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Islam in Africa: Islam in Africa

Islam in Africa resources, mainly free online: books, journal articles, manuscripts, reports, photographs, statistics, graphic arts, maps, bibliographies and more.

Islam in Africa


African Online Digital Library
Project of Michigan State University, IFAN, and WARC.

  • Sampling from L'Institut Fondemental d'Afrique Noire, IFAN (historical photographs)
  • Collection Boubacar Barry (historical writings on the Futa Jalon from Professor of History Barry
  • Phil Curtin Collection (photographs, audio interview on his work on economic change in precolonial Senegambia in the era of the slave trade, Bundu)
  • Photographs from “Passport to Paradise’: Sufi Arts of Senegal and Beyond (the "urban visual culture of the Mourides, a Senegalese Sufi movement centered upon the life and teachings of a local saint named Sheikh Amadou Bamba")
  • Mosques of Bondoukou (photographs) a
  • Futa Toro, Senegal and Mauritania ("The Fulbe people have played a prominent role in West African history, and a complete background on the Fuuta Tooro Oral History Project is available." Plus interviews in Pulaar) [KF]

African Studies Centre, Leiden - Islam in Nigeria
"...the Library, Documentation and Information Department of the African Studies Centres aims to provide background information on the history of Islam and Islamic law in Nigeria. It contains a selection of titles from the library catalogue, an introduction on Islam in Nigeria, and a selection of links to relevant web resources." Includes journal articles.

African Studies Centre, Leiden - Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa
Citations to books, journal articles, web resources from the last 20 years. The dossier was compiled to coincide with the conference on 'Islam, Disengagement of the State, and Globalization in Sub-Saharan Africa'' Paris 12-13 May 2005. Includes book jackets from selected titles.

Afriques (Paris)
In French and English. E-journal published by Centre d’études des mondes africains, Paris, France. Indexes - author, keyword, geographic entity.
Access to articles requires subscription to Open Editions. Articles such as -

Claire Bosc-Tiessé, « Cultures chrétienne et islamique du livre manuscrit en Éthiopie : reconsidérer irréductibilités et croisements », Afriques, 08 | 2017   URL : ; DOI :

Claire Bosc-Tiessé (dir.), « Cultures manuscrites d’Éthiopie. Rencontres entre mondes islamique et chrétien » Afriques, 08 | 2017 URL : ; DOI :

 Amélie Chekroun, « Le Mäṣḥafä Seddät et le Futūḥ al-Ḥabaša : un cas de contact entre manuscrits islamiques et manuscrits chrétiens d’Éthiopie au XVIe siècle ? », Afriques, 08 | 2017.  URL : ; DOI :

Ahmadu Bello University, Arewa House. Centre for Historical Documentation and Research - Facebook Page
A repository for 1,600 Arabic manuscripts, holds Nigerian university dissertations, and office records of Sir Ahmadu Bello (1910-1966). It was founded by historian Abdullahi Smith. Based in Zaria, Nigeria.

Four private collections, in Arabic, Ajami and Naskh script  - Modibbo Ahmadu Fofure Collection, the Sheikh Ahmad Arabi Jos Collection, the Mallam Musa Ganan Daji Jos Collection, and the Mallam Ahmad Gwaraje, Kiyawa Collection. Mss. date from the 14th to 20th century. Topics include politics, history, grammar poetry, astronomy, traditional medicine, Mahdism, etc. 

For a description of the manuscript collections see "Arabic Manuscripts in the Arewa House (Kaduna, Nigeria)" by Salisu Bala, in History in Africa, Volume 39 (2012), pp. 331-336. Requires subscripition for access.


ArchNet: Islamic Architecture Community
" community for architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects,...". Find full text books and many photographs, by countryCourse syllabi, such as Seminar in African Art and Culture Art, Architecture and Tradition; Building Identity in West Africa (Dr. Peter Mark). From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning.
Books include:

  • Zanzibar: A Plan for the Historic Stone Town. By Bianca, Stefano & Francesco Siravo. 1996.
  • Mosque Architecture in Buganda, Uganda. By Timothy Insoll. 1997. Chapter in Muqarnas XIV: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Gülru Necipoglu (ed). Leiden: E.J. Brill, 177-189. In PDF.

Association of Religion Data Archives
National profiles for each country. Can compare two countries. Over 1,000 data collections. Need to use statistifcal programs (SPSS, Stata) for some data files. International maps (African continent, countries). Support from Lilly Endowment, the John Templeton Foundation, Chapman University, Pennsylvania State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. [KF]

Boston University. African Ajami Library
Manuscripts, video interviews, photographs. Founded by Dr. Fallou Ngom (Professor of Anthropology and former Director of the African Studies Center at Boston University), the African Ajami Library (AAL) is a collaborative initiative between Boston University and the West African Research Center (WARC), Dakar, Senegal.

British Broadcasting Company. The Story of Africa
"the history of the continent from an African perspective." "from the origins of humankind to the end of South African apartheid" by major African historians (Jacob Ajayi, George Abungu, Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya and others). Includes a page on Islam, has audio clips of each segment of the BBC program. (Requires sound card, speaker or headphone). Each segment has a timeline, bibliography, useful links.

Columbia International Affairs Online
Subscribers only; many universities subscribe. Use their Search to locate full text articles, reports, briefings, by keyword, author, date, institution. Examples - Political Islam in Kenya, "Chemical Weapons in the Sudan: Allegations and Evidence" by Michael Barletta; "Christianity and Islam in Africa's Political Experience: Piety, Passion and Power" Ali A. Mazrui; "Religion and Conflict in Sudan: A Non-Muslim Minority in the Muslim State" by Yehudit Ronen.

Communaute Layene / Layene Brotherhood
In French, English, Italian, Arabic. Official site of the Layene Brotherhood, an Islamic sect, founded by Seydina Limamou LAYE ((1843-1909) who declared himself the Mahdi. Biography & genealogy of Seydina Limamou LAYE born in Senegal. Who is the Mahdi? The Caliphs of the Mahdi, Early Disciples of the Mahdi, The Holy Places, Religous Practices, Sermons. Bibliography. [KF]

Djenné Patrimoine
In French. Site of the Association pour la promotion du patrimoine culturel de Djenné. Full text articles from its bulletin, DJENNE PATRIMOINE Informations. Photographs showing repairing / maintaining the mosque. Sketches of Djenne by Pierre Ducoloner. Called the city of 313 saints, has a map showing locations of tombs of saints. Based in Djenné, Mali. [KF]

First Ismaili Electronic Library and Database (FIELD)
Has the full text of speeches given on visits to Africa by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV (also Shah Karim Al-Husseini). There are interviews, graphics of stamps commemorating the Aga Khan architecture award, etc.

George Mason University. Center for History and New Media - Women in World History
Primary sources about women and gender with guidelines to using primary sources. Sources include excerpts from the 17th c. Journal of Jan van Riebeeck, letters of the grand-daughter of Jan van Riebeeck, rock art of the San, drawings, narrative of the Cape (Southern Africa) 1705 to 1713, the situation of slaves in the Cape, letter of Mary Moffat, narrative by Mary Kingsley.
Has a case study by Beverly Mack on Nana Asma'u, Muslim Woman Scholar and one by Jeremy D. Popkin, The Calling of Katie Makanya (South Africa 1873-1956) and a classroom module on Cultural Contact in Southern Africa (17th century including slavery). 

Hazine, for Researchers of the Diverse Islamic Worlds
 The Arabic Script in Nigerian Hands: Ustadh Yushaa Abdullah on Arabic Calligraphy Education in West Africa.
 "Yushaa Abdullah discusses his interest in Arabic calligraphy, his teaching objectives and his opinions regarding the art market and the use of the digital medium in Arabic calligraphy."

H-Islam in Africa
Academic discussion forum. Book reviews, syllabi for teaching about Islam in Africa.

Imam amd the Pastor
Produced by FLTfilms, London. "The film’s protagonists, Imam Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa and Pastor James Movel Wuye, have first-hand experience of the violence, both as victims and as militia members. Close relatives of Ashafa were killed by Christians; Wuye lost his hand when Muslims tried to kill him. Today they are joint Directors of the Interfaith Mediation Centre in northern Nigeria’s main city, Kaduna." Executive Producer: David Channer. Producer/Director: Alan Channer; Assistant Producer: Imad Karam.

Interfaith Mediation Center (Kaduna, Nigeria)
"...founded in May 1995 by former militant religious youth activists, to address the issue of ethno-religious conflicts, which has been a source of instability in the world, particularly in our country Nigeria." Papers such as religion, peace and violence in West Africa: Islamic solution (2002), Achieving a lasting peace on the Plateau (2002, Strategies for mass action against corruption, economic crimes and financial crimes in Nigeria (2003).
See also The Imam and the Pastor, a documentary.

Internet African History Sourcebook - Paul Halsall
Has full-text sources for African history arranged by topics. Includes Islam in Africa, ancient Egyptian religion, Ethiopia and Christianity, African traditional religion. Maintained by Paul Halsall, Fordham University. [KF]

Introduction to Islam, by M. Cherif Bassiouini
The full text of the book (Chicago: Rand McNally Corp., 1988). "The purpose of this book is to convey to a non-Muslim audience an understanding of Islam, its history, culture, and contribution to civilization." Includes photographs (students in Mali, etc.), sections on women in Islam, the Islamic calendar, fasting during Ramadan, Islamic fundamentalism, architecture, science, etc. The author is Professor of Law, DePaul University. [KF]

Islam and Africa, Conference, April 19-22, 2001, Binghamton, New York
Site is closed. Islam and Africa: A Global, Cultural and Historical Perspective. Conference hosted by the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York. 

Islam Burkina Faso Collection

  • Over 2,900 archival documents, newspaper articles, Islamic publications, and photographs on Islam and Muslims in Burkina Faso since the 1960s acqired by Frédérick Madore for his 2018 PhD dissertation - Rivalités et collaborations entre ainés et cadets sociaux dans les milieux associatifs islamiques en Côte d'Ivoire et au Burkina Faso (1970-2017)
  •  indexes more than 275 bibliographical references of books, book chapters, book reviews, journal articles, dissertations, theses, and reports 
  • the database is keyword searchable   Based at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Islam in Africa Map - University of Texas, Austin. Library
Shows predominantly Muslim countries and coutnries with significant Muslim minorities. The map does not designate South Africa which has significant Muslim communities. From the Perry Casteneda Library Map Collection, Univ. of Texas at Austin.

Islam in Africa Watch
Old site 2010 latest news. "A blog about Islam and Muslims in the Black Continent." Includes "preliminary sources in Arabic, which have been taken from Jihadi forums, on the issue of Africa and Islam in Africa; News from around the continent ..... and preliminary sources taken from websites of Shiite, Sufi, and radical Muslim organizations throughout Africa." Maintained by Moshe Terdman, a senior research fellow at PRISM which studies radical Islam.

Islam Tanzania
In Swahili and English. About Islam and Muslims in Tanzania. "African Islam in Tanzania" by Abdulaziz Y. Lodhi and David Westerlund covers history, organizations, a bibliographical essay. Has other articles and links to related sites. Has full text articles from the Swahili journal, Nasaha and from An-nuur, weekly Kiswahili magazine from Dar es Salaam. Has full text of the book, Mwembechai killings and the political future of Tanzania by Hamza M. Njozi. [KF]

Islamic Africa
Subscription required. Published by the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa. "Incorporating the journal Sudanic Africa,..... publishes original research concerning Islam in Africa from the social sciences and the humanities, as well as primary source material and commentary essays related to Islamic Studies in Africa."  Sudanic Africa, is available to subscribers online for 1990-2005.

The Islamic Manuscript Association, TIMA
"an international non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting Islamic manuscript collections and supporting those who work with them." "an affiliated project of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge." Has a directory on Online Manuscript Catalogues. Publishes the Journal of Islamic Manuscripts. Based in Cambridge, U.K.

Journal of Islamic Manuscripts (Cambridge, U.K.)
Published by The Islamic Manuscript Association and Brill Academic Publishers. Subscribers thru Brill have online access to the articles.

Journal of Religion in Africa
Subscription required. "...founded in 1967 by Andrew Walls. In 1985 the editorship was taken over by Adrian Hastings, who retired in 1999....interested in all religious traditions and all their forms, in every part of Africa,..." Published by Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands.

Journal of Religious History
Table of contents only. Volume 23, Number 1, February 1999 was a Special Issue: Africans Meeting Missionaries, edited by Jean Landau and Derek Peterson, with papers presented at a conference at the University of Minnesota in 1997. Pub. by Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, U.K.

Kane, Ousmane - Intellectuels non europhones
Full text.  (Dakar, Sénégal : Codesria, c2003) In French. On Muslim intellectuals.

Library of Congress - Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu
"Dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, the ancient manuscripts... are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages." "The manuscripts...are from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha,..." Has images of the documents which concern Islamic knowledge of astronomy, law, the Songhai Empire, slavery, Sufi religion, mathematics, political governance, medical knowledge, attitude towards non-Muslims, trade. [KF]

Library of Congress - Islamic Manuscripts from Mali
"...twenty-two Islamic manuscripts [in Arabic script] containing important insights into the life and culture of West Africans during the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Era." Topics include astrology, commerce, Islamic law, health care, mysticism, slavery, and agriculture. A project of the Library of Congress and the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library of Timbuktu, Mali. Includes maps - Timbuktu in Space and Time, a history of Timbuktu as an Islamic cultural center, and Timbuktu architecture.

Lusotopie (Paris)
Open access journal. Includes articles on Islam in Africa. First published in 1994.

The Meanings of Timbuktu - Edited by Shamil Jeppie and Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Full text of the book is online. 416 pages. HSRC Press, 2008. Topics include Arabic calligraphy, Arabic literature, Ajami, Muslim women scholars, Mali manuscripts, Arabic material in Zanzibar, etc.

Middle East Research & Information Project, MERIP (Washington, D.C.)
MERIP is a a non-profit, non-governmental organization. Use the Search to locate articles on the Sudan.

Northwestern University. Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa, ISITA
"The principle objectives of ISITA are: 1. Preserving, and disseminating information on, African Arabic manuscript libraries......." Has photographs from Timbuktu, the Mamma Haidara Library, and the Kati Family Library. "Africa is the home of roughly one quarter of the world's one 1.2 billion Muslim population. Approximately half of the population of Africa is Muslim, some countries being 90-100% Muslim, and every country having at least a significant Muslim minority of 5-10%."

Northwestern University. Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Arabic Manuscripts from West Africa
A catalog of the Herskovits Library Collection. "over 5,000 items..... Original, hand-written manuscripts make up more than 60 percent of the content, which also includes “market” editions (photocopies of handwritten works that are often sold in African marketplaces), printed editions, and photocopies. Most are in Arabic, though some are in ajami—African languages such as Hausa, Fulfulde, and Wolof written in the Arabic script." The collection includes the Umar Falke Collection, the John Paden Collection, the John Hunwick Collection, and the University of Ghana Collection.

Oriental Manuscript Resource, OMAR
In German and English. built at the University of Freiburg, Germany. "images of approx. 2.500 Arabic manuscripts (in full text, 134.000 images) from Mauritania together with the corresponding bibliographical metadata."

Passport to Paradise: Visualizing Islam in West Africa and the Mouride Diaspora
Exhibition on "the Mourides, a mystical Muslim movement originating in Senegal, West Africa." Topics, illustrated by paintings and other media, include the rise of Islam, a biography of Amadu Bamba, the Mouride work ethic, Mouride women, the Mouride global networks, the saint's tomb at Touba.


  • The devotional sanctum of Serigne Faye with paintings by Assane Dione.
  • A Mouride mosque and residential complex made entirely of straw.
  • Followers of Sheikh Ibra Fall who are "apostles of hard work."
  • A book and an educational program accompnay the exhibit organized by the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • For teachers there is a curriculum guide and online exhibition featuring biographies of the artists.

PBS [Public Broadcasting System] Expansion of Islam and Trade in Africa | Africa's Great Civilizations
Grades: 6-8, 9-12. Video. Teachers' resources. Narrators include Harvard Professor Henry Lewis Gates, Jr.

Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Mapping the Global Muslim Population
A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population. October 2009. Includes maps, statistics. The Pew Forum is a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy organization. Based in Washington, D.C.

Qatar Digital Library (Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library, and the British Library)
In English and Arabic. "archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more,...with contextualised explanatory notes and links" Has India Office Records 1763–1951.

  • Topics include slavery, the slave trade, ZanzibarMombasa (also spelled mombassa), East Africa
  • Articles by experts such as on the India Office Private Papers, Mombasa: Britain’s Shortest-Lived Protectorate?, Between Freedom and Slavery: The Employment of Runaway Slaves in the Indian Navy, The Arabic Manuscripts Collection in the British Library. [KF]

[Reardon] Secrets of the Sahara. By Christopher Reardon
Secrets of the Sahara is an account (Ford Foundation Report, Summer 2003) of efforts by Mali scholars to preserve manuscripts from the 14th century onwards. "Dozens of families in Timbuktu are working to preserve a trove of ancient manuscripts that may redefine the history of Islam and Africa." "Many of the ancient texts date back to the Songhaï empire, a prosperous kingdom that peaked in the 15th and 16th centuries." Topics cover "...astronomy, mathematics, medicine and geography. There are poems and folk tales."

Schrijver, Paul - Bibliography on Islam in Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa
Published by the African Studies Centre, Leiden, Netherlands, 2006. (Research Report 82/2006). 285 pages. Download the publication. Nominated for the 2008 Conover-Porter Award (African Studies Association).  and  Older format:

Sharia Debates in Africa
Sharia Debates and Their Perception by Christians and Muslims in Selected African Countries is a University of Bayreuth (Bayreuth, Germany) project on Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania. Includes reading lists. Has the full text of the 5 volumes of Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria 1999-2006: A Sourcebook. Compiled and edited by Philip Ostien. (Ibadan, Nigeria : Spectrum Books, 2007.) The "Internet edition includes additional documentary materials too voluminous for inclusion in the printed text." Maintained by Dr. Franz Kogelmann, Chair of Religious Studies, University of Bayreuth..

Slavery and Manumission Manuscripts of Timbuktu
Center for Research Libraries Member subscribers have online access. "From the Bibliothèque Commémorative Mama Haidara in Timbuktu, Mali, a collection of 19th century manuscripts relating to slavery and manumission in Timbuktu. The materials, in Arabic script, provide documentation on Africans in slavery in Muslim societies." Browse the 206 mss. by subject. Project of the Center for Research Libraries, the Cooperative Africana Microform Project, CAMP, and Northwestern University. 

South African History Online - Online Books
Full text books. A very rich resource. Ex. - History of the Muslims in South Africa: A Chronology - By Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida.

[Taha] Republican Thought - Ustadh Mahmoud Mohammed Tahad
In English and Arabic. The life and thought of Ustadh Mahmoud Mohammed Taha. Biography of Taha, history of his Republican Party and movement and his execution by the government in 1985.. The texts of his books in Arabic, interviews, letters. About Islam, Islam in the Sudan, education , etc. [KF]

Tierno Bokar
Site for the play directed by Peter Brook adapted from Amadou Hampate Ba's book, Vie et enseignement de Tierno Bokar: le sage de Bandiagara. The U.S. premiere was at Columbia University. "Tierno Bokar (1875-1939) was a Sufi sage,... and a spiritual leader in his village in Mali. His clan, exponents of repeating a Sufi prayer 12 times, was embroiled in a debate with a rival clan that advocated repeating it 11 times, a debate that devolved into a conflict over power and leadership in the Tijani Sufi Order. Video clips and transcripts of interviews. Site at Columlbia University, New York city. [KF]

University of California Press - eScholarship Editions
Many full text books online. Some titles open only to University of California users. Browse by subjects African History (over 20 titles) and African Studies (over 50 titles).

University of Texas (Austin), Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection - Africa Maps
The Univ. of Texas has an Islam in Africa map which can be zoomed.

West African Arabic Manuscript Database - Arabic Manuscript Management System, AMMS
A bi-lingual union catalog of records for over 20,000 Arabic manuscripts from West Africa. Find citations by authors, nicknames, titles, subjects. Includes manuscripts from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Northern Nigeria and from collections in Paris and Northwestern Univ. The documents represent "the literary activity of Muslim literati in the Sahel region during the approximately 150 years prior to colonial conquest." Includes an early version of the essay, “The Historic ‘Core Curriculum,’ and the Book Market in Islamic West Africa” by Bruce Hall and Charles Stewart.  General Editors: Bruce Stewart Hall, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley and Charles C. Stewart, Professor, Department of History, University of Illinois, Champaign.  Project based at the University of California, Berkeley, CA. [KF] and

White Fathers / Pères Blancs / Société des Missionnaires d'Afrique
In French and English. "The Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) was born in Algeria, founded in 1868 by Mgr Charles Lavigerie, archbishop of Algiers." Includes statistics on members, list of White Fathers martyrs (died violent deaths), work in Africa, relations with Islam, their journal, Voix d'Afrique, and other publications, historical photographs, directory of addresses / emails, etc. [KF]

Wonders of the African World - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Covers Black Pharaohs, Meroe, Gedi, the Swahili People, Zanzibar, the Ashanti and Dahomey (Benin) Kingdoms, Aksum, Gondar, the Churches of Lalibela, the Dogon, Grand Mosque of Djenne, Empires of Mali & Ghana, the Tuareg, Great Zimbabwe, a 1,000 year old South African city - Mapangubwe, the Shona People, etc. Site based on the TV series hosted by Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Harvard Univ.) Includes a kids' activity page, teachers' lesson plans, audio clips.

Woodrow Wilson Center Africa Program
Promotes "dialogue between scholars and policymakers in Washington, DC and around the world. .....organizes public conferences and discussions in Washington, DC and offers fellowships and residencies to African and American scholars focusing on public policy in Africa wishing to study at the Wilson Center. The Africa Program has an Occasional Papers series. Papers include, Women, Muslim Laws and Human Rights in Nigeria. Based in Washington, D.C.

[Wurno] - Malam Haliru Muhammad Wurno
The site is closed. The Internet Archive has archived the site. "Malam Haliru Muhammad Wurno was a historian who lived in Wurno Nigeria, sometime capital of the Sokoto Caliphate and final resting place of Sultan Muhammad Bello and other rulers and Wazirs of the Caliphate." The documents are in Arabic and posted by Prof. John Edward Philips who hopes that site visitors will contribute to this experiment in web publication of a collective translation of Haliru's writings. Prof. Philips teaches at Hirosaki University in Japan.*/

Yattara, Almamy Maliki and Bernard Salvaing - Almamy : une jeunesse sur les rives du fleuve Niger
In French. Preface by Adame Ba Konari. (Imprint: Brinon-sur-Sauldre : Grandvaux, 2000. 443 p.) "Almamy Yattara, born in Mali in about 1922, tells the story of his childhood and youth in Guimballa, a region to the south-west of Timbuctoo. At the same time as he was pursuing his higher education in Islamic studies with great masters, he learned about agriculture, stock breeding, commerce, fishing, hunting, living in a world where the supernatural and the everyday are inextricably linked." "He presents an unusual light on the encounter between Islam and colonisation in a region of Mali still hardly affected by modern and colonial influences. Has extracts from the book, photos, reviews of the book.