Servants of Allah
African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, 15th Anniversary Edition
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Researching and writing Servants of Allah was a singularly solitary endeavor. But once I emerged from the libraries, I immediately received the enthusiastic support of Niko Pfund, then director of NYU Press, and Jennifer Hammer, my attentive and brilliant editor. I am deeply thank-ful to both of them for the fi rst edition and to NYU Press director Steve ...
Introduction to the 15th Anniversary Edition
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In 1998, when Servants of Allah was fi rst published, I could not have imagined that I would be writing a new introduction to the volume fi f-teen years later. Th ree years earlier, I could not even imagine this book would ever exist. I had started writing it in French, certain I would fi nd a receptive publisher in Paris. Only when, to my utter surprise, no one ...
1 African Muslims, Christian Europeans, and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
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When the fi rst Africans were deported to the New World, beginning in 1501, Islam was already well established in West Africa. Th e religion revealed to the Arabian trader Muhammad between 609 and 632 c.e. had been introduced to North Africa as early as 660. South of the Sahara it had been known since the eighth century through contacts with mer-...
2 Upholding the Five Pillars of Islam in a Hostile World
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Scattered across every region of the Americas, the Muslims entered a hostile world — a world that enslaved free Muslim men and women; a white Christian world determined to wipe out any trace of “paganism” It was essential that the new land become Christian as quickly as pos-sible, because evangelization was a large part of the justifi cation for the ...
3 The Muslim Community
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Muslims strove hard to keep their religion alive, in both the enslaved community and the larger Christian society. But to be a Muslim was more than just respecting the Five Pillars of Islam. It implied a distinc-tive lifestyle. Especially for West Africans, with their community-based traditions, Islam is a highly communal, public, and visible religion. It ...
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Ahmed Baba ibn Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Muhammad (1556 – 1627), Aqit al-Tumbukti, Miraj al-Suud ila nayl Majlub al-Sudan. Ahmed Baba discusses slavery in West Africa in the seven-teenth century and stresses that individuals are fundamentally free but may be enslaved only under very specifi c conditions governed by Islamic law. (Courtesy of the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library, Timbuktu, Mali; photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress)...
4 Literacy: A Distinction and a Danger
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Th e Muslims’ literacy set them apart and became as distinctive as a physical trait. A slaveholder was so impressed with literate Sambo, for example, that he mentioned only this characteristic when he put a notice in the Charleston Courier of February 7, 1805, to advertise him as a run-away. Th e thirty-year-old man was a “new negro” (a recently arrived ...
5 Resistance, Revolts, and Returns to Africa
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Frugal, serious, and for some dedicated to hard work in order to get their freedom or reach the upper echelons of the slave structure, the African Muslims may have appeared, at fi rst glance, to be “model slaves.” Th ese characteristics, however, represent only one facet of their experi-ence in the Americas, that which drew on their education and discipline ...
6 The Muslim Legacy
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With a documented presence of fi ve hundred years, Islam was, aft er Catholicism, the second monotheist religion introduced into the post-1492 Americas. It preceded Lutheranism, Methodism, Baptism, Calvin-ism, Santeria, Candomble, and Vodun to name a few. All these religions are alive today and are followed by the vast majority of the Africans’ ...
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About the Author
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Sylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian who specializes in the history of the African Diaspora. She is the author of Slavery’s Exiles: Th e Story of the American Maroons (NYU Press, 2013) and Dreams of Africa in Alabama: Th e Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America (Oxford University Press, 2007); the edi-...
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013