When Was Islam Introduced To Africa? (Best solution)

Islam came to root along the East African coast some time in the 8th century, as part of a continuing dialogue between the people on the East coast and traders from the Persian Gulf and Oman. Like early Christianity, Islam was monotheistic, that is, Muslims worship only one God.

What are the effects of Islam on Africa?

  • Islam had an enormous influence on West Africa because it lead to trading, education, language, decorative arts, and much more. Islam affected many areas in West Africa. It changed how people practiced religion, and new ideas about government and law.

How did Islam spread through 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.

Which African country first accepted Islam?

The Spread of Islam in West Africa First, Islam spread into the regions West of the Niger Bend (Senegambia, Mali ), then into Chad region and finally into Hausaland. According to some Arabic sources the first Black ruler to embrace Islam was the King of Gao who had done so by 1009.

Who brought religion to Africa?

In the 15th century Christianity came to Sub-Saharan Africa with the arrival of the Portuguese. In the South of the continent the Dutch founded the beginnings of the Dutch Reform Church in 1652. In the interior of the continent most people continued to practice their own religions undisturbed until the 19th century.

What is the original religion of Africa?

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.

What country did Islam originate?

Islam started in Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, during the time of the prophet Muhammad’s life. Today, the faith is spreading rapidly throughout the world.

Who brought Islam 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.

How did Islam came to Ghana?

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.

What was the first religion in Africa before Christianity?

Polytheism was widespreaded in most of ancient African and other regions of the world, before the introduction of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. An exception was the short-lived monotheistic religion created by Pharaoh Akhenaten, who made it mandatory to pray to his personal god Aton (see Atenism).

When did slavery start in Africa?

The transatlantic slave trade began during the 15th century when Portugal, and subsequently other European kingdoms, were finally able to expand overseas and reach Africa. The Portuguese first began to kidnap people from the west coast of Africa and to take those they enslaved back to Europe.

What was the very first religion?

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years.

When was Islam founded?

The start of Islam is marked in the year 610, following the first revelation to the prophet Muhammad at the age of 40. Muhammad and his followers spread the teachings of Islam throughout the Arabian peninsula.

What group spread Islam to Africa?

Fulanis and the Southern Saharan Sanhaja Berbers also played a prominent role in the spread of Islam in the Niger Delta region. Large towns emerged in the Niger Delta region around 300 A.D. Around the eighth century, Arab documents mentioned ancient Ghana and that Muslims crossed the Sahara into West Africa for trade.

Who is the God of Africa?

There is no single God of Africa, as each region has its own supreme God and other Gods and Goddesses based on their practices. In different countries of Africa, there are different Gods and Goddesses from different African mythologies that are worshipped.

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.
You might be interested:  What Does The Word "islam" Mean?

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.

History of Islam in Africa

Islam’s expansion into Africa began in the northern hemisphere. By the time of the prophet’s death, Islam had established a strong foothold in Egypt. However, this was not the first Islamic community to establish itself in Africa. In truth, Islam had first been brought to what is now known as Ethiopia, when around two dozen Muslims first arrived around 614 to seek refuge from religious persecution, according to historical records. Contrary to popular belief, this is one of the few regions in Northern Africa where Islam has never developed a significant foothold.

Islam brought with it the Arabic language, and as a result, Arabic is the primary language spoken among North Africans.

Into West Africa

In the Mediterranean world, North Africa has historically served as a focal point for commerce. However, it was able to retain trading links with West African countries, particularly Mali, despite the tough terrain of the Sahara Desert. Islam expanded throughout the world through these trading routes. With time, West Africa would come to be known as a land of enormous riches, both commercially and spiritually. Mansa Musa of Mali, the richest man in the 14th century and, probably, in all of history, was a staunch supporter of Islam and a strong proponent of the religion.

West Africa benefited from the trading routes since they carried knowledge with them.

A depiction of Mansa Musa, king of Mali and a vocal supporter of Islam.

The expansion of the faith was not without limits. Islam remained a religion of merchants for the foreseeable future. Where the commerce channels came to a halt, Islam came to an end. As a result, the deepest regions of Africa’s rainforests were mostly undisturbed by Islamic expansion during this period.

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

Stanford University’s Margari Hill Downloadable in PDF format as of January 2009. (1.14 MB) The existence of Islam in West Africa dates back to the seventh century, but it was a long and difficult process to expand the faith throughout the region that is now home to the modern countries of Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria. In the Middle Ages, Arab and North African geographers and historians recorded their observations on West Africa’s early history, which has provided us with a wealth of information about its early past.

  • 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 construction.
  • Despite the fact that commerce between West Africa and the Mediterranean predates Islam, North African Muslims were instrumental in expanding the Trans-Saharan trade network.
  • The trade routes Sijilmasa to Awdaghust and Ghadames to Gao, for example, connected Africa below the Sahara with the Mediterranean Middle East and were quite important.
  • The Sahel region of West Africa was the setting for the development of the three major medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and the Songhay.

African kings kept Muslim influence under control by segregating Muslim communities in the first stage; in the second stage, African rulers blended Islam with local traditions as the population selectively appropriated Islamic practices; and finally, in the third stage, African Muslims pressed for reforms in an effort to rid their societies of mixed practices and implement Shariah; and finally, in the fourth stage, African Muslims pressed for reforms in an effort to rid their societies of mixed practices and implement Shariah This three-phase approach contributes to the understanding of 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, respectively.

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).

  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.
You might be interested:  How Many Gods Are There In Islam? (Solved)

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.

  • In the history of Islam in West Africa, it is the jihad activities of the nineteenth century that most reflect the third phase of growth. Over the course of this time, scholars have focused on the ways in which literate Muslims grew increasingly aware of Islamic theology and began to seek reforms. Historically significant because it reflects the transition from Muslim communities that practiced Islam in conjunction with “pagan” ceremonies and customs to cultures that fully embraced Islamic ideals and formed Shariah. The roots of the 19th-century West African jihads have been a source of discussion among scholars for centuries. While in Mauritania during the 17th century, there was a well-documented jihadist uprising. There were two branches of Mauritanian society at the time: scholar and warrior lines. During the Islamic uprising known as Sharr Bubba, the scholar Nasir al-Din was in charge. In contrast to the failed jihad in Mauritania, the jihad movements in Senegambia and Hausaland (in what is now northern Nigeria) during the nineteenth century were successful in overthrowing the established order and transforming the ruling and landowning classes of their respective countries and territories. During the year 1802, a Fulani scholar named Uthman Dan Fodio organized a massive jihad against the Portuguese. Uthman Dan Fodio toppled the Hausa rulers of the region and installed Fulani emirs in their places, with the assistance of a strong Fulani cavalry and Hausa peasants. A concentration of authority among Muslims, educational reforms, and changes in the legislation were all the result of the movement. By publishing religious works in Arabic script that featured both Arabic texts and vernacular written in Arabic script, Uthman Dan Fodio contributed to a literary resurgence as well. In addition to literary creativity and educational reform, his heirs perpetuated the legacy. In the region, the movement of Uthman Dan Fodio has inspired a number of jihads. As one noteworthy example, al Hajj Umar Tal, a Tukulor from the Senegambia area, led a jihad against the British Empire. The Tijani Sufi order in West Africa claimed that Umar Tal, who had returned on a pilgrimage in the 1850s, had been granted spiritual authority over the group. He captured three Bambara kingdoms during the 1850s and the 1860s. Following Tal’s defeat by the French at M├ędine in 1857, and the subsequent defeat of his son in the 1880s, Tal’s supporters fled westward, expanding the power of the Tijani order over Northern Nigeria and the Middle East. A powerful opponent confronted colonial authorities despite the fact that the French held control of the territory. A 30,000-strong army led by Samori Toure rose up against the French and captured the French capital. In 1901, Toure’s son was defeated by French forces after his father’s death. The French colonization of Senegal compelled the ultimate evolution of Islamic practice, with heads of Sufi organizations becoming friends with colonial authorities as a result of the French rule. However, despite the fact that European forces were responsible for the fall of the Umarian kingdom and the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate, colonial administration had little effect on the growth of Islam in Western Africa. During their invasion of the Sokoto Caliphate in 1897, the British utilized anti-slavery rhetoric to gain support. During the British invasion of Sokoto in 1903, the Sokoto Caliphate came to end. Northern Nigerian emirs served as a check on colonial rulers’ attempts to maintain the existing social order in the region. Contrary to colonial rulers’ hopes and expectations, colonialism had far-reaching consequences on the Muslim community of Northern Nigeria. Greater interaction amongst Muslim communities was fostered by modern communication and transportation facilities. Thus, Islam began to grow swiftly in new urban centers and regions, such as Yoruba land, as a result. The Islamic religion spread at rates that were significantly larger than in previous centuries in the French Sudan. Muslim communities made fast strides in West Africa throughout the early twentieth century, despite the fact that Muslims had lost governmental authority. In this region, the historical growth of Islam may be traced through the three stages of confinement, mixing, and reform. A significant entryway for the growth of Islam in Africa was the trans-Saharan commerce route. Present-day Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria, as well as a number of bordering communities, are still grappling with the legacy of medieval empires and nineteenth-century reform efforts. Islam has been practiced by Muslim communities throughout West Africa for over a millennium, demonstrating that Islam is a substantial element of the African cultural environment.

The History of Islam in East Africa

History of Islam in East Africa dates back to around 1,000 years before the present. Until the mid-20th century, it remained primarily restricted to the coast and was intimately associated with the history of the Swahili cities that dotted the landscape along that coastline. The Swahili language continues to be important to many East African Muslims, as seen by the phrase “Swahili Islam,” which is encountered from time to time. East African Muslims are predominantly Shafiites, while some are also members of Sufi orders, particularly the Qadiriyya and Shadhiliyya.

  • Initial promises of equality for all religions under a secular system were made by the sovereign nation-states of the area.
  • This circumstance has resulted in the growth of Islamic preaching and activism groups, which have been bolstered by greater interaction with congregations in other parts of the Indian Ocean.
  • Atrocities were committed in Kenya by Islamist terrorists motivated by Somalia during the decade that followed the 2010 election.
  • Nonetheless, peaceful cohabitation between Muslims and adherents of other religions continues to be the norm in East Africa, despite the fact that the mechanics of this coexistence are sometimes poorly understood.

Islam in Africa

The religion of Islam was founded in the Arabian city of Mecca about the year 610 A.D. by its prophet Muhammad, who lived and worked there. Several hundred years after Muhammad’s death in 632, his teachings were spread throughout Africa by Arab traders, settlers, and warriors. Islam flourished over North Africa, into the eastern Horn of Africa, and even across the Sahara Desert into West Africa, mostly by conversion and invasion. In such places, Islam had a huge effect on the political and social development of the people who lived there, and it continues to be a prominent force in the continent today.


Islam originally established itself on the continent throughout the 600s and 700s. By conquering armies, it was taken to Egypt and North Africa, and it was transported down the East African coast by traders and merchants.

Until around 800, Muslims did not come into contact with people in West Africa, and the religion expanded more slowly there than it did in the eastern portion of the continent.

Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia

In 639, an Arab force of around 4,000 men invaded Egypt, which at the time was under the jurisdiction of the Byzantine Empire. The invasion was a success. It was this Muslim force that was successful in pushing the Byzantines out of Egypt and installing their own ruler, known as the emir, in spite of its tiny size. Soon after, the Arabs continued to advance south down theNILE RIVER, assaulting the Christian kingdoms of NUBIA, which are now located in what is now northernSUDAN. Nubian resistance, on the other hand, forced the Arabs to retreat, and the emir of Egypt negotiated a peace pact with the Nubians in 651 to end the Arab advance.

  • Arab Muslims from Egypt began to settle in Nubia and intermarry with the local population.
  • Islam, on the other hand, made little progress in southern Nubia, which has remained mostly Christian to this day.
  • ETHIOPIA, in contrast to the rest of Africa, had interaction with the Arab world even before the birth of Islamic civilization.
  • The upshot was that Muslims had a more accepting view about Ethiopia.
  • Merchants from the Islamic world developed towns on both sides of the Red Sea, which eventually came to dominate trade routes into the interior.
  • Ahmad Gran, a Muslim commander who rose to prominence in the 1500s, brought together the sultanates to wage war against Christian Ethiopia.

Somalia and East Africa

SOMALIA, like Ethiopia, was home to Arab trade groups prior to the birth of Islam, and by the 900s, Muslims had established themselves along the coast in a number of locations, includingMOGADISHU. During the 1100s, a new wave of Muslim immigration to Somalia began. As the Somalis went southward, they carried Islam with them, spreading it as far as the northeastern part of the country. Somali herders who were nomads pushed Islam into the rural interior, where it coexisted with indigenous African religions and practices and eventually merged with them.

  • Muhammad Abdallah Hasan, a Sufi leader from Somalia, rose to prominence as a vocal opponent of European colonialism of the country in the 19th century.
  • Many of them landed in Arab communities on islands just off the shore, where they were welcomed by the locals.
  • As a result, Muslims gradually embraced the Swahili language and many local customs.
  • Islam’s expansion into East Africa’s interior began only in the nineteenth century.
  • Merchants from Oman, who had already built a commercial empire headquartered in ZANZIBAR, began creating new trade routes into the interior, constructing colonies and caravan routes into countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

When Colonial officials employed Muslims as civil workers, soldiers, and tax collectors, they transformed hubs of Muslim culture into administrative centers for the colonial power structure. As a result of this circumstance, Muslim influence tended to remain concentrated in cities and towns.

West Africa

The oldest trace of Muslim interaction with West Africa dates back to around 800 in the kingdom of Kanem, which is today part of the Central African Republic. Around the same time, Islam was adopted as the official religion of Kanem and other kingdoms farther west, including Gao in MALI, and throughout the Middle East. Muslim scribes and ministers were employed in the ancient West African empire of Ghana, despite the fact that Muslims were never able to seize the crown. During the late 1000s, Muslims from North Africa and Spain had a role in bringing the Ghanaian kingdom crashing down around them.

  1. Islamist traders were also in charge of trade routes over the Sahara, which connected North African and Western African countries at the time.
  2. Muslim rulers in the area acquired towns and villages along the trade routes in order to maintain control over commerce and improve tax collection.
  3. The Islamic faith coexisted peacefully with indigenous religions in several of these kingdoms.
  4. Around the year 1700, Sufi leaders in western Africa started a series of jihads, sometimes known as holy wars, against Muslim nations that had not totally abandoned their ancient religious practices.
  5. In the late 1800s, the armies of France and Britain crushed the forces of the jihadists in Afghanistan.
  6. Many Europeans came to believe that Muslims were superior to other Africans as a result of this.
You might be interested:  What Were The 5 Pillars Of Islam? (Correct answer)


Islam, as a political and military force, brought vast swaths of Africa together. In contrast, when Muslim culture spread over the continent, it came into conflict with the region’s established legal, theological, and social traditions.

Islamic Law

The advent of Islamic law in African culture has altered significant parts of the legal ties that individuals have with one another. In contrast to Islamic law, which is written (Sharia), many indigenous legal traditions are oral (oral tradition). It has happened in a number of areas where these two traditions have collided, leading to a hybrid of Islamic and indigenous behaviors. However, in places where Islamic rulers have insisted on a rigid interpretation of the written law, Shari’a has altered some of the fundamental features of social relationships.

  1. Many of these relationships have been reinterpreted by Islamic law in ways that are in contrast with conventional practices.
  2. It further claims that property is passed down through the male line of the family and that particular relatives are given preference over others.
  3. Islamic law has had an impact on the role of women in African civilization as well, as previously stated.
  4. Many traditional African communities gave women greater personal independence than they had previously.
  5. Since the colonial era, the authority of Islamic judges and courts has been severely curtailed in the majority of African countries.
  6. However, across Africa, religious leaders and judges have typically been selected by secular monarchs, and as a result, the distinction between religious and secular authority has been more muddled.

In recent years, reformers have tried to amend portions of Islamic law in order to bring it more in line with other religions and cultures.

Religious and Social Interactions

Islam introduced new religious concepts, rites, and practices to Africa, which were previously unavailable. Although some African tribes had already developed the concept of a supreme entity, the majority of them also acknowledged the existence of a plethora of smaller gods and spirits. Conflict arose between the Islamic idea that there is only one God, Allah, and the polytheistic beliefs of Africans. Many West African converts, on the other hand, quickly embraced Muslim prayers and charms since their old faiths already had aspects that were comparable to those of Islam.

  1. Africa’s kings who accepted Islam faced a number of political difficulties as a result of their decision.
  2. As a result, kings who joined Islam were forced to relinquish some African beliefs, which damaged their claim to be in a position of leadership.
  3. Christian missionaries have been attempting to undermine Islam’s dominance in Africa for the better part of a century.
  4. But in fact, most African Christians have blended their Christian ideas with their traditional beliefs.
  5. Africans, on the other hand, have frequently assimilated Christian and Muslim doctrines and practices into their indigenous faiths over the entirety of the continent.

History of Islam in Africa and Conversion to Christianity

The spread of Islam throughout Africa has a lengthy history – dating back to the 7th century AD. North Africa was overrun by Muslim Arabs who sought shelter here from persecution on the Arab Peninsula. Merchants, traders, and missionaries propagated Islam fast throughout West Africa and into North Africa at the behest of the Prophet Muhammad. Islam, which has existed peacefully over most of Africa for many years, has evolved into more than a religion in Africa, and has instead become a way of life.

Here are some facts about Islam in Africa:

  1. The spread of Islam throughout Africa has a lengthy history – dating back to the 7th century AD. North Africa was overrun by Muslim Arabs who fled persecution in the Arab Peninsula and took sanctuary in North Africa. Merchants, traders, and missionaries propagated Islam fast throughout West Africa and into North Africa at the behest of the Islamic State. Islam developed become more than a religion in Africa after centuries of peaceful coexistence over most of the continent. It became a way of life for many Africans. As a result of their adoption of the religion in conjunction with their tribal beliefs, many tribal African monarchs developed their own distinct perspective on life, tradition, and governance.

The start of Christian conversion:

Christians have been around from the first century AD, making Christianity’s origins in Africa theoretically older than Islam’s origins. Despite the fact that Christianity now accounts for half of all religious beliefs in Africa, this increase did not truly take off until the twentieth century. The coexistence of these two religions appears differently in each of the 54 nations that make up Africa, yet they are both generally equally prevalent throughout the continent.

Due to the increasing popularity of both Christianity and Islam, religious turmoil has grown commonplace in many African countries.

Set Free in Africa:

Set Free operates in Sierra Leone and Liberia, both of which are located on the West Coast, where we collaborate with local partners and pastors who are committed to sharing the Gospel to remote areas who may not have had the opportunity to hear it before. In doing so, they contribute to the provision of safe drinking water in those areas as well. You might also be interested in: Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa Liberia’s Christian population Sierra Leone’s Christian community

Ancient Africa for Kids: Islam in North Africa

Ancient Africa had a long and illustrious history. Imperialism in the Islamic world In North Africa, Islam had a significant effect on the culture of the people there. It had an impact on people’s daily lives, including their government, trade, and educational opportunities. Conquest by the Muslims Islam was founded in the Middle East during the first 600 years of the Common Era. The Arabs began to extend their kingdom not long after the prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, when the Islamic calendar was introduced.

  • They conquered most of the region, but after defeating Libya in exchange for tribute, they turned around and returned (payment).
  • This time, they were able to conquer practically all of northern Africa, from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean and the Moroccan kingdom.
  • By the year 709 CE, the Arabs had established a solid grip on all of northern Africa.
  • In northern Africa, Islam had a tremendous effect on the culture of the region.
  • The Maghreb is a region in North Africa.
  • The Maghreb region encompasses the area between Egypt and Libya and extends all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and the republic of Mauritania on the African continent.
  • The Berbers are the people who originally inhabited in the Maghreb region of North Africa.

However, despite their initial resistance to Muslim invasion, the Berbers were eventually converted to Islam and adopted much of the Muslim way of life and culture.

After the Arabs invaded northern Africa (the Maghreb), the inhabitants of northern Africa came to be known as the Moors, which means “people of the Maghreb.” During the Middle Ages, the Moors occupied a significant portion of the Mediterranean region and were quite strong.

Expansion into the European Union The Moors launched an invasion of Europe in 711, commanded by General Tariq ibn Ziyad and his troops.

The Moors ruled this region for hundreds of years until they were ultimately driven out by the Christian Reconquista in 1492, when they were forced to flee.

Islam had a vital role in both the Empire of Mali and the Songhai Empire, and it was particularly prominent in the Empire of Mali.

After Mansa Musa became a Muslim, he embarked on a remarkable trip to Mecca, which is still remembered today (in Saudi Arabia). According to records, he traveled alongside as many as 60,000 other individuals on his tour across the country. Islam in Africa: Interesting Facts You Should Know

  • Ancient Africa has a long and illustrious history. Read more about it here. Empire of the Muslims In North Africa, Islam had a significant effect on the culture of the peoples. In addition, it had an impact on the way people lived in terms of their government, commerce, and education. Conquest by Muslims Beginning in the Middle East around 600 CE, Islam became a worldwide religion. The Arabs began to build their dominion not long after the prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, when the world was still young. Six hundred seventy-seven years ago, they made their first incursion into northern Africa. They captured most of the region, but after defeating Libya in exchange for tribute, they turned around and fled (payment). In 665 CE, the Arabs launched a new invasion. Their conquests this time extended throughout nearly all of northern Africa, from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean and Morocco. Many years passed before they were able to stop the soldiers of the Byzantine Empire from advancing on them and the local populace (the Berbers). Arab rule had been established over northern Africa by the year 709 CE. Because of Arab domination, many northern Africans were converted to Islam, as depicted by the United States Department of Agriculture. In northern Africa, Islam had a huge effect on the culture. Despite the fact that various indigenous customs and ideals were frequently assimilated into the religion, Islam had a unifying impact on the governance, culture, architecture, and economics of the region. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algerian Arab Republic In North Africa, the Maghreb refers to the region that was conquered by Muslims. The Maghreb region encompasses the area between Egypt and Libya and extends all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and the republic of Mauritania on the west coast. In current times, it encompasses the nations of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the West African country of Western Sahara and the African country of Mauritania. Der Name Berber is given to the people who lived in ancient times in the Maghreb region. There are similarities amongst the Berbers in terms of ethnicity and language, and these languages are collectively referred to as Berber dialects. Although the Berbers first resisted the Muslim invasion, they were eventually converted to Islam and adopted much of the Muslim culture in the process. Maghrebby Ducksters’ location on the map Moors are a group of people that live in Spain. After the Arabs invaded northern Africa (the Maghreb), the inhabitants of northern Africa became known as the Moors, which is a term that originated in the Middle Ages. Through most of the Middle Ages, the Moors held great dominance throughout the Mediterranean. They not only dominated all of northern Africa, but they even invaded Europe at one point, conquering a large portion of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) and the island of Sicily at the time of the invasion (Italy). Inclusion of Europe in the expansion strategy An army commanded by General Tariq ibn Ziyad invaded Europe in 711, and the Moors were victorious. Tariq and his soldiers were successful in capturing most of the Iberian Peninsula, but they were defeated in the last battle (the region that is today Spain and Portugal). These lands were under the dominion of the Moors for many hundred years until they were eventually expelled from Spain by the Christian Reconquista in 1492. Central Africa is a region in Africa that contains a number of countries. Muslim empires in Central Africa were established primarily through trade routes that crossed the Sahara Desert. Islamic culture played a significant impact in both the Empire of Mali and the Songhai Empire, particularly in the Songhai Empire. The Mali Emperor Mansa Musa was perhaps the most well-known Muslim figure in Central Africa. He is credited with making a famous trip to Mecca following his conversion to Islam (in Saudi Arabia). The number of individuals that joined him on his voyage is estimated to be as high as 60,000. Fascinating Facts about Islam in African Countries


  • This page is the subject of a ten-question quiz
  • Listen to an audio recording of this page being read: The audio element cannot be played because your browser does not support it.

Examine this page with a ten-question quiz. This page has been read aloud by a professional reader: Audio elements cannot be played because your browser lacks support for them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *