped traditional African gods … 1965), Islam in Ethiopia (1952, repr. The Spread of Islam in Africaby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Wiki User Answered . License. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. In empires like Mali and Songhai , most of the kings were Muslims or converted to Islam, while others did not convert but supported the presence of Islamic culture and institutions. Embracing an area more than half a million square miles, the kingdom of Mali was undoubtedly one of the richest and most prosperous on earth in the 14 th century. Sankore Mosque, Timbuktuby Radio Raheem (CC BY-NC-ND). It already has a strong presence in … At first, Muslim traders and merchants lived side by side with the non-Muslims of West Africa. As Muslim traders penetrated deeper into Africa so the religion spread from one empire to another, taking hold first at Gao in 985 CE and then within the Ghana Empire (6th-13th century CE) from the late 10th century CE. The Berbers offered salt in exchange for West African gold. But look at the growth and spread of Islam in the West. However, just like the religion itself, there were minor local differences. During Muhammad's lifetime a group of Muslims escaped Meccan persecution (615) by fleeing to Ethiopia, where the Negus [king] gave them protection. (Vol III, 20). What was the dominant political structure in east Africa by thirteenth century CE? All Rights Reserved. Islam first came to West Africa as a slow and peaceful process, spread by Muslim traders and scholars. - Hadith Sahih Bukhari 4:52:260 (The Hadith Sahih are the true, verified sayings of Muhammad, pbuh, and form the basis for Islamic law, along with the Qur'an). Cartwright, Mark. He ruled between 1217 and 1255. Although the Berbers who converted to Islam never tried to convert the West Africans to Islam, by the start of the 12th century, Muslim scholars and clerics started accompanying the traders. As a result, Islam influenced the culture and lifestyle, particularly of urban residents, in the Western Sudan. The ancient West Africans, like Native Americans and the Sumerians, were animists who believed that many gods existed in nature. Last modified May 10, 2019. 1100 CE, 493 A.H Berbers, who had long been Muslims, battle for power. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. In East Africa, Islam faced stiff competition from Christianity which was firmly entrenched in Nubia and states such as the Kingdoms of Faras (aka Nobatia), Dongola, and Alodia, and in the Kingdom of Axum (1st - 8th century CE) in what is today Ethiopia. These writers, along with archaeology, have helped enormously in the reconstruction of ancient Africa following the European colonial period where every attempt was made to obliterate the history of the continent lest it conflict with the racist belief that Africa had long been waiting to be civilised. Answer. what was the dominant political structure in east Africa by the 13th century C.E? Nevertheless, for at least six centuries Islam spread largely peacefully and gradually wherever there were trade connections with the wider Muslim world of the southern Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Islam came first: They way it worked was trade and a bit of steel. One noted Timbuktu scholar was the saint Sharif Sidi Yahya al-Tadilsi (d. c. 1464 CE) who became the patron saint of the city. The Berbers converted many of the merchants of West Africa to Islam, but most of the common people retained their traditional beliefs. The famous scholar Ibn Munabbah wrote … M… Mansa Musa and the Kingdom of Mali. Something which they achieved with a great degree of success. For many decades, we have witnessed a phenomena of African-Americans converting to Islam. Men and women’s roles sometimes changed, some African communities having previously given women a more equal status with men than was the case under Muslim laws. The commercially most active peoples, the Dyula, Hausa and Dyakhanke, were among the first to be converted when their respective countries came into contact with Muslims. From there, it spread via Islamized Berbers (who had been variously coerced or enticed to convert) in the 8th century CE along the trade routes which crisscrossed West Africa, moving from the east coast into the interior of central Africa, finally reaching Lake Chad. Does pumpkin pie need to be refrigerated? In addition, the religion arrived in East Africa when Arab traders crossed the Red Sea and, in a second wave, settled along the Swahili Coast. The local Bantu peoples and Arabs mixed, as did their languages, with intermarrying being common, and there was a blending of cultural practices which led to the evolution of a unique Swahili culture. The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa. Islam was able to offer many African people a chance to demonsrate and exercise their love of learning and knowledge.The most surprising, remarkable and dramatic result of which was Timbuktu--an ancient Malian town, home of Sankore Mosque and University--The Harvard of West Africa and by extension the whole islamic world. Embracing an area more than half a million square miles, the kingdom of Mali was undoubtedly one of the richest and most prosperous on earth in the 14 th century. It is difficult to generalize about West Africa, which was linked to the rise and diffusion of Islam. Why don't libraries smell like bookstores? Learning Qur'an was important for West African Muslims. This website is for people of various faiths who seek to understand Islam and Muslims. With the adoption of Islam by the rulers of the Kingdom of Kanem (c. 900 - c. 1390 CE) between the 11th and 13th century CE and Hausaland from the late 14th century CE, the religion’s encirclement of Africa below the Sahara Desert was complete. West African fetish priest with talismans sewn on his hat and "batakari jacket. It is thus perhaps more comprehensible, given the above, why so many African rulers and elites were ready to adopt a foreign religion when it also brought with it definite advantages of governance and wealth. As a result, Islam influenced the culture and lifestyle, particularly of urban residents, in the Western Sudan. Ancient History Encyclopedia. It is also true that in some cases oral traditions maintained their cultural integrity, and thus we are presented with a parallel history such as seen in the biographies of Sundiata Keita (r. 1230-1255 CE), the founder of the Mali Empire, who in written history converted to Islam but in oral tradition was a great magician of the indigenous religion. The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Insoll, T. "The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, this also means that many West Africans were exposed to Islam before it was spread to Europe during the Ottoman empire and America via the Moriscos and the Transatlantic slaves. The spread of Islam in Africa began in In the 11th century Kumbi, the capital of the kingdom of Ghana (in present-day Mali), was described as having a dozen mosques. Some of … Angela Fisher, 1984.) The two spheres of Islam and trade are closely intertwined, as here explained in the UNESCO General History of Africa: The association of Islam and trade in sub-Saharan Africa is a well-known fact. Islamic scholars spoke and wrote Arabic. Over time, however, Islam played a growing role in West African society. The early journeys across the Sahara were done in stages. This also encouraged peaceful trade between people of different nations. They viewed Africans as backward, barbaric and uncivilized. The same applies to those who found and mined such precious metals as gold and iron. Islam gained more converts in Africa than has Christianity, which labored under the burden of identification with European imperialism. Part 1: Islam reaches West Africa, and a history of the Islamic Empire of Ghana. The Spread of Islam and its Relationship to Medieval Europe Growth of Islam. One of the chief losers were the metalworkers who had always enjoyed a mystical reverence from ordinary people because of their skills in forging metal. Spread of Islam in West Africa Islam reached the Savannah region in the 8th Century C.E., the date the written history of West Africa begins The Muslim-Arab historians began to write about West Africa in the early 8th century. Many Muslims speak Arabic, the language of the Quran. The first kings we have a record of adopting Islam were from Ghana which is recorded as the first empire in West Africa. This geographical unit, central to the rise of the Atlantic World, stretches from modern-day Mauritania to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and encompasses lush rainforests along the equator, savannas on either side of the forest, and much drier land to the north. Top Answer. What religion did the empire of Songhai practice? E Converting to Islam improved relations with Muslim merchants from north Africa and brought the west African kings recognition and support from Muslim states in the north. As noted, ancient indigenous beliefs continued to be practised, especially in rural communities, as recorded by travellers like Ibn Battuta who visited Mali c. 1352 CE. So their mission was to "civilize" the African. Many of them went on lecture or missionary tours to convert people, while others became advisers to Sudanese Kings on how to become effective rulers. Then in 1971, when I was 24, I converted to Islam and became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (meaning “the noble one, servant of the Almighty”). Some African societies were matrilineal, and these changed to a patrilineal system.