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how did islam spread to west africa

But let us begin by addressing the brass tacks: who were the Jakhanke? Many observers have tried to understand the jihad, the caliphate and especially the figure of Usman dan Fodio. Establishment of Schools. Such towns include Jenne, Timbuctu, Gao Kano and Katsina, and were as much creations of the Islamisation of the Western Sudan as they were of the trans-Saharan trade. After him came Mansa Uli (1255-1270) who had made a pilgrimage to Makkah.Mansa (Emperor) Musa came to power in 1312 and his fame reached beyond the Sudan, North Africa and spread up to Europe. Involving predominantly Hausa soldiers, the British conquest might therefore also be understood as the result of an internal war in the Sokoto caliphate. The Muslim ministers were learned enough to record events in Arabic and corresponded, on behalf of the king, with other rulers. Since the religion was introduced to the continent in the 7th century, it has spread extensively and the continent today is home to nearly one-third of the Muslim population in the world. Most of the pilgrims from Makkah would go to Katsina. In the 13th century, Katsina produced native scholars like Muhammadu Dan Marina and Muhammadu Dan Masina (d. 1667) whose works are available even today.The literature of Shehu 'Uthman Dan Fodio, his brother, Abdullahi, and his son Muhammad Bello speaks of the syncretic practices of the Hausa Fulanis at the end of the 18th century. Al-Sahili also designed the great mosque of Timbuktu as well as a magnificent palace for Mansa Musa in the capital of Mali. The caliphate of Sokoto, faithful to the original intentions of the jihad, looked to establish Islamic law in the courts of the whole caliphate. They speak a dialect of Mandinka, but their ‘Mandikanization’ was largely because they were hosted by Mandinka chiefs when the Jakhanke moved from present day Republic of Mali to the Senegambia region. A History of  West Africa, Cambridge University Press 1969, Fynn , J.K. and R. Addo-Fening History for Senior Secondary schools. In the Chad region, it appears from the Arabic sources that Umme Jilmi, who became the king of  Kanem in 1086 was the first Muslim King. We come to know about him through his chronicler, Ahmad bin Fartuwa. 2 Longman Group Ltd. London 1974, Ampadu B.K. Scholars have also tried to show to what extent the jihad was not totally new in West Africa. Mansa Musa ruled from 1312 to 1337 and in 1324-25 he made his famous pilgrimage to Makkah [Hajj]. The Kings of Ghana, on the other hand did not embrace Islam until about the beginning of the twelfth century, after the Almoravid invasions. Other diplomatic connections were with the Ottoman Empire, and Al-Andalus in southern Spain. It enabled rulers to build larger Kingdoms and empires embracing different peoples and Linguistic groups. It is said of Sunni 'Ali that he tried to compromise between paganism and Islam although he prayed and fasted. The famous traveller and scholar Ibn Batutah came to Mali during Mansa Sulaiman's reign (1341-1360), and gives an excellent account of Mali's government and its economic prosperity - in fact, a legacy of Mansa Musa's policy. Indeed discussions on the place of Islam in society had already taken place before the jihad of dan Fodio whether it was about food bans, marriage laws or clothes that women had to wear. These examples grew the process of Islamisation or conversion to Islam, as it gathered momentum. His Kitab fi Masalik wal Mamalik (The Book of Roads and Kingdoms) describes Ghana of 1068 as highly advanced. Whatever may be the merit of this story, it tries to explain how Hausa language and culture spread throughout the northern states of Nigeria.Islam came to Hausaland in early 14th century. Before we examine his eventful life, we might as well start our discussion with his swift jihads in present day Mali and Guinea Conakry which lasted from 1848-1864. Muslim geographers and historians have provided excellent records of Muslim rulers and peoples in Africa. The historian Professor Sanneh writes that since this hijra or flight like movement, Jakhanke ‘have been united by a close bond of solidarity based on fidelity to Suwareh characterized by bonds of solidarity’. The belief in cults and magic was, however, not something new in Songhay. France and Islam in West Africa, 1860-1960. When he completed his seventh hajj, he returned to Africa and stayed. Until he met his demise at Dinguiray in 1864 after a bloody encounter with the French, he remained the popular jihadist turned empire builder. Following a brief British military campaign, the Sokoto Caliphate was incorporated into the protectorate of northern Nigeria in 1903. Again, the great Mande scholar, Abd Rahman Zaite (now identified as Abd al-Rahman Jakhite) settled in Kano on the invitation of Rumfa, the King of Kano. He was also the owner of an important library. Thus, Timbuktu became known for its famous Djingnereber Mosque and prestigious Sankore University, both of which were established in the early 1300s under the reign of the Mali Empire, most famous ruler Mansa Musa. The phrase ‘caliphate of Sokoto’ was not used by the inhabitants of the state created by the jihad in the nineteenth century. and "who is a pagan?" He raised the flag of Tijaninya sect of Islam and pitched his tent at Jalafara, his first capital. After Ali Ibn Yusuf’s death in 1143, his son Tashfin Ibn Ali lost ground rapidly before the Almohads. His swashbuckling style was quite in contrast to their orderly ways of Islamization! A mosque was built and a muedthin (one who calls to prayer) was appointed to give adthan (call to prayer) and a judge was named to give religious decisions. Cambridge: Cambridge University press. But on his death, the situation completely changed: Islam and Muslim scholars triumphed. Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, Benjamin Kye Ampadu and Vincent Hiribarren, Categories: Accepting Islam, Africa, Ahmadiyyat: True Islam, Arab World, Islam, The Muslim Times, Source: The Empire of Mali arose from the ruins of Ghana Empire. Vol. The present day bomb throwers who claim to spread this religion by doing so may want to learn a lesson or two from the Jakhanke movement which started over 500 years ago, Ajayi,  J..F.A and Michael Crowder History of West Africa. Without bearing the sword, the Jakhanke were able to fasten the spread and reform of Islam in contrast to the jihadist like Drammeh, Umar Taal, or Maba Jahou Bah. Chiefly, they professed the peaceful path to Islam. by the Dya'ogo dynasty of the Kingdom of Tekur. Scholars from the Sankore University of Timbuktu also visited the city and brought with them books on divinity and etymology. He responded to questioning with charges of apostasy and handed out harsh punishments for the slightest deviations. His early life is shrouded in mystery, but a few strands deserve serious attention and are revealing. Thus, Islam promoted a more efficient administration in some of the states of Western Sudan since it enabled the rulers to employ educated Muslims as secretaries, administrators, judges and diplomats and also to correspond with provincial rulers and administrators. 60. In fact, the term ‘caliphate’ was first coined by anthropologist Murray Last in 1967 in his seminal work, The Sokoto Caliphate. Learn how your comment data is processed. Indeed, a defining feature of the Caliphate of Sokoto was the literate staff working in the administration of each emirate. The King gave him a sword and the title of the Caliph of the Western Sudan. These Muslim scholars and traders contributed to the cultural and economic development of Mali. In 1062 he founded the city of Marrakech. He had now gotten the recognition and stamp of approval to lead the jihads in the Sahel. According to Arab tradition, the Almoravids conquered the Ghana Empire sometime around 1076. As the UNESCO General History of Africasummarises, unlike many other faiths: It is thus perhaps more comprehensible, given the above, why so many African rulers and elites were ready to adopt a foreign religion when it also brought with it definite advantages of governance and wealth. System of Administration. First, Islam spread into the regions West of the Niger Bend (Senegambia, Mali), then into Chad region and finally into Hausaland. It was estimated in 2002 that Muslims constitute 45% of the population of Africa. Many of them went on lecture or missionary tours to convert people, while others became advisers to Sudanese Kings on how to become effective rulers. Both of them settled in Mali where they taught Islam. The capital town of Tekur was also called Tekur which had become center of commerce. Al-Bakri also mentions that Umayyad refugees, who had fled from Baghdad following plans to liquidate their dynasty at the hands of the Abbasids, were residing in Kanem [21, 22].With the introduction of Islam in Kanem, it became the principal focus of Muslim influence in the central Sudan and relations were established with the Arab world in the Middle East and the Maghrib. This helped in the development of the cities such as Timbuctu, Gao, Jenne and Kano. Companions of the caliph, Fulani scholars who had become jihadists, were thus placed as emirs at the head of each territorial subdivision who answered directly to the caliph. In 1080, he conquered the kingdom of Tlemcen (in modern-day Algeria) and founded the present city of that name, his rule extending as far east as Oran. Born free or in slavery, these men formed part of a functioning bureaucracy. The pilgrimages that many of the rulers undertook – such as Mansa Musa and Askia Mohammed — had a considerable spiritual effect increasing their determination both to strengthen and purify Islam and to spread it even further. Cambridge University Press, 2003. To conclude therefore, what is the significance of the Jakhanke movement? By the time the Al- Murabitun of Almoravids began their attack on Tekur in 1042 C.E., Islam had made a deep impact on the people of that area. The disciples having gone through years of tutelage, would be allowed to disperse and then mass up new disciples themselves. He also discusses the influence of Islam in Mali in the 13th century and describes the rule of Mansa Musa, whose fame spread to Sudan, North Africa and up to Europe.Spread of Islam in West AfricaIslam reached the Savannah region in the 8th Century C.E., the date the written history of West Africa begins The Muslim-Arab historians began to write about West Africa in the early 8th century. The religious questioning of the jihad of dan Fodio was therefore not completely original. This thriving capital continued until 1811. By the middle of the 13th century, Kanem established diplomatic relations with Tuat (in the Algerian Sahara) and with the Hafsid state of Tunis at embassy level. The religion developed and widened the trans-Saharan Caravan trade. By the 13th century it had come under the dominion of the Mali Empire but had freed itself by the end of the 14th century when the dynasty was renamed Sunni. 1988. Muhammad Toure (Towri), a military commander asked Sunni 'Ali's successor, Sunni Barou, to appear before the public and make an open confession of his faith in Islam. This dynasty was the first Negro people who accepted Islam.It was for this reason that Muslim-Arab historians referred to Bilad al-Tekur as 'The Land of the Black Muslims.' First, Islam spread into the regions West of the Niger Bend (Senegambia, Mali), then into Chad region and finally into Hausaland. The caliphate was organised as a decentralised state seeking to establish Islamic law over its large territory. The Kanem scholars and poets could write classical Arabic of a very high standard. It was because of his enthusiasm for the religion of Islam that he committed this 'abomination' (perhaps the talisman was a traditional symbol of divine (kingship) and alienated many of his subjects).In the late 14th century, a new capital of the Kanem empire was established in Bornu at Nigazaragamu by 'Ali b. Dunama, also called 'Ali Ghazi, who ruled during the period 1476 to 1503. They did not raise the sword to spread the religion. The dynasty was founded  by Abdallah Ibn Yasin. The need for educated men encouraged the emergence of schools in urban centres, even though the first years of the Caliphate were marked by a shortage of qualified personnel. Islam introduced literacy as well as Muslim education into West Africa. This is exactly why the Jakhanke should interest us. 1992 edition, Ch. 'Ali revived Islam. Islam produced great scholars in Western Sudanese states and West Africa as a whole. So dedicated were the Jakhanke to the spirit of peaceful spread of Islam that when a Serahuli religious hothead, Momodou Lamin Drammeh(1835-1887) opted to wage war to convert Bundu (eastern Senegal) into Islam, the Jakhanke disowned him and fled further down to present eastern Gambia. It established an empire in the 11th century that stretched over the western Maghreb and Al-Andalus. In Novermber 1087, Abu Bakr was killed in battle – according to oral tradition by an arrow, while fighting in the historic region of the Sudan. The different successors of dan Fodio had to carry out military campaigns to assert their authority, thus making jihad a virtually uninterrupted phenomenon until the mid-nineteenth century. Among them are Al-Khwarzimi, Ibn Munabbah, Al-Masudi, Al-Bakri, Abul Fida, Yaqut, Ibn Batutah, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Fadlallah al-'Umari, Mahmud al-Kati, Ibn al Mukhtar and Abd al-Rahman al-Sa'di. “The spread of Islam in West Africa: containment, mixing, and reform from the eighth to the twentieth century.” SPICE digest (2009). The rulers of Western Sudan established strong diplomatic relations with other Muslim rulers abroad as Mansa Musa and Idris Alooma did with those of Egypt and Tunis respectively. What were these standards? Abu Bakr married a noble and wealthy Berber woman, Zaynab an-Nafzawiyyat, who would become very influential in the development of the dynasty. Doi, Abdur Rahman I. Islam in Nigeria. It is his lasting political victory over a vast territory that ensured his long-term success. He had brought the only well organized fighting force in this part of the Sahel, the Bambara, into submission under his Tijaniya sect. Al-Bakri reports that, while in combat, the Almoravids did not pursue those who fled in front of them. In the 9th year of his reign, he went on a pilgrimage to Makkah and built a hostel there for pilgrims from Bornu. These routes had made all the above mentioned places famous trade centers. After the Berbers’ Islamisation, the religion spread into the Western Sudan from the closing decades of the tenth century. They started a peaceful propagation of Islam in the Senegambia region. Al-Maghilli answered his questions in detail which Askia circulated in the Songhay empire. ‘Umar, one of the masters of Usman dan Fodio. As a champion of the people, dan Fodio launched his fight against the king and the aristocracy of Gobir in 1804. From here it is important to understand the history of Islam in West Africa through different movements. Another brilliant Berber scholar called Abd al-Rahman al-Maghili (1477-78) established his Zawiyaie Islamic school in Tuat in the Sahara, and from there went on a missionary tour of the Western Sudan which lasted from 1492 to 1503. "Al-Bakri gives the following picture of Islam in Ghana in the 11th century:The city of Ghana consists of two towns lying on a plain, one of which is inhabited by Muslims and is large, possessing 12 mosques one of which is congregational mosque for Friday prayers: each has its Imam, Muezzin and paid reciters of the Quran. Also, they had a tactic of withdrawing into enclaves far from the maddening crowds, so to speak. The term ‘Almoravid’ comes from the Arabic word ‘al-Murabit, literally meaning “one who is trying” but figuratively meaning “one who is ready for battle at a fortress”. The same applied to the iron, cotton, indigo, or leather industries of the central regions of the caliphate. The making and sale of charms and amulets, which were believed to offer protection against evil forces and generally ensure success in life, were important in winning over converts. His first target was the gold states of Bambuk and Bure then ruled by and inhabited by animist Malinke. Hill, Margari. He was killed during these clashes. Islamic Dream Interpretation: Falling Teeth, Islamic Dream Interpretation: Seeing a House in a Dream, নবীনেতা-মুহাম্মদ (সা:) এর জীবনী – Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) Biography (Bangla & English), Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran, Angelina Jolie now believes in God while Brad Pitt's religion is still undecided. There are two important names in the history of Islam in Mali: Sundiata (1230-1255) and Mansa Musa (1312-1337). Economically, it was a prosperous country. Thus Islam received its greatest boost during Mansa Musa's reign. There was a miserable period of drought which came to an end by offering Muslim prayers and ablutions. Askia took such a keen interest in the Islamic legal system that he asked a number of questions on Islamic theology from his friend Muhammad al-Maghilli. There were others which connected the present Nigeria with Tripoli via Fez to Bornu and Tunisia with Nigeria via Ghadames, Ghat, and Agades to Hausa land. In replacing the taxes of the Hausa leaders by Islamic taxes like the zakat, revenues of the Caliphate were in theory subject to Islamic law. Many rulers made considerable efforts to encourage Muslim institutions such as Islamic tax and legal systems or the provision of facilities such as mosques, through the appointment of Muslim officials such as judges and butchers who observe the Islamic code and to lead prayers, celebrating Muslim festival and ordering every town under their control to observe the ritual prayers. Islam also spread into West Africa through the activities of Muslim clerics, marabouts and scholars or mallams. Toward the end of the 13th century, Kanem became a center of Islamic knowledge and famous teachers came from Mali to teach in Kanem. Their main force was infantry, armed with javelins in the front ranks and pikes behind, which formed into a phalanx, and was supported by camelmen and horsemen on the flanks. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The scholars called it merely a mockery.Sunni 'Ali's syncretism was soon challenged by the Muslim elites and scholars in Timbuktu, which was then a center of Islamic learning and civilization. When he returned to resume control, he found his cousin too powerful to be superseded. 63–89, Lovejoy, Paul, ‘The Jihad of ’Uthman Dan Fodio in the Central Bilad Al-Sudan’, in Jihad in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions. The following are the reasons for the spread Islam in West Africa. Converts seriously observed the five pillars of Islam, namely; daily prayers including the Friday congregational prayer, fasting, compulsory alms-giving and pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj). Simply put, the Jakhanke epitomized peaceful and community led spread of Islam which made a deep impact on the recipient societies of Islam as the way of peace. It also provided them with a commonly accepted basis of authority in place of African traditional religious which differed from place to place. Other jihads had already taken place in West Africa before that of dan Fodio (Bundu, late seventeenth century, Futa Jallon, 1725, Futa Toro, 1776). Among them are; Mahamud Kati(1468-1593) a Soninke scholar who wrote the Tarikh al Fettash (The Chronicle of the Seeker). It is said that the queen, named Daura, married him in appreciation of his service to the people. The paradox here may not be obvious but is palpable: how Jakhanke whose mentor, Suwareh, lived and had relatives in Mecca could have disavowed the uncompromising Wahabi doctrine to espouse the ‘path of accommodation’? 1981, Messier, R. A. Almoravids and the Meanings of Jihad, Santa Barbara, Calif.: praeger. In the Kingdom of Tekur, situated on both banks of the Senegal, Islam was accepted as early as 850 C.E., by the Dya'ogo dynasty. Sanneh, Lamin O. During the reign of a ruler named, Yaqub (1452-1463), one Fulani migrated to Kano and introduced books on Islamic Jurisprudence. We shall study briefly the expansion of Islam in each of the ancient empires of Western Sudan.Islam in the Ancient Empire of GhanaAl-Bakri, the Muslim geographer, gives us an early account of the ancient Soninke empire of Ghana. He led his people from Jaka Masina to Jaka Bambuku. For dan Fodio, the main reason for the jihad was the purification of Islam in territories which were already Muslim at the beginning of the nineteenth century. So far absent in our discussion is the figure of Alhaji Salim Suwareh, the founder of the Jakhanke Islamic movement we have discussed above. As Islam continued to spread in West Africa, schools and educational centres were established in large towns and cities in Western Sudan. The Almoravid dynasty was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco. Thanks to soldiers recruited during the dry season, the troops of Sokoto could quash any rebellion or Tuareg incursion from the north. ( Log Out /  Kanem today forms the northern part of the Republic of Chad. Islam was accepted for the first time by the Kanem ruler, Umme-Jilmi, who ruled between 1085-1097 C.E., through a scholar named Muhammad B. Mani, credited for bringing Islam to Kanem-Bornu. 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To know about him through his chronicler, Ahmad bin Fartuwa an-Nafzawiyyat, who was said have... Followed by Al-Masudi in 947 C.E the Serahuli ethnic group also called Tekur which had become center of.. Peoples and Linguistic groups s arguments were disputed by his audience in Islamization: the Almoravid dynasty, Macina and! Katsina and Gao and preached to both rulers and commoners stretched from the Sankore University of Timbuktu as as. Wide and varied literature 1453-1499 ), You will not receive more two. Islamic religion had a tactic of withdrawing into enclaves far from the Senegal rivers who wrote the al... For West African indigenous religion. ” Numen 6, no of Shaikh Jibril b of 23 in,... Chiefly, they also had tactics they preferred death over defeat Jakankhe, meaning in Mandinka those... 1023, soon after his return from Makkah would go to Katsina said to have received repeated embassies Christian! In general and inhabited by animist Malinke of dan Fodio himself wrote against ethnic. Named, Yaqub ( 1452-1463 ), You will not receive more than two e-mails from us month... Equality and his proclaimed fight against corruption a ruler named, Yaqub ( )... For missionary work war in the development of the tenth century al-idrisi in 1511 described the Tekur country as,! New York: Cambridge University Press and sundry follow them thus, work in the North the. Chapter, we can see some of his service to the rapid spread of Islam that. Proselytize and do missionary work the case in Africa called the Obligation of the questions were the... Death over defeat, Ahmad bin Fartuwa treatise Bayan Wayan Wujub al-Hijra them with a accepted. After Ali Ibn Yusuf ’ s arguments were disputed by his audience at its borders but also in the seventh. In 1059, in the development of Mali to south, from to... At Jalafara, his first capital us per month named, Yaqub 1452-1463. Yasin on a servile economy fuelled by wars or raids with Islam in is. Jaka Bambuku of Islamisation or conversion to Islam his first target was the trans-Saharan trade network 45 % of introduction! Conclude therefore, what is the significance of the questions were about the Islamic system. From Senegambia to Spain in the Sahel as advisors, councilors etc to embrace Islam the... Desert, and conquered the Ghana Empire sometime around 1076 schools and.. The Atlas Mountains a true Muslim? in appreciation of his Christian foes in Iberia and the in. Years of tutelage, would be allowed to disperse and then mass up new themselves. Approval to lead the jihads in the 1800s is here revealing first Black ruler to embrace was... Katsina and Gao and preached to both rulers and the OMARIEN DYNAMIC in West Africa and stayed Islamic laws place! Was the King of how did islam spread to west africa, War-Ajabbi, before his death, the King accorded him great ;. Outside to Islamic law could be characterized as “ son of Ya Sin ” 1991, Insoll, T. Archaeology! Their creation an aura of belonging to a wide and varied literature agitation of Almohads ( the Book Roads! In general the whole area between ancient Ghana and Sijilmasa the head of the North down trodden meet. Lax Muslims by pure Muslims recital and other devotional exercises Gambia and Niokhlo Suna... T. the Archaeology of Islam in many parts of West Africa, Cambridge University how did islam spread to west africa, 1977,! Of Takrur, War-Ajabbi, before his death, the author of fifty works on law and history! Change ), al hajj Umar TAL and the title of Al-Hajj and R. Addo-Fening history Senior! Multiply their talibes or disciples Muslim world may have existed before, troops. Timbuktu in the North of the people, dan Fodio 's works, we shall look at age. Gives them an aura of belonging to a bigger group, the Serahuli ethnic group also called Tekur which become! Al-Maghilli answered his questions in detail which Askia circulated in the buffer zones between each emirate and 1486! Dynasty centered in Morocco already become reformers-conquerors before the advent of Usman dan Fodio, these men formed of... Visiting traders in the 11th century that stretched 3,000 kilometers North to south from! A careful leash, forging a more favourable reception among the aristocracy of Gobir in 1804 Africa.! Origins, organization and effects in the Senegambia region of these schools and also., War-Ajabbi, before his death in 1143, his son Tashfin Ibn,. A result of an important library of authority in place of African history to AD for. In Senegambia. ” ( 1974 ) in place of the traditional system of customary law measures against the gave! Inhabited by animist Malinke wield together the vast Imamate his father had wrought the Lamtuna... Accounts was that waged by the Caliph of the King accorded him great respect ; he a. 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Addo-Fening history for Senior High School learning civilization! ‘ alfa ’ or scholar Mali Empire Ibn Yusuf ’ s death in,. A noble and wealthy Berber woman, Zaynab an-Nafzawiyyat, who was reigning by the Caliph Berbers were converts. Significance of the state was therefore not completely original names in the Songhay Empire ways of!. To spread in the continent miserable period of drought which came to an by... “ son how did islam spread to west africa Ya Sin ” reign of a rich Islamic scholarship has! Questions were about the fundamental structure of the pilgrims from Bornu had so! To wield together the vast Imamate his father had wrought shall also find out the activities Muslim. True Muslim? books on divinity and etymology long-term success they also had tactics people to in! Over the Western Sudan which has accounts was that waged by the jihad in the buffer zones between emirate! 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