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Mufasa

Neglecting African Islam

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I feel like Sub-Saharan African Islam & Muslims are pretty heavily neglected. How many of us can really name Shayookh from West Africa, although there are many? I've been very intrigued lately, but much more so from a historical perspective, as opposed to a spiritual/theological one. I've been pretty surprised by, 1) the sheer abundance of Islamic scholarship in West Africa, and 2) how much better integrated were West Africa and North Africa. Today, North Africa is seen as part of the Arab/dominant Islamic world, whereas West Africa is not. So, thought I'd ask y'all for your experiences and thoughts here. And to what would you attribute the neglect? I have a few thoughts...

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the distance in access. they don't come online, no lectures online. only glimpses we have is when some one like HY relays stories.

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^ I don't think there are Muslims countries per se, but there are many that have high Muslim populations.

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the distance in access. they don't come online, no lectures online. only glimpses we have is when some one like HY relays stories.

This is a good point.

what about more dated figures? like we don't hear much about the classical scholars, as we do some of the Arab-Persian-Turkish?

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These countries are also outside the historical capitals and hub cities. If there is lot of traffic to and fro capitals so scholars living there will be known wider. Again it's about the accessibility.

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These countries are also outside the historical capitals and hub cities. If there is lot of traffic to and fro capitals so scholars living there will be known wider. Again it's about the accessibility.

 

But I guess there lies the question. Why are certain capitals and hubs considered the center as opposed to others, which are seen as the fringe? This is not simply a natural thing, for some African cities were major educational, religious, political and economic hubs. Take, for example, Timbuktu. And there exists quite an extensive written tradition, so it can't be argued that it simply wasn't preserved.

 

Also, we do get some scholarship from North Africans (mostly Arab), but don't really make the African connection. Most of the tariqaat, for example, were very, very transnational, so it only makes a litttleee sense to divide somewhere like what is today Morocco from Senegal or Mali...

 

Anyway, I don't really have the answer. I guess I'm exploring this question - but as you maybe can tell from how I frame questions, I do tend toward answers involving power dynamics - though I think you're right that these other elements play a big role too- so thanks for your thoughts.

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Yes.

 

Mahamadou Mahe Cisse. He has quite a strong following round my parts!

 

 

 

Ah cool, I'm very interested!

 

Have you gone to any of their events?

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But I guess there lies the question. Why are certain capitals and hubs

 

It's not such a mystery. Political capitals, port cities, fortress cities are hubs because they were populated due to military reasons, or trade reasons, or political reasons (home of the king). Human's tend to congregate. Same reason as to why big cities in America are growing and no-name cities in Kansas is not.

 

 

Can anyone name a single African scholar?

 

Murabit al-Hajj. I know this name only because HY's teacher.

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Ah cool, I'm very interested!

 

Have you gone to any of their events?

 

Yes, he's part of the Tijani tareeqah and there is a strong base of West African/completely non African Muslims in a certain part of London who regularly invite him round for lectures and talks. He's a favourite during mawlid season too.

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