6 African Muslims Who Brought Islam To America

america

By Papatia Feauxzar
About Islam
5 January 2017

As a Muslim of West African origin living in the United States, my Muslim-ness is always contested by Europeans, Americans, and even clueless Africans. They ask me questions like:

“Are you Muslim?” and “Were you born Muslim?”

I get asked these questions a lot by Americans because Islam is something that was made to sound foreign to them.

“I’ve never seen a Muslim from that country wear Hijab.”

Believe it or not, many Africans ask this question as if they are well-travelled.

Is your country predominantly Muslim?”

I get this question from European Muslims as if they had just discovered ‘water on Mars’. In their minds, Black Muslims are an oddity. Because I have been around many of them, I now know the reasoning behind asking such questions. They have the idea that All of Africa is uncivilized and only non-Muslims live there.

The strange thing is many of them have heard of Mansa Musa, the Malian Muslim King. Why they won’t add two and two together to infer that Islam has always been an old religion in Africa and in the USA, I don’t know. In addition, the US census has a record of approximately 300 slaves that had a Muslim surname who fought during the Civil War for freedom.

Throughout all these irritating questions, I try to keep my cool. I keep the frustrated comments, I want to utter, in my head, smile, and move on. However, what I want to tell them is Islam came to West Africa not too long after the 10th century. My ancestors were traders and this was how Islam came to us Mandinga. Islam has always been a religion of business. Furthermore, this also means that many West Africans were exposed to Islam before it was spread to Europe during the Ottoman empire and America via the Moriscos and the Transatlantic slaves.

According to Lost Islamic History, one example of an African Muslim who brought Islam to America is Bilali Muhammad. There are also others like Ayub Job Djallo, Yarrow Mamood, Ibrahim Abdulrahman ibn Sori, Ummar ibn Sayyid (Omar ibn Said) and Salih Bilali. Read more

taraummomarsignature2

Advertisements

International Museum Of Muslim Cultures: Legacy Of Timbuktu

photocreditinternationalmuseumofmuslimcultures.jpgLegacy of Timbuktu
International Museum Of Muslim Cultures
1 February 2015

In the last millennium an important global legacy was uncovered—the literate culture of AFRICA—symbolized in the extraordinary richness of historical manuscripts that still survive. These ancient documents reveal that a sophisticated literate culture flourished in the city of Timbuktu on the edge of the Sahara Desert beginning in the 13th century and lasting more than 700 years. A crossroads of international caravan commerce, including the book trade, Timbuktu was also a celebrated center of learning, attracting scholars, and thousands of students and teachers from many countries and backgrounds.

The International Museum of Muslim Cultures in partnership with the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library in Timbuktu has curated an exhibit of this glorious age and its legacy to America through the tragic events of the slave trade as it presents The Legacy of Timbuktu: Wonders of the Written Word Exhibition.

Books were not only brought into Timbuktu, but local scholars wrote their own works, and artisans scribed, decorated and bound them in a sophisticated local book production industry tied to the global Islamic knowledge industry—activities that culminated in a complex and highly viable socio-economic model. Leo Africanus, celebrated medieval historian, wrote “the buying and selling of books were more profitable than any other commerce in the city of Timbuktu”. The feature attraction will be 25 of the estimated one million manuscripts recently re-rediscovered in the West African country of Mali. Bound in leather, they contain finely articulated calligraphy and colorful, even gilded, illustrations and cover a wide variety of subjects.

Read more here.

Photo Credit: International Museum Of Muslim Cultures

taraummomarsignature2