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Mrs. Rand University Preparatory School Content adapted from History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, Teacher’s Curriculum Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Mrs. Rand University Preparatory School Content adapted from History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, Teacher’s Curriculum Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mrs. Rand University Preparatory School Content adapted from History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, Teacher’s Curriculum Institute

2   During the 7 th Century, Islam spread quickly through the Middle East and North Africa.  During the 8 th Century, the trans-Saharan trade brought Muslim merchants and traders to West Africa.  Eventually both the kingdoms of Mali and Songhai accepted Islam.  West Africans blended Islamic culture with their own traditions. Introduction

3  Religious Practices

4   Along with adopting new practices and ethical values, West Africans kept some of their old religious practices.  Muslim leaders allowed them to continue religious traditions as long as they did not contradict (conflict with) the Five Pillars Faith.  W. Africans continued to show respect for the spirits of dead ancestors. They kept their belief in spirits who could help those or made sacrifices to them.  They used amulets, or charms, that they believed helped people or protected them from harm. New Religious Practices

5  The Spread of Islam in West Africa Traders Bring Islam to Ghana  Between 639 and 708 C.E., Arab Muslims conquered North Africa  They wanted to bring W. Africa into the Islamic world.  Initially the king of Ghana did not convert, nor did the majority of the people.  But the king did allow Muslims to build settlements within his empire

6  Islam in Mali  The tolerance shown by Muslims toward traditional religious practices helped Islam to spread.  Early leaders of Mali accepted Islam, but they didn’t follow all of its teachings.  In 1312, a new leader, Mansa Musa, took over in Mali. He became the first West African ruler to practice Islam devoutly.

7  Islam in Mali  Under the rule of Mansa Musa, Mali became a major crossroad of the Islamic world.  Musa made a hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca  His caravan was described as “a lavish display of power, wealth, and unprecedented by its size and pageantry.”  Included in his caravan was:  500 slaves, each carrying a 6 lb. staff of gold  Caravan of 200 camels carrying  30,000 lbs. of gold  Food, clothing, and supplies  Because of this impressive display, Mali gained acceptance as an important empire

8  Islam in Songhai  In the 1460s Sunni Ali became the new ruler of Songhai.  He built a powerful army that enabled Songhai to break away from Mali and eventually conquer it.  Early Songhai rulers didn’t seriously practice Islam  Under the leadership of Askia Mohammed Toure, a devout Muslim, rigid controls were set to ensure Islam was being practiced properly.

9  Government and Law

10  Change #1: Succession  An important change in government was in how people chose their next leader, or “line of succession”  Traditionally succession to the throne had been matrilineal – the right to rule was traced through the woman’s side of the family  After the arrival of Islam, succession became patrilineal – the right to rule went from father to son.

11  Change #2: Structure of Gov’t  Muslims believed in a highly centralized government, which was different than traditional African society  After conversion to Islam, West African kings sought more control of local rulers  Rulers adopted titles used in Muslim lands, such as “emir” and “sultan” small480.png

12  Change #3: Adoption of Shari’ah Law  Customary laws of Africa usually:  were enforced by chiefs or kings  didn’t give physical punishments  Weren’t written down  Guilty person paid injured party with gifts or services  Family or clan of guilty person could also be punished

13  Shari’ah Law:  Laws were written  Muslims believed that shari’ah came from God  Administered by judges called qadis  Cases were heard in a court  Witnesses called  Ruled on basis of the law and the evidence presented

14  Education

15   Muslims highly value learning & encouraged people to become educated.  Timbuktu  Became famous for its community of Islamic Scholars  Contained several universities  Schools were set up to educate children in the Qur’an  Schools run by an imam (scholar)  Basic subjects included studying the Qur’an, Islamic studies, law, and literature Emphasis on Education

16  Language

17   In West Africa, Arabic became the language of religion, learning, commerce (business), and government.  Arabic became the language of TRADE and GOVERNMENT  West Africans continued to use their native languages in everyday speech.  Scholars used Arabic to begin to write about the history and culture of West Africa.  Arabic allowed rulers to keep records and to write to rulers in other countries.  Using the common Arabic language, West African traders who spoke different languages to communicate more easily. Arabic: A New Language

18  What was written about?  Described how people used animals, plants, and minerals to cure diseases.  Discussed ethical behavior for business and government.  Told how to use the stars to determine the seasons.  They recorded the history of the Songhai.  They wrote about Islamic Law

19  Architectural Styles

20 Mosques in West Africa  Traditionally, West Africans built small shrines to the forces of nature. As they converted to Islam, they began to build mosques (Muslim house of worship).  The mosques that were built blended Islamic architectural styles with their own traditional religious art.  For example, the minaret (tower) of one mosque was designed to look like the symbol of a Songhai ancestor. Mosques in West Africa used the materials that were available in the local area.

21  Decorative Arts

22  West Africans adopted the use of calligraphy and geometric patterns in their decorative arts.  Arabic calligraphy was used to decorate costumes, fans, and even weapons.  West Africans adopted the dress of Arabic robes… using decorative textiles and clothing and everyday objects like stools, ceramic containers.

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