By Steve Kemper
A real tale that competitors the travels of Burton or Stanley for pleasure, and surpasses them in medical achievements.
In 1849 Heinrich Barth joined a small British day trip into unexplored areas of Islamic North and important Africa. one after the other his partners died, yet he carried on on my own, finally achieving the fabled urban of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile event ranks one of the maximum trips within the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are thought of necessary through glossy students of Africa.
Yet as a result of transferring politics, ecu preconceptions approximately Africa, and his personal thorny character, Barth has been nearly forgotten. most people hasn't ever heard of him, his epic trip, or his still-pertinent observations approximately Africa and Islam; and his huge five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and important Africa is uncommon even in libraries. by means of providing the 1st biography on Barth in English, Steve Kemper is going far to rescue this interesting determine from obscurity.
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Additional resources for A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa
Desirers of gowns and cowries, let them come, All is to be obtained here from Masaba, He who desires a slave girl or horses, let them speak, Let them come and obtain them here from Masaba ... 47 Peter Clarke, in his West Africa and Islam, similarly makes no more than incidental references to ‘slaves’ with nothing to say on the massive Muslim slave raiding, slave-holdings and slave trade in the sub-region. Indeed, the terms ‘slave’ or ‘slavery’ are not in the index of the book. 48 This is a very typical example of the uneven-handedness and blatant cover-ups in the subject of slavery in black African encounters with the Arab-Islamic tradition.
In fact, Islamic history from the very beginning has been the constant interaction between Muslim and non-Muslim groups. For instance, in the first three centuries of Muslim history in the Middle East and North Africa, Muslims lived, interacted and ruled over majority Christian communities. Similarly in India for a very long time Muslims constituted a minority ruling class over an overwhelming Hindu population. The same is true of sub-Saharan Africa where for nearly thirteen centuries Muslims lived with and acted out their history in the midst of overwhelming non-Muslim societies.
What is interesting, though, is that, beyond being used as a gauge against Christianity, the repeated references to the presence of indigenous elements in African Muslim practices has little if anything to do with an appreciation of the elements themselves. On the contrary, most African-Muslim scholars and activists who talk about rediscovering and reinstating the glorious Islamic past do not have any place for traditional values in Islam and regard indigenous African elements as one of the principal obstacles to their programme of Islamization.