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Symposium: Islamic Knowledge in Africa

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
12:00 AM
Hussey Room, Michigan League

Schooling, Scholarship, and Sufism South of the Sahara

Participant Bios |  Download Flyer

We began with our Global Islam colloquium series on “Islamic Knowledge in Africa” in November 2012 where we discussed the conquests of the first Islamic century did not reach sub-Saharan Africa, yet today Africa is probably the only continent with a Muslim majority and home to at least one quarter of the world’s Muslims. Far more of them live south of the desert than north of it, but only rarely did a jihad of the sword bring Islam to sub-Saharan African communities. Instead much of the work of spreading Islamic religious culture was accomplished by African Muslim intellectuals. The Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said: “The ink of the scholars is more precious than the blood of the martyrs,” and in sub-Saharan Africa the former was certainly more fundamental to the spread of Islam than the latter. Qur’an teachers, Muslim mystics, and scholars writing in Arabic or Ajami brought the core teachings of the religion to wide audiences. In this roundtable we will engage in dialogue with leading scholars to explore the dynamics of Islamic knowledge as they have developed over time and as they continue to shape Muslim life in Africa.

This event featured Dr. Rudolph Ware (Assistant Professor, History). Speakers include:

Dr. Rudolph Ware, University of Michigan
Traditional Islamic schooling and scholarly production in precolonial
West Africa

Dr. Zachary Wright, Northwestern University, Qatar
Sufism and Islamic Learning in West Africa

Dr. Felicitas Becker, University of Cambridge
Dynamics of Islamic Knowledge in East Africa

Dr. Ousman Kobo, Ohio State University
Modern Forms of Islamic Knowledge in Africa, Continuities and Ruptures-Ousman

Dr. Pauline Luong-Jones, University of Michigan

Informal Discussion to follow

Butch Ware