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David H. Anthony

Islamic scholar, Jamaican slave, and author, was born in Timbuktu, Mali. When he was two years old his family moved to Jenné in the western Sudan, another major center of Islamic learning and a renowned Sahelian trade city. Heir to a long tradition of Islamic saints and scholars claiming descent from the Prophet Muhammad, he was part of one of several dynasties designated as Sherifian or Shurfaa. Abu Bakr was trained and certified in Jenné by several ulama, the highly intellectual stratum of Islamic teachers. He was in the process of becoming a cleric when he was captured. As was true for many Islamized Africans caught in the vortex of the Atlantic slave trade, Abu Bakr's itinerant life had pre slave African and post slave black Atlantic dimensions His path shares the trajectory of many coreligionists from Muslim areas of the continent as well ...


Alessandro Gori

originally an African slave, is universally known in the Muslim world as the first muezzin (muʿaddin) in the history of Islam and a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad. The biography of Bilal can be reconstructed thanks to many different Islamic traditional sources.

Bilal was born in Mecca in the late sixth century He was most probably the property of the rich Meccan trader Umayya b Khalaf head of the Jumah clan whose goats and sheeps he used to pasture He had an Ethiopian or more generally a black African origin which explains his nickname al Habashi the Abyssinian From his mother Hamama he is also frequently called Ibn Hamama the son of Hamama Bilal came to know Islam at its first inception and was one of the earliest converts to the new faith His religious conversion provoked the wrath of his master who brutally tortured him to ...


Allan D. Austin

rising member of a leading Muslim family in Senegal, a captive in Gambia, and later a slave in Maryland, was born Ayuba ibn Suleiman Diallo in Bondu, West Africa, to a prosperous family. Though little information about Job's early years is available, it is known that by the age of fifteen he was, his amanuensis wrote, well on his way to becoming an Alfa—following his father and grandfather—one of the religious leaders in an area of eastern Senegal renowned then and at the time of the explorer Mungo Park's1775 visit as a territory where Muslims at least need not fear enslavement Job not only advanced positively in his koranic and Arabic studies but he also proved to be a brave and resourceful trader His growing wealth and respectability led to a marriage with the daughter of a neighboring Alfa of gold exporting Tombut Bambuk After ...


John Gilmore

Also known as Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (c.1702–1773?), one of the very few victims of the transatlantic slave trade to survive and get back home. Son of an important Muslim cleric from Bondou in what is now the Gambia. In 1731, while on a journey down the river Gambia to trade and sell slaves, Job was himself kidnapped and sold as a slave, together with his servant and companion Loumein Yoai. The two were shipped across the Atlantic and sold, separately, in Maryland.

Job soon ran away. Although he was speedily recaptured, he was allowed to write a letter, in Arabic, to his father, asking him to try and arrange for his ransom. This was sent to London for transmission to the Gambia, and a copy came to the attention of James Oglethorpe (1696–1785 the founder of Georgia who was then deputy governor of ...


Stephen Cory

a Sufi leader who revived the Qadiriyya Sufi order in the southwestern Sahara during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In doing so, he assured the dominance of his tribe, the Kunta, as the premier zawaya (clerical) tribe, providing religious and legal education and spiritual leadership throughout the area. His peaceful propagation of the faith led to an increased practice of Islam in the Western Sahara. In addition, his linkage of religious renewal to the promotion of trade led to a realignment of power relations among the tribes, with the Kunta at the top. Sidi al-Mukhtar sought to use the tariqa (Sufi brotherhood) structure to teach Islamic practices, reform social mores, and eliminate non-Islamic religious accretions from society. His descendants, leaders of the peaceful Qadiriyya-Mukhtariyya order, opposed the nineteenth-century jihad movements in West Africa, including the jihad of the Tijani leader Hajj ʿUmar Tal in Senegal.

The Kunta are ...


Leyla Keough

Job ben Solomon was born around 1702 to an aristocratic Tukulor or Fulani family in Bundu, formerly a Muslim state in present-day Senegal. His father was an imam, or Muslim prayer leader, and Job became an Islamic scholar, able to recite the Qur'an (Koran) from memory. He married twice and had four children.

In 1731Mandinkas captured Solomon as he himself attempted to sell slaves. They sold him as a slave, and a plantation owner in Maryland eventually purchased him. In desperation Solomon sent a letter in Arabic to his father in Africa by way of Great Britain, where the philanthropist and founder of Georgia, General James Oglethorpe, intercepted and translated it. Impressed by Solomon's literacy and story, Oglethorpe paid the Maryland planter for Job's release and transport to Great Britain. On the voyage Solomon met English traveler and writer Thomas Bluet who introduced Solomon to ...


David J. Peavler

Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (later known to Europeans as Job Ben Solomon) was born to a powerful family of Muslim clerics of the Fulbe tribe in the northern region of present-day Senegal. While he was in Africa, Job received formal educational training in both secular and religious fields. He assisted his father in trade and became quite wealthy by the age of twenty-nine, owning three houses, a plantation with eighteen servants, and more than seventy head of cattle. In February 1730, however, Job's father sent him on a slave-trading mission that would ironically lead to his own capture and enslavement in North America.

After failing to receive his asking price from an English trader Job sent his servants home and crossed into the territory of a rival tribe in the hope of securing a better price He succeeded in this endeavor but was captured on his return journey and ...