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The history of Islam in Africa is almost as old as Islam itself, stretching back to the 7th century. Below, Mustafa Briggs lists 8 books that highlight different aspects of this deep-rooted tradition, the achievements (at times even existence) of which are often overlooked. 

1. The History of Islam in Africa ed. by Nehemia Levtzion & Randall L. Pouwels

History of Islam in Africa
The History of Islam provides a detailed mapping of the cultural, political, geographic and religious past of Islam in Africa. 

2. Beyond Timbuktu: an Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa by Professor Ousmane Kane

Beyond Timbuktu
Ousmane Kane aims to illustrate the rise of the Muslim intellectual tradition in West Africa, from the time of Islam entering the region in the 10th century, until the modern day. It shows how the famous intellectual capital of Timbuktu was not unique and part of a larger and very widespread culture of Islamic intellectualism in the pre-colonial period.

3. The Walking Qur’an: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge and History in West Africa by Rudolph T. Ware III

The Walking Quran The Walking Quran details the spread of Islam through Quranic education and traditional schools in West Africa, beginning with the formation of Islamic clerical families and intellectual traditions between the 10th and 18th centuries. It reviews the complex relationship between Islam, slavery and rebellion in the 18th century; the Islamic Schools and Sufi brotherhoods and how they affected social change during the colonial period; and the current relationship between the traditional Quran schools and modern reform movements. 

4. The African Caliphate: The Life, Works and Teaching of Shaykh Usman Dan Fodio by Ibraheem Sulaiman

The African Caliphate
Ibraheem Sulaiman explores the rise of the 17th century Nigerian Islamic Scholar-turned-emperor, Usman Dan Fodio, who established the Sokoto Caliphate or Islamic State in Northern Nigeria. Remnants of the state still exist in modern Nigeria and play a huge role in government administration, the economy and politics today.

5. One Woman’s Jihad: Nana Asma’u, Scholar and Scribe by Beverly Blow Mack and Jean Boyd

One Woman's Jihad Nana Asma'aOne Woman’s Jihad highlights the career and work of the daughter of Usman Dan Fodio, Nana Asma’u, an intellectual powerhouse who lead a women’s movement during her father’s reign, which aimed to empower women though education and social activism- a must read! 

6. Muslim Societies in Africa: A Historical Anthropology by Roman Loimeier

Muslim Societies in Africa
Loimeier provides a concise overview of Muslim societies in Africa, in light of their role in African history and the history of the Islamic world. 

7. Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu Bamba and the Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853-1913 by Cheikh Anta Babou

Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu BambaFighting the Greater Jihad explores the life and times of Sheikh Ahmad Bamba, the famous Senegalese Sufi sheikh, pacifist, and social activist, whose brotherhood flourished under colonial rule, despite attempts to suppress and contain it by the French Colonial Authorities. It still plays a huge role in all areas of Senegalese society, politics and economy.

8. Living Knowledge in West African Islam: The Sufi Community of Ibrāhīm Niasse by Zackary Valentine Wright

Living Knowledge in West African Islam
Wright investigates the rise and spread of the movement of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse of Senegal, which was named by certain prominent academics to be the single largest Muslim movement in Africa. It examines the history of Islam in the region and the development of the clergy and intellectual tradition that gave birth to the movement, alongside the relationship between Ibrahim Niasse’s movement and the manifestation of African Liberation Theory, Pan-Africanism and Postcolonialism and Global Islamic Solidarity, which highlighted the later years of Ibrahim Niasse’s international career.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below! 
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