How Did Islam First Reach Ghana? (Solution)

Islam was introduced by traders of Sahelian tribes of West Africa. The introduction of Islam into Ghana was mainly the result of the commercial activities of Mande and Hausa Speaking traders.

Islam in Ghana – Wikipedia

  • The introduction of Islam into Ghana was mainly the result of the commercial activities of Mande and Hausa Speaking traders. Islam spread through several pathways; the Mandens came through the North and North-Western corridors of Ghana while the Borno and Hausa traders came from the North-East.

When did Islam first reach Ghana?

Islam made its entry into the northern territories of modern Ghana around the 15th century. Traders and scholars from Mande or Wangara tribes carried the religion into the area. Some local scholars believe that Islam reached Ghana through daawa workers who came from the neighboring African countries.

How did Islam come to Ghana and West Africa?

Islam first came to West Africa as a slow and peaceful process, spread by Muslim traders and scholars. The early journeys across the Sahara were done in stages. Goods passed through chains of Muslim traders, purchased, finally, by local non-Muslims at the southern most end of the route.

How did Islam first spread to Africa?

According to Arab oral tradition, Islam first came to Africa with Muslim refugees fleeing persecution in the Arab peninsula. This was followed by a military invasion, some seven years after the death of the prophet Mohammed in 639, under the command of the Muslim Arab General, Amr ibn al-Asi.

How did Islam spread in West Africa?

Following the conquest of North Africa by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century CE, Islam spread throughout West Africa via merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries, that is largely through peaceful means whereby African rulers either tolerated the religion or converted to it themselves.

How did Islam affect Ghana?

The Islamic religion had a great effect on West African societies. In the first place, it challenged traditional African religion, weakening the basis on which some of the Sudanese states such as Kanem and ancient Ghana rested, contributing to their downfall.

How did Islam affect Africa?

Islam in Africa has linked together diverse peoples through better cultural understanding and a spirit of cooperation and common weal. The historial impact of Islam upon trade, particularly in West Africa, greatly increased the wealth of African people and helped form many great African empires.

What happened to religion in West Africa when Islam was first introduced?

What happened to religion in West Africa when Islam was first introduced? West Africans remained faithful to their original religions. Islam quickly became the leading religion of the region. West Africans were resistant to Islam’s new ideas and ignored the religion.

How did Islam influence Ghana’s rulers?

how did Islam influence Ghana’s rulers? He captured the formal capital of Ghana. He expanded his new empire and expanded trade routes. He soon developed the city of Timbuktu as a center of trade and culture.

Who brought Islam to Ghana quizlet?

Sunni Islam was introduced into Ghana as part of the 1940s reformist activities of late Ghanaian Mujaddid, Afa Ajura.

Which country accepted Islam first?

The Aksum kingdon in [Ethiopia] was the first foreign country to accept Islam when it was unknown in most parts of the world. The kingdom also favored its expansion and making Islam present in the country since the times of Muhammad(571-632).

How did Ghana grow into an empire?

The Ghana Empire lay in the Sahel region to the north of the West African gold fields, and was able to profit by controlling the trans-Saharan gold trade, which turned Ghana into an empire of legendary wealth. Ghana appears to have had a central core region and was surrounded by vassal states.

Who brought Islam to Nigeria?

Islam first entered Nigeria through Borno in the northeast in the 11th century. Its dissemination was essentially a peaceful process, mediated by Muslim clerics and traders, until the Fulani jihad of 1804, organized by Usman dan Fodio.

What are three ways that Islam had an impact on West Africa?

As Islam spread in West Africa, people adopted new religious practices and ethical values. African Muslims learned Islam’s Five Pillars of Faith. They prayed in Arabic, fasted, worshiped in mosques, went on pilgrimages, and gave alms. They were taught to regard all Muslims as part of a single community.

What was the first religion in Africa?

The Story of Africa| BBC World Service. Christianity came first to the continent of Africa in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. Oral tradition says the first Muslims appeared while the prophet Mohammed was still alive (he died in 632). Thus both religions have been on the continent of Africa for over 1,300 years.

Islam in Ghana – Wikipedia

Ghanaian Muslims

Total population
17.6% of Ghana’s population
Regions with significant populations
Tamale,Kumasi,Accra(0.35 million and above; 2002)
English,French,Akan,Dagbanli,Hausa, others

Islam is one of the primary faiths practiced widely in Ghana, and it is one of the most frequently practiced in the world. Its presence in Ghana may be traced back to at least the tenth century. According to the Population and Housing Census conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service, Muslims constitute around 17.6 percent of the country’s population. Roughly 16 percent of Muslims in Ghana are members of the Ahmadiyyamovement, while approximately 8 percent identify as adherents of Shia Islam, according to a 2012 research by Pew Research Center.

Sufism, which was previously prevalent in Ghana, has declined significantly in recent years; theTijaniyah and theQadiriyah brotherhoods, on the other hand, continue to be represented among the country’s conservative Muslims.

2012) Those that aren’t (16 percent ) Muslims who are not affiliated with a particular denomination (17 percent ) Although tensions have existed in the Middle East and North Africa since the mid-1970s, Muslims and Christians have had wonderful ties in Ghana.

When it comes to scheduling pilgrimages to Mecca for believers who can afford the voyage, the National Hajj Council takes on this obligation.

Some urban towns and cities, particularly those in areas with a considerable Muslim population, have Islamic or Arabic schools that provide elementary, junior secondary, senior secondary, and postsecondary education in Arabic or Islamic studies.

Local television and radio stations are mostly owned and controlled by organizations based in the southern part of the country, and they broadcast gospel music and Christian evangelical material on both national and local channels and stations, as well as online.

In order to fill this information void, Ghanaian Muslims turn to radio stations broadcasting from much more northernly Sahelianareas of surrounding West Africa with more predominantly Muslim populations or identities, particularly from Hausaland (Northern NigeriaandNiger), and Gur – andManden – speaking regions (Mali, northern Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso), in search of news, Quranic recitations and sermons, cultural and religious content that more accurately reflects

History of Islam in Ghana

Islam was brought into West Africa by traders from the Sahelian tribes of the region. In the years before then, Da’wah workers had established contact with and written extensively about the people in Ghana’s hinterlands, including the inhabitants ofBonoman states, which are now part of the country. The entrance of Islam into Ghana was mostly a result of the economic activity of traders who spoke Mande and Hausa languages, respectively.

Spread of Islam in Ghana

Islam expanded through a variety of routes; the Mandens arrived through Ghana’s northern and northern-western corridors, while the Borno and Hausa traders arrived through the country’s northern and northern-western corridors. Following the “fall of the Bono and the Begho empires,” Islam is believed to have effectively infiltrated southern Ghana, and its spread was aided by the fact that the slave trade became more profitable and competitive as a result. Furthermore, during the nineteenth century, the British colonial government recruited soldiers for the colonial army from a variety of mostly Muslim populations in the northern part of the country.

Population of Muslims in Ghana

In Northern Ghana, the Muslim population is concentrated, as well as in Zongo settlements distributed throughout the country. Settlements predominated by immigrants fromSahelianareas ofWest Africa (Mandinka, Soninke,Hausa,Songhai, Fulani and others) who have adopted theHausa language as a lingua franca are referred to as Zongo villages. Members of the Zongo community are wrongly, yet often, referred to as Northerners by the general public. The two communities, on the other hand, are unique from one another, with distinct cultures and languages.

According to the Coalition of Muslim Organizations, the final estimates provided in 2002 “included severe faults and, as a result, could not be used as valid data for planning and forecasting the country’s development agenda.” It came at the same time that groups primarily from the North petitioned the government to withdraw the results, expressing concern that some ethnic groups were underrepresented in the population count and that the service should open their procedures up for public scrutiny, both of which occurred at the same time.

According to CIA estimates, Muslims constitute 17.6 percent of Ghana’s population.

The distribution of finances for national development by the Ghanaian government is largely impacted by the country’s population demographics.

Geographical distribution

Approximately 18 percent of Ghana’s population is Muslim, according to the most recent census conducted in 2017.

Region Population(2017 census) Percentage Muslims
Northern 2,479,461 80.0%
Upper West 702,110 40.1%
Upper East 1,046,545 45.1%
Brong-Ahafo 2,310,983 17.0%
Ashanti 4,780,380 20.2%
Greater Accra 4,010,054 15.9%
Western 2,376,021 9.4%
Central 2,201,863 8.7%
Eastern 2,633,154 6.7%
Volta 2,118,252 5.7%
Ghana 24,658,823 18%

Muslims are the main religion in the Northern Region, the largest religion in the Upper East Region, and a significant minority religion in the Upper West Region. In Ghana’s southern regions, Muslims constitute a slightly smaller proportion of the population.

Sub groups

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, which was legally formed in 1921, is the country’s longest continuously operating Muslim group. Ahmadi Muslims were among the first Muslim missionaries to arrive in Ghana, and by 1957, they had converted more than 100,000 individuals, the most of whom were Christians, to Islam. Maulvi Abdul Rahim Nayyar, the first Ahmadi missionary to Ghana, arrived at the invitation of Muslims in the Saltpond district. Ghana has the highest number of Ahmadi Muslims in relation to the overall Muslim population of any country in the world, at 16 percent.


As a result of its long history, close affiliation, and tolerance for the culture of the indigenous peoples in Ghana, Sufism is considered to be the most traditional form of Islam in the country, despite the fact that they have never joined together to create an establishment or a cohesive society. TheTijaniyya and the Qadiriyya are two of the most prominent Sufi organizations represented in Ghana. Sufism is widespread among Ghana’s immigrant Muslim minority, known as the Zongos, who are descended from Arab immigrants.

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It was through the reformer initiatives of late Ghanaian Mujaddid,Afa Ajura, in the 1940s that Sunni Islam was first brought into the country. Afa Ajura’s campaign challenged the status quo of Sufi philosophy and positioned him against the Sufi social institutions that had already been in place for a long time. Although his doctrine acquired widespread popularity until after World War II, the Sunni majority of Muslims (51 percent in 2014) currently identify as members of the Anbariyya Sunni Community, which was founded in 1971.

Ahlusunnah wal Jamaa (ASWaJ) is an organization created by Sunni believers in Zongo areas in southern Ghana (18 percent of the Muslim population) with the goal of reaching the Hausa-speaking community.


Ghana is also home to adherents of Shia Islam. It has gained more significance since the 1980s, when Shia Lebanese merchants began to invest in the nation, as well as with the return of Ghanians who had studied Islam in Iran at the time. In Ghana, there are around one million Shias living in the country. Shias are permitted to run religious schools and mosques in their communities.

Other denominations

  • Aliu Mahama, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Shaributu, Mahamudu Bawumia, Samira Bawumia, Abedi Pele, Farouk Aliu Mahama, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Abdul Salam Mumuni, Mubarak Wakaso, André Ayew, Jordan Wakaso, Baba Rahman, Kasim Nuhu, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, Haruna Iddr

See also

  1. Ghana’s Muslims have previously expressed worry over census data that indicates that 17 percent of the country’s population practices Islam. According to some estimates, Muslims constitute between 20 and 25 percent of the population of Ghana. According to this estimate, the Ahmadiyya population would total over 2 million people. According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, there are about 2 million Ahmadis in Ghana, according to their estimates. See:
  • “Muslims express dissatisfaction with population estimates.” The latest news from Africa. The document was retrieved on April 30, 2014. Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosques may be found all over the world (ref 8). p. 70 (ref 11)
  • P. 70 (ref 12)


  1. The URL is 1118.html
  2. The abbreviation is “Field Listing: Religions.” The United Nations’ World Factbook. The Central Intelligence Agency is a government agency that collects and analyzes information. Retrieved2020-11-21
  3. s^
  4. Abcdef
  5. Abcdef The Muslims of the World: Unity and Diversity (PDF) (Report). Pew Research Center, Forum on Religious Public Life, August 9, 2012, pp. 29–31
  6. Pew Research Center, Forum on Religious Public Life, August 9, 2012, pp. 29–31
  7. Mohammad Saani and Ibrahim Saani (2011). There are other factors that are contributing to the political and social supremacy of Wahhabist Islam in Northern Ghana, including the fall of Sufism in West Africa. McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies is located in Montreal. a report entitled “Islam in Ghana – Report.” has information on the HI/OB/IINA. abTurkson, Peter-K. (December 18, 2014)
  8. AbTurkson, Peter-K. (1 October 2007). “Ghana, if Islam Turns into a Mysterious Mystery.” Oasiscenter. J. A. Braimah and J. R. Goody (J. R. Goody and J. A. Braimah) retrieved on December 19, 2014. (1969). Salaga: The Struggle for Power is a novel about a group of people who are fighting for power. p. 222
  9. Abdulai Iddrisu, Abdulai Iddrisu
  10. Historical Society of Ghana (2009). Education and Muslim Identity in Northern Ghana, 1920-2005: “Homegrown Wahhabism” as a means of contesting Islam p. 283, ISBN 9781109220643
  11. “A 300-year stay in Ghana Does Not Make You a Ghanaian,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, p. 283, ISBN 9781109220643
  12. Al-Hajj. Ghana’s capital city is Accra. On March 29, 2012, was accessed on December 17, 2014
  13. Yahaya, Tanko Ali ([email protected]) (31 July 2013). “The Zongo and Northerners Feel the Sympathy of the NDC’s Phanton.” Zongorians with a strong sense of independence. Ghana’s capital city is Accra. GhanaWeb (accessed December 17, 2014)
  14. Yahaya, Tanko Ali (accessed December 17, 2014). (5 August 2013). “Is Zongo the eleventh region?” says the narrator. Ghana’s capital city is Accra. On December 17, 2014, GhanaWeb was accessed. Fields to be filled out:, retrieved on December 29, 2012
  15. Amos Safo, retrieved on December 29, 2012. (2002). “Muslims express dissatisfaction with population estimates.” Ghanaian news from NewsFromAfrica. The original version of this article was published on May 2, 2014. December 17, 2014
  16. Retrieved December 17, 2014
  17. “International Religious Freedom Report 2006 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor,” according to the report’s authors. The United States Department of State. On December 17, 2014, John L. Esposito edited a piece titled “Ghana, Islam in.” Oxford Islamic Studies is a scholarly journal published by the University of Oxford. On the 19th of December, 2014, I was able to find this article: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosques Around the World: A Pictorial Presentation. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of the United States of America, 2008. p. 352.ISBN9781882494514
  18. Hashim, M. Ali Mahdi (PhD) (1 March 2013). “A Journey Through Islam: Muslims have fared well in Ghana,” writes the author. Saudi Arabian news, Arabic news, Arabic news. h olger Weiss (2007), “the growth of Muslim non-governmental organizations in Ghana,” retrieved on December 17, 2014. (PDF). Afua Banful ([email protected]) and Branoah Banful ([email protected]) retrieved on December 17, 2014. “Is it possible for institutions to reduce clientelism? In Ghana, a study of the District Assemblies Common Fund was conducted” (PDF). Harvard University is a prestigious institution in the United States. Statistics from the 2010 Ghana Census
  19. Ghanaat GeoHive is a geospatial information system. Atif, Laiq Ahmed, and others (2016-08-14). “The Chief Imam of Ghana addresses the Ahmadiyya Convention in the United Kingdom.” Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta is a religious organization dedicated to the spread of Ahmadiyya Islam. Retrieved2020-06-24
  20. s^ Nathan Samwini is a young man who lives in the United States (2006). Since 1950, there has been a Muslim resurgence in Ghana. Whether it has an impact on Muslims or Muslim-Christian relations is unclear. Im Dialog between Christentum und Islam Christian – Muslim Relations Series, Volume 7 of Christentum und Islam im Dialog Christian – Muslim Relations (Christentum and Islam in Dialog Christian – Muslim Relations). LIT Verlag Münster, p. 342, ISBN 9783825889913
  21. “Jamia Ahmadiyya International Ghana,” p. 342, ISBN 9783825889913
  22. “Jamia Ahmadiyya International Ghana.”, accessed April 17, 2013. December 19, 2014
  23. Retrieved December 19, 2014
  24. Steven J. Salm, Ph.D. (2002). Ghanaian culture and customs are described here. Al Sunni Muslim group has new leadership, according to Greenwood Publishing Group, p.224, ISBN 9780313320507. The Ghana News Agency (GNA) is based in Tamale. Ghana Web site, accessed June 23, 2007. “A Brief History of the Coming Together of the Ahlusunnah wal Jama’a in Ghana,” which was retrieved on December 19, 2014, may be seen here. The original version of this article was published on December 19, 2014. “Anbariya Sunni Community,” which was retrieved on December 19, 2014. “Shia Muslims in Ghana” and “Muslims in Ghana” were both retrieved on December 19, 2014. the 3rd of December, 2018

Further reading

  • According to Hanson (The Ahmadiyya in the Gold Coast: Muslim Cosmopolitans in the British Empire), published by Indiana University Press in 2017, and Ryan (Islam in Ghana: its primary impacts and the situation today), published by Indiana University Press in 2017. Skinner, David E., “Conversion to Islam and the Promotion of ‘Modern’Islamic Schools in Ghana,” Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies 28.1-2 (1996): 70–84
  • Skinner, David E., “Conversion to Islam and the Promotion of ‘Modern’Islamic Schools in Ghana,” Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies 28.1-2 (1996): 70–84
  • Skinner, David E., “Conversion to Islam and the Promotion of Journal of Religion in Africa43.4 (2013): 426–450
  • Holger Weiss, Journal of Religion in Africa43.4 (2013): 426–450. From 1900 to 1930, variations in the colonial depiction of Islam and Muslims in Northern Ghana were observed and documented. Ivor Wilks’ Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs25.1 (2005): 73–95
  • Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs25.1 (2005): 73–95
  • Wilks, Ivor. “Growth of Islamic study in Ghana,” says the author. 409–417 (Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Volume 2, Number 4, 1963).online

External links

  • Muslims have expressed dissatisfaction with population estimates. Amon Salo is a fictional character created by author Amon Salo. International Religious Freedom Report Ghana 2006
  • Feb 2002
  • International Religious Freedom Report Ghana 2006. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the United States

How did Islam first reach Ghana?

Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, great monarchs arose in West Africa, in a region known as Wagadu, and consolidated their control. The term Ghana was adopted by Muslim traders to describe this great country. Royalty was lavishly compensated in the realm. The term “ghana” comes from the Arabic language and means “gold” or “wealth.” It should be here soon. Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, great monarchs arose in West Africa, in a region known as Wagadu, and consolidated their control.

Royalty was lavishly compensated in the realm.

Due to the presence of gold and salt in the kingdom, merchants were willing to travel long distances across the Sahara Desert to do business.

Historically, Arab traders began migrating to Ghana as early as the eighth century, and they brought their religion with them as they expanded their trade and influence throughout the country, notably in its northern regions. The eNotes Editorial Team has given their approval.

The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa

The Islamization of West Africa began with the conquest of North Africa by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century CE. Islam spread throughout the region through merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries, primarily through peaceful means, as African rulers either tolerated the religion or converted to it. Islam spread throughout the region through merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries. As a result of this, Islam expanded in and around the Sahara Desert. In addition, the faith came in East Africa when Arab traders crossed the Red Sea and established along the Swahili Coast in a second wave of migration after that.

Supporters of traditional African beliefs such as animism and fetish, spirit and ancestor worship, as well as supporters of traditional African beliefs such as ancestor worship, shown sometimes violent opposition.

(Creative Commons BY-NC-SA) Although Islam spread slowly and quietly for at least six centuries in areas where there were economic ties with the larger Muslim world, particularly in the southern Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea, the religion continued to spread peacefully and gradually.

With religion came the introduction of new ideas, particularly in the fields of administration, law, architecture, and a variety of other facets of everyday life.

A Note on Islam

The rise of Islam in Africa was characterized by much more than only the transmission and adoption of religious concepts, it is maybe worth mentioning at the outset. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) General History of Africa, Islam is more than a religion; it is a comprehensive way of life that encompasses all aspects of human existence. Muslim teachings give direction in all elements of life – individual and social, material and moral (including financial), political (including economic), legal (including cultural), and national (including international).

III, page 20) Given the foregoing, it is probably more understandable why so many African kings and elites were willing to embrace a foreign religion, especially when that religion also carried with it tangible benefits in terms of governance and riches.

Geographical Spread

After the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus conquered North Africa in the second half of the 7th century CE, Islam moved from the Middle East to take root throughout the whole continent during the second half of the 7th century CE. Through Islamized Berbers (who had been either pushed or coaxed to convert) it spread throughout West Africa in the 8th century CE, traveling from the east coast into the interior of central Africa, and eventually reaching Lake Chad, where it was eradicated. Meanwhile, the religion moved down through Egypt and then swung westward across the Sudan area below the Sahara Desert, where it is still practiced today.

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Trade Routes Across the Sahara Aa77zz is an abbreviation for Aa77zz (Public Domain) Once the religion reached the savannah region, which stretches throughout Africa below the Sahara Desert, it was embraced by the governing African elites, however local beliefs and rites were frequently maintained or even incorporated into the new religion’s practices and ceremonies.

  1. In the east, the faith spread via the Mali Empire (1240-1645 CE) and the Songhai Empire (1240-1645 CE) (c.
  2. 1591 CE).
  3. 900 – c.
  4. Do you enjoy history?

Muslims in East Africa were up against stiff competition from Christians, who were firmly entrenched in Nubia and states such as the Kingdoms of Faras (also known as Nobatia), Dongola, and Alodia, as well as in the Kingdom of Axum (first – eighth centuries CE) in what is now Ethiopia, among other places.

  1. In addition, the Sultanates of Adal (1415-1577 CE) and Ajuran (1415-1577 CE) were two prominent Muslim states in the Horn of Africa during the same period (13-17th century CE).
  2. Islam achieved greater instant success on the Swahili Coast, which is farther south.
  3. As the native Bantu peoples and Arabs mingled, so did their languages, and intermarrying became popular.
  4. From the 12th century CE, when Shirazi merchants arrived from the Persian Gulf, Islam began to become more firmly entrenched in Europe.
  5. Curtin, a historian, describes it thus way: “In the end, the Muslim faith emerged as one of the most important determinants of Swahili identity.
  6. Despite the fact that Islam was a huge success on the coast, it had little effect on the peoples who lived in the interior of East Africa until the nineteenth century CE.
  7. A significant number of people were adamant in their refusal to accept this new religion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  8. In the following centuries, the Christian Portuguese came in Africa, on both the west and east coasts, where they posed a serious threat to the growth of Islamic civilization.

Kilwa has a magnificent mosque. Richard Mortel is a fictional character created by author Richard Mortel in the 1960s. Mortel’s character is based on the fictional character of the same name created by author Richard Mortel in the 1960s (Public Domain)

Reasons For Adoption

Beyond true spiritual commitment, African leaders may have recognized that adopting Islam (or seeming to do so) or at the very least tolerating it would be good to trade relations with other countries. Both Islam and trade have long been interwoven, as illustrated in this section of the UNESCO General History of Africa: Islam and Trade. A well-known truth about Islam and trade in Sub-Saharan Africa is that they go hand in hand. The Dyula, Hausa, and Dyakhanke were among the first peoples to be converted when their respective nations came into contact with Muslims since they were the most commercially engaged peoples in their respective countries.

  • Islam, a religion that originated in the commercial community of Mecca and was proclaimed by a Prophet who himself had worked as a merchant for a long period of time, presents a set of ethical and practical prescripts that are intimately tied to the conduct of business.
  • (Volume III, page 39) However, there is no indication that the kings of theGhanaEmpire themselves converted to Islam; rather, they accepted Muslim traders and Ghanaians who chose to convert during their reign.
  • Two towns existed: one was Muslim and featured 12 mosques, while the other, which was just 10 kilometers distant and connected by several intermediary structures, served as the royal home and contained many traditional cult temples, as well as a mosque for passing merchants.
  • Mansa Musa is the illustrator.
  • In the following centuries, several monarchs followed suit, most notably Mansa Musa I (r.
  • Mosques were constructed, such as Timbuktu’s Great Mosque (also known as Djinguereber or Jingereber), and Koranic schools and institutions were formed, all of which swiftly garnered international renown and prestige.
  • A clerical elite arose, many of whose members were of Sudanese descent, and many of them commonly served as missionaries, bringing Islam to the southern areas of West Africa and expanding it throughout the region.
  • In proportion to the increase of conversions, an increase in Muslim clerics from outside was recruited, resulting in the expansion of the faith throughout West Africa.

Finally, Muslim clerics were frequently of great assistance to the community in practical daily life (and thus increased the appeal of Islam) by offering prayers on demand, performing administrative tasks, providing medical advice, divining – such as the interpretation of dreams – and creating charms and amulets, among other things.

  • This might very well have been the most essential element in the adoption of the Kingdom of Kanem in the late eleventh century CE.
  • Another advantage of Islam was that it provided literacy, which was a hugely important tool for empires that relied on commerce to build their riches.
  • Carsten ten Brink is a Dutch businessman.
  • 1464-1492 CE) was vehemently anti-Muslim; however, King Mohammad I (r.

The rural inhabitants of Songhai, like their counterparts in Ghana and Mali, remained steadfastly committed to their traditional beliefs.

Accommodating Ancient African Beliefs

However, as previously said, traditional indigenous traditions continued to be practiced, particularly in rural populations, as documented by travelers such as Ibn Batuta, who visited Mali in 1352 CE. Furthermore, Islamic studies were done, at least initially, in Arabic rather than native languages, which further limited their appeal outside of the educated clerical class of towns and cities. It may have been because African rulers could not afford to completely dismiss the indigenous religious practices and beliefs that were still held by the majority of their people, and which very often elevated rulers to divine or semi-divine status, that Islam did eventually take hold, though it was a distinct variation of the Islam practiced in the Arab world.

Ancestors were still honored, and in certain places, women were given more privileges than they would have had under strictly sharia rule.

Sankore Mosque, TimbuktuRadio Raheem is a local radio personality.

Cultural Impact

Islam had tremendous influence on many elements of everyday life and society, albeit these effects varied depending on the period and region in which they occurred. The arrival of Islam resulted in a broad deterioration of the social standing of various tribes in ancient African cultures. One of the most significant losers was the metalworkers, who had long been held in magical regard by the general public due to their abilities in forging metal. A similar statement may be made about individuals who discovered and mined valuable metals such as gold and iron.

  1. Also true is that in some cases oral traditions retained their cultural integrity, and as a result, we are presented with a parallel history, such as the biographies ofSundiata Keita(r.
  2. 1230-1255 CE), the founder of the Mali Empire In various African communities, men and women’s roles have evolved in the past, with some African societies formerly granting women a more equal standing with males than was the case under Muslim legislation.
  3. Some of the more cosmetic alterations included the use of Muslim-friendly names in place of Christian names.
  4. In addition, clothing has altered, with women in particular being pushed to wear more modestly, and teenagers being encouraged to hide their nudity.
  5. However, there were slight regional variations in the religion, just as there were in the religion itself.
  6. The introduction of Islam brought with it a plethora of technological advancements, including writing, numbers, arithmetic, measures, and weights.

Along with archaeology, these writers have made significant contributions to the reconstruction of ancient Africa following the European colonial period, during which every effort was made to obliterate the history of the continent lest it conflict with the racist belief that Africa had been waiting for civilisation for eons before it was discovered.

Did you like reading this article? Prior to publication, this paper was checked for correctness, dependability, and conformance to academic standards by two independent reviewers.

The Story of Africa

West AfricaTRADEIslam first came to West Africa as a slow andpeaceful process, spread by Muslim traders and scholars. The early journeysacross the Sahara were done in stages. Goods passed through chains of Muslimtraders, purchased, finally, by local non-Muslims at the southern most end ofthe route. Inthe 5th century transporting heavy loads long distance was made much easierby the introduction of the camel to the trade routes. There were manytrading partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. Gold was the main commodity soughtby the North. Until the first half of the 13th century the kingdom of Ghana was a key trading partner with the Muslim North.WESTAFRICAN KINGDOMS: THE KINGDOM OF GHANAThe kings of Ghana in the 11th centurywere not Muslims, but Muslims played a crucial role in their government.The great Spanish scholar Al Bakri describes the king of Ghana in the11th century, Basi, as being a man who:”…led a praiseworthy life on account of hislove of justice and friendship for the Muslims…The city of Ghana consistsof two towns situated on a plain. One of these towns, inhabited by Muslims,is large and possesses twelve mosques, in one of which they assemble forthe Friday prayer.There are salaried imams and muezzins, as well as jurists and scholars.” Al Bakri, from the Book of Routes and Realms, Corpusof Early Arabic sources for West African History, Levtzion and Hopkins.Another trade route forged by Muslim traderswent from Zawila (in what today is Southern Libya) down to Bornu and Kanem.Al Bakri regarded Zawila as a very important commercial crossroads, andfrom its description it is clearly a lively and prosperous centre of Islamicfaith:”It is a town without walls and situated in themidst of the desert. It is the first point of the land of the Sudan. It hasa cathedral mosque, a bath, and markets. Caravans meet there from all directionsand from there the ways of those setting out radiate. There are palm grovesand cultivated areas which are irrigated by means of camels…”Al Bakri, from the Book of Routes and Realms, quotedin Corpus of Early Arabic sources for West African History, edited by Levtzionand Hopkins.After Zawila, carrying on directly South, traderseventually reached the Kingdom of Kanem near Lake Chad, a flourishing commercialcentres between the 9th and 14th centuries. Kanem converted to Islam in the9th century. It was later superseded by the kingdom of Borno.By the 14th century the most powerful kingdom in West Africa was Maliunder the leadership of Sundiata. One of his successors, Mansa Musa, madea celebrated hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. His retinue was so huge and luxuriouslydressed, and carrying such vast amounts of gold, that he became the talkof the Muslim world.As well as being very prosperous, Mali became a great seat of learning renownedthroughout the Muslim world.”We used to keep the Sultan company during his progress,I and Abu Ishaq al-Tuwayjin, to the exclusion of his viziers and chief men,and converse to his enjoyment. At each halt he would regale us with rare foodsand confectionery. His equipment and furnishings were carried by 12,000 privateslave women, wearing gowns of brocade and Yemeni silk.” An account of Emperor Mansa’s hajj, given to Ibn Khaldunby Al-Mu’ammar, quoted from the Muqaddima by Levtzion and Hopkins in Corpusof Early Arabic sources for West African History.ISLAMIC REFORM AND CONQUEST IN WEST AFRICABy the 14th century the ruling elite of the Hausacity states were all Muslim. They comprised Gobir (most northern), Katsina,Kano, Zazzau (the most southern), Zamfara and Kebbi.Themajority of the people did not convert until the 18th century, when a seriesof jihads were launched by the Fulbe, tired of the corrupt ways of the rulingelite.First the Muslim states of Futa Jallon (modern Guinea) and Futa Toro (southernSenegal) were established. Then the city states were conquered one by one. Thiswas accomplished by the Sokoto jihad under the leadership of Usman dan Fodio- scholar, military strategist and religious leader. Sokoto became the seatof a new Caliphate.Islam leaders spread the faith further into Yorubaland Nupe. Dan Fodio’s sonsMohammed Bello and Abdullahi took over the practical running of this great Muslimterritory.Listento the court musicians of the current Emir of Zazzau in Zaria, Northern NigeriaFIGHTING THE FRENCHThe momentum of reform was continued by UmarTal, a Tukulor scholar who conquered three Bambara kingdoms in the 1850’s-1860’s.The territory was taken by the French in the 1890’s. Another formidable enemyof the French was Samori Toure who kindled some of the glory of old Mali withhis Mandinka Empire and 30,000 strong army. He used the latest quick loadingguns, which his blacksmiths knew how to mend. After his death, his son was defeatedby the French in 1901.ISLAM AND COLONIALISM IN WEST AFRICAThe British colonial administrators had somerespect for Islam. They recognised its power to impose uniformity and spreada degree of literacy. When Queen Victoria sent two bibles to the Abeokuta mission,mindful of the spread of literacy through Koranic schools, she ensured one ofthem was in Arabic. Colonial officials who had served in Egypt, felt quite athome in the Muslim area of West Africa.In northern Nigeria, the British undertook not to interfere with the Muslimorder and exercised colonial authority through the Emirs. At the same time theydiscouraged people from going to North Africa to further their studies in theIslamic institutes of higher learning there, fearing the broadening of horizonsthis entailed would lead to a radical outlook. From 1922 onwards, Egypt enjoyedindependence and stood as an inspiration to many people in Africa still undercolonial rule.

The Spread of Islam in West Africa: Containment, Mixing, and Reform

Margari Hill is a professor at Stanford University. accessible in PDF format as of January 2009 (1.14 MB) While Islam has been present in West Africa since the seventh century, the expansion of the faith in the territories that are now the modern republics of Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria was a lengthy and difficult process that began in the Middle East and ended in the Middle East. Much of what we know about the early history of West Africa comes from medieval records written by Arab and North African geographers and historians, who were primarily concerned with the region’s geography and history.

  1. The economic objectives of some are emphasized, while the spiritual message of Islam is emphasized by others, and a number of others emphasize the prestige and impact of Arabic literacy in the process of state creation.
  2. Despite the fact that commerce between West Africa and the Mediterranean predates Islam, North African Muslims were responsible for the expansion of the Trans-Saharan trade.
  3. The trade routes Sijilmasa to Awdaghust and Ghadames to Gao, for example, connected Africa below the Sahara with the Mediterranean Middle East and were important commercial routes.
  4. The Sahel region of West Africa was the site of the development of the three major medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and the Songhay.
  5. Containment is the first stage.
  6. The historical evolution of the medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay, as well as the 19th century jihads that resulted in the foundation of the Sokoto Caliphate in Hausaland and the Umarian kingdom in Senegambia, are illuminated by this three-phase paradigm.

Containment: Ghana and the Takrur

Islamic settlements tied to the trans-Saharan commerce were the only places where Islam could be found in the early days of civilization. Al-Bakri, an Andalusian geographer who lived in the 11th century, recorded details of Arab and North African Berber communities in the region during his time. A number of causes contributed to the expansion of the Muslim merchant-scholar class in non-Muslim nations, including: Islam encouraged long-distance trade by providing merchants with a helpful set of instruments, including as contract law, credit, and communication networks.

  1. In addition to having created script, they possessed other important abilities that aided in the administration of kingdoms.
  2. Additionally, merchant-scholars played a significant role in the expansion of Islam into the forest zones.
  3. Muslim populations in the forest zones were minorities that were frequently related to trading diasporas, according to historians.
  4. Al-Hajj Salim Suwari was a Soninke scholar who focused on the responsibilities of Muslims in non-Muslim societies.
  5. This practice has been in place for generations in the forest zone, and it continues to be effective today in areas where there are active Muslim minorities.
  6. Ghana The name was chosen as a means to pay homage to early African history.
  7. Peoples such as the Soninken Malinke, the Wa’kuri, and the Wangari have lived in this region for thousands of years.

Around the year 300 A.D., large settlements began to appear in the Niger Delta region.

Merchants trading in salt, horses, dates, and camels from northern Africa and the Sahara exchanged them for gold, lumber, and food from the countries south of the Sahara, according to historians.

This gave rise to one of the key aspects of Ghana—the dual city; Ghana Kings benefitted from Muslim commerce, but kept them outside centers of authority.

Eventually, African kingdoms began to enable Muslims to integrate.

Around this time, the Almoravid reform movement began in Western Sahara and extended over contemporary Mauritania, North Africa and Southern Spain.

The Almoravid movement promoted more consistency of practice and Islamic law among West African Muslims. The Almoravids captured trade routes and posts, leading to the weakening of the Takruri state. Over the next hundred years, the empire dissolved into a number of small kingdoms.

Mixing: The Empires of Mali and Songhay

Over the next several decades, African kings came to embrace Islam despite reigning over populations of varying religious and cultural beliefs and practices. The mixing phase, as specialists refer to it, was a period in which many of these kings combined Islam with conventional and local rituals. After a period of time, the populace began to embrace Islam, typically just adopting components of the faith that they found appealing. The Mali Empire (1215-1450) arose out of a series of fighting kingdoms in West Africa.

  • It was a multi-ethnic state with a diverse range of religious and cultural organizations.
  • However, while the empire’s founder, Sunjiata Keita, was not himself a Muslim, Mali’s rulers converted to Islam by 1300.
  • He established Islam as the official religion of the country and traveled on a pilgrimage from Mali to Mecca in 1324.
  • According to reports, his spending depreciated the value of gold in Egypt for a number of years.
  • By the fifteenth century, however, Mali had essentially disintegrated as a result of internal dissension and warfare with the Saharan Tuareg.
  • Hausaland was made up of a series of city-states that were connected by a network of roads (Gobir, Katsina, Kano, Zamfara, Kebbi and Zazzau).
  • During the ninth century, the state adopted Islam as its religion.

Northern Nigeria today includes most of Hausaland and Bornu in the east, as well as the rest of the country.

The kings of Hausaland followed in the footsteps of the rulers of prior Muslim republics in blending indigenous traditions with Islam.

Despite the fact that Islam was the official state religion, the vast majority of the populace continued to adhere to their traditional religious beliefs.

In the period 1465-1492, Sonni Ali, the ruler of the country, punished Muslim academics, particularly those who denounced pagan rites and practices.

Two centuries later, the kingdom of Gao re-emerged as the Songhay Empire, bringing the kingdom back to life.

Under the reign of King Songhay (1493-1529), the Songhay’s territory grew well beyond the bounds of any previous West African empire.

One famous example is the Great Mosque of Jenne, which was constructed in the 12th or 13th centuries and is still standing today.

By the 16th century, the Niger Bend area was home to various centers of commerce and Islamic study, the most famous of which was the fabled city of Timbuktu.

Timbuktu was established as a trade station by the Tuareg.

In 1325, the city had a population of around 10,000 people.

Timbuktu drew academics from all across the Muslim world to attend its conferences.

The Songhay Empire came to an end in 1591, when Morocco captured the realm.

As a result of the dispersal of merchant scholars from Timbuktu and other major learning centers, learning institutions were transferred from urban-based merchant families to rural pastoralists throughout the Sahara.

A mystical Sufi brotherhood organization began to expand over this region somewhere during the 12th and 13th centuries.

In African Muslim civilizations, Sufi organizations played an important role in the social order and the propagation of Islam throughout the continent, and this continued far into the twentieth century.

Reform in the Nineteenth Century: Umarian Jihad in Senegambia and the Sokoto Caliphate in Hausaland

The jihad activities of the nineteenth century are the clearest example of the third phase in the growth of Islam in West Africa. During this time period, experts have emphasized the manner in which literate Muslims grew increasingly aware of Islamic theology and began to seek reforms on the part of the leadership. Historically significance because it symbolizes the transition from Muslim communities that practiced Islam in conjunction with “pagan” ceremonies and customs to cultures that fully embraced Islamic ideals and created Shariah (Islamic Law).

Mauritania was the site of the first known jihad in West Africa, which occurred around the 17th century.

Nasir al-Din, a scholar, was the leader of an unsuccessful jihad known as Sharr Bubba.

In 1802, a Fulani scholar named Uthman Dan Fodio took the initiative and launched a massive jihad.

Because of this movement, there has been a consolidation of power within the Muslim community, as well as educational and legal changes.

His progeny carried on his legacy of literary creativity and educational reform into the modern day.

One famous example was the jihad of al Hajj Umar Tal, a Tukulor from the Senegambia area, who was killed in the course of his mission.

His conquests of three Bambara kingdoms took place during the 1850s and the 1860s.

Despite the fact that the French were in charge of the territory, colonial authorities faced a powerful adversary.

Following his death, French soldiers beat Toure’s son in a battle that took place in 1901.

Despite the fact that European forces were responsible for the fall of the Umarian state and the Sokoto Caliphate, colonial domination did little to prevent Islam from spreading over West Africa.

Sokoto Caliphate came to an end in 1903 when British soldiers invaded and annexed the region.

Contrary to colonial officials’ hopes and dreams, colonialism had far-reaching consequences for the Muslim society of Northern Nigeria.

Thus, Islam began to grow swiftly in new urban centers and regions, such as Yoruba land, as a result of this.

Despite the fact that Muslims lost political authority, Muslim communities made great strides throughout West Africa during the first decades of the twentieth century.

The trans-Saharan commerce route served as a key conduit for the spread of Islam throughout Africa.

Muslim communities have flourished in West Africa for more than a millennium, demonstrating that Islam is a substantial component of the continent’s cultural and religious environment.

  • InTimeline of Art History (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. 2001), “Western Sudan, 500–1000 AD.”
  • “Western and Central Sudan, 1000–1400 AD.”
  • “Western and Central Sudan, 1600–1800 AD.”
  • “Western and Central Sudan, 1600–1800 A.D.”
  • “Western and Central Muslim Societies in the History of Africa. Nehemia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels’ book, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2004, is a classic (eds). The History of Islam in Africa is a fascinating subject. Spencer Trimingham’s History of Islam in West Africa was published by Ohio University Press in Athens, Ohio, in 2000. Oxford University Press, 1962
  • New York: Oxford University Press, 1962

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