Islam, the religion of the Arab peoples, was spread throughout North Africa by the followers of Muhammed in the latter part of the 7th century. But the 11th century it had taken firm root in the western Sudanese states bordering on the Sahare desert, being brought by the Arab and Berber traders.
The States in the north of Nigeria have remained mainly Muslim since the days of Usman dan Fodio. In the western State, Muslims and non-Muslims are about equal in number. In the east there are very few Muslim. There are about 26 million Muslims in the whole of Nigeria out of a total of 55 million.
The Muslim of Ghana are mainly in the north, being about one fifth of the six and a helf million population.
The area formerly called French West Africa is largely Muslim today because of Muslim influences from cross the Sahara and the only wars of Ahmadu Lobo and Alhaji Omar in the 19th century.
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya have been Muslim countries since the of the Arab invasions in the 7th and 8th centuries. Egypt is not only a Muslim state but also the centre of Arab nationalism. The northern half of the Sudan Republic is also Muslim Country. The Sudan saw many religions risings during the last century.
After a thousand years of Muslim rule the East Coast of Africa and Zanzibar, which had been the Headquaters of the Arab slave trade, were put under the protection of European states. Then the former slave traders became wealthy as clove and coconut plantation owners. After independence, the discontent of the African population flared up into rebellion. The Arab government was overthrown and the Sultan, Sayyid, was forced to leave the country.
Islam has been widely accepted in Africa for it is a simple religion of faith in the next world and security in the brotherhood of fellow believers. It’s teachings on slavery, women and education however have not been progressive in Africa.
Islam In Ghana
Ghana has a number of Mulims in the north where the people of Dagomba, Mamprusi and Gonja live. They provide about on fifth of Ghana’s population of six and a half (6 1/2) million, and include a few thousand Hausa and Fulani in the north-east.
Muslim Conquest Of Massina And Segu
The main religion in the area formerly called Frence West African communities is largely Islam today because of Muslim influence from across the Shara and the holy wars (Jihad) of Ahmadu Lobo and Alhaji Omar in the 19th century, about the same time as the Holy War was being waged by Usman dan Fodio and his Muslim followers, another Fulani called Ahmadu Lobo was carrying out a campaign against the Pagan Diallo tribe of the Bambarra Kingdom. He defeated the army which had been aent against him and in the year 1810 he set up in Massina an independent Muslim kingdom.
Another Muslim reformer was Alhaji Omar. Omar had made a pilgrimage to Mecca and had stayed in Egypt, Sokoto and Bornu. On his reture to the kingdom of Futa, he began a religions movement. Like Usman dan Fodio his fame spread far and wide and many people came to join him. Soon he was in conflict with the rulers of Futar. He moved his headquarter to Dinquiray and from there he declared another Holy War (JIHAD) against all the pagans. He invaded the kingdom of Kaarta and by 1854 he had captured it’s main towns. Omar then moved his army to attack the states of Khasso and Galam. His advance was met by the French in the year 1861, but he took the capital of Massina in 1862 and raided Timbuktu in 1863. A year later he returned to put down a revolt in Massina and he was killed.
READ MORE: Purification In Islam (Al-Tahara)
Omar was followed by his son Ahmadu who ruled the empire his fater had won till 1884. Ahmadu finally fled to Hausaland where he died in in the year 1898.