Posted by Rafiq A. Tschannen
AS early as the 8th century, Islam was introduced into West Africa by Arab merchants, who travelled through the trans-Saharan salt and gold trade routes.
Later, Muslim scholars would accompany them, and were instrumental in constructing mosques and centers of learning along the routes. Besides, the traditionally nomadic Hausa and the Fulani moved around all over West Africa, taking their Muslim beliefs to places such as present-day Ghana as also Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, southern Nigeria and Cameroon. Embracing Islam by local inhabitants was however a late happening probably by 11th century. It was a gradual process. The empires of both Mali and Songhai that followed ancient Ghana in the Western Sudan adopted the religion.
Islam made its entry into the northern territories of modern Ghana around the 15th century. Traders and scholars from Mande or Wangara tribes carried the religion into the area. Some local scholars believe that Islam reached Ghana through daawa workers who came from the neighboring African countries. They observe that many of Ghana’s daawa workers got their Islamic education in mosques, adding that the mosque in Ghana was playing a prominent role in the lives of Muslims. According to Sheikh Hassan Khalid, a prominent Ghanaian Islamic Daawa activist, Islam reached through Daawa activists who visited the country from the neighboring African countries, whose sole aim was to spread Islam to their neighbors.
Despite the spread of Islam in the Middle East, North Africa, and even in Nigeria, Ghanaian Muslims and Christians have enjoyed very good relations.
— Dr. Hashim M. Ali Mahdi is author of An Islamic Odyssey.
Comment by the author also sent to ArabNews:
Rafiq A. Tschannen • in a few seconds
When speaking about the recent history of Islam in West Africa we cannot exclude the activities of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Missions, who were pioneers in education and health activities. Other Muslims have been encouraged to follow their example, especially also in the education field