The History of Islam in Africa — 2000

Edited by Nehemia Levtzion and Randall Pouwels

“Massive and marvelous synthesis…The editors and contributors deserve high praise for this achievement.”

J. A. Works Jr. — Choice

“An elegantly produced and up-to-date reference work of high scholarly quality.”

Foreign Affairs

“A great resource…The book covers a wide range of topics within the history of Islam in Africa: everything you always wanted to know about the subject but were afraid to ask.”

Janice M. Saunders — Sixteenth Century Journal

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The history of the Islamic faith on the continent of Africa spans fourteen centuries. For the first time in a single volume, The History of Islam in Africa presents a detailed historic mapping of the cultural, political, geographic, and religious past of this significant presence on a continent-wide scale. Bringing together two dozen leading scholars, this comprehensive work treats the historical development of the religion in each major region and examines its effects.

Without assuming prior knowledge of the subject on the part of its readers, The History of Islam in Africa is broken down into discrete areas, each devoted to a particular place or theme and each written by experts in that particular arena. The introductory chapters examine the principal “gateways” from abroad through which Islam traditionally has influenced Africans. The following two parts present overviews of Islamic history in West Africa and the Sudanic zone, and in subequatorial Africa. In the final section, the authors discuss important themes that have had an impact on Muslim communities in Africa.

Designed as both a reference and a text, The History of Islam in Africa will be an essential tool for libraries, scholars, and students of this growing field.


Nehemia Levtzion was a director with the Council for Higher Education in Israel and was a professor of history at the Hebrew University.


Randall Pouwels is a professor of African history at the University of Central Arkansas.

  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2000
Cover of 'The History of Islam in Africa'

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