Category: Arts & Humanities, Michigan State University
Pluralism and Adaptation in the Islamic Practice of Senegal and Ghana is a digital library of multi-media resources that demonstrate how innovative Africans have been in the history of Islam and Islamic practice and how they continue to live and experience Islam.
Four digital galleries – two from Senegal and two from Ghana – emphasize pluralism - the coexistence and indeed the mutual respect among people of different religious persuasions - and adaptation – situations where Islam takes root in a particular society and culture that changes over time.
Ajami is the centuries-old practice of using modified Arabic scripts to write non-Arabic languages. It comes from the Arabic word for foreigner or non-Arab and is used widely throughout West Africa for both religious and secular writings.
Ajami in the Senegambia makes accessible over 20 handwritten ajami manuscripts produced by West African scholars. The texts contain insightful discussions on mutual understanding between people of different faiths, races and ethnic backgrounds in Senegambia. They capture several Senegambian Muslim scholars' views on peaceful cohabitation, moderation and non-violence that have been a prominent feature of Senegambian communities.
by Gracia Clark The Muslim men and women in this gallery live and work in Kumasi, Ghana. They are not professional scholars or teachers, but they are deeply interested in following the principles of Islam. Their interpretations of the requirements and values of their faith influence their behavior at home, with their neighbors and at work as traders and tailors. Muslims are a minority in their city and country, where Christianity is the dominant religious affiliation and indigenous spiritual practices remain popular. The broader community sometimes neglects their interests or discriminates against them, but they continue trying to live a virtuous life and to expand their understanding of the Koran through study groups and discussions.