Despite the explosion in work on African American and religious history, little is known about Black Muslims who came to America as slaves. Most assume that what Muslim faith any Africans did bring with them was quickly absorbed into the new Christian milieu. But, surprisingly, as Sylviane Diouf shows in this new, meticulously researched volume, Islam flourished during slavery on a large scale.
Servants of Allah presents a history of African Muslim slaves, following them from Africa to the Americas. It details how, even while enslaved many Black Muslims managed to follow most of the precepts of their religion. Literate, urban, and well traveled, Black Muslims drew on their organization and the strength of their beliefs to play a major part in the most well known slave uprisings. Though Islam did not survive in the Americas in its orthodox form, its mark can be found in certain religions, traditions, and artistic creations of people of African descent.
But for all their accomplishments and contributions to the cultures of the African Diaspora, the Muslim slaves have been largely ignored. Servants of Allah is the first book to examine the role of Islam in the lives of both individual practitioners and in the American slave community as a whole, while also shedding light on the legacy of Islam in today's American and Caribbean cultures.
Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 1999.
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Faith and spirituality have always been powerful forces in the histories of people of African descent. Central to that history is Islam. Servants of Allah documents the significance of Islam in the development of black societies in the Americas. The connection between West Africa and the Americas was grounded in a religious and cultural continuity that many scholars have previously ignored. Servants of Allah makes an important contribution to a critically important dimension of black scholarship. Manning Marable, Director, Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University.
A welcome and timely work on a subject of great importance. By combining materials in African Islam with New World sources and thereby linking both sides of the Atlantic, the author provides a fresh angle on studies of the Diaspora. Readers will find in the book a great deal of information presented in a clear, lively style. Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity, and Professor of History, Yale University.
An excellent work on African Muslim slaves in the New World. Diouf has demonstrated what vigorous scholarship and creative imagination can do to reconstruct the lives and times of these men and women of Africa. Sulayman Nyang, Professor of African Studies, Howard University.
An accessible, lucid account of an important and complicated aspect of African enslavement in the Americas, and a provocative and effective reading of the interaction of African Muslims with the American slave institution. Diouf explodes myths, establishes the facts, and sustains an argument for the presence of Islamic influences in certain artistic and religious traditions of Africans in the Americas. This will become an important book. Molefi Kete Asante, author of The Afrocentric Idea.
Everywhere in the Americas, the African Muslims left influential footsteps that Diouf intelligently uncovers. Here are enlightening stories and statistics for anyone attempting to fully understand the settlement and impact of the Old World on the New and on today. Allan D. Austin, author of African Muslims in Antebellum America.From the Inside Flap:
Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas was named 1999 Outstanding Academic Book by the American Library Association, and received Honorable mention for the Outstanding Books Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights.
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