Yesterday I happened upon a posting on Planet Grenada (see link on side) entitled: sufi mujahideen . It is a wonderful thing to expose oneself to people who hold ideologies that are different from your own. Mr. Halim and myself have gone back and forth on the subject of Afrocentricity and Islam, of which there are a number of blog entries dealing with the subject. One of his bone's of contention with me is that I, among others, hold that by and large Islam is "alien" to Africa. That is Islam has it's general origins outside of Africa. Specifically though the argument is best made in relation to West Africa, which is practically the farthest west one can go from the geographic origins of Islam, without crossing water.
I use the terms "general" in reference to Islam's origins because as detailed in my blog post "Abrahamic What?" I show that Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all have a common ancestor in the Khemetic "mystery system" Therefore the specific "alien" nature to which I refer is the Arabic cultural phenom that gave rise to the specific religious expression we refer to as Islam. That said, I want to get back to the blog post that inspired this post. In his piece, Mr. Halim writes (quoting scholars):
In Morocco, the Shadhili tariqa was the forefront opponent of the Portuguese in the 15th century, the most notable of the Sufis being al-Jazuli.33 Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio (1754 – 1817) was a Maliki scholar of the Qadiri order who vigorously spoke out against the innovations that had become dominant in his time, particularly the mixing of Islamic and pagan beliefs. He eventually performed hegira, established an Islamic state, and engaged in jihad to unite the region under the Shariah.34
Now I found this statement to be "interesting" to say the least. Morocco is where? Yes that's right. And why would Uthman Dan Fodio be concerned with the "mixing of Islamic and Pagan" beliefs? and Why the judgement of native religions as being of lesser value than Islam? Ifg this sounds all too familiar then you are not nuts. This "concern" is no different from the concerns of Christian missionaries who shared the same disdain for the native religions of the peoples that they came into contact with.
But what is more interesting, is how this paragraph underscores a second point made in the "Afrocentricity and Islam" series, which was that Muslim rulers were engaging in warfare against their non-Muslim neighbors and that conflict weakened West Africa and fueled the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It also undermines the entire argument of peaceful conversion of the natives.
If we continue we read:
Al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal was a Tijani sheikh from northern Senegal who fought jihad against both the French and pagans of Guinea, Senegal, and Mali. After performing his second pilgrimage, he traveled across various cities in Africa starting in Cairo and eventually coming to Sokoto, Nigeria, where he studied with Muhammad Bello, the son of Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, in the field of military sciences and administration. Upon his return to his homeland, he fought mainly against the pagans of Karta and Segu. ‘Umar was a staunch advocate of the Shariah and after one victory against the polytheists, he destroyed the idols of the pagans with his own hands using an iron mace.35
What can I say? I don't think the "Idolators" were none to happy to have been waged war against, nor having their religious symbols broken. But then again, this all sounds pretty familiar doesn't it? Of course, those of us familiar with the history of Christianity in Africa, know that the Christian missionaries, and their converts did the same thing; disrespecting and destroying religious icons of the "idolators".
In a comment sent to Planet Grenada I mistakenly accorded the text to Mr. Halim, but his post was an excerpt of an article he had read. WHat is important here is that the article itself lends support to the claims made by Afrocentric scholars in that:
a) Islam is in fact "alien" to Africa.
b) The Jihads in Africa served to destabilize West Africa.
c) The introduction of Islam in Africa was not entirely peaceful as is presented by certain Muslims.
The truth always comes up to the surface.