THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ISLAM IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA AND WESTERN SUDAN (ANCIENT WEST AFRICA)
AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK (Nurul-Anwar; )
The period before the advent of Islam in Arabia is referred to as the period of Jahiliyyah. The term though literally means ignorance but technically speaking it means “the state of ignorance of the guidance from God”. The state was characterized with immorality, corruption and above all excessive worship of idols. Some historians are of the view that Amr ibn Luhai was the originator of idolatry in Arabia. The underlining issue is that the names of these gods and goddesses were actual names of good and religious people who existed generations before those who venerated and worshipped these statues. One can relate this historical fact to the ghost and totem theory propounded by Hebert Spencer and Emile Durkheim as the origin of primitive religion. These statues venerated as gods lived an exemplary life in the society and after their death, the people thought to carve statues of these religious people to honor them. However, it is important to state that these statues were not venerated during this era but generations after generations the reason for these carved statues was adulterated. The generation that came after them started worshipping and venerating these statues thinking these objects were the gods of their forefathers. Hence Arabia was characterized with this form of worship and other detestable behaviors.
It was in this state of immorality and corruption that Muhammad (S.A.W) was sent with the Qur’an to guide the affairs of the human race. Though there is revealed book in these contemporary eras that guides the affairs of human, I am of the strong conviction that the Jahiliyyah period is still prevailing in its advance form in this contemporary era.
Muhammad (S.A.W) was commissioned in 610 A.D but history records that Islam at its infant stage was quarantined to the Prophet, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Zayd ibn Harith and Abu-Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah. But with patience, prayer and perseverance there are billions of Muslims around the globe. The historical development of Islam during the era of the Prophet is of three most important stages. I call the first stage as the Blood-Line Support. This is the stage where the uncle of the Prophet stood firm to support the Prophet during the Makkan persecution and opposition though he was not a Muslim. The second stage is referred to as the Pivot of History. This is the central pivot in the historical development of Islam. This, in other words, is referred to as the Migration to Madinah which serves as a turning point in the historical development of Islam. The final phase of the development is the conquest of Makkah not forgetting the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah which gave birth to the conquest of Makkah. These are the most significant stages in the historical development of Islam during the era of the Prophet. After the death of the Prophet came the era of the Khulafa-ur-Rashidun.
The era of the Khulafa-ur-Rashidun saw the territorial expansion of Islam. The era started in 632 A.D and ended in 661 A.D which sum up to twenty-nine years of glorious expansion. The era was characterized with territorial expansion, bliss, justice, loyalty, devotion, chaos and confusion which led to the assassination of the three Caliphs after Abu-Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah. Though there are certain controversies surrounding the Caliphate of Islam but it is important to resolve this issue with Qur’an chapter 49:10 which states; “the believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah that you may receive mercy”. Hence whatever happened among these companions is for us to learn from history and not to repeat such mistakes because experience is said to be an accumulation of past mistakes. The effort of these companions brought Islam to the African territories.
Furthermore, Islam was felt in the African territories at its infant stage. The first destination of Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula was Africa in 615 A.D. This was followed by the territorial expansion of Uthman ibn Affan where Islam reached as far as Morocco but was strange in Western Sudan (Ancient West Africa).
Hence trade extended Islam to Western Sudan in the 8th century but there was no conscious effort to inculcate the right doctrine of the religion. Islam in this era was syncretic due to the fact that those who brought Islam to Western Sudan were not missionaries. These Berbers were traders who were much concerned with their trading activities than spreading Islam. Hence Western Sudanese (Ancient West Africans) willingly accepted the religion without understanding the core values of the religion.
However, pilgrimage was a significant factor that called for the reformation of Islam in Western Sudan. This called for the introduction of scholars like Abdullah ibn Yasin who enforced the Maliki School of Thought in Western Sudan. Any Islam apart from the Maliki School of Law was rejected by Abdullah ibn Yasin and this explains why the Maliki School of Thought is the dominant School of Thought in West Africa till date.
Read also: THE ADVENT OF MALIKI SCHOOL OF LAW IN WESTERN SUDAN (ANCIENT WEST AFRICA) – By: ABDUL MANNAN YUSIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Nurul-Anwar (The light of the lights) is based on the current G.E.S and WASSCE syllabus in Islamic Studies (history section). The book even though written according to the WASSCE syllabus, it will be good for tertiary students as well.
The book traces the historical development of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula to the spread and impact of Islam in Western Sudan (Ancient West Africa). Students will understand from this book that Islam in some cases was spread through the territorial expansion of the Islamic territories but was not spread by the sword. Readers will get to understand that Islam expanded its territories from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa but people were not forced to profess the faith. It is important to state that this was a period of territorial expansion just as the world experienced the period of colonialism.
Students will be enlightened that Islam came to Ancient West Africa in the 8th century and Ancient West Africans willingly accepted the faith.
ABDUL MANNAN YUSIF
THE LIGHT OF THE LIGHTS
A MAGNIFICENT PRESENTATION OF THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ISLAM FOR SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS AND TERTIARY
CONTACT FOR YOUR COPIES TODAY:
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>Adam Hani Walker (2008). Hadhrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (ra). The Great lover of Allah (S.W.T), vol.1 p1-39.
>Boahen, A. A., Ajayi, J. A., & Tidy, M. (1966). Topics in West African history.
>Longmans. Dezines Focus Printing and Publication
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>Suleman, Hajj Mumuni. (2004). Islamic Studies. Accra, Ghana: Kapital Publication.
>Abdul Mannan Yusif. (2017). Nurul-Anwar. Accra, Ghana: Nurul-Anwar Publication.