The Rise of Islam in Post-Classical Africa
Prior to the arrival of Islam, Africa existed mainly as stateless societies which had strong political power residing in ruling families, while keeping connections to other societies through the use of a common language and religious beliefs. The connections allowed for trading between stateless societies, meaning that by the post-classical period, Islam was able to spread through the use of established trade routes. Throughout post-classical Africa, the promotion of Islamic power took place through the mandation of the religion by local kinship rulers, the diffusion of religious art in overseas trade, and the importance of the economic relationship between Sudanic states in the expansion of Islam. The mandation and promotion of the religion by local kinship clans resulted in a rise of population in the Islamic faith throughout post-classical Africa. Islam offered many attractions such as equality of Muslims within a community and a mystical relationship with one God which appealed to both the rulers and the people, yet became extremely diverse, as Islam spread throughout the Sahara and into Ghana, mixing with Animistic ideas of royal cults. Because of the various interpretations of the religion, leaders such as Sundiata were able to impose harsh, yet subjective rules regarding security on trade routes, eventually leading to the diffusion of the Muslim world to port cities such as Mali. Islam values conformed to styles of traditional religion, resulting in a variation of Sudanic states, such as Songhay, who had different religious and cultural values of pagan practices, and allowed women to mix in the markets, but as a result, puritanical reformist movements took place such as the Almoravids and the Almohadis, who wanted to return to the original teachings of Islam and create a uniform method of worship, that was absent of animistic cults and pagan rituals. This spread in the Islamic religion among kinship clans...
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