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    Default Lost history of early muslim americans


    Islam can seem like a newcomer to the religious landscape of the country. Today uttering “Muslim American” conjures images of recent immigrants from the Middle East. But, as Michael A. Gomez explained in a 1994 paper, Muslims have been a part of the country since the colonial era, when the first Muslim Americans were brought from Western Africa as slaves.

    Gomez writes that, since the sixteenth century, several of the areas targeted by slave traffickers had a significant Muslim population. He offers evidence from African history to suggest that a significant minority of those captured by the transatlantic slave trade were Muslim. The victimization of Muslims by slavers contributed to the start of Islamic revolution in Futa Toro, on the Senegal River, in the 1760s.

    One way to trace Islam among slaves in North America is through advertisements for runaway slaves. In South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana, such ads regularly included versions of Muslim names, like Bullaly, Mustapha, Sambo, and Bocarrey. Gomez writes that this may have reflected the fact that these were rice-producing areas where slave owners sought out Africans with experience growing rice, who typically came from more heavily Muslim areas.

    Little about the lives of most Muslim-American slaves—or most slaves in general—was recorded. But Gomez draws from stories of a few prominent individuals to investigate the influence of Islam in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. For example, one man, Salih Bilali, who arrived in North America in 1800 and eventually became the manager of a Georgia plantation, wore a fez and kaftan, prayed daily, and observed Muslim feast days. Some white observers also wrote of less prominent slaves speaking and writing Arabic, praying in the Islamic manner, and giving Muslim names to their children.
    A number of former slaves and children of slaves from coastal Georgia interviewed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s confirmed that their families had observed Islamic religious practices. They described their family members and friends observing Friday prayers, veiling, using prayer beads, and avoiding foods forbidden by their religion.

    Gomez writes that the practice of Islam among slaves in America seems to have declined in the years before the Civil War. By the start of the nineteenth century, the slave trade was bringing fewer Africans from heavily Muslim areas. Meanwhile, the instability of life under slavery made it hard to maintain traditions or pass them down through the generations.

    Some Muslims may also have gone undercover. Looking at the WPA interviews, Gomez notes that some of the subjects seemed reluctant to speak clearly about their own religions. “If they were practicing Muslims, they certainly would not have volunteered such information to whites in the rural South of the 1930s,” he writes. Gomez suggests that the continuing legacy of Muslim slaves may even have influenced Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad.

    Whether or not that’s true, Islam in America is clearly nothing new.


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    Muslims in Early America

    Michael A. Gomez
    The Journal of Southern History
    Vol. 60, No. 4 (Nov., 1994), pp. 671-710
    Published by: Southern Historical Association
    DOI: 10.2307/2211064
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2211064
    Page Count: 40


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    6 African Muslims Who Brought Islam To America

    As a Muslim of West African origin living in the United States, my Muslim-ness is always contested by Europeans, Americans, and even clueless Africans. They ask me questions like:

    “Are you Muslim?” and “Were you born Muslim?”

    I get asked these questions a lot by Americans because Islam is something that was made to sound foreign to them.

    “I’ve never seen a Muslim from that country wear Hijab.”

    Believe it or not, many Africans ask this question as if they are well-travelled.

    Is your country predominantly Muslim?”

    I get this question from European Muslims as if they had just discovered ‘water on Mars’. In their minds, Black Muslims are an oddity. Because I have been around many of them, I now know the reasoning behind asking such questions. They have the idea that All of Africa is uncivilized and only non-Muslims live there.

    The strange thing is many of them have heard of Mansa Musa, the Malian African Muslim King. Why they won’t add two and two together to infer that Islam has always been an old religion in Africa and in the USA, I don’t know. In addition, the US census has a record of approximately 300 slaves that had a Muslim surname who fought during the Civil War for freedom.

    Throughout all these irritating questions, I try to keep my cool. I keep the frustrated comments, I want to utter, in my head, smile, and move on. However, what I want to tell them is Islam came to West Africa not too long after the 10th century. My ancestors were traders and this was how Islam came to us Mandinga. Islam has always been a religion of business. Furthermore, this also means that many West Africans were exposed to Islam before it was spread to Europe during the Ottoman empire and America via the Moriscos and the Transatlantic slaves.

    According to Lost Islamic History, one example of an African Muslim who brought Islam to America is Bilali Muhammad. There are also others like Ayub Job Djallo, Yarrow Mamood, Ibrahim Abdulrahman ibn Sori, Ummar ibn Sayyid, (Omar ibn Said) and Sali Bilali.

    Bilali Muhammad

    Born around 1770 in the area of Africa which are known as Guinea and Sierra Leone today, Bilali Muhammad was an elite of the Fulani tribe. He knew Arabic and was knowledgeable in hadith, tafsir, and shariah matters. Because he was educated, he was allowed to rise in status in the slave community. Bilali Muhammad even wrote a 13 page manuscript on Islamic law from the Maliki Madhab called the Bilali Document that he gifted to his friend before his death. The manuscript was thought to be a diary until it was deciphered at al-Azhar university in Cairo. His manuscript is also known as Ben Ali Diary or Ben Ali Journal. Read more here.

    Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

    Ayub Job Djallo was born in Senegal from a respected Fulbe Muslim family. He was also known as Job Ben Solomon. He wrote some memoirs and was a slave in Maryland for a couple years. Sold into slavery as a result of a confusion, he eventually returned home in Senegal to his aristocratic roots still a Muslim.

    Yarrow Mamout

    Born in Guinea, Yarrow Mamood was born in 1736 and died in 1823 a free man. He arrived at the age of 14 years old in Maryland with his sister. Knowledgeable in Arabic, he practiced Islam openly until his death. Read more on him here.

    Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori

    Ibrahim Abdulrahman ibn Sori was born in Guinea. He was also known as The Prince Amonsgt Slaves. Son of King Sori from the village of Timbo, Abdulrahman was a military leader. He became a slave as a result of an ambush and sold to a slave owner by the name of Thomas Foster in Mississipi. Ibn Sori got married and had children. Abdulrahman worked for 40 years before his release. He died during his trip back. He had even wrote a letter to his family in West Africa in Arabic which was read by the Sultan of Morocco Abderrahmane who found it deeply touching and petitioned U.S. President John Quincy Adams to release him.

    Omar ibn Said

    Ummar ibn Sayyid was born in Fuuta Toro, Senegal in 1770. Captured in 1807, he became known as Omar Moreau and Prince Omeroh according to Muslimofusa. Though there are reports that say he converted to Christianity later in his life, many sources say that there was more than met the eye in his situation. Nevertheless, he was known to be an Islamic scholar, knowledgeable in many fields from arithmetic to theology who wrote several Arabic texts.

    Sali Bilali

    Sali Bilali was born in Mali and captured in 1782. It was reported that his last words on his death bead were the shahada according to the Abolition Institute. Robert Abbot, founder of the Chicago Defender, is his descendent.

    In conclusion, all the continents contributed to the spread of Islam, Africa included. So how can they deny such a legacy?

    Last edited by islamirama; Sep-17-2017 at 12:04 PM.

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    Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy

    What do you know about Muslim immigration to America?

    When did the earliest Muslims arrive?

    When did members of this community first arrive in America?

    Dr Jerald Dirk received his Bachelor of Arts (philosophy) from Harvard College in 1971, his Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1974, his Master of Arts (clinical child psychology) from the University of Denver in 1976, his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree in clinical psychology from the University of Denver in 1978, and his sessions program certificate in Islamic studies from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in 1998.

    In 1969, he obtained his License to Preach from the United Methodist Church and was ordained into the Christian ministry (deaconate) by the United Methodist Church in 1972.

    He converted to Islam in 1993 and completed the 'Umrah and Hajj in 1999.

    His vocational history includes over five years teaching in American colleges and universities and over 20 years spent in the private practice of psychotherapy. In addition, he has taught at the middle school level at two different private Islamic schools and has served as the psycho-educational consultant at one private Islamic school.

    Dr. Dirks is the author or co-author of over 60 published articles in the behavioral sciences (primarily in psychosomatic medicine), over 140 published articles on the Arabian horse and its history, and over 220 published articles or formal presentations on Islam, comparative religion, and private Islamic education in America.

    He has lectured widely on Islam at American universities (Tabor College, University of Kansas, University of Denver, Oklahoma State University, Missouri State University, Wayne State University, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Georgetown University), in American mosques (in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia), and at regional and national conventions of the major Islamic organizations (ISNA, ICNA, and MAS).

    In addition, he has been interviewed about Islam by newspapers in California, Colorado, Missouri, and Saudi Arabia and by television stations in Kansas, New York, Texas, Utah, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. He is the author of four books that explore the commonalities and differences among the three Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism): The Cross and the Crescent, now in its second printing; Abraham, The Friend of God; Understanding Islam--A Guide for the Judaeo-Christian Reader; and The Abrahamic Faiths--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    His fifth book, Muslims in American History--A Forgotten Legacy was published in 2006 and celebrates the centuries-old history of Muslims in America. His sixth book, Letters to My Elders in Islam, was published in 2008. Dr. Dirks has also proofread and/or edited several books for other authors.

    The Topic: Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy

    A talk by Dr Jerald Dirks

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/TheDeenShow...4656604176104/


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