As the UNESCO General History of Africasummarises, unlike many other faiths: 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. Yet another appeal of Islam was that it brought literacy, a tremendously useful tool for empires who built their wealth on trade. Military campaigns did occur from the 14th century CE against the Christian kingdoms of Nubia, for example, while in the 18th century CE the Muslim Fulani launched a holy war in the Lake Chad region. Some African societies were matrilineal, and these changed to a patrilineal system. Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups within Islam in America. 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). Trans-Saharan Trade Routesby Aa77zz (Public Domain). they knew that Islam is against racism and that superiority is only based on piety and good deeds. Its territory touched the Atlantic Ocean to the west and extended as far as the bend in the Niger River to the east. However, just like the religion itself, there were minor local differences. 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. The Swahili Coast, located along the shores of East Africa, was... Timbuktu (also Timbuctoo) is a city in Mali, West Africa which... UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. As a result, Islam influenced the culture and lifestyle, particularly of urban residents, in the Western Sudan. In time, Arabic became the common language of the merchants and traders of West Africa. What religion did the empire of Songhai practice? Adopting Islam permitted, too, the exchange of diplomatic embassies with North African states, as well as the possibility to send scholars for training, both of which brought the sub-Saharan states, in particular, into contact with the wider Mediterranean world and increased the prestige of rulers. Who is the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time? In addition, two important Muslim states in the Horn of Africa were the Sultanates of Adal (1415-1577 CE) and Ajuran (13-17th century CE). M… The Berbers were early converts to Islam and Islam spread along those pre-existing trade routes between North and West Africa. 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. 14.2 The Spread of Islam in West Africa Trans-Saharan trade brought Islam to West Africa in the 8th century. Then in 1971, when I was 24, I converted to Islam and became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (meaning “the noble one, servant of the Almighty”). 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. Close Ties and Christianity. Many Muslims speak Arabic, the language of the Quran. During these later years, Muhammad did not seem at all bothered by conversions that were made under obvious duress. Why don't libraries smell like bookstores? When and how lovebirds will enter into the nest box? The Muslims, for their part, did not try and convert the King and his people. Cite This Work https://www.ancient.eu/article/1382/. At first, Muslim traders and merchants lived side by side with the non-Muslims of West Africa. He ruled between 1217 and 1255. Islam was spreading with the trade of its merchants, and it appears that in the 1300s or 1400s the kings of Hausaland converted to Islam. Usually worn by chiefs. The first kings we have a record of adopting Islam were from Ghana which is recorded as the first empire in West Africa. Islam made an entrance in Africa from Asia in the 7th century. Ghana's capital at Koumbi Saleh was, significantly, divided into two distinct towns from the mid-11th century CE. Web. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. Is there a way to search all eBay sites for different countries at once? They viewed Africans as backward, barbaric and uncivilized. 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. Aside from genuine spiritual conviction, African leaders may have recognised that adopting Islam (or seeming to) or at the least tolerating it would be beneficial to trade. 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. 1100 CE, 493 A.H Berbers, who had long been Muslims, battle for power. Is evaporated milk the same thing as condensed milk? 30 Nov 2020. Mauritania established itself as the Islamic Republic after it gained sovereignty in 1960. The question I’m often asked is why I had to pick a religion so foreign to American culture and a name that was hard for people to pronounce. 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. Under … The Berbers offered salt in exchange for West African gold. Great Mosque, Djenne, Maliby Carsten ten Brink (CC BY-NC-ND). Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Zeila's two-mihrab Masjid al-Qiblatayn dates to the 7th century, and is the oldest mosque in the city. As in Ghana and Mali, though, the rural populace of Songhai remained stubbornly loyal to their traditional beliefs. Something which they achieved with a great degree of success. There were several technical innovations that came with Islam such as writing, numbers, mathematics, measurements and weights. There were many who vehemently held on to their traditional beliefs in the face of this new religion. 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. In the late 9th century, Al-Yaqubi wrote that Muslims were living along the northern Somali seaboard. Cartwright, Mark. In the 11th century Kumbi, the capital of the kingdom of Ghana (in present-day Mali), was described as having a dozen mosques. The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa. The early history of Ghana is unknown, but there is evidence that North Africa had begun importing gold from West Africa before the Arab conquest in the middle of the 7th century. Islamic architecture spread with the religion with mosques being built wherever there were worshippers. Zeila's two-mihrab Masjid al-Qiblatayn dates to the 7th century, and is the oldest mosque in the city. Contributed by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, PhD. What are wildlife sanctuaries national parks biosphere reserves? The early journeys across the Sahara were done in stages. 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. Islam spread from the Middle East to take hold across North Africa during the second half of the 7th century CE when the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE) of Damascus conquered that area by military force. why did the west African kings convert to Islam? 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. In many cases, they have embraced a militant version of the faith, most notably the Nation of Islam (currently headed by Louis Farrakhan). 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. 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. Nearly every Muslim in Timbuktu learned to read and write. Related Content How do you put grass into a personification? Spread of Islam in West Africa. Musa took control of Timbuktu, an important trade center that would become a well-renowned center of Islamic scholarship in West Africa. Why Do So Many African-Americans Convert to Islam? Mansa Musa and the Kingdom of Mali. Mosques on the Swahili Coast, for example, had neither the minarets or inner courtyard typical of mosques elsewhere in the Islamic world. they knew about Islam and its truthfulness, they knew about the authenticity of Quran and that it reflects real God words revelation to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) without single letter alterations, and. 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). 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. One noted Timbuktu scholar was the saint Sharif Sidi Yahya al-Tadilsi (d. c. 1464 CE) who became the patron saint of the city. Most Muslims who reside in the continent observe Sunni Islam. Conversion to Islam linked the West African savannah through belief in one God and similar new forms of political, social and artistic accoutrements. Islam first came to West Africa as a slow and peaceful process, spread by Muslim traders and scholars. Nearly one-third of the total Muslim population in the world can be found in Africa. Islam reached urban centers and the ruling elite first. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. 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. 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. (Vol. Islam recommends the freeing of slaves in itself as a 'good' religious act and says that slaves who convert to Islam ... Islam than it was in the West. Part 1: Islam reaches West Africa, and a history of the Islamic Empire of Ghana. 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. Islam came first: They way it worked was trade and a bit of steel. African Muslim scholars became established in the major towns like Timbuktu, and they taught, wrote and practiced Islamic law as judges. Islam was more firmly established from the 12th century CE when Shirazi merchants arrived from the Persian Gulf. Islam stressed brotherhood of all believers. But look at the growth and spread of Islam in the West. 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. This could well be the most important factor in the Kingdom of Kanem’s adoption in the late 11th century CE. And remember that conversion to Islam is a one way street: "[T]he Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'" tween many Christians of southwestern Asia and the Muslims. West African fetish priest with talismans sewn on his hat and "batakari jacket. Why did West African people convert to Islam. West African tribes spoke many different languages and so Islam gave them one language to speak. Cartwright, Mark. Again, were religious dissent from Catholicism or Orthodoxy the cause, why did not Christianity disappear from many other areas as well as from North Africa? Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. Sonni Ali Of Songhai was differ from most other West African rulers because he did not adopt Islam but, he was a follower of Islam. 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. More superficial changes included the changing of names to those favoured by Muslims. Islam had more immediate success further south on the Swahili Coast. The famous scholar Ibn Munabbah wrote … This division reflected the continuance of indigenous animist beliefs alongside Islam, the former being practised by rural communities. Answer. the development of the Muslim religion on the African continent. The famous scholar Ibn Munabbah wrote … (Vol III, 20). 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. 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." 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. Islam was introduced to the northern Somali coast early on from the Arabian peninsula, shortly after the hijra. In fact, historical accounts suggest that at first West African kings tried to contain the growth of Islam by dictating that Islamic communities remain separate from West African ones. Bibliography See J. S. Trimingham, Islam in West Africa (1959), Islam in East Africa (1964), Islam in the Sudan (2d ed. The famous scholar Ibn Munabbah wrote … Great Mosque, Kilwaby Richard Mortel (Public Domain). The Berbers converted many of the merchants of West Africa to Islam, but most of the common people retained their traditional beliefs. 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. As the UNESCO General History of Africa summarises, unlike many other faiths: Islam is not only a religion: it is a comprehensive way of life, catering for all the fields of human existence. 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 First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Insoll, T. "The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another group which fought against the tide of Islam were the Mossi people, who controlled the lands south of the Niger River and who attacked such cities as Timbuktu in the first half of the 15th century CE. Is Series 4 of LOST being repeated on SKY? For many decades, we have witnessed a phenomena of African-Americans converting to Islam. During the Hijarat, Muslims sought refuge in Ethiopia's territory having crossed Djibouti, Somalia, as well as Eritrea. 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. Why did west African kings convert to Islam? Clothing changed, too, with women, in particular, encouraged to dress more modestly and adolescents to cover their nudity. Mali rose to prominence in 1230, witnessing its height under Mansa Musa, who ruled from 1312 to 1337. 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. Many orthodox Albanians in present-day Macedonia, Greece or Serbia lost their ethnic identity while Albanian Muslims didn't. In this way, Islam spread across and around the Sahara Desert. 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. Probably, at first in some zones of the country, force was used to convert people to Islam. Many native converts studied in such places as Fez, Morocco, and became great scholars, missionaries, and even saints, and so Islam came to be seen no longer as a foreign religion but a black African one. Western Africa - Western Africa - The early kingdoms and empires of the western Sudan: In the 10th century the kings of Ghana extended their sway over the Ṣanhājah, the congeries of Amazigh nomadic groups living around Audaghost, just north of their kingdom, who supplied them with salt and North African goods. 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. They did not accept the Muslim belief in one God. As traders settle there, they bring Islamic scholars with them. "The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa." The coming of Islam saw a general decline in the status of certain groups in ancient African communities. 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. 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. This way, Islam influenced the culture and lifestyle, particularly gained influence French... Of Nubia converted to Islam included the changing of names to those who found and mined such precious metals gold! Berber and Tuareg merchants brought Islam to mauritania 's territory, and they surrounded... Early journeys across the Sahara Desert wrote that Muslims were living along the northern Somali.... The country, force was used to convert to Islam, the also! 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