“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

“The text is a welcome and much-needed addition to any library and the editors and contributing authors should be commended for their work.”

John Glover The International Journal of African Historical Studies

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.

Contributors: Edward A. Alpers, René A. Bravmann, Abdin Chande, Eric Charry, Allan Christelow, Roberta Ann Dunbar, Kenneth W. Harrow, Lansiné Kaba, Lidwien Kapteijns, Nehemia Levtzion, William F. S. Miles, David Owusu-Ansah, M. N. Pearson, Randall L. Pouwels, Stefan Reichmuth, David Robinson, Peter von Sivers, Robert C.-H. Shell, Jay Spaulding, David C. Sperling with Jose H. Kagabo, Jean-Louis Triaud, Knut S. Vikør, John O. Voll, and Ivor Wilks


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

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


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction: Patterns of Islamization and Varieties of Religious Experience among Muslims of Africa
    Nehemia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels
  • Part I: Gateways to Africa
  • 1. Egypt and North Africa
    Peter von Sivers
  • 2. The Indian Ocean and the Red Sea
    M. N. Pearson
  • Part II: West Africa and the Sudan
  • 3. Islam in the Bilad al-Sudan to 1800
    Nehemia Levtzion
  • 4. The Juula and the Expansion of Islam into the Forest
    Ivor Wilks
  • 5. Precolonial Islam in the Eastern Sudan
    Jay Spaulding
  • 6. Revolutions in the Western Sudan
    David Robinson
  • 7. The Eastern Sudan, 1822 to the Present
    John O. Voll
  • 8. Islam in Africa under French Colonial Rule
    Jean-Louis Triaud
  • 9. Islam in West Africa: Radicalism and the New Ethic of Disagreement, 1960–1990
    Lansiné Kaba
  • 10. Religious Pluralisms in Northern Nigeria
    William F. S. Miles
  • Part III: Eastern and Southern Africa
  • 11. Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa
    Lidwien Kapteijns
  • 12. The East African Coast, c. 780 to 1900 c.e.
    Randall L. Pouwels
  • 13. The Coastal Hinterland and Interior of East Africa
    David C. Sperling, with additional material by Jose H. Kagabo
  • 14. East Central Africa
    Edward A. Alpers
  • 15. Islam in Southern Africa, 1652–1998
    Robert C.-H. Shell
  • 16. Radicalism and Reform in East Africa
    Abdin Chande
  • Part IV: General Themes
  • 17. Islamic Law in Africa
    Allan Christelow
  • 18. Muslim Women in African History
    Roberta Ann Dunbar
  • 19. Islamic Education and Scholarship in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Stefan Reichmuth
  • 20. Sufi Brotherhoods in Africa
    Knut S. Vikør
  • 21. Prayer, Amulets, and Healing
    David Owusu-Ansah
  • 22. Islamic Art and Material Culture in Africa
    René A. Bravmann
  • 23. Islamic Literature in Africa
    Kenneth W. Harrow
  • 24. Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Eric Charry
  • Glossary
  • Contributors
  • Index

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Paperback edition

978-0-8214-1297-8 · Retail price: $34.95, S. · Release date: Mar. 2000 · 640 pages · 7 × 10 in. · Rights: World

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978-0-8214-1296-1 · Retail price: $75.00, S. · Release date: Mar. 2000 · 601 pages · Rights: World

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African Studies · Religion · History · Monograph · Islam · Africa

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