How Did Islam Affect West Africa

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Between 1000 AD and 1750 AD, Islam made many social, political, and economic changes to West Africa.

A new Islamic Dynasty was founded in Egypt called the Fatimid Dynasty. The Fatimid Dynasty came into power right before 1000 C.E. after the split between the Shiites and Sunnis. After the invasion of the Fatimid Dynasty into Egypt, Islam began to spread through the rest of Africa.

West Africa underwent many cultural changes under the rule of Islam. First, Africa changed when Islam’s impacts spurred a rise in education. Muslim scholars would go to Timbuktu to study and debate theology, and try to keep fellow scholars and African Muslims loyal to Islam and away from paganism. Timbuktu became a place of learning, enterprise, and culture. Education was becoming more accessible to Africans and they took advantage of the opportunity to grasp higher learning. Nearly every person in Timbuktu learned to read and write, and one of the most important books to learn was the Qur’an (the holy religious book of Islam). Islam changed the African culture forever by changing the ideals and religion through education.

Islam also made its way into African politics. The African way of thinking became more advanced and to the rest of the world, a “forward” thinking appearance. This change can be seen
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West Africa had already had a religion before Islam came into the picture. Even after Islam came, Africans took a while to stop believing in animism (the belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies) and polytheism (the belief in or worship of more than one god). In 1000 CE, Africa saw its first very important change when Muhammad and his followers came and preached the religion of Islam. African rulers, who had begun to adopt Islam, began to take over cultures still with other religions. From 1000-1500 CE, religion saw changes influenced by foreigners, political systems, social systems, and
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