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The effects of Islam on African religion, society, political structures, trade, and culture

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Islam in the sub-Sahara of Africa has been in the existence for very many years cohabiting well with traditional religion and making them adapt to it to and extent of both living in good intermixture. In many areas, there has been substitution of the African tradition to Islamic religion without a lot of clashes and raptures. However, in recent days, there has been significant rejection of African Muslims who in recent past has turned conscious to the way of living of the Arab model through Islamic religion. This is through the firm believe that Islamic religion has been instituted by the prophet Mohamed and therefore lived by the founding community in medina. In Africa more than in any other region globally, Islamic religion tend to present itself in the form it is today through several changes that occurred in the transition time.

Islam in fact was a very new way of life to the African. It presented itself in many different ways.  There are many aspects that Islamic religion represented in the social capacity. This was contrary to what the African religion believed.  This ranged from how one treated their fellow people, children, the poor, how to pray, political aspects, science and many other things. Islamic religion brought a lot of change in the African religion making them leave their paganism and liberate them from their tribal leadership.

Tradition African religion has been in different diversity and expressed itself in many ways in term of religion this therefore exhibited itself in its global framework of life that encompassed the whole society.  They were closely linked with their ancestral soil and this made all the African members in close fellowship with their other creatures contrary to what the Islamic religion believed. In African tradition, everything was religious. Therefore, the relation of the African religious society, they related directly with God what to them was the sole creator and giver of life. Therefore, he intervened with them in their daily affairs. This was through invisible forces that were either good or evil. Therefore, it is was  possible to win God’s favor through making rituals through the ancestors, the African tradition ensured that  they observe strict rites and taboos ad they lived in total solidarity within the group and the survival of this was transferred to many descendant .

However, many of the African religion were completely changed by the Islamic religion. The Islam gradually substituted itself for the tradition religion. In many cases, it was favored by different external factors majority of them being cases without violence. There many factors that leads to the assimilation of the African religion to Islamic religion which in most cases was to a greater degree sociological proximity. However, there were so many other factors which the two religions seemed to be more irreconcilable. For example, ancestral worship was aspect that the African religion was so much attached to it while I was foreign to the Islamic religion. However, the Islamic religion tries to conquer this through uprooting the difficulties of life that was mostly brought by the disillusionment that was brought about by the religious universe of the African religion through offering a new framework as well as making them embrace secure and reassuring religion.

The new solidarity that was brought about by the Islamic religion completely replaced the solidarity that was there in the beginning in the villages and through the tribal lines without necessary changing completely the laws and the habit of the group. New prescription that was traditionally there excluded other ritual practices without trying to dig deeper to understand what they meant. Provided they did not complied with Islamic religion, they were all eliminated. This was done through teachings that were made through the koranic text although it took some time as many of the people never understood Arabic. However, the islamisation was put as a religion that one would like to be part of in the community rather being forced to be part of it. This has made it possible for the Muslim community to convert much African religious community to the Islamic religion in Africa.

The role of lineage groups, women, and slavery in African society

There was a lot of effect that was brought about by the slave trade. However the most significant one and the most detrimental are the long term economic growth and development. Slavery undermined the whole aspect of the village in the African culture and the local economies as most of the people were ferried to other places as slaves. There was a rise of a large slave trade in the continent and civil war became a common thing in the continent. Therefore, through slave trade the African society was lead to constant war. It impede of large ethnic groups causing ethnic fuctionability weakening the formation of the stable political structures. It also reduced mental health and development of the African people.

The lineage groups in African society were very important as it propagated the traditions of the society. It was used to ensure that the supplications that were o be done in shrines in case of any befallen misery were all cleared. They prayed for the rain and they carried the African tradition to the coming generation.

Women in the African society were equally important. The reason being, they acted as the source of hope for the propagation of the generation. They were a show of wealth to the people as they were the one who held the position of propagating generation. Therefore, they were a source of pride to the people and the reputation of men was judged with the number of women one had.


The chief destinations along the Silk Road, and the kinds of products and ideas   that traveled along the route

Silk Road which is mostly known as silk routes are networks of trades routes that are used to interconnect east, south and western Asia  with Mediterranean and European world as well as east and north of Africa through afro-Eurasian land mass. This land route is supplemented by sea routes which has extended from the red sea to the east Africa, India, china, and southeast of Asia. Through this route different countries traded different materials. For example china traded silk, spices, tea and porcelain (Duiker, & Spielvogel, 2004). India also contributed in this trade where they traded ivory, textiles, precious stones and pepper. However, the Roman Empire exported gold, silver, wine, jewels, glassware’s and carpets. 

This route got its name from Chinese lucrative silk trade which contributed to the connection of this route to the transcontinental network. Therefore, the German Ferdinand von Richthhofen who made about seven expeditions in china from 1868 to 1872 coined this term silk road.  Most of the people used the name silk route as it was used to connect most of the parts making it more extensive. However, most of this route was a rough caravan.

Silk routes were very important trade routes as it made possible of exchange for goods of all kinds between the merchants, missionaries, pilgrims, soldiers, nomads and the urban dwellers from ancient India china, Tibet Persian Empire and the Mediterranean countries in around three hundred years. Through therefore the Chinese silk trade, this name was gotten during the reign of the Han dynasty that was there between 206 to 220 BCE.

This route extended about 6500 kilometers. Therefore it made it possible for the traders t transport of goods, slaves and luxuries that included silk, satin, jewels, glass wares hemps, perfumes, spices, medicines among other many goods. The rotes also enabled transfer of a lot of knowledge from one area to another. It also made transfer of culture ideas, cultures, zoological specimens and non indigenous disease conditions from ancient china, India, Mediterranean as well as minor Asia (Duiker, & Spielvogel, 2004). The Silk Road trade brings about a significant factor in the development of these areas and civilization in places like china, India, Egypt, Rome, Persia and Arabia. Therefore, it contributed to laying down the emergence of the modern world.  Though the Silk Road brought the notion that the route is a straight, however very few trades transverse across this route to the end. In most parts of this route the goods were transported though agents on different routes which traded in the busy markets along these routes which mostly were located around oasis.

Through this route, the central Asia section of the trade section was expanded in 114 BC by the Han dynasty that through a great contribution from the missionary and by the explorations of Zhan Qian.  However, the former routes still existed despite of this expansion.  However, in the middle age, the trade across the Silk Road declined due to the emergency of sea trade. Though, the silk route contributed significantly in this duration making major trade from china to be gotten to other places. This includes various technologies, religions and philosophies as well as bubonic plague that are well known as Black Death that emerged due to the trade that happened through this route.

India was a major player in this trade as it was used as the center of this route. The country had also unique product that were not gotten in many places. These included spices, hand crafted goods as wells precious stones.  However with the falloff Han dynasty in the third century, east and west trading declined significantly. Byzantine historian called Procopius said that two Christian knew how silk was made. Therefore, through this revelation, spies were sent to china to steel silk worm eggs therefore making it possible for silk to be produced silk in Mediterranean. However, the Silk Road was affected by different problems including war and it alters closed in 1400.

However the route ensured that there was cultural exchange during the period of trade. This included religious culture and ideas. The notable religion that took to the area was among them Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism an Manichaeism spread across Eurasian through this trade network that were tied to specific religious communities and other institutions. 

The transition of Buddhism from china started in the first century through this trade route. This was uplifted through the sending of embassy to the west of the Chinese emperor.  Therefore, during the second century there was increased contact increasing cultural values. This also increased the expansion of Kushan Empire to the territory of Chinese in the Tarim basin. There increased the efforts of the Buddhist missionary to get to the central Asia and to the Chinese lands.

From the fourth century Chinese pilgrims started on the Silk Road to India. This was the origin of Buddhism’s in these places as they involved themselves to improve the original scriptures with fahsiens pilgrimage to India between 395 to 414 BC. This continued until its end in the seventh century due to the rise of the Islam in central Asia.

The route also made increased transition of the artistic values along the silk roads. This was mostly in central Asia where there was a lot of intermixing of Iranian, Hellenistic, India and Chinese culture. Particularly, Greco-Buddhist art represented one of the most vivid examples to this interaction.

The Silk Road route brought about the image of Buddha as a religious image that originated in the first century from a small country in the northern idea that is now known as Nepal. This was transmitted throughout central Asia, china to Korea in the fourth century and getting to Japan in the sixth century. However, there are many iconographical details that emerged from the western countries that also papered vividly in the region covered by the trade route. Some of them are Hercules that inspired the guardian deities in front of the Budd

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