How Did Islam Spread To West Africa? (Question)

Islam first came to West Africa as a slow and peaceful process, spread by Muslim traders and scholars. There were many trading partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. Gold was the main commodity sought by the North. Until the first half of the 13th century the kingdom of Ghana was a key trading partner with the Muslim North.

  • Islam also spread into West Africa through the activities of Muslim clerics, marabouts and scholars or mallams. These clerics or learned men founded their own religious centres which attracted students from all parts of the Western Sudan and who on the completion of their studies and training went back to their own homes to win converts.


Why did Islam spread so quickly in West Africa?

Another major reason that led to the rapid spread of Islam in West Africa was the trans-Saharan trade network. From the seventh century onwards, Muslim traders from the Maghreb and the Sahara started settling first in some of the market centres in the Sahel and then in the Savanna areas.

How did Islam spread to West Africa quizlet?

Islam would spread to West Africa by trade. The Mali king, Mansa Musa, followed Islam. He even undertook a Hajj and it was over a 3000 mile journey.

When did Islam enter West Africa?

Islam gained momentum during the 10th century in West Africa with the start of the Almoravid dynasty movement on the Senegal River and as rulers and kings embraced Islam. Islam then spread slowly in much of the continent through trade and preaching.

How did Islam influence 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 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.

Under which Empire did Islam spread through West Africa?

Mansa Musa spread islam religion and education throughout West Africa. He was part of the Mali empire.

What was influenced by Islam quizlet?

The Islamic world was greatly influence by the Greek, Persian, and Indian societies in areas of mathematics, literacy, and science but also Islam itself influenced other societies by showing them the Islam religion which many adopted.

How did the spread of Islam affect African slavery quizlet?

The spread of Islam into Africa during the seventh century, however, ushered in an increase in slavery and the slave trade. Muslim rulers in Africa justified enslavement with the Muslim belief that non-Muslim prisoners of war could be bought and sold as slaves.

How did Islam spread in Nigeria?

Islam was introduced to Nigeria through two geographical routes: North Africa and the Senegalese Basin. The origins of Islam in the country is linked with the development of Islam in the wider West Africa. Trade was the major connecting link that brought Islam into Nigeria.

How did Islam spread to North 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.

What happened to religion in West Africa when Islam was 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 was Islam spread?

Islam spread through military conquest, trade, pilgrimage, and missionaries. Arab Muslim forces conquered vast territories and built imperial structures over time. The caliphate—a new Islamic political structure—evolved and became more sophisticated during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates.

How did Islam Impact Nigeria?

Islam has also contributed in many ways to Nigeria’s development, notably in providing the sources to organize politics and society, fostering community cohesion, and creating an ideology of change. Nigeria cannot be understood without Islam. The areas of intersection between Islam and politics are significant.

How did Islam affect East Africa?

As in North Africa, trade was a powerful strand in the conversion of people to Islam. East Africa offered gold, ivory and slaves, and later on very fine woven cotton. In return, traders from the East and Persian Gulf brought textiles, spices, porcelain and other finished goods.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Sahel region of West Africa was the site of the development of the three major medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and the Songhay.

Containment is the first stage.

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.

  • In addition to having created script, they possessed other important abilities that aided in the administration of kingdoms.
  • Additionally, merchant-scholars played a significant role in the expansion of Islam into the forest zones.
  • Muslim populations in the forest zones were minorities that were frequently related to trading diasporas, according to historians.
  • Al-Hajj Salim Suwari was a Soninke scholar who focused on the responsibilities of Muslims in non-Muslim societies.
  • 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.
  • Ghana The name was chosen as a means to pay homage to early African history.
  • 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 Ghana’s most distinctive characteristics: the dual city; Ghana’s Kings benefitted from Muslim commerce while keeping them outside the country’s political centre.

African kingdoms eventually began to enable Muslims to enter into their societies.

Around this time, the Almoravid reform movement began in the Western Sahara and spread over modern-day Mauritania, North Africa, and Southern Spain, among other places.

Muslims in West Africa benefited from the Almoravid revolution, which brought greater consistency of practice and Islamic law to their communities.

The Takruri realm was weakened as a result of the Almoravids’ conquest of trade routes and fortified fortifications. It would take more than a hundred years for the empire to disintegrate into a collection of minor 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 devalued 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.
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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).

  1. Mauritania was the site of the first known jihad in West Africa, which occurred around the 17th century.
  2. Nasir al-Din, a scholar, was the leader of an unsuccessful jihad known as Sharr Bubba.
  3. In 1802, a Fulani scholar named Uthman Dan Fodio took the initiative and launched a massive jihad.
  4. Because of this movement, there has been a consolidation of power within the Muslim community, as well as educational and legal changes.
  5. His progeny carried on his legacy of literary creativity and educational reform into the modern day.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

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.

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.

  • 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).
  • Islam achieved greater instant success on the Swahili Coast, which is farther south.
  • As the native Bantu peoples and Arabs mingled, so did their languages, and intermarrying became popular.
  • From the 12th century CE, when Shirazi merchants arrived from the Persian Gulf, Islam began to become more firmly entrenched in Europe.
  • Curtin, a historian, describes it thus way: “In the end, the Muslim faith emerged as one of the most important determinants of Swahili identity.
  • 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.
  • A significant number of people were adamant in their refusal to accept this new religion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  • 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.
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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.

  1. This might very well have been the most essential element in the adoption of the Kingdom of Kanem in the late eleventh century CE.
  2. 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.
  3. Carsten ten Brink is a Dutch businessman.
  4. 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Some of the more cosmetic alterations included the use of Muslim-friendly names in place of Christian names.
  • In addition, clothing has altered, with women in particular being pushed to wear more modestly, and teenagers being encouraged to hide their nudity.
  • However, there were slight regional variations in the religion, just as there were in the religion itself.
  • 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.

Islam’s Spread in West Africa – Video & Lesson Transcript

Jessica Whittemore is the instructor. Include a biography Jessica has experience as a history teacher in both junior high and collegiate settings. She holds a Master’s degree in instructional education. The religion of Islam, which is considered sacred by Muslims, was brought to West Africa by an African Islamic clan known as the ‘Berbers,’ who traded in the region and brought the faith with them. Learn more about the establishment of the trans-Saharan caravan trade and the subsequent entrance of the Islamic faith in the region.

Spread of Islam

When we conceive of a people group adopting to a new faith, we often imagine missionaries traveling through jungles in search of previously undiscovered people groups to convert. Once they arrive, the missionaries begin to share their religion in a methodical and deliberate manner. The people group then decides whether or not to adopt the new faith or whether or not to expel the missionaries. Although this scenario has played out in some parts of the world, it is in no way representative of how Islam, a religion based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, spread throughout West Africa and the rest of the world.

In other words, rather than being premeditated and immediate, it was a result of a series of circumstances.


It is worth explaining that somewhere during the 8th and 9th centuries, North African Islamic Arabs known as Berbers began making their way into what is now known as West Africa. The Berbers, who traveled by camel, took with them items such as silk and salt in the hopes that West Africans would be eager to exchange them for gold when they arrived. However, the West Africans were more than eager to part with some of their gold, and the trans-Saharan caravan trade, which was established to link the Saharan area to the rest of the globe, came into being shortly thereafter.

In this period, the dunes of the West African desert transformed into a type of super highway, with products flowing in and out of the region at a frantic pace.

Just think just how much they could transport!

In place of this, it was the Islamic faith, which the Berbers brought with them, that had a lasting impact on the inhabitants of West Africa.


Now, as we already stated, the conversion of the area to Islam did not take place overnight. It wasn’t as if the Berbers arrived preaching and all of a sudden entire communities were converted to Islamic faith. Instead, it was a slow and steady process. As a matter of fact, historical reports indicate that West African rulers attempted to control the spread of Islam at first by ordering that Islamic communities remain distinct from West African populations.

However, as a result of the enormous migration of Arabs into the area, this turned out to be a fruitless endeavor.

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Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 3 of 3): The Empires of Kanem-Bornu and Hausa-Fulani Land, Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 2 of 3): The Empires of Mali and Songhay, Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 1 of 3): The Empire of Ghana

In the 13th century, the kingdom of Kanem-Bornu encompassed the territory surrounding Lake Chad, extending as far north as Fezzan. Kanem is now a part of the Republic of Chad’s northern region, which is known as Kanem. Islam was embraced for the first time by the monarch of Kanem, Umme-Jilmi, who reigned between 1085 and 1097 C.E., through a scholar called Muhammad B. Mani, who is credited with introducing Islam to Kanem-Bornu. Umme-Jilmi was the ruler of Kanem between 1085 and 1097 C.E. Umme-Jilmi converted to Islam and became a committed Muslim.

  • The Umayyad exiles who had escaped from Baghdad following efforts to exterminate their dynasty at the hands of the Abbasids, according to Al-Bakri, were settled in Kanem at the time of the publication of his work.
  • The pilgrimage of Umme’s son Dunama I (1092-1150), who was crowned in Egypt while sailing at Suez for Makkah on the third pilgrimage tour, was also an important event in Umme’s life.
  • (d.
  • In Cairo, the Madrasah Ibn Rashiq College and Hostel, both of which were constructed at the same period, were both named after the same person.
  • By the middle of the 13th century, Kanem had established diplomatic connections with Tuat (in the Algerian Sahara), as well as with the Hafsid power of Tunis, at the level of a diplomatic mission.
  • This is supported by a letter written by the Chief scribe of the Kanem court, which dates from 1391 to 1392 and was written by the Chief scribe of the Kanem court.
  • It is stated that Dunama II opened a Talisman (Munni or Mune), which was regarded sacred by his people, and as a result, his people suffered a time of famine and misery.

Dunama, also known as ‘Ali Ghazi, constructed a new capital for the Kanem kingdom in Bornu at Nigazaragamu, which served as the empire’s administrative center from 1476 until 1503.

‘Ali was instrumental in reviving Islam.

He used to pay a visit to the head Imam, ‘Umar Masramba, in order to learn more about Islamic legal systems and practices.

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Bornu has been Islamized since the reign of Mai Idris Alooma, according to historical records (1570-1602).

On a visit to Makkah in the ninth year of his reign, he established a hostel for pilgrims from Bornu, which was dedicated to him.

In addition, he established Qadhis courts in order to replace the previous system of customary law with Islamic legislation.

He constructed a significant number of brick mosques to replace the reed mosques that had previously existed. The glories of the Empire of Bornu came to an end in 1810, under the reign of Mai Ahmad, but the empire’s role as a center of Islamic scholarship endured.

Islam in Hausa-Fulani land

In Hausa folklore, the founding of the Hausa state is credited to a man named Bayajida (also known as Bayazid), who traveled from Begh to Kanem-Bornu and established a permanent settlement there. While the governing Mai of Bornu at the time (we do not have any information about the time period) welcomed Bayajida and married him off to his daughter, the ruling Mai of Bornu at the same time expelled him and his countless followers from the kingdom. He and his wife escaped from the Mai and made their way to Gaya Mai Kano, where he enlisted the help of a local jeweler to manufacture a sword for him.

  • It is stated that the queen, Daura, chose him as her husband as a gesture of gratitude for his devotion to the people.
  • In addition to Bawo, he had seven sons, who were the founding fathers of the Hausa states.
  • Whatever the merits of this account, it is an attempt to explain how the Hausa language and culture expanded throughout Nigeria’s northern states.
  • Approximately 40 Wangarawa graders are reported to have traveled to Kano under the time of ‘Ali Yaji, who governed the region between 1349 and 1385.
  • A mosque was erected, and a muedthin (one who calls to prayer) was selected to offer the adthan (call to prayer), as well as a judge who would make religious judgments on behalf of the community.
  • By the time Muhammad Rumfa (1453-1499) came to power in Kano, Islam had established itself as a stronghold.
  • Muhammad Rumfa sought advice from Muslim scholars on matters pertaining to administration.

The book, which is known as The Obligation of the Princes, is a well-known and appreciated masterwork.

The majority of pilgrims from Makkah would make their way to Katsina.

Muhammadu Dan Marina and Muhammadu Dan Masina (d.

The literature of Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, his brother Abdullahi, and his son Muhammad Bello, written towards the end of the 18th century, talks of the syncretic customs of the Hausa Fulanis at the time of their writing.

It is due to a variety of circumstances, including historical, geographical, and psychological considerations as well as the dispersion of Muslim communities that Islam has expanded throughout Africa, some of which we have attempted to detail in this article.

From the beginning of the movement’s expansion, Africans have dominated the ranks of its intellectuals. Islam has established itself as an African religion and has inspired its adherents in a variety of ways.

western Africa – Muslims in western Africa

Around the year 1000CE, a decent corpus of materials for the writing of western African history begins to become widely available. Three centuries previously, the Arabs had finished their conquest of Africa north of the Sahara, putting them in control of the northern termini of trade routes that connected the continent to the rest of the world via the Sahara desert. The thriving school of geographers and historians that flourished in the Muslim world from approximately the 9th to the 14th centuries gained access to increasing amounts of information about what they called thebild al-sdn, the territory of the Black peoples south of the Sahara, as the Islamic world grew in sophistication.

  • Due to their scorn for non-Islamic communities, the Muslim authors were unable to pass on much of what they must have understood about the organization of pagan Black civilizations, preferring instead to concentrate on and criticize what they perceived to be their most grotesque deviations.
  • The first eyewitness description of western Africa is most likely that of the globe travelerIbn Baah, who traveled through western Sudan in 1352–53 and wrote about his experiences.
  • In reality, only the northern marches were part of Theirbild al-sdn.
  • In spite of the fact that they had significant towns and cities that were supported by a developed agriculture, it is clear that the organization of the more northernly western African peoples was not entirely tribal from the start of Arab contact to the present day.
  • To tax commerce and collect tribute from agricultural communities, kings, whose claim to power was based on ancestry from the fabled divine founding ancestors of their ethnic groups, used bodies of retainers who supplied them with armed force as well as a hierarchical structure of officials.
  • Certainly, the Islamic system of administration and control of trade, cities, and government in western Africa grew increasingly prevalent.
  • It was in two large western African kingdoms that early Muslim attention was concentrated: Kanem, in the east, north of Lake Chad; andGhana (modern-day Ghana), in the extreme west, near the borders of modern-day Mauritania and Mali.

Despite this, ancient Ghana (not to be mistaken with its modern-day namesake, which is located substantially further south and east) had already achieved levels of organization that presupposed several centuries of continued growth.

Ab Ubayd al-Bakr, a Córdoban geographer who lived in the middle of the 11th century, wrote a detailed description of the city’s capital, court, and trade.

There were six miles between their respective centers, and the entire land in between had been developed to some extent.

Several indicators of riches and power were visible at the court, and the monarch was supported by a large number of satellite rulers under his command.

One of the most important aspects of this commerce was the exchange of gold for salt, which Ghana’s own merchants brought in from areas to the south.

According to archaeology, al-depiction Bakr’s is largely accurate.

Ghana’s status as a gold-producing country probably contributed to the comparatively high level of Muslim interest in the country.

Several more western African kingdoms were likely in existence at this time, but the Muslim sources include little information about them other than their names and approximate positions in the region.

A second possibility is that Malel, located to the south of Ghana, served as a prototypical state for the later Mande kingdom of Mali, which would eventually eclipse and swallow Ghana itself.

To begin, they are said to have arisen as a result of an invasion of agricultural terrain by pastoralists from the Sahara who belonged to the Libyan Amazigh clans, who spoke a non-Semitic language and were the dominant group in North Africa before to the conquest of the region by Arabs.

In the period from about the 15th century until the present, many of these narratives were recorded by local authors who wrote in Arabic and were Muslims, and who so had an incentive to link the history of their peoples with that of North Africa and the neighboring Middle East, among other things.

  1. Therefore, the “Hamitic theory,” according to which all advancement and development among agricultural Blacks was the product of invasion or infiltration by pastoralists from northern and northeastern Africa, came to be accepted as fact.
  2. There can be little question that over the millennia, pastoralists from the Sahara have marched and conquered their way southward from their homeland in Africa.
  3. Also difficult to comprehend is how migratory desert pastoral communities could be successful carriers of ideas and institutions from the established civilization of the Nile valley to other agricultural territories in western Africa, despite their geographical mobility.
  4. Some early western African traditions can certainly be interpreted in this way, as can some contemporary traditions.
  5. From at least 4000bce, there is archaeological evidence for the development of a cattle-herding and agricultural economy among a mixed population of Libyan Imazighen and Black agricultural peoples (now known as Arn) in the Sahara.
  6. This exodus of people, which took place between about 8000 and 2000 BCE, is thought to have been caused by the desiccation of the Sahara and the evolution of the current desert.

In favourable riverine or lacustrine environments, it seems reasonable to assume that the same desire to avoid conflicts over land and water rights, as well as to control and exploit agricultural surpluses, that had led to the dramatic kingship and civilization of the pharaohs in an exceptionally fertile but extremely constrained environment such as the Nile valley, should have occasioned the evolution of similar if less spectacular monarchies.

To be sure, the major western African monarchies known to the Arabs by approximately 1000cewere not located in the well-watered lands along theSénégalandNigervalleys or aroundLake Chadbut rather north of these, in the less-favored agricultural territory between them and the southern edges of the Sahara, as is commonly assumed today.

The western African kingdoms had their own iron resources, which were in some cases being exploited by about 500bce, but they also imported other metals, notably copper, as well as horses, luxury goods, and—above all—salt, which was a vital commodity that was scarce throughout western Africa, with the exception of the coastlands, by this time.

  1. The movement of such goods across the Sahara dates back to pre-historic periods, maybe even before the foundation of the present desert.
  2. Historians such as Herodotus and other classical authors, as well as rock carvings found in the desert, have documented that horse-drawn chariots were in use in the Sahara by around 500 BCE.
  3. It is possible, however, that North Africans were interested in the alluvial gold found in the upper Niger and Sénégal rivers, as evidenced by the fact that the engravings are distributed along two main lines, from the Fezzan and southern Morocco to the upper Niger and Sénégal rivers.
  4. Despite this journey, the Carthaginians do not appear to have been successful in establishing a regular marine trading route between Europe and western Africa.

In the southern fringes of the Sahara, the profits to be made from distributing Saharan and Mediterranean produce in western Africa, as well as from controlling the collection and export of the western African commodities that were exchanged for them, must have been a powerful factor in encouraging the kings of communities on the southern fringes of the Sahara to expand their rule by conquest over adjacent similar communities.

Control over larger regions meant that, via tribute and taxation, they could amass larger stores of commodities for barter with North Africa and the Sahara, as well as more customers and slaves, allowing them to expand their authority at the cost of their neighbours and expand their empire.

That the dominance of the ancient Ghanaian monarchs, who controlled the gold export from the Sénégal and Niger valleys, was consolidated in this manner may be assumed with some degree of certainty.

The states of the Sudan

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