|Islam in Tanzania|
35% of the population of the mainland (Tanganyika) is Muslim while 99% of the island of Zanzibar is Muslim. Islam came to Tanzania in the 9th century CE.
The earliest evidence of Islam in East Africa is the foundation of a Musjid in Shanga on Pate Island estimated from around 830 CE. The oldest intact building in East Africa is the Kizimkazi Musjid in Zanzibar dating from 1007. Islam was widespread in the Indian Ocean area by the 14th century.
When Ibn Battuta visited East Africa in 1332, he reported that he felt at home because of Islam in the area. The coastal population was largely Muslim and Arabic was the language of literature and trade. Islam was spread mainly through trade activities along the East African coast.
When Portugal invaded the area in the 16th century, almost all the ruling families were Muslim. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Muslims ousted the Portuguese with the help of Oman. Oman increased its political influence until the 19th century.
When Oman ruled, Islam spread into the interior of East Africa. Many chiefs converted to Islam. The language that developed along the East African coast was Swahili, derived from Arabic.
Muslims played an important role in the Maji Maji uprising against the Germans in 1905-7. They also played a vital role in gaining independence from Britain. There has been a Muslim president of Tanzania as well.
The majority of Muslims are Shafis. There are also Muslims of Indian, Yemeni and Omani origin. Islamic schools have been established. Arabic is the third official language of Zanzibar and some have called for Zanzibar to declare independence.
|< Prev||Next >|