المساعد الشخصي الرقمي

مشاهدة النسخة كاملة : Islam in Songhai


aammar
07-02-2013, 06:59 AM
Islam in the empire of Songhai:

The Songhai Empire was a state located in Western Africa near Dahomey [what is now the Republic of Benin] and Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), and stretched to Bussa in Northern Nigeria. Its capital was the city of Gao, near modern day Zaghawa.
It is said that its kings were of Yemeni origin and that they fled to Sudan at the time of the Pharaoh of Moosaa (Moses). There are said to have been fourteen kings whose names began with (Za); perhaps a distortion of Dia. The first of them to embrace Islam was Zakmen in 400 AH. They were followed by rulers of the Sonni or Sunni Dynasty, who bore the title (Sunni).
In the mid-seventh century AD, some Moroccan Lamta Berber tribes emerged and started imposing political influence on the farmers of the Sanhaja people who settled on the left bank of the Niger River at the town of Dandi, east of the Niger. These Berbers managed to establish the Dia Dynasty, which took Kukiya as its capital. The new dynasty established trade relations with Ghana, Tunisia, Barqa (Cyrenaica), and Egypt. These trade relations led to the conversion of these kings to Islam in the 11th century AD through North Africa. The capital of the Dia Dynasty was moved to Gao, on the banks of the Niger River, which became one of the most important trade centers in Western Sudan.

In the 11th century, and specifically in the year 1010 AD, one of the kings of this empire - named (Kossoi) - founded a capital for the kingdom, which is the city of Gao. King Kossoi converted to Islam and it became customary that the king of the Songhai tribes would be a Muslim, although the tribes themselves did not embrace Islam and held on to their old religion.
Gao, under the Sonni dynasty, became an important commercial center that attracted Arab and Muslim traders from Egypt and other Islamic countries in North Africa. It also became an Islamic center for Da‘wah, calling people to embrace Islam and promoting the message of Islam in Africa. Religious classes and lectures were held all over the city and delegations of Muslim scholars from Islamic countries came to the city. Many seekers of knowledge and students from other neighboring areas came to Gao.

During the reign of Sunni ‘Ali (1464-1492 AD), the Songhai Empire flourished and expanded its sovereignty. He had a strong army and his conquests reached the plains of West Africa. After his death, one of Sonni ‘Ali’s generals ascended to the throne. He was from the Soninke people and called himself Askia Muhammad I. He led the Songhai Empire to the pinnacle of its greatness. He organized the army, and went on pilgrimage to Makkah in 1495. He was even more generous than Mansa Musa. Under the leadership of Askia Mohammed, Timbuktu once again became a prosperous commercial city and a great center for Islamic studies.

After his return from Hajj in 1497, Askia Muhammad continued Sonni Ali's imperial expansion. He launched several campaigns to expand the Songhai Dynasty. He spread Islam among his pagan neighbors: Mandinka, Fulani, Tuareg, Mossi, and the Hausa people in the east. The Songhay Empire stretched to the borders of the Tukulor kingdom. Askia Muhammad I conquered the Hausa lands and forced its inhabitants to pay tribute. Under the leadership of Askia Mohammed, Timbuktu flourished once again and became a prosperous commercial city in an unprecedented way. His reign is considered the golden age of Timbuktu.
Askia Mohammed was succeeded by Isaac I (1539-1549 AD), who restored security to the country after taking office. After his death, Askia David came to office and followed the example of his predecessors in spreading Islam and the Islamic civilization among the pagan tribes. After his death in 1582 AD, a civil war over succession weakened the Empire, leading Moroccan sultans to dispatch a military force to invade the country.

The Songhai Empire fell at the hands of the Moroccan sultans, who had been for long aspiring to seize the empire. Songhai kings had been appointing sultans of Morocco until 1585. When the country splintered into dozens of smaller kingdoms due to internal conflicts and civil wars, the Moroccans took advantage of this opportunity to achieve their long ambitions in the empire. This was how the Marrakech invasion of the Songhai Empire happened.

In the years that followed, the Muslims in West Africa became estranged to Islam, hence diverse myths, superstitions, innovations, and delusions spread among them. However, because Allaah the Exalted Protects His True religion, He Chose certain people to renew and revive Islam in this country. The resurgence was achieved through a number of Islamic movements that were led by a number of pious Muslim scholars and Mujaahids.