Article #1: “Islam in Africa”
This article basically spoke of the rise and spread of Islam in Africa and how it became a dominating religious affiliation in the region. When discrimination in Mecca (615) worsened, an assemblage of Muslims escaped to Ethiopia where they sought security. During the 7th and 8th century, the actual proliferation of Islam took place in the Middle East and North Africa. From then on, more inhabitants along the coasts of Africa converted to Islam through their transactions with Arab traders who brought goods in and out of the region.
Before the 19th century, Islam won over the south of the Sahara. Among the various African countries, it was Ghana in West Africa that commenced the Islamization process. In Mali, Islam was made the official religion of the nation for the first time which eventually flourished to other parts of this African territory. Further, Islamization penetrated East Sudan which was previously dominated by Christianity.
Islamic adaptation ensued in Ethiopia during the 16th century. More and more converts appeared and Islam became a threat to European colonialism. The religious belief gained respect all over West Africa to the extent of converting to more Muslims in Africa than Christianity at this time. It was a difficult thing to pursue but Islam had proven its sole purpose and its genuine, authentic teachings and principles.
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In relation to this article, the question now would be the present status of Islam in Africa. How many Africans are continuously submitting themselves to Islam? Is the number of Muslims growing in the African continent?
Article # 2: “Islam and Africa”
Penetration of Islam in Africa was attributed to its deemed founder in the person of Uqabah (Okba) b. Nafi. By creating a solid faction at Kairawan in 670 C.E., Muslim Africa was made possible as it drew itself nearer to the Byzantines and Berbers. His great efforts of converting more Africans to Islam made him popular and as such he delivered the Muslims nearer to the European.
However, Islamic diffusion in Africa was not easy because during that period, most of the provinces there were ruled by Christology called Monothelitism in which all powers of the church came form the Pope. Thus, the religious atmosphere was not very conducive to preaching Islam, which made it more difficult for Islamic scholars to comprehend how to go about their mission of Islamization.
The article also gave importance to the message of the Prophet relayed through Islam. Muslims or the “Submitters to the will of Allah (God)” are expected to embed Islam in their hearts so that wherever they go, they can impart to others the real cause of Islamization. The Holy Book of the Muslims or the Qur’an which is written in Arabic contains all the preaching of Islam. In this light, in Africa, the material accounts of the extent of its Islamization are said to be classified as internal and external. The most reliable external sources are Islamic and taken from some European records, while the internal sources are mostly oral traditions and some later compilations by African Muslim scholars, mostly in Arabic language (Doi para. 17).
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The query which may be raised in this sense in relation to present times is how to relieve doubt from people who may question the authenticity of Islam based on the existing source materials.
Article # 3: “Christianity vs. Islam in Africa: A 19th Century Debate”
This article was about the debate as to which religion — Christianity or Islam — was successful in Africa. According to Reverend Isaac Taylor, Canon of York, in 1897, he declared that Christianity has failed in Africa because it fell short of changing the savage, barbarous Africans. It did not civilize them. On the other hand, he said that Islam succeeded in terms of eradicating cannibalism, devil worship and human sacrifice.
Many British criticized and condemned Canon Taylor’s ideas for placing favor on Islam. Nevertheless, Canon Taylor mentioned that “Islam is an imperfect Christianity (“Christianity para. 4). Meaning, because the Africans were people of “lower intellect,” Christianity is not applicable to them. But Islam, being a lesser form of religion was said to be fitting to the Africans who were described as a lower form of race. Further, Canon Taylor contended that Christianity is more appropriate for the British which were deemed to be the “higher race.”
The contention that “Islam is an imperfect Christianity” was a misnomer. Islam is considered to be best for the Africans because it is the absolute truth, the real message of the Prophet. There is no such contention that a race needs to have a perfect religion to be complete. The Africans should embrace Islam for the very reason that it is the one true religion. Christianity in this article was made a racially discriminative belief in that it only selects some groups of so-called “higher” people to accept it. What kind of a religion is that? The question which may be lifted here is the authenticity of race and religions.
“Christianity vs. Islam in Africa: A 19th Century Debate.” 28 August 2000. suite101.com 02 January 2008 <http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/african_history/46847>
Doi, A. Rahman I. n.d. “Islam and Africa.” 02 January 2008 <http://members.tripod.com/worldupdates/islamintheworld/id25.htm>
“Islam in Africa.” 2007. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. 02 January 2008 <http”//www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-IslaminA.html>