African Islam and Islam in Africa Between Exceptionalism and Marginality

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Ali A. Mazrui

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Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is often regarded as part of the periphery, rather than
part of the center, of the Muslim world. In the Abrahamic world, Africa is
often marginalized. But is there anything special about Islam’s relationship
with Africa? Are there unique aspects of African Islam? Islam has exerted an
enormous influence upon Africa and its peoples; but has Africa had any
impact upon Islam? While the impressive range of articles presented in this
special issue do not directly address such questions, my short editorial
attempts to put those articles within the context of Africa’s uniqueness in the
annals of Islam. One note: Although these articles concentrate on sub-
Saharan Africa (“Black Africa”), our definition of Africa encompasses the
continent as a whole – from South Africa to Egypt, Angola to Algeria, and
Mozambique to Mauritania ...

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