TheEffect did the Islamic Invasion have Upon the People of Africa
Thehistory of Islamic invasion of Africa is documented and traces to 647when over twenty thousand Arabs, acting under the order of CaliphUmar, marched from Medina and were joined by another twenty thousandfrom Memphis, and were led by Abdallah Ibn al-Sa’ad in a quest toconquer Africa. The invasion took over Tripolitania (Libya). Althoughthere was a strong resistance, especially from the Byzantine Empire,they were defeated the invading Muslims. However, following the deathof Gregory, the successor negotiated for a withdrawal in exchange ofthe tribute. The campaign had last only a year and a half when theforces returned to Egypt in 648.Besides, further conquest was impededby the civil war between the rivaling factions, which resulted in themurder of several leaders, including Caliph Uthman and his success,Ali Ibn Abi Talib. However, soon the invasion efforts were revived.The second invasion of Africa happened between 665 and 689, which sawthe Arab establish rule over most of the Northern Africa region.These invasions were aimed at protecting Egypt from potential attackfrom Byzantine Cyrene. An army of over 40, 000 had matched to Barcaand defeated Byzantine army.By the year 709, the Arab Caliphatescontrolled a vast of the North Africa, except Ceuta, the Pillar ofHercules.
Todate, the history of the invasion of Arabs of Africa is still widelydiscussed. Perhaps, one of the interesting topics is the legacy ofthe conquest and invasion of Africa, and this is characterized by araging debate on whether it might have been accompanied by negativeor positive results. This paper examines the question of the effectof Islamic invasion of Africa. It argues that the invasion had adestructive effect on the people, religion, and their culture thatdominated Africa, and that due to the invasion and its stripping theAfrican people of their identity, it significantly cost them anirreparable setback in their quest for self-pride and individuality.
Theeffect of religion is perhaps one of the outstanding effects ofArabic invasion of Africa. Most of the people living in the regionsthat were historically under the control of the Arabs are Muslim.Indeed, Husseinnotesthat many of communities occupying these regions, especially theNorth Africa are Muslim and operate based on the Sharia laws. Thereare two common sources of Sharia: Sunnah and the Quran. Quran isconsidered as a word of God that can never be altered. Most of theQuran emphasizes the need for Muslims to embrace moral values.Nevertheless, it is argued that only 80 of the entire verses the lawconstitutes part of the Sharia law. On the other hand, the Sunnahoffers examples of desirable life that should be lived by Muslim andit is a report of the way of life of Prophet Muhammad. Sunnah isconsidered as the most pivotal source of Sharia laws because itoffers most prescriptions that constitute the laws. This is alsobecause its importance is highlighted in various verses of the Quran(Hussein4).
Sunnahis contained in various reports of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad,as well as his actions and demeanors. Whereas only one Quran exists,there are several compilations of hadith within it, most of whichwere created as early as 850 CE. The most popular Sunni collectionsare those compiled Muslim Ibn al-Hajjaj, Abu Dawood, Muhammadal-Bukhari Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa`i and Ibn Majah. These constitute asmany as19, 000 hadiths. Some of the existent hadiths are repetitionsof the others. Sunnah, as a source of Islam, is also inclusive of thetwelve Imam anecdotes (Durant 89).
Likeany other Islamic countries, the process of interpretation of the twosources of Sharia law is often referred to as the fiqh. Whereas thetwo sources are considered sufficient, Sharia law is such thestandards in the prescriptions may be altered to suit various legalcontexts. Fiqh covers all areas of law, ranging from constitutional,civil, and religious matters to matters pertaining to procedural law.Fiqh and associated processes are governed by the interpretations ofSunni, Quran, the collective reasoning consensus arrived by scholarsand analogical deduction processes.In the Shia approach tojurisprudence, the fiqh is inclusive of formal logic, laws, andcustoms that are based on the interests of the public. This approachto Sharia law has been widely criticized as being fallible,considering that it creates the allowance for the humaninterpretation and modification. There are various schools thatconstitute the Islamic law interpretation. These are Sunni Hanafi,Hanbali, Maliki and Shafi` and Salafi. All these played a crucialrole in the construction and enforcement of Sharia laws (Hans26). Walkernotes that Muslim population in Africa is 45 percent, with largepresence in North Africa, West Africa, Horn of Africa, and SwahiliCoast, the regions that were under Arabic occupation in the past(Walker 45).
Theculture of these people is mostly based on the Islamic customs. Croneobservesthat the Islamic law played a crucial role in the consolidation ofthe Muslim identity during the invasion period. The Islamic lawoffered prescriptions to various issues of the society. Some of thecode covered matters pertaining to the family relationships andhouseholds, including sexual behavior, paternity, inheritance anddivorce. There was also the provision that imposed obligationstowards leaders. Other minor provisions touched on the areasassociated with the military services. The Islamic law ended upinfluencing people to solely depend on and express confidence insingle rulers. It offered prescriptions on the need for Islam touphold peace and live in harmony. Therefore, the Islamic laws servedas the unification of the Islam societies, providing the society withthe moral standard values, religion, class structure organizations,and moral values(Crone 34).
IslamicSharia law was successful in achieving its intended outcomes. Thecode not only enabled the society to be secured, as well asconsolidated. The rule under the Sharia laws was consideredlegitimate, enabling the royal line to successfully rule for as manyseveral decades. It is argued that the code was sometimes neverstraightforward. Here, it is cited that most legal cases that wererecorded were not carried out in line with the Sharia laws. TheIslamic laws were a way through which Muslim society made variousattempts at regulating morality as a way of maintaining social order.Islamic laws regulated incest, adultery, and marriage. Through theattempts to codify and enforce the morality laws, the Arab dynastiesturned out successful in extending the reign to private lives of thesociety while fostering a sense of social, economic and politicalresponsibility. Islamic laws were also employed in justifying thejihadist invasions, which offered opportunities for expansion ofterritories(Nehemiaand Randall, Pouwels, 89). Apart from the religion, another notable attribute of cultureinfluenced by the Islamic rule was language erosion. Many of thecommunities that were under the rule of Islam speak the Arabiclanguage (Edward 189).
Theinvasion influenced the political governance, in which many of thepresent African Islamic countries have been characterized byconflicts and civil war. The Islamic administration was organizedinto three branches. These included those that dealt with taxcollection affair, religious administration affair and military andpolitical organization affair. Each of the branches was furthersubdivided into additional, specialized branches, departments, andoffices. In the geographic sense, the empire was organized intoseveral provinces which were under the rule of governors appointed byKhalifa. The governor had jurisdiction over the civil administrators,religious officials, and police and army leaders, among other pivotalarms of government within the society. Before the conquest of Muslim,the preceding Byzantine and Sassanid empires were reliant on currencyeconomies. Nevertheless, even after their conquest, the currencyeconomy system continued to characterize the Umayad dynasty and theAbbasid societies. The only change that was made on the coin was theQuran stamps (Thomas45).
TheUmayyad caliphate society was characterized by the existence of foursocial classes, which included the Muslim Arabs, the Muslimnon-Arabs, the slaves, and the non-Muslim free persons. The Muslimsconsidered themselves as belonging to the top of the Muslimsocieties. It was for these reasons that they considered themselvesthe only group that could rule the society. Despite the fact that theIslamic doctrine emphasized the need to uphold equality and fairnessin the society, the Arab Muslim society contravened this by holdingthemselves with high esteem, going as far as limiting theirinteraction with other groups in the society. It is widely arguedthat this form of inequality and discrimination that contributed tothe decline in the popularity of the Umayyad caliphates and dynastyin the Northern Africa. The inequality in the society culminatedsocial unrest. As the population of Islamized people grew, thenon-Arabs constituted the majority of the population. The increase innon-Arab Muslim population was accompanied by heightening tensions,as many advocated for equality. This environment was what created theallowance for the emergence of the Abbasid caliphates(Chisholm 157).
Atrocities,Exploitation and Displacement of Africans
TheArab occupation in Africa was accompanied by human atrocitiesdirected against Africans. The most notable act of the Islamic rulewas the exploitation of the Africans through the slave trade. TheArab, upon establishment of rule in Africa, also created trade routesconnecting Africa to the rest of the world. While the trade involvedvarious valuable goods such gold and copper, the trade involvedslave. Walkernotes that many Africans were enslaved on the course of the Islamicrule, following the transatlantic trade or the Trans-Saharan trade(Walker 67).Besides, Charles has further suggested that when talking about theimpact of Islamic invasion of Africa, one should also conceptualizethe forms of exploitation that followed via the trade. The tradersencouraged the trade of game products, which resulted in the massiveloss of wildlife. The author reasons that the Islamic trade could bepart of the reason why many of the regions that were under theoccupation of the Muslims have fewer wildlife reserves and game parks(Charles 78). The Islamic invasion also resulted in the displacementof the Africans and settlement of the Arabs in the Northerncountries. Donner notesthat many Africans were displaced southwards for fear of theJihadists. The legacies of this displacement are still evident today— the Arabs occupy in strategic regions in the North Africa such asMorocco, Libya, Egypt, Northern Sudan (Donner34)
Inconclusion, the aim of this paper has been to examine the question ofthe effect of Islamic invasion of Africa. It has successfully arguedthat the invasion had a destructive effect on the people, religion,and their culture that dominated Africa, and that due to the invasionand its stripping the African people of their identity, itsignificantly cost them an irreparable setback in their quest forself-pride and individuality. It has been established that the effectof religion is perhaps one of the outstanding effects of Arabicinvasion of Africa. Most of the people living in the regions thatwere historically under the control of the Arabs are Muslim. Many ofcommunities occupying these regions, especially the North Africa areMuslim and operate based on the Sharia laws. The invasion alsoinfluenced the political governance whose roots can be linked to theproblematic nature of democracies of the Islamic countries. Besides,the culture of these people is mostly based on the Islamic custom.Apart from the religion and Islam-based governance, another notableattribute of culture influenced by the Islamic rule was languageerosion. Many of the communities that were under the rule of Islamspeak the Arabic language. The Arab occupation in Africa wasaccompanied by human atrocities directed against Africans. Inparticular, many Africans were enslaved on the course of the Islamicrule, following the transatlantic trade or the Trans-Saharan trade.Moreover, the Africans population was displaced southwards for fearof the Jihadists. The legacies of these displacement continues totoday — the Arabs occupy in strategic regions in the North Africasuch as Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Northern Sudan.
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