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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The economic dimension of West African Islamic history
Author:Kenny, JosephISNI
Periodical:Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:Islamic history
economic history
Abstract:Economic factors have served the interests of Islamic expansion and decline in the context of changing political and historical circumstances. The present article indicates the economic basis underlying some of the fortunes and reversals of Islam in West Africa: the desire for booty, trade, and State control of distribution. At the root of the Islamic conquest of North Africa lay the desire for booty. Religious scholars who followed in the wake of the 8th-century trans-Saharan trade in slaves and gold controlled by the Khārijite State of Tahirt brought Islam to West Africa, and by the middle of the 11th century, all the kings of the major Sudanic kingdoms (Takrūr, Ghana, Sila, Mala, Gao, Kanem) had become Muslim. The Murābits (or Almoravids), a military movement among the Sanhaja Berbers, subsequently displaced Khārijism along the trade routes and concluded alliances with various Sudanic States. The Songhay empire came to an end with the Moroccan invasion of 1592. Following the Turkish occupation of North Africa the trans-Saharan trade in the Western Sudan dried up. 16th and 17th-century West Africa was characterized by economic and political stagnation until the 'jihād' movements, stimulated by the Atlantic slave trade, reestablished Islam as a State religion in the Western Sudan. In independent Nigeria northern Muslims control the federal government. This assures them economic power, which is used to promote Islam. Ref.