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Michael Brett (1983)

Islam and Trade in the Bilād Al-Sūdān, Tenth-Eleventh Century A.D.

The Journal of African History, 24:431-440.

»Two fatwā-s or legal opinions of the jurist al-Qābisī at Qayrawān about the year A.D. 1000 show the way in which the Law of Islam was used to protect the Muslim against the hazards of trans-Saharan trade with the Bilād al-Sūdān. Trade was to be conducted as far as possible in accordance with the Law, and approval was given to the establishment of Muslim communities in the Bilād al-Sūdān under the authority of a nāẓir or 'watchman', with the consent of the pagan king of the country. The formation of Muslim communities on this legal basis, and their incorporation into the pattern of West African society, were important for the subsequent character of Islam in West Africa. Meanwhile, among the 'stateless' Berber peoples of the Western Sahara, the doctrines of the Malikite school were subject to a different interpretation by Ibn Yāsīn, which came into open conflict with the views of al-Qābisī when the Almoravids sacked the Muslim city of Awdaghast for submitting to the pagan king of Ghana. This conflict of attitudes to paganism remained a feature of West African Islam down to the twentieth century.«

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by Christoph Cluse last modified 2010-09-03 15:26

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