By what means Islam spread to Africa? How did Islam shape/impact African culture and how did African culture in turn, shape Islam and Islamic practices? [Online]
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The online narrative, Islam and Indigenous African Culture described Islam as “highly influential” to Africa and its indigenous cultures. Originally, Africa was dominated by the Christian religion, Christianity, for centuries; until it disappeared in the Islamic expansion. Making its first presence in Africa in 641 A.D., it begins to spread quickly throughout North Africa, West Africa, and the coast of East Africa through trade, migration, and teachings. However, in Africa, they refrained from Arabization and encouraged the interaction of Muslims and non-Muslims to enhance creativity. As their commonalities brought them together, their differences shaped Africa’s political systems, social and artistic forms. Essentially, the understanding of both parties creates the enriched culture of Muslims and non-Muslims in Africa.
The spread of Islam throughout Africa was affected through trade and migration. It was stated, “In Africa, Islam has taken unique forms as the product of many different conversation experiences. In West Africa, much of this conversion before the 18th century occurred throughout the interaction with the Islamized Berber traders, who controlled the Trans-Saharan trade routes”. Also, many Muslim princes traveled to West Africa during the 19th century and settled. In this case, through migration, Islam’s religion spread through every part of Africa because Muslims were traveling, trading, and drop at different parts of Africa. The spread of Islam brought drastic changes in Africa due to the interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims. Some of these changes were political, social, and artistic forms in Africa. Without the spread of Islam, there are many things Africa would have been missing. The spread of Islam was a symbol of fertility and purity. While Islam benefited Africa in many ways, Africa also helped Islam because it enriched Islamic artistic expression and many more.
Islam first arrived in Africa by way of Egypt as it was invaded by the army of Amr-ibn al-As in 641 A.D., it then spread to other parts of Africa through trans-Saharan trade which was mostly controlled by Berber peoples. This means that Africans were not only exchanging goods, they were also exchanging culture and religion. Moreover, the spread of Islam throughout Africa promoted a new type of scholarship where, even in the areas where Islam wasn’t widely practiced, the greatest scholars and leaders were Muslim. Islam also became embedded into the architecture with the building of mosques throughout the continent, many of which also incorporated native African elements to the religious structure.