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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.
Diouf's well-written and interesting book opens new avenues of inquiry and research. It will interest and perhaps inspire students of the African diaspora and slavery in the Americas.
The author's insight into Islamic almsgiving in the form of saraka cakes in the Georgia Sea islands is intriguing. The section on Muslim dress in the third chapter is well presented. Perhaps the most fascinating parts of the work concern the probability that Muslim holy books were transferred from the Old World to the New via networks of black sailors and that the blues are most likely informed by the musical creativity of West African Muslims.
|Introduction: An Understudied Presence and Legacy||1|
|1||African Muslims, Christian Europeans, and the Atlantic Slave Trade||4|
|2||Upholding the Five Pillars of Islam in a Hostile World||49|
|3||The Muslim Community||71|
|4||Literacy: A Distinction and a Danger||107|
|5||Resistance, Revolts, and Returns to Africa||145|
|6||The Muslim Legacy||179|
|About the Author||254|
Posted June 14, 2006
After converting to Islam, I read this book and I was amazed of the history of my people. I believe that some of the affects of slavery are still present in Today's society. If we as black people knew our history it would make us stronger however, I'm not sure if most of our people care about our history. It doesn't help that most of my people rely on Christianity as the only means black slaves got through slavery. This book shows the ingenius abilty of many African Muslims enslaved in America. Many great leaders are noted in this book. It shows that education meaning reading and writing(example arabic script writing knowledge) of Africans and their ability to communicate in one central language was key to help organize revolts. Even though our men were seperated from their families in slavery days, we can change that affect and turn it into a positive. Islam gives us the tools we need as Black Men to be better Fathers and Husbands. I am a Muslim that follows the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed and the Salafiyah teachings. Do not group all black muslims as coming from the Nation of Islam. Thank You.
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Posted January 15, 2000
FINALLY SOMEONE TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT SLAVERY CHRISTIANITY, AND ISLAM. MOST INFORMATIVE, NOT ONLY TELLS WHAT HAPPENED BUT ALSO TELLS HOW AND WHY. A MUST RAED FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN HISTORY, RELIGION, OR RACE RELATIONS.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.