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Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas Paperback – 31 Oct 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Paperback, 31 Oct 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: New York University Press (31 Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814719058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814719053
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,645,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Servants of Allah opens a new door on the African Diaspora and provides readers with even more insight into Islam, as well as enslaved Africans. Diouf's study greatly enhances current literature on the Diaspora." Jason Zappe, Copley News Service "This historical study is ground-breaking not only in its theme but also its approach, which can be described as pan-Africanist to the extent that it relates the histories of these deported Muslims to the political upheavals of medieval Africa...; forges links between the varied sites of their dispersal from the 16th to the 19th century...; and examines the issue of return to Africa and the lineage (or the absence thereof) of this first American Islam." Sylvie Kande, QBR "Servants of Allah is constructed in a highly classical manner: the sobriety of its analysis lets the facts speak for themselves, with a minimum of editorializing; it is structured logically and symmetrically in a manner that illuminates the nodal point of the Muslim's distinctiveness within the slave system, namely, their mastery of writing...Servants of Allah has a wealth of arguments that provoke reflection and that will not leave the reader indifferent or lacking in references for further reading." Quarterly Black Review "Sylviane A. Diouf's book makes a major contribution by focusing on Muslim participation in the slave trade and Muslims' impacts on the Americas. (...) Diouf presents a convincing and original picture of the life of enslaved Muslims, who, she claims, remained primarily servants of Allah than subjects of Christian masters. (...) The chapter on resistance and revolts is especially interesting. According to the author, Muslims, as a result of their literacy and military skills, played essential roles in the Haitian Revolution and the early-nineteenth-century revolts in Bahia...Diouf's well-written and interesting book opens new avenues of inquiry and research. It will interest and perhaps inspire students of the African diaspora and slavery in the Americas." Journal of American History "Sylviane Diouf's Servants of Allah is a welcome contribution to our understanding of a critical moment in the African Diaspora. Her focus is the collective experience of African Muslims enslaved in the New World. Diouf's premise is that Muslims maintained their religious and cultural integrity, indeed their identity, in the face of daunting odds...The author's insight into Islamic almsgiving in the form of saraka cakes in the Georgia Sea islands is intriguing. The section on Muslim dress in the third chapter is well presented. Perhaps the most fascinating parts of the work concern the probability that Muslim holy books were transferred from the Old World to the New via networks of black sailors and that the blues are most likely informed by the musical creativity of West African Muslims". Journal of Southern History

Review

“A must read for anyone interested in the early history of Islam in the African American community. Diouf goes beyond generalities and sheds light on the lives of transplanted Muslims who have become an important block in the rewriting of the history of Islam in the United States, providing heroic examples of adjustment and survival in a hostile environment.”-Yvonne Haddad,Georgetown University

"Servants of Allah remains an important scholarly work, significant in retrieving historical memory and as a testament of religious endurance under dislocation, separation, and enslavement. Beyond the familiar assumptions of struggle, survival, and liberation, the book points to the vigorous intellectual life of Islam in which New World Muslim Africans participated. Diouf has put her finger on a critical impulse when she draws out the transnational dimensions of Islamic scholarship that sustained learning and practice among the besieged Muslim Africans, which makes the irony of the decline of Muslim life during slavery in the Americas all the more striking."-Lamin Sanneh,Yale University --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
A light shone unto a chapter of history which some people would rather have left hidden in the dark. An absolute triumph..
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By A Customer on 2 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Page after page reveals information I was never taught in school--true stories of tragedy, triumph, struggle. You can't help but have an awe and deep respect for what these people went through, for their strength and character and unswerving dedication to God. Faith and valor are two words that they embody. I am so proud of them. I bought a copy for my brother and my father. This book should be in every American's (and African's) home library. Also, I must commend the author for a fair presentation of the basics of Islam. Her mistakes in this area were very few.
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Format: Paperback
I've read many books on slavery but for the first time, I have felt a close connection with the Africans who were enslaved in the New World. This book presents their personal stories, their educational and familial background, their aspirations and struggles, in a detailed and lively manner. I greatly recommend this book, full of previously unknown information to anyone who wants to read the true, positive and inspiring story of the Africans who brought so much to America.
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