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Zahia Smail Salhi

Algerian nationalist, was born in Constantine in East Algeria on 5 December 1889 to a scholarly and religious household. His family claimed to have descended from the founder of Algiers, Bologhine Ben Ziri, and held the position of notables who valued learning both Eastern and Western.

Ben Badis’s brother studied law in French establishments, while he pursued a career in religious studies at the Mosque-University of Zeituna in Tunisia. Prior to that, he studied in Constantine under the patronage of his tutor Hamdane Lounissi, a follower of the Zawiya al-Tijania religious order.

While in Tunisia he came under the influence of the Islamic Salafi movement, which called for the purification of Islam from the effects of charlatanism and obscurantist practices through teaching Muslim communities about the salaf early Muslim leaders and their pure Islamic ways This often involved attacks on the shaykhs of religious orders as well as official imams ...


philosopher, pioneer of Islamic reformist thought, pan-Islamic nationalist as well as a staunch opponent of British penetration in the East, also known as al-Asadaabadi and al-Husayni, Afghani, was born in October/November 1839 in the Iranian village of Asadaabad. However, he endeavored to hide his origins so as to conceal his Shiite identity. It was with this in mind that he assumed the surname al-Afghani (of Afghan origin).

His father, Sayyid Safdar, is said to have been a modest farmer, but a learned Muslim. From the age of five to ten, Afghani was apparently educated at home, focusing on Arabic and the Qurʾan. Thereafter, he was sent to school in Qazvin and later Tehran, where he received the standard Shiite education.

After several years of study in the holy city of Najaf, Afghani moved to India in approximately 1855 where he first encountered British colonialism By the time he reached ...


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 ...


Christine D. Baker

fifth Fatimid caliph of Egypt, was the first of the Fatimid caliphs to begin his rule in the newly founded Fatimid capital in Cairo. Born in Mahdiyya in North Africa, he traveled to Cairo in 974 with the Fatimid court when his father, the fourth Fatimid Caliph al-Muʿizz, moved the Fatimid capital from the Maghrib to Egypt. His full name was Al-ʿAziz billah, Nizar Abu Mansur.

Al-ʿAziz became the Fatimid caliph in 975 but, as the third son of al-Muʿizz, his succession was far from assumed. Al-Muʿizz’s oldest son, Tamim, had been passed over for the succession because he was suspected of intriguing against his father with dissident members of the Fatimid court. Al-Muʿizz’s second son, ʿAbdullah, was the favored heir. But ʿAbdullah died unexpectedly in 975 and al-Muʿizz formally recognized al-ʿAziz as his successor. Al-ʿAziz came to power in December 975 when he gave the khutba Friday sermon ...


Hassoum Ceesay

religious leader, diplomat, cabinet minister, educationist, and ardent nationalist, also known as J. C. or Reverend Faye, was born in Bathurst (present-day Banjul, Gambia) to Wolof and Serer parents. His father was a shipwright and his mother a housewife. Faye attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and the Methodist Boys High School in Banjul, where he completed his studies in 1926. He got his teachers’ certificate in 1927. From 1927 to 1942, he taught at various mission schools in Bathurst, the capital and main administrative center of the British colony of Gambia.

In 1942 Faye helped start the famous Kristikunda School in Kantora in the Upper River Division of Gambia opening the gates of education to the people living in the Gambian interior which the British ruled as a protectorate The school whose name in the local Fula language means Christ s home was a bold experiment in ...


Michael West

South African religious figure embodied the connection between Ethiopianism and African nationalism in Zimbabwe previously called Rhodesia and before then Southern Rhodesia Ethiopianism was African Christian independence a descriptor for colonized Africans who left religious bodies dominated by European or Euro American missionaries and formed independent churches The term Ethiopianism was inspired by Psalms 68 31 which predicted Princes shall come out of Egypt Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God In the areas of colonial Africa where western notably Protestant missionaries were most active and where consequently Ethiopianism was most common African religious and political independence were often closely linked The emergence of an African national consciousness which everywhere preceded the emergence of an anticolonial African nationalist movement paralleled the rise of Ethiopianism Princes were coming out of Egypt and Ethiopia to the Ethiopianists a metaphor for Africa as a whole was stretching out her hands unto ...


Moses Chikowero

Zimbabwean educator, evangelist, and early nationalist, was born Mushore Samkange in 1893 in the Zvimba communal area of colonial Zimbabwe (then called Southern Rhodesia). He was a son of Mawodzewa, a renowned hunter of the Gushungo royal clan. Samkange wed Grace Mano at Zvimba’s Madzima Church in 1919 and raised a family of five boys (Stanlake, Sketchley, Don, Edgar, and Ernest) and two girls (Evelyn and Norah).

Samkange moved to the town of Gatooma (now Kadoma) as a migrant laborer in his teenage years, there to encounter the fascination of both the Christian faith and western education. He nurtured these interests upon his return to Zvimba in his early twenties, getting baptized as Thompson and enrolling, in 1915 in Nenguwo Institution later called Waddilove Mission to train as a teacher evangelist under the tutelage of the liberal white missionary John White He completed Standard Six a then envied qualification ...


founder of the African Orthodox Church of Uganda, was born around 1898 in Buganda of Anglican parents. While a schoolboy, he lived in the household of Archdeacon Edward Daniel, the principal of the newly founded Bishop Tucker College in Mukono. Admiring the Greek passion for athletics and sport, he adopted the name “Sparta” while still at school, later changing it to “Spartas” when informed by Greek contacts that this was the correct masculine form. He won a scholarship to the prestigious Anglican school, King’s College, Budo. But on the outbreak of war he interrupted his schooling and joined the African Native Medical Corps, returning to Budo to complete his secondary education after the war.

Spartas thought of becoming an Anglican priest but his reading of church history while staying with the Daniels during vacations led him to the discovery of the Orthodox tradition which he increasingly felt was a more ...