Islam in the horn of Africa
Channel: Abdullah Hakim Quick
File Size: 33.94MB
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa salam Salli wa salam ala sailed over Lima, Arkadin, Nabina, Muhammad and Allah Allah He was happy he admired about all praise the due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be constantly showered upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, the master of the first and last, and upon all his companions and all those called to his way, and established his thunder, to the Day of Judgment.
As to what follows I begin with the greeting words of the righteous Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi, WA better cat
Alhamdulillah we thank Allah subhanaw taala for the gift of life, and we thank Allah subhanho wa Taala, for giving us guidance under all circumstances. We are living in this year 2020 in a strange situation, in an international pandemic, and there is a plague that is stocking the land and affecting people externally.
But we recognize even before this external plague, that there is an internal plague, there is a spiritual plague. And that has a great impact upon human beings. people's belief systems are going in all different types of directions. The character of individuals is changing as we move toward the Day of Resurrection and morality has risen to the surface and all of our institutions and our understanding of each other.
This has become very strange that people misunderstand each other. And that can turn into hatred, and tribalism, and racism. And so it is crucial now history plays a very important role in this.
Some would even say that history helps to erase the mystery. When we look at the sources of Islam, we look at the last testament Alcor and we recognize that one third of the code and is history. It is a process. It is the parables and the stories of those who have come before us.
And Allah subhanaw taala tells us and certain out of a lot tells us Fox sosele Casa Sala Allah, homeopathic karoun tell them the stories in order that they would reflect in order that they would think. And so when knowing the past, gives light to the present. If we understand our past, then we are grounded in the today's world. And we can see toward the future.
If we don't understand our past, then we're confused today. And we won't be able to chart out a proper course, to go into the future. And so this series that we are involved in looking at the history of, of Islam and the whole of East Africa,
it's a crucial topic for us to again, demystify a very important section within our Islamic history. And we want to
deconstruct to take apart the colonial history that we have been taught, and to bring original sources from the people themselves, and put it together in a more objective fashion.
This will help us to be able to understand our reality more. And it will also help us to appreciate each other, to respect each other, and to have a broader understanding of the world. And so when we look at East Africa, we're not talking about a small coastline with a few cities. But we're talking about an area from in the north, the Red Sea, the top of the Red Sea, stretching all the way down in the south to Mozambique. In the inland. We are looking at the Nile Valley,
the highlands of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia. And also we're looking on the mainland at Tanzania, and Malawi, and even over to Zimbabwe. And so
this is the East Africa that we are talking about. When we look at Islam, we are not looking at it in a narrow perspective, that there are Muslims, Christians and Jews and other religions. What we're saying is that the essence of Islam
is monotheism and Allah subhanaw taala tells us in the
Chapter of the be certain novel verse 36, while a cat bath nafi Cooley or Martin Rasulullah and Abel de la, which tonybet toggled, and verily we have sent to every nation a messenger, that they would worship a lot and avoid false deities. So with this understanding, Muslims look at Prophethood, not as something which is only Semitic, not as something which is only in the Arabian Peninsula. But it is a inspiration given to all nations at different points in time. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him was the seal of the prophets and messengers, who came to China, to India, to Southeast Asia, to Europe, to Africa, to the Americas, to the Middle East, every part of the world
at one point in time, received a messenger. And so with this in mind, and focusing on East Africa, that whole area, we recognize that probably the earliest
organized civilization coming out of that region there that we have records of happened in the Nile. And when we look at the Nile Valley, we recognize that it goes back all the way to the Old Kingdom, which is really in the 3000s of BC. And so, when we go back to this Old Kingdom, we recognize in the in the fifth, the fifth Egyptian dynasty, there are a number of dynasties in the fifth dynasty, around 2388 BC.
under the rule of the pharaoh Assa, there was the sage, the wise person patata and it is reported that he was speaking
in the sense of monotheism.
And from amongst his sayings, Fatah hotep is the following, do not scheme against people, God will punish accordingly. If a man says I shall live by scheming, he will lack bread for his mouth. People schemes do not prevail. God's command is what prevails, therefore live in the midst of peace. What God gives comes by itself.
Later on, and again, prophets and messengers are coming to every nation in every tribe. And the Nile Valley Civilization was one of the great civilizations on the face of the planet Earth, we look to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. And then we find the very famous Pharaoh, whose name was Akhenaten's. And he was ruling somewhere around 1358 bc to 1340.
And during his rule, he united the understanding of the gods to one God, he is generally recognized to be speaking about the sun god.
But within the Psalms of agnostic, there is definite proof. And his understanding shows us that he was not just speaking about raw the sun god, but he was speaking about the power behind the sun. And we find in the ninth sound from the Psalms of Akhenaten's, the following
how manifold IO works, though hidden from sight, oh, soul, God, besides whom there is none. You created Earth according to your desire, you will learn how people, cattle, and all kinds of animals all on Earth, that walk on legs and all on high that fly with wings. You said every person in his or her place and satisfy their needs, all have food, and their time of life is determined. their tongues are different in speech, and so do their characters. The colors of the skins are different also. For you distinguished the people, how excellent are your ways or Lord of eternity. And so a beautiful rendition reminding us of the chapter of hoogenraad, reminding us of the Quran itself, the
last testament said to humanity, and so we find that this concept of the One God existed all over the African continent. And we look and when we look at East Africa itself, we find amongst the Bantu people, the eastern Bantu. Malanga
This concept which was developing amongst the people of East Africa. And we have to recognize that when we look at Africa below, Uganda and the areas and going into Central Africa, and along east Africa, we find the Bantu nation, a powerful nation that had migrated in from the camera runes, and had settled very complex societies living in that part of the world. And so the concept of one God was already established. And this is important when we see the spread of Islam, to East Africa and to different parts of the world, that it is not a message given to barbarians, or savages, or polytheist, who have no understanding of God. But it is given to people who may have gone off the
path, in the same way that the pagan Arabs, having the belief in one God established by Prophet Ibrahim Alayhi Salaam and the Kaaba, went off the path. And then they were brought back to the last message sent to humanity. And so when we look at the early history of East Africa, we recognize there are a number of recorded reports.
And our histories that we will be dealing with are coming from the writings of historians, they're coming from ancient Chronicles, they're calling coming sometimes even from our Hadith literature, they're coming also from oral traditions, there are a number of sources that we are bringing together in the light, even a present day scholarship to bring you this information. So it is reported within recorded history that an anonymous Greek traveler who traveled down the Red Sea, into East Africa, on the coastal region, he wrote a book, the period plus of the Eritrean sea. This was in 50 ad. And in this he described navigation down the Red Sea, and all the way over to the
Indian Ocean. And so it was known by the Greeks and we have to remember that the ancient people of Egypt, the nubians, the unknown people, were basically African people, the Middle Kingdom, basically African people, it is the late Middle Kingdom, that we start to see nations coming in from the outside, into the African Egypt. We find the ancient Hittites, the Babylonians, the Persians, and then the Greeks. And so the Greeks and then the Romans formed the new kingdom. And surprisingly enough, instead of imposing their culture upon the Egyptians, Egyptian culture was so strong that they put on the clothing of the Egyptians. And they went to the Library of Alexandria and they
basked in the in the ancient knowledge. And so when you look at pictures of Cleopatra, you will see that she does look like somebody from the Mediterranean, because that was the new kingdom. It was not the Old Kingdom, where the huge structures were built, where the basis of Egyptian ancient Egyptian society was developed. We also find that within this trade, and remember the Red Sea, we're looking at the Red Sea, there was a route that was set from the Red Sea, through the Nile Delta, and then north to the Mediterranean. So the Greeks were able to come in, and then the Romans were able to come in. And we find that when the Romans took over, and dominated the trade on the Red Sea,
going down to the Horn of Africa, and then into the East African ocean, and then the Arabian Sea, and then Indian Ocean.
The Romans penetrated. And they actually call that East African coast azania.
The him your rights, other Arab nations from the southern part of Arabia, as we have learned, traded from ancient times, with East Africa, especially their products of frankincense and myrrh. And so with this in mind, we recognize that there was a brisk trade that was going on from the Red Sea, to the Horn of Africa, down to East Africa, over to Arabia, to India, to the South China Sea, and all the way up to Korea. In the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. We have learned of the importance of East African Muslims. We know them as abyssinians the people of Alibaba, but we recognize that this is bigger than that.
Just the small areas that you might see on a geographical map.
We recognize a strong presence, and that the East African Muslims, the abyssinians, played a great role in the early movement of Islam.
And Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, was so keen on Alibaba, that he sent his people over in the first higit. When the Prophet sent the early mohabbatein, across the Red Sea,
they found a Christian King.
And this Christian King, US Hama, under joshy, gave them a place a sanctuary. It was a critical point in early Islamic history.
Over 32 abyssinians migrated in the Great Migration the great higit up to Medina. They were part of that early community. And because of this, Prophet Mohammed Salim was reported to have said otro cool Habesha Matata Cuckoo. And this is reported in Abu Dawood and the sigh, and where the Prophet peace be upon him is saying, leave the people of Habesha as long as they leave you alone. And so, it wasn't until the key laffitte or the rule of Omar able to cut top that we find the Muslims looking in that direction. And it was during the time of oma that he sent a naval expedition down the Red Sea toward Aksum toward the area of the people of Alabama. But by the will of Allah, they had
problem at sea. And this naval expedition failed. And he was reminded that the prophets are seldom, you know, had actually said, leave the people of Habesha as long as they leave you alone.
And so, we find that small groups of merchants along the Red Sea were naturally going across, because there's a natural connection between that Red Sea coast of Arabia, Yemen, and the coast of Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, there was always a natural connection, and people were going back and forth. But it wasn't until
in the philosophy of remand even the fan and coming after that, we find that a number of companions and especially the ushered off, family of the prophets are seldom actually started to migrate into that region. This is the period known as the Great fitna, and it was a misunderstanding a trial and tribulation that went on with some of the companions of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, disagreed with each other. Confusion set in conspirators were set to format, confusion on both sides and fighting broke out. Many of the companions did not want to be involved in any conflict with Muslims, even though the majority of the great scholars make it clear that the halifa Alia
Burnaby Taleb rhodiola one he was correct. He was correct in uniting the Muslims. He was correct in bringing stability to the Muslim world. But it is during that time that the Ashraf then many of them migrated south. And they went to Hadramout
parts of Yemen and some of them crossed the Red Sea. And they landed in Dalek islands and swaggin in this area there. And after that, they crossed over into what is now known as northern Somaliland, especially to a place known as a lark.
And it is there that a bass was established. And by the eighth century, these early areas actually became Islam. And so by the seven hundreds, we find that Muslims were dominating this region, naturally, because of trade, because of intermarriage. There were no armies that were sent down into the area, but a natural
connection was established, and people began to accept Islam. And so the second major movement into this area after the higit, which had gone into alhaja, was the establishment of sultanates A merits and so a number of Islamic entities
teas were formed there in the Horn of Africa,
the sole target of shaohua, which from 896 to 1295. On the coastal area, the soltana of Mogadishu of berawa of medica, we find a number of Islamic empires entities were established. And we find that through business through intermarriage, that people are now spreading the message of Islam. Now, remember that the belief in one God already does exist, the confusion of going to lesser gods, confirming your made the people are not cherish the direct connection with the Creator of the heavens and earth. And so therefore, when the final message came, it was easy for the people of that region to embrace Islam. And so from the sultanates people started to migrate into the highlands of
Ethiopia. And according to an Ethiopian Chronicle, m dot two CO,
it was said that from the city of ehara, from an area known as harder, it is written in the Ethiopian language, Paddy solly, from Hara assembly, assembled the Muslim Amir's and followers and challenge the Ethiopian King. I'm the CEO.
And what it was really saying is that with a base of operations in this high land town of hada, we find an early what you could call Horn of Africa, Confederation. And so the Muslim sultanates in Mogadishu in berawa. And Monica, the Shea while the people are dialect islands, the swaggin were connected together in a confederation, which whose capital was in the city of power.
And this is important because it is through this base, that Islam began to spread deeply down the coast and into the interior. So this town of hada, which for some people, is a mysterious town, it was actually an ancient sanctuary for travelers, for scholars, for mystics. It was a base of trade from early times. And we find that officially are in the 13th century, around 1216, that a famous scholar, a luminary mystic check about their oma a reader, entered into the area of hada.
And through his connection with the people, he established officially the town of hada. It was a mysterious town. It was an amazing town. And it is a place that we should reflect upon, because it can actually give us guidance in the Muslim world today. And to show us the rich history that was established in East Africa. ehara was a town that had was surrounded by a wall and the classical Islamic towns are surrounded by a wall and the Jamia Masjid is in the middle.
How and we find it up until today, there were five main gates that were there when the wall was the actual barrier between the people and the outside of the Ethiopian Highlands. There were 362 lanes at two masjids. And it is amazing that Hodder boasted and still boasts that they were more masters per square feet, or square meter than any place in the world.
the circumference of the city was approximately 3348 meters within that 82 mashtots. And so it was a city of scholars. It was a city of education.
And what was interesting is that they also established a government, a government that we need to consider when we are looking at reestablishing our Islam in the world, in the ancient city of hada, which was governed by Amir's and they date their Amir's back to 898 ad 72 Amir's, which went all the way up until the 20th century. And the people have harder, developed a complex system of administration. In this administration was the Emir. And below the Amir was a measureless assura. The city was also protected by a internal police force.
And it was an army as well. And so they were protected on the inside and protected on the outside as well. This is what is known by the people of hada as the alley system and the police system is an amazing system. It is based upon the concept of a Masjid being formed with 40 families. And this is according to the school of thought the method of Imam Shafi Rahim Allah in the Shafi right? If you have four males representing 40, males representing 40 families, then you establish a jamea. And so when a section of hada a Jamia is established, and around that is 40 families in another area when 40 families also congregate. Another Jamia is then for another master. So the master heads like this
are formed all over the city, and people pray their five salaat. And they will try to go as much as possible everybody to the main Jammie mustard, the main Masjid in the center of hada, where the people would make their Juma prayer. And what is interesting about the early system,
and it's something that we need to consider as well is that within the early system, your mom was like anomia, he was responsible for the 40 families. So the relationship of the people within his district, or his area, was based upon the masjid as a source of ibadah, a source of education, but also as a source of their, their leadership for that section of the town. And so the Imam was responsible for the people. And the people knew each other, they were very close, so that if one of the Muslims was sick, if somebody did not appear at the masjid, then the people in the alley system would ask about that individual, they would go to the house, they would visit the sick, they would
rebuild the house. And so there is a unity. And that is a lesson for today. When many of the masjids in the Muslim world, are abandoned, that people pray, and after the five salaat they leave the masjid, it is not the center of activity as of the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. And also the Muslims would pray in the masjid. And we find this, especially in the West, but they don't know how their brother or sister is doing. The relationship is only superficial, it's prayer. But the real relationship of believers goes deeper than that. We are one brotherhood, we are closer to each other than even our own physical families. And so, in each part of the town, a master
is formed until a number of masjids. According to these statistics, they had more masjids per square meter than any place in the whole of the world.
The beautiful part about the alley system is that each one of the Amir's who represents his people, in his Masjid, would attend the meeting of the measureless assura.
He would speak about what is going on in his part of the city. He would speak about conflict, if it is happening. He would talk about the economic situation. He would talk about the spiritual situation and the Amir, who was ruling over the city and all of the other lesser Amir's would then listen to this, they would discuss it, and they would try to solve the problems that are going on in any section of the town that brought it to the measure. This is short. This is real democracy. This is not imposed leadership or imposed political parties. But this is real democracy, where the people on the ground, if they have a complaint, they are able to raise it through their Imam who will go to
the medalist is shorter, who will speak to the Amir, who is an enforcer and he is able to enforce the rule of law amongst the people, and he is also able to defend any part of the town for those enemies that are coming from the outside. And the gates were very important because after mother's salaat when it starts when it's getting dark, the gates are closed. And in Ethiopia, it is surrounded by a very powerful countryside hyenas and all types of creatures are out there. And so the walls surround the five walls and then they are based upon the five solid
And it's amazing that the walls have different names based upon what might happen with the people when you leave the wall. And so the beautiful alley system that was developed there, and the amazing culture of the mysterious city of hada. And it is reported amongst the reports, dealing with the ancient societies and our culture today that some of the shepherds in the area of hada, outside an Ethiopian countryside, found that there goats and sheep in the middle of the night, we're jumping around, and they were wide awake, and they wondered what is waking up our animals. And so they found that they were eating a type of Berry. And they took that Berry and they, they cooked it up. And
they drank it themselves when they were tired, and it kept them awake. And so they cultured it. And that was the first use of modern day coffee. So coffee originally came, you know, from that area, and then it was shipped over to Yemen. From there. Coffee then was taken north. And it was the Ottomans in the Turkish sultanates, who really organized coffee. And they developed a culture around coffee. And at one point in history, imagine this coffee was known to the world as an Islamic drink.
Tea, of course came from India,
and other drinks came from other parts of the world. But coffee was not a natural European drink. It was not a natural American drink. So imagine for all your lovers of Tim Hortons, and your lovers of Dunkin Donuts, that the original coffee that you drink every day
was a Muslim drink, it was an East African drink.
Also the spices that are coming out of that region, the powerful culture of the people coming out of that region influenced not only the countryside, but the mystics and the scholars and the do art those collars to Islam would leave the area of hada based upon their connection with the sultanates. And based upon their their connection with the Red Sea, and they would travel along the Red Sea, they would go into the interior and Islam began to spread. And we find it you know in strong movements coming from way back in the ninth century AD, the movement of Islam in that part of the world. And so the beautiful picture is now being developed. East Africa is being developed in front
of our eyes. It is coming from the ancient lands of the Nile. It is going down into Parkland, where we find that Hatshepsut was doing business with the ancient Somalis. It is connected to the human rights connected to hadramaut. And to a man with a trade that is going they have frankincense and myrrh that is reaching not only Egypt, but eventually reaches the Greeks and the Romans, and many people in the ancient world, many religions who developed their temple systems, they wanted to burn Frankincense to clear the air. Many religious products are coming out of that part of the world. But it is also connected to the movement on the oceans. The movement on the oceans connect us not only
going from the Red Sea down the East African coastline, but also through the currents and through the monsoon winds. It is connected to the Arabian Sea and that is people being pushed over into the Indian Ocean.
Naturally pushed by the currents and the monsoon winds into the South China Sea. And then even around to parts of China to Japan to Korea. a brisk trade is going around the world that is the connection of ancient East Africa to the rest of the world. And that is the connection that should never be forgotten because ancient Chinese rulers and the Ming Dynasty record having giraffes and record having the the ostrich feathers and and the tortoise shells and and the different products coming out of East Africa. The people of East Africa also have amongst their products to porcelains and and Chinese goods. So this was a driving part of the ancient world and the people
That region today
are still carrying within their language, within their food within their culture, they are still carrying that rich heritage that goes back 1000s of years, and which has impacted people, not only in East Africa, but in the rest of the world. And so we need to keep this in mind, not only as Muslims who need to understand more about our Muslim world, our brothers and sisters, but also as human beings, who sometimes miss understand different parts of the world, who sometimes fall into stereotypes, and they might have a stereotype of Africa as being a backwoods uncivilized place. Reality is something different. So true history helps us to erase the mystery. East Africa is no
longer a mystery to us.
The ancient city of hada no longer a mystery to us. East African coastline no longer a mystery, but the light of history. The light of human experience is a great blessing for us to benefit from. And I leave you with these thoughts. And I asked a lot to have mercy on me and you was salam wa Alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh