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By Lamin Sanneh

"Over the process the final 1400 years, Islam has grown from a small band of fans at the Arabian peninsula right into a international faith of over one billion believers. How did this occur? the standard solution is that Islam unfold through the sword-believers waged jihad opposed to rival tribes and kingdoms and compelled them to transform. Lamin Sanneh argues that this can be faraway from the full tale. past Jihad examines the foundation and Read more...

summary: "Over the process the final 1400 years, Islam has grown from a small band of fans at the Arabian peninsula right into a international faith of over 1000000000 believers. How did this take place? the standard solution is that Islam unfold by way of the sword-believers waged jihad opposed to rival tribes and kingdoms and compelled them to transform. Lamin Sanneh argues that this is often faraway from the total tale. past Jihad examines the starting place and evolution of the African pacifist culture in Islam, starting with an inquiry into the faith's origins and enlargement in North Africa and its transmission throughout trans-Saharan alternate routes to West Africa. The publication makes a speciality of the ways that, with no jihad, the faith unfold and took carry, and what that tells us concerning the nature of non secular and social switch. on the center of this technique have been clerics who used spiritual and felony scholarship to advertise Islam. as soon as this clerical classification emerged, it provided continuity and balance in the middle of political adjustments and cultural shifts, supporting to inhibit the unfold of radicalism, and subduing the urge to salary jihad. With its coverage of spiritual and inter-ethnic lodging, this pacifist culture took Islam past conventional exchange routes and kingdoms into distant districts of the Mali Empire, instilling a sufferer, Sufi-inspired, and jihad-negating impulse into spiritual existence and perform. Islam was once profitable in Africa, Sanneh argues, now not due to army may yet since it was once made African by way of Africans who tailored it to various contexts."--Jacket

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This would seem to rule out jihad. According to Ibn Abí Zar‘, the Lemtuna dynasty collapsed by the beginning of the tenth century from internal weakness but also from an exhausting external conflict with Ghana. This left Ghana the dominant power in the region. Taking advantage in 990 ad of internal dissension, the ruler of Ghana captured Awdaghast to end the dominance of the Sanhája. Awdaghast was an important commercial entrêpot and a nerve center of trans-​Saharan trade with Ghana, the land of gold.

With striking linear dunes hugging the entire coastline in southern Africa, the Namib Desert, an estimated 43 million years old, is reckoned to be the world’s oldest desert and, by some, the finest. The West Africa region covered by this study is contiguous with the northern horizontal rectangle, an area of religious and cultural life with which it has had long-​standing contact. The geometrical arrangement of the continent’s land mass explains the history of culture contact between North Africa and southwest Asia, as is evident from the course of trans-​Saharan traffic and, in subsequent centuries, the rise of Islam in Arabia and its spread within a generation to Egypt and North Africa.

19 But difference does not mean fragmentation, and change is not incoherence. The Muslim pacifist tradition is one example of how, involved in a complex and dynamic spiritual exchange with its African ideas of accommodation and coexistence, Islam became appropriated in ways that helped to unify it with the Islam of Arabia. This accommodation was not syncretism, since the idea that Islam is prescribed by the Qur’an was not overlooked or rejected despite extensive borrowing from African customs.

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