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Sierra Leonean public intellectual, was born in the southwest Nigerian city of Abeokuta in 1848. His father was from the Krio community in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Many people from Freetown were former slaves originally of Yoruba descent, and still others traded in southern Nigeria by the 1840s. His father may have been a Muslim notable in Freetown, but his Christian missionary uncle took him under his wing. His parents agreed to send him to the Church Missionary Society (Anglican) mission school in Freetown. Though he did not stay long in school, Abayomi-Cole proved to be a formidable intellect. He mastered Arabic, Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. In the 1870s and early 1880s, Abayomi-Cole made a living as a teacher. His lively intelligence attracted the interest of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which appointed him a catechist in the Sierra Leonean town of Shenge in the Shebro district in 1885 ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

political leader and legendary founder of the Chadian kingdom of Wadai, was born in the late sixteenth century. Since the early nineteenth century, a number of competing narratives have emerged about his origins. Several Wadai notables told the North African traveler Muhammad al-Tunsi during his stay in the kingdom in 1810 and 1811 that Saleh ʿAbd al-Karim came to their land from Mecca via Egypt. Thus he was an Arab whose family may have fled the Ottoman occupation of the Hejaz in 1517. In the mid-nineteenth century the German travelers Heinrich Barth and Gustav Nachtigal both recorded stories about ʿAbd al-Karim’s origins, which stated that the founder of Wadai was a member of a Sudanese Arab clan or a member of a Guimir community located on the modern Chadian-Sudanese frontier. However, a number of elderly Wadai men interviewed by historians in the 1960s and 1970s claimed that he ...

Article

leader of the Mahdist movement in Sudan, was the posthumous son of Muhammad Ahmad ibn ʿAbdallah, the Mahdi, and of Maqbula bint Nurayn Muhammad al-Fadl, a princess of the Fur royal house. He spent much of his childhood at Omdurman, where he and his relatives were subordinated to the Khalifa Abdallahi. During the Anglo-Egyptian pacification of the country after the battle of Omdurman (1898), he was wounded in an affray that left two of his brothers dead.

Until World War I the family of the Mahdi suffered from the colonial regime’s policy of suppressing the Mahdist cult and guarding against religious heterodoxy in general. Alarmed, however, at the possible effects in Sudan of the Ottoman sultan’s alliance with the Central Powers in 1914 the Anglo Egyptian regime conciliated the major Sufi leaders and ʿAbd al Rahman the generally accepted successor to leadership of the Mahdist movement Proving ...

Article

Ahmed T. el-Geili

patriarch of the ʿAbdallab group and cofounder of the first Muslim state in Sudan, the Blue Sultanate, in the sixteenth century, was born ʿAbdallah bin Mohammed al-Baqir.

Shaykh ʿAbdallah Jammaʿ’s father, Mohammed al-Baqir, was a member of the elite Meccan Qawasma tribe, whose members claim to have descended from Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Mohammed al-Baqir is reported to have migrated from Mecca to Sawakin on the Red Sea, where he married Hosna, daughter of Abdallah al-Qareen of the Rufaʿa tribe and where their son ʿAbdallah was born. When the young ʿAbdallah turned seven, his father took him back to Mecca, where he studied the Qurʾan and other religious sciences until the age of twenty-three, when Shaykh ʿAbdallah returned to Sawakin in Sudan.

In Sawakin he married the daughter of the sharif of Sawakin Shaykh Abu Dhanana and began his efforts to unite the dispersed Arab tribes His ...

Article

Charles C. Stewart

Malian political leader and notable Muslim scholar, was the political head of the Timbuktu-area lineage, the Kunta confederation, during the years 1847–1865. He inherited this role from his brother, Sidi al-Mukhtar al-Saghir bin Sidi Muhammad (d. 1847), who had assumed the position from his father in 1824, himself heritor of the influence of the family’s patriarch, his father, Sidi al-Mukhtar al-Kunti (d. 1811). His education in the Azaouad region of Timbuktu encompassed the Islamic disciplines including Arabic language, jurisprudence, and theology. The database of West African writings, West African Manuscripts, provides us with a sense of his intellectual literary productivity: in a sample of 180 manuscript titles there are 47 poems or collections, 41 devotional writings, 33 letters of political polemics, 15 works on Sufism, mainly attacking the Tijaniyya, and 10 juridical decisions. At some point, probably in the late 1820s or early 1830s we know he ...

Article

Haggai Erlich

North African political and military leader, was probably born in 1506 in the area between Harar and the Ogaden. Ahmad ibn Ibrahim married the daughter of Imam Mahfuz, the governor of Zeyla, who collaborated with Islamic scholars from Arabia against his master, the Sultan of Adal. Ahmad bin Ibrahim was similarly inspired by the renewed Islamic spirit and when he gained control of Harar in 1525, he refrained from adopting a political title and used only the religious designation of imam. His followers and his chronicler later called him Sahib al-fath (the lord of the conquest) or al-Ghazi (the holy warrior), for it was his conquest of Ethiopia, between 1529 and 1543, that made him so significant. In Ethiopian history, he is known as Ahmad Gragn, the left-handed.

The first half of the sixteenth century was marked by the weakening of the Solomonian dynasty s rule in Ethiopia ...

Article

Donald B. Redford

pharaoh of Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1377–1359 BCE; Low date: 1352–1334 BCE), was the son of Amenhotep (Amenophis) III and Queen Tiye (Teya). He was named after his father and succeeded to the throne initially as Amenophis IV.

Akhenaten was one of six children born to the royal couple four girls and two boys His older brother Thutmose destined for the throne as heir apparent and his older sister Sat Amun claimed their father s affection from an early age and as was customary for a crown prince Thutmose took up duties as high priest of Ptah in Memphis Perhaps because of his unsightly appearance Akhenaten was deprived of the attention his parents might have shown and little care was taken in assigning an entourage of companions His main tutor was an otherwise unknown Parennefer who hailed from a small town rather than the capital When the court ...

Article

Ness Creighton

Mamluk leader of Egypt (1760–1773), was born in the western Georgian region of Abkhazia to a Christian family. His father was, according to most sources, a Christian monk. ʿAli Bey al-Kabir was kidnapped in 1741, at the age of thirteen, by Turkish soldiers. From there he was recruited into the Egyptian Mamluk forces, in which he gradually gained rank and influence over the next several years.

While in name the Ottoman viceroy held power in Egypt, the majority of real power in the country was held by the Mamluks, who had since the late seventeenth century held most administrative and military positions of rank. As such, the leader of the dominant faction of the Mamluk became the unofficial shaykh al-balad.

In 1745 an insurrection of the Janissaries lead to the eventual assassination of Ibrahim Kahya Bey who had been the head of the Qazdughliyya Upon ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, politician, and champion of Arab and Muslim causes, was probably born between 1875 and 1878 (he himself was not sure of the date) in al-Minya province, where his father was a school principal. The family later moved to Asyut where his father entered commerce and became a mill owner. After attending a kuttab, in 1890 he enrolled in the Khedivial Secondary School in Cairo. He graduated in 1895 and progressed to the Khedivial School of Law, from which he graduated in 1899 and entered law practice in Asyut. Known for much of his life simply as Muhammad ʿAli, “ʿAlluba” was a surname he had legally registered in 1931 to distinguish him from others.

ʿAlluba’s political sympathies originally lay with the Nationalist Party founded by Mustafa Kamil. He entered national politics when he was elected to the new Legislative Assembly in 1914 At the end of World ...

Article

Martin A. Klein

Muslim cleric, major jihad leader and state-builder in early-nineteenth-century Mali, also known as Seku Amadu Lobbo, was born to a modest family of herders and clerics in Molangol, a Fulbe village not far from Mopti, in the inner delta of the Niger River. This area came to be known as Masina. He studied the Qurʾan with his grandfather, but then continued his Islamic education at Jenné, the most important center of commerce and education in the inner delta.

Masina was an area where the Niger River divided into many channels and flooded every rainy season Fulbe pastoralists practiced transhumant pastoralism bringing their herds into the delta during the long dry season The only authorities in Masina were the Ardos heads of small pastoralist groups As the tentacles of the long distance slave trade extended themselves deeper into West Africa many Ardos developed bands of cavalry that raided for slaves and ...

Article

Lawrence M. Berman

Egyptian pharaoh (reigned c. 1991–1961 BCE), was the founder of the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty, the heart of the Middle Kingdom Period of Egyptian history (c. 2040–1640 BCE). The first of a new line of kings, Amenemhat (an alternative form of the name is Amenemhet) was of nonroyal birth. He was probably the vizier (chief minister) Amenemhat who in c. 1997 BCE led an expedition of ten thousand men to the Wadi Hammamat, between the Nile and the Red Sea, to procure stone for the sarcophagus of Mentuhotep IV, the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty, as recorded in inscriptions at the quarry site.

The Eleventh Dynasty kings had begun the process of reuniting Egypt after the period of political fragmentation known as the First Intermediate Period (c. 2100–2040 BCE Amenemhat I took this process a step further Like his predecessors Amenemhat was of southern origin Mentuhotep means Mentu is ...

Article

Stephen D. Glazier

African American religious, educational, and political leader, was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel G. Arnett and Mary Louisa (maiden name unknown). Benjamin Arnett was a man of “mixed Irish, Indian, Scots, and African ancestry” (Wright, Eighty‐seven Years, 79). He was educated in a one‐room schoolhouse in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. Arnett worked as a longshoreman along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and worked briefly as a hotel waiter. His career as a longshoreman and waiter ended abruptly in 1858 when a cancerous tumor necessitated the amputation of his left leg. He turned to teaching and was granted a certificate on 19 December 1863. At that time he was the only African American schoolteacher licensed in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. For ten months during the academic year 1884–1885, Arnett served as a school principal in Washington, D.C. He returned to Brownsville in 1885, teaching there until 1887 ...

Article

Benjamin William Arnett, Jr., was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. He was entirely self-taught. After working as a waiter and a dockworker, he became certified as a teacher in Brownsville in 1864, but he moved to Washington, D.C., and decided to become a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). After receiving his license to preach in 1865, he was assigned his first pastorate in 1867 in Walnut Hills, Ohio, near Cincinnati; Arnett also taught school there. First ordained as a deacon in the AME church in 1868, he became an elder in 1870. He served the AME General Conference as its secretary in 1876 and its financial secretary in 1880. In addition, he established close connections to the AME church's center for learning, Wilberforce University in Ohio.

During the American Civil War (1861–1865 Arnett had worked with Frederick Douglass s National ...

Article

Awaw  

A. K. Vinogradov

earliest of the rulers of Kush (Ancient Sudan) so far attested in written sources. The form of the name is conjectural.

Awaw is briefly referred to as an enemy in the Egyptian “Execration Texts,” compositions of magical spells meant to protect the unnamed “customer(s)” (most likely a royalty, perhaps a pharaoh) from any sort of harm made by, or expected from, any potential adversary anywhere in Egypt and/or beyond it. Exorcisms of this kind would be written in black ink on certain ritual objects (pottery vessels of various forms—bowls, platters, etc., or figurines of clay, alabaster, or limestone, representing bound prisoners), which, in the course of a mass ceremony, would be ritually broken up or otherwise damaged and buried afterward.

As several groups of finds show the Execration Texts were composed of almost stereotypes for the given group of objects formulae The variant of the text reconstructed from the sherds ...

Article

Ay  

Joyce Tyldesley

influential Egyptian courtier who served under the late Eighteenth Dynasty kings Amenhotep III, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), and Tutankhamen. Following Tutankhamen’s untimely death, he claimed the throne, reigning for no more than four years (c.1327–1323 BCE). After his death, his name was erased from Egypt’s official history.

Ay’s parentage is unconfirmed. However, there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he was the brother of Queen Tiy, the commoner-born consort of Amenhotep III (reigned c. 1390–1352 BCE), and the father of Nefertiti, the commoner-born consort of Akhenaten (reigned c. 1352–1336 BCE Queen Tiy s father Yuya routinely used the title god s father which if it is to be read literally rather than as a priestly title translates as father in law of the king Ay too routinely used this title and while he makes no mention of any relationship with Nefertiti his wife claims to have been ...

Article

M. W. Daly

Sudanese nationalist politician, scion of a prominent religious family, grandson of Ismaʿil al-Azhari (Mufti of the Sudan 1924–1932) and a descendant of Ahmad Ismaʿil al-Azhari (Ismaʿil al-Wali), a famous alim, was born at Omdurman. After secondary school at Gordon College in Khartoum, he studied at the American University in Beirut and, returning to the Sudan, became a mathematics teacher at the college. He soon became immersed in politics.

The scope for such involvement was enhanced by the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan’s “condominium” status but circumscribed by the policies of its senior member, Britain. During World War I the British sought to minimize the Egyptian role; after anti-British uprisings in 1924 they sought to end it, by evacuating the Egyptian Army and curtailing the size and scope of a Sudanese educated class susceptible to Egyptian influence. But British efforts to channel political interest backfired. In 1938 members of the Sudan ...

Article

Veront Milton Satchell

also known as Prophet Bedward, Lord and Master, and Lord Bedward, was born sometime around 1858, probably on the Mona sugar estate in the parish of St. Andrew, Jamaica. He came from a poor family and had little by way of formal education. He was married with a family. During his early adult life he worked on the Mona sugar estate as a cooper. He migrated to Panama in 1883, returning to Jamaica in 1885. Within a few days of returning to the island he sailed back to Panama reputedly to improve his economic position.

During his second trip to Panama he allegedly received the call to ministry in a series of visions in which he was ordered to return to Jamaica go to August Town a small rural village located in St Andrew about 6 miles north of Kingston inhabited predominantly by lower class black and ...

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Jeremy Rich

political, military, and religious leader and first Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate, was born in the town of Morona, now located in Niger, in 1780 or 1781. His father was the revolutionary Islamic cleric and leader Uthman Dan Fodio (1754–1817), and his mother was Hawwa bint Adam ibn Muhammad Agh. Bello received an advanced education in Islamic theology and law thanks to his father, and supported his father’s call for a strict adherence to orthodox Sunni interpretations of Islamic practices. Bello praised his father as a loving parent: “His face was relaxed and his manner gentle. He never tired of explaining and never became impatient if anyone failed to understand” (Boyd, 1989).

When Uthman Dan Fodio launched a series of holy wars against the nominally Islamic sultans of Hausa cities such as Kano in northern Nigeria and southern Niger Bello became an active lieutenant of his father ...

Article

Congolese Protestant minister, was born near the town of Becimbola, located not far from the town of Lotumbe in the northwest Equateur region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite his major role as the head of the Église du Christ de Zaïre (ECZ), the church created at the behest of Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1970 that he presided over for roughly three decades, no single academic study has seriously considered his career. Most written sources have come from his host of detractors, further complicating understanding his life and controversial role as a religious leader. Bokeleale met a Congolese minister named Jean Bomenge in 1937 while the young man was organizing a party Bomenge convinced Bokeleale to enter the Disciples of Christ mission school at the town of Lotumbe not far from the provincial capital of Mbandaka The boy wanted to socially advance through acquiring literacy ...

Article

Christopher J. Colvin

South African religious and political leader, was born on 10 January 1931 in Cape Town, South Africa to Mike Boraine and Isa Blanche. He grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn in an English-speaking household and had two brothers, both of whom were killed in World War II. As was typical for white families of his generation, his early years brought him into very little contact with South Africans from other racial groups, and the political consciousness in his family centered mostly around the divisions between the English and Afrikaner communities in South Africa. After completing tenth grade, Boraine left school and worked at a variety of odd jobs. His father died when he was eighteen.

In that same year after a childhood that was relatively nonreligious Boraine attended a Methodist youth camp and experienced a dramatic conversion His rise through the church was equally dramatic Within a year ...