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David Robinson

West African ruler, scholar, teacher, and Sufi leader, was born in the late eighteenth century (the birth dates of 1794 and 1797 are frequently mentioned) near Podor in the western part of the middle valley of the Senegal River. His mother tongue was Pulaar, or Fulfulde, as he belonged to the Fulbe ethnic group, which played an important role in the Islamization of the Western and Central Sudan, the “belt” or region often called the Sahel today. ʿUmar grew up as the son of a minor scholar of the intellectual torodbe class, which had recently come to power as the Almamate of Futa Toro. The Almamate, or imamate, was one of the Islamic “revolutions” that mark the history of the Western and Central Sudan of West Africa in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and that have been considered crucial in the spread of Islam in the region.

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Edmund Abaka

Fulani Muslim scholar, led an important intellectual reform movement that culminated in the creation of the Sokoto Caliphate (present-day northern Nigeria), one of the largest states in Africa in the early eighteenth century. Born in Gobir in 1754, Uthman Dan Fodio channeled the political, social, and economic grievances of the Fulani into a movement for reform that dismantled the traditional power structure of the Hausa and led to the emergence of a new political and religious elite, the Fulani, in the Sokoto Caliphate. He was a chain in a link of reformist leaders in the Western Sudan who had stressed a return to orthodox Islam, in contradistinction to what was perceived as a “syncretic” form of Islam that tolerated certain African religious elements.

As a young man Uthman Dan Fodio studied under many learned Muslim men in Hausaland and Agades He was most of all influenced by Jibril ibn Umar ...