Syncretism In West Africa Essay

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The Sub-Saharan long distance commodity and slave trade as well as the syncretic interweaving of Islamic culture and traditional African culture accounts for Africa’s major influence as a superpower from the first until fifteenth centuries. Traders from all over the world were drawn to Africa’s riches in gold, ivory, and human beings. The fact that Africa was rich in resources posed influence in itself. Considering that a great number of the visiting traders were Muslims and they begin to intermarry and form relationships with the West African people – economic and political alliances were formed and the adaptation of Islam was widespread. This migration of humans in and out of Africa illustrates the African Diaspora at work before the …show more content…
To illustrate, in the event that an Islamic slave master wronged a slave that held on to traditional spiritual powers, they could (and would) perform some higher power “sorcery” to seek revenge on that slave master. If they were to release those other spiritual powers completely, they would no longer have control over what happens to them. The second reason was that relinquishing the powers of syncretism would leave the African people completely vulnerable. Through syncretism if they were ever in need of help, they could still turn to the power of their ancestors and request intervention with God to bring blessings while keeping a sense of unity with their communities. Sometimes, they were subjected to a heightened level of oppression if they were to fully submit unto the will of Muslim prophets. They were fearful that the dominant Islamic culture would absorb their powers forcing them to be labeled as the subordinate culture. This is especially true of those who did not easily convert. Islam proved to be very beneficial in economic developments; but the West African people sometimes found it a struggle to cooperate with the terms of Islam in every day

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