Prominence of Islam: Class Notes

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Cultural Background

Religion:
Prominence of Islam after the 12th century

Background-religion:
* Prominence of islam after 12th century
* Pre-islamic culture of the Mande people was primarily animistic * animistic view-view of the cosmos in which everything as well as space could have its own spirit * human beings too had such a spirit known as a wraith (human spirit) * often it was necessary to remove a person’s wraith in order to defeat him * the second component of their religious belief system was deterministic * determinism-once fate was thought to be determined prior to birth (sundiata’s leadership) {supernatural forces beyond your control} * it was believed that there was nothing a human could do to avert their fate * both belief systems, the Mande system, (animistic/deterministic) informed sundiata

Cultural Aspect
* the epic genre is associated with the rise to power of an empire in a given culture. its an extended narrative poem * celebrates heroic tradition
* typically developed by the oral tradition

Historical background
* Mali emerged as a small nation-state of Mandingo people near the end of the 18th century * By the 11th century some of its leaders had become Muslim * The Mali empire, founded by Sundiata Kieta, lasted from 1230 to 1468 * Mali was 2nd of a series of powerful west African empires that rose between the 11th and 16th centuries * Mali had extensive trading operations throughout Africa and beyond * Famous Mali kings beside Sundiata: Abu Bakari II and Mansa Musa * Abu Bakari II commissioned a fleet of 400 vessels to sail down the Senegal river in westward to the end of the ocean. When only ship returned from that expedition, he commissioned a second fleet and leading it, sailed westward with it, never to return * In 1324, his brother and successor, king Mansa Musa, made a pilgrimage to Mecca accompanied by 12000 servants dressed in silk, he took 50000...
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