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Islam Comes to Africa

  • Author:Lydia
  • Source:original
  • Release on:2014-07-11

The first Arab invasion of North Africa was led by ancestors of the Bedouin and occurred in 643 C.E. At the time of the invasion, northern Africa already had a long history of foreign attack and cultural infusion. The Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians had previously left their marks, and it was time for the Arab Muslims to do the same.

Followers of the prophet Muhammad emerged from the Arabian Peninsula and moved westward across Berber-occupied areas of northern Africa. Their goals were to teach the fundamentals of Islam and establish regional, political, and religious unity under the rule of a Muslim leader, or caliph.

The invasion was intense, and by the 8th century, the primary goals were accomplished. Muslims had succeeded in saturating the region, but they had also encountered internal conflict that led to big changes. Hostile disagreement between two Arab leaders had divided Islam into two branches — Sunni and Shea.

A long chain of events resulted from this division, and one important link led to the invasion of the Bedouin. Around 1040 C.E., a group of Islamic zed Berbers who had become affiliated with the Shea decided to take revenge. They neglected lands given to them by their caliph, defied the creeds of the Shea, and launched a rebellion among other Berbers to convert
to the Sunni branch.

These events no doubt led to vengeful reactions. The angry Shea caliph invited two tribes of Arabian Bedouin, known collectively as the Hillmans, to travel west and issue the Berbers' punishment.