States, Conflict and Islam: A Reconsideration of Jihād in the Gambia River Region, 1850–1900

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As the result of centuries of transregional commerce by Muslim merchants and the attendant networks developed by Muslim scholarly families, Islam was well established in the Sahel and Upper Guinea Coast by the seventeenth century. Commercial markets, Muslim states and Islamic institutions developed during a long, generally peaceful process of change; however, development of the Atlantic slave traffic, the intrusion of European imperialism, and, conflicts within Muslim communities and between Muslims and non-Muslims contributed to the creation of movements by Muslims who advocated martial jihād as a means to preserve proper Islamic practices. In the Gambia River region during the latter half of the nineteenth century a few Muslim scholars launched what they called jihād. Through the evaluation of local oral historical documents, colonial records, and analyses by scholars on the legitimate requirements for martial jihād this article reconsiders the nature of these movements in the region between 1850 and 1900. The question raised is whether the movements were based on Islamic principles or were motivated primarily by territorial, commercial, and political goals.

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  • 11/12/2018
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