Prof. A. Rahman I. Doi

(This is a summary of the article developed by Dr. A. Zahoor.)

Books and E-Books
On Muslim History and Civilization

The famous Arab historian Ibn Khaldun says that the name Ifriqiya was given after Ifriqos bin Qais bin Saifi, one of the Kings of Yemen. To Al-Bakri, the boundries of Ifriqiya were Barga on the East and Tangier on the West, which means that in addition to the Africa proper of the Romans, it included Tripolitania, Numidia and Mauritania. Today, by the use of the word Ifiriqiya or Africa, the Arabs as well as non-Arabs mean the entire continent of Africa which includes North Africa (including the Maghrib), East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, and South Africa. It was significant that the first shelter of early Muslims was in Africa (Abyssinia, 615 CE). By the time Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his mission, the Egyptians and Syrians had partially severed their active link with the Roman Empire.

When the Arab conquest began in 647 CE, the Exarch Gregory had already denounced allegiance to Constantinople and had proclaimed himself as an Emperor. In Egypt, the native Copts were instructed by their bishop in Alexandria to offer no resistance to the Arab Muslims marching toward Egypt. The first serious attempt to expand Islam in Africa is credited to 'Uqabah (Okba) b. Nafi, who is revered to this day as the founder of Muslim Africa. In most of the areas conquered, the former religions of those areas, whether Christianity, zoroastrianism, Judaism or indigenous cults, continued to survive, without generally any oppression for centuries after the conquest by Muslim armies. Thus even in those areas where political authority was in the hands of Muslims owing allegiance to the central power of the Caliphate in Damascus or Baghdad, the actual Islamization of the population was generally a fairly slow process of absorption.

Islam spread in North Africa with remarkable speed, and by the year 732 C.E., which marked the first centennial of Muhammed's death, his followers were the masters of an empire greater than that of Rome at its Zenith, an empire extending from the Bay of Biscay to the Indus and the confines of China and from the Aral Sea to the lower contracts of the Nile. The name of the Prophet, as Messenger of God along with the name of God [Allah] was being called out five times a day from thousands of minarets scattered all over North Africa, South-Western Europe, and Western and Central Asia.

Allah: Allah is the proper name in Arabic for The One and Only God, The Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It is used by the Arab Christians and Jews for the God (Eloh-im in Hebrew; 'Allaha' in Aramaic, the mother tongue of Jesus, pbuh). The word Allah does not have a plural or gender. Allah does not have any associate or partner, and He does not beget nor was He begotten. SWT is an abbreviation of Arabic words that mean 'Glory Be To Him.'
s or pbuh: Peace Be Upon Him. This expression is used for all Prophets of Allah.
ra: Radiallahu Anhu (May Allah be pleased with him).

Copyright © Al-Ittihad, 1979.
'The Planting and Diffusion of Islam in Africa - South of Sahara.'

Copyright © 1998 Web version prepared by Dr. A. Zahoor.


E-Books on Islam and Muslims

  Muslims in Africa

Home Page