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History of Islam in Africa Paperback – 16 Sep 2010

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... by far the most complete attempt at covering the history of Islam in Africa up to the present ... There can be no doubt that this volume will become a standard textbook for undergraduates and a frequent reference work for scholars. - S.V. Ricard in ISLAM & CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM RELATIONS ...massive and marvellous synthesis...that will be both accessible and useful to general readers and scholars. ... The editors and contributors deserve high praise for this achievement. All levels. - J.A. Works in CHOICE ... the spacious layout and considerable length of each of its twenty four chapters make it pleasant to use. The way the book has been put together clearly reveals it is intended as a teaching aid ... This work rests on solid foundations, due to the authority of the authors as much as the documentation and bibliography it provides. It fulfils its objective of being a guide for students and others who want a reference volume that addresses both general and local issues in the Africa of Islam - Constant Hames in AFRICAN AFFAIRS

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Step Two in Understanding Islam in Africa 31 Aug. 2013
By C P Slayton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reason I called this book the "step two" to understanding Islam in Africa is due to its assumption that the reader understands orthodox or "global Islam" and African geography. This book is excellent. It covers, chapter by chapter, not only each African region but also builds on each region through history.

The editors and contributing authors make distinct connections between North African Islam and its influence in the Sub-Saharan region. I liked the frequent mention of influential scholars, Sufi leaders and African rulers and how they disseminated and interacted with Islam. The authors, in my opinion, are objective describing everything crucial elements like Sufi movements, religious syncretism, the Arab Slave trade, early and late reform movements, jurisprudence and women and minority dynamics.

The book is highly informative on the stages of Islam in Africa and the waves of reform or jihad describing in depth the 16th century movements, 18th and 19th movements and the current age of reform initiatives, peaceful and violent across the continent. Seeing the interaction of Arab Islam with African Islam throughout the centuries makes for a great overall picture of contemporary Islam.

I would have liked to see a few more maps. The authors would often cite cities, historical kingdoms and boundaries with barely a reference to their modern equivalent. Many authors would describe the syncretistic behavior of Islam in Africa as it adapted African culture to Islam but many of the African spirital rituals or traditions were never explained. The authors took for granted that the reader understood what "spirit possession", mawlid ceremony, or dhikr session looked like. Without a deep understanding of "mainstream Islam" many of the authors' points may have been lost.

I would recommend this book to anyone seriously wanting to understand Islam in Africa. The editors are known scholars of the region and the contributors provide some excellent depth of analysis. Islam in Africa (I grew up there) is not understood well, especially when "Global Islam" is the teacher.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Publisher's notes: 11 Aug. 2007
By Watershed Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The history of the Islamic faith on the continent of Africa spans fourteen centuries. For the first time in a single volume, The History of Islam in Africa presents a detailed historic mapping of the cultural, political, geographic, and religious past of this significant presence on a continent-wide scale. Bringing together two dozen scholars, this comprehensive work treats the historical development of the religion in each major region and examines its effects." "Designed as both a reference and a text, The History of Islam in Africa will be an essential tool for libraries, scholars, and students of this growing field.
Islam has enlivened life in African communities and has also been molded by its African settings. In this first comprehensive history, scholars identify the role that Islam and Muslims have played in the story of African development. Introductory chapters examine gateways from abroad through which Islam has traditionally influenced Africans. Following sections present overviews of Islamic history in various regions, and discuss important themes that have made an impact on Muslim communities in Africa. Levtzion directs the Council for Higher Education in Israel and teaches history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Pouwels teaches African history at the University of Central Arkansas. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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