Spread of Islam in Africa

The spread of Islam to Africa brought about changes in the way that Africans viewed the world and the people around them, and changes in the economy and regional trade.

African Culture and Religion

Africans believed witchcraft caused natural disasters
Led to class of priests that guided religion and protected community
Ancestors seen as direct link between humans and gods
Abbasid ruling Africa led to many conversions, as the Islamic message was well received
Slavery was viewed as a stage in process of conversion
Fusion of Islamic and pagan traditions continued

Life With Islam

Islam spread across North Africa, brought merchants and travelers
Islamic merchants became established in most major trade cities
Commercial cities included craft specialists and foreign merchant community
Common religion and laws provided solidarity and trust to merchants who lived in cities
Life was centered on agriculture

The African Governmental System

Ruler lived in large royal compound surrounded by entourage, authority buttressed by ritual and ceremony
Rulers were considered sacred and surrounded by rituals to separate them from the general public
Rulers and relatives thought to have special fertility power, only royal lineage fit to rule
Often had patriarch or council of elders coming from a particular family line for ruling
Women given some lenient rights but seen as house workers
Kingship hereditary but local chieftanship was not, giving central authority power to control subordinates

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