A look at the Almoravids, responsible for Islam’s rapid spread in Africa

Michael Eli Dokosi Dec 24, 2019 at 05:00pm

December 24, 2019 at 05:00 pm | Culture

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

December 24, 2019 at 05:00 pm | Culture

Nigerian Muslims praying via guardian.ng

We know that from the second half of the eleventh century onwards, Islam or Mohammedanism was introduced into the Sahara and the western Sudan.

We also know that between 1042 and 1054, this peaceful spread of Mohammedanism took a violent turn when a fanatical religious movement known as the Almoravid movement arose among the Sanhaja Berbers in the Sahara region to the north of ancient Ghana.

It is thanks to Almoravid that Islam has become one of two dominant religions in Africa.

Berber
Berber via afrographics.com

Who then were the Almoravid?

The Moorish Dynasty of the Almoravid Empire was founded in 1042 in Western Africa. The Almoravids primarily originated amongst the Lamtuna Berber ethnic group who inhabited the region of the Draa River to the Senegal River.

“The Sanhaja Berbers had formed a loose confederation consisting of the Lamtuna, Masufa, and Godala in order to control the Saharan trade route that was dominated by the Cisse Dynasty. Abdullah ibn Yasin and his followers, now known as the Almoravids, undertook a jihad and began to advance the Almoravid movement gaining much territory. Abdullah ibn Yasin was unfortunately killed in battle but his bloodline continued the Almoravid Dynasty. Upon his death, his brother Abu Bakr Ibn Umar took the Moorish throne. Under his rule, the Almoravids became a powerful empire.

“The Almoravid dynasty rallied the Africans from Tekrur in Senegal along with some Berber groups to form the foundation of their power,” stated Afrographics.

Yusef Ibn Tashfin the cousin of Abu Bakr would take full control of the Almoravid throne and under his rule the Almoravids were taken to the next level and conquered southern Spain creating a royal African line. This no doubt cemented the power of this Moorish Dynasty in Western Africa and abroad.

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