Black History Culture : Mansa Musa & Timbuktu?

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by HoneyBrown05, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. HoneyBrown05

    HoneyBrown05 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    In my World Civilizations class, we had talked about the early civilizations in Africa. And for a part of our notes we only had to know that Mansa Musa was a very wealthy West African king, and that he gave away alot of gold. What exactly is the whole story? Someone had also mentioned Timbuktu before but I am still clueless about it's significance. If anyone knows any good sources that I can look up I would appreciate it!

    - Thanks!
    :book:
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Peace HoneyBrown. Here is a great article and link:

    MANSA MUSA, KING OF MALI

    The Hajj That Changed the Course of History

    By Aisha R. Masterton

    King Mansa Musa is famous for his Hajj journey, during which he stopped off in Egypt and gave out so much gold that the Egyptian economy was ruined for years to come. Mansa Musa was the great-great-grandson of Sunjata, who was the founder of the empire of Mali. His 25-year reign (1312-1337 AD) is described as “the golden age of the empire of Mali,” writes Nehemia Levtzion, in his book, Ancient Ghana and Mali, (London: Methuen & Co., 1973). While Sunjata focused on building an ethnic Malinke empire, Mansa Musa developed its Islamic practice. He performed his Hajj in 1324. According to Levztion, the journey across Africa to Mecca took more than a year, and it took a powerful king to be able to be absent from his kingdom for so long. Mansa Musa journeyed along the Niger River to Mema, then to Walata, then through Taghaza and on to Tuat, which was a trading center in central Africa. Tuat attracted traders from as far as Majorca and Egypt, and its traders included Jews as well as Muslims.

    When he arrived in Egypt, Mansa Musa camped near the Pyramids for three days. He then sent a gift of 50,000 dinars to the Sultan of Egypt before settling in Cairo for three months. The Sultan lent him his palace for the summer and made sure that his entourage was treated well. Mansa Musa gave away thousands of ingots of gold, and Egyptian traders took advantage of this by charging five times the normal price for their goods. The value of gold in Egypt decreased as much as 25%. By the time Mansa Musa returned to Cairo from Hajj, however, he had run out of money and had to borrow from local Egyptian merchants.

    While Mansa Musa was devout, he was not an ascetic. His imperial power was widely respected, and he was feared throughout Africa. Ibn Battuta’s accounts show that Musa expected the same traditional etiquette of reverence to be performed for him as for any other king. These included demonstrating one’s submission before the king. People who greeted him had to kneel down and scatter dust over themselves. Even in Cairo, Mansa Musa was greeted by his subjects in the traditional way. “No one was allowed into the king’s presence with his sandals on; negligence was punished by death. No one was allowed to sneeze in the king’s presence, and when the king himself sneezed, those present beat their breasts with their hands.”

    Another custom was that the king would never give orders personally. He would pass instructions to a spokesman, who would then convey his words. He never wrote anything himself and asked his scribes to put together a book, which he then sent to the Sultan of Egypt. However, Mansa Musa had to face his own test of humility because it was required, when greeting the sultan, to kiss the ground. This was an act that Mansa Musa could not bring himself to perform. Ibn Fadl Allah al-Omari, who spent time with Musa in Egypt, reports that Musa had made many excuses before he could be persuaded to enter the Sultan’s court. In the end, he made a compromise by announcing that if he had to prostrate on entering the court, it would be before Allah only, and this he did.

    Mansa Musa stood in a long tradition of West African kings who had made pilgrimage to Mecca, and, like his predecessors, he traveled in style. Ibn Battuta recorded the display of wealth, which included a large presence of bodyguards, dignitaries, saddled horses, and colored flags. He traveled with his senior wife, Inari Kunate, who brought with her five hundred maids-in-waiting. The senior wife was also respected and feared, and rulers of different cities paid their tributes to her. However, Ibn Battuta recorded that in Mansa Musa’s court, the Shari'ah was rather informally practiced in matters of marriage. He records that Ibn Amir Hajib, a member of the Mamluk court, noted how Mansa Musa strictly observed prayer and knew the Qur’an, but had maintained “the custom that if one of his subjects had a beautiful daughter, he brought her to the king’s bed without marriage.” Ibn Amir Hajib informed Mansa Musa that this was not permitted under Islamic law, to which Mansa Musa replied, “Not even to kings?” Ibn Amir Hajib said, “Not even to kings.” Henceforth Mansa Musa refrained from the practice.

    Mansa Musa’s Hajj had a significant impact on the development of Islam in Mali and on the perception of Mali throughout Africa and Europe. He was later accompanied back to Mali by an Andalusian architect, who is said to have designed the mosque at Timbuktu. He also invited back with him four descendants of the Prophet (saw), so that the country of Mali would be “blessed by their footprints.” According to Levtzion, Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage is recorded in many sources, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and from both West Africa and Egypt. Mali also appeared on the maps of the Jews and Christians in Europe. In Mali, Musa is known for building mosques and inviting Islamic scholars from around the Muslim world to his empire.

    (Aisha R. Masterton holds a master’s degree in comparative East Asian and African literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She is currently working on a doctorate on Islamic mystical and philosophical influences in West African literature. You can contact her at [email protected].)

    http://islam-online.net/English/ArtCulture/2005/12/article12.shtml
     
  3. I-khan

    I-khan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    MANSA MUSA

    Mansa Musa was an important Malian king from 1312 to 1337 expanding the Mali influence over the Niger city-states of Timbuktu, Gao, and Djenne. Mansa Musa (Mansa meaning emperor or sultan and Musa meaning Moses), the grandson of one of Sundiata’s sisters, is often referred to as "The Black Moses" (Jeffries & Moss 1997). Timbuktu became one of the major cultural centers not just of Africa but of the world. Vast libraries, madrasas (Islamic universities) and magnificent mosques were built. Timbuktu became a meeting place of poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East. Even after Mali declined, Timbuktu remained the major Islamic center of sub-Saharan Africa (Hooker 1996). Mansa Musa maintained a huge army that kept peace and policed the trade routes. His armies pushed the borders of Mali from the Atlantic coast in the west beyond the cities of Timbuktu and Gao in the east -- and from the salt mines of Taghaza in the north to the gold mines of Wangar in the south (Jeffries & Moss 1997).

    By the fourteenth century, Muslim traders were established in the town of Djenne, located in the inland delta of the Niger. The most impressive monument of intercultural borrowing is the Friday Mosque at Djenne. There, salt from the Sahara, goods from northern Africa and fine silks were exchanged for gold, slaves and ivory. The monumental mosque was constructed around 1320 (the present building was reconstructed on the foundation of the original mosque in 1907). The rectangular, flat roofed building had walls supported by plaster-like buttresses topped by finials. The massive rectangular towers reflect the Islamic model while the building materials echo an older Mande architectural style. The toron (horns) projections from the walls are a feature of local architecture serving as scaffolding when the facade is periodically replastered with clay. The African societies shaped and molded the religion with traditional beliefs, values and sensibilities, as well (Peter Mark, Africa, 1996, p. 26).

    The Islamization of the Malian Court, in the late thirteenth century, is recorded both in oral traditions of the Mande people and written accounts by Arab historians and travelers. Ibn Khaldun described the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) of Mansa Musa in 1324. On his return from the holy city, Mansa was accompanied be an Andulisian poet and architect, al-Tuwayjin who constructed a royal palace (Mark, Africa, p.16).

    In 1352, the geographer Ibn Battuta spent a month at the court of the Mansa. He described a society where Islamic practice was integrated with local religious rituals and gave accounts of fine figurative sculpture. Many of these terra-cotta figures marked with Islamic symbols have been found recently near Djenne--and for the most part, have been excavated illegally (Decker 1990, p.114). During Battuta's visit to Nyani (in modern Bambara territory) he was witness to masked dancers:

    http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/mansamusa.html
     
  4. I-khan

    I-khan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Keep in mind that Mansa Musa was only one of the Great Afrikan Kings to walk the Earth.Also,though Mansa Musa himself was a Muslim that does not mean that everyone that was in his kingdom was Muslim,if he would of revolted against the traditional Afrikan religions he would not have been able to obtain all the power he had.
     
  5. HoneyBrown05

    HoneyBrown05 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks!

    Thanks brother Aqil and I-Khan for the information!
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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  7. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    THE BUBONIC PLAGUE

    Again, thanks for bumping this up sister Cherryblossom. I read and am familiar with this topic on Mansa Musa, Mali...and his pilgrammage to Egypt. I'm also familiar with his being linked to Muslim, Islam and etc. and, I feel that this info also reveals a lot regarding the part that has been strategically left out.

    Our American educators APPOVED what we are allowed to learn under this federal government. They carefully prepare A CURRICULUM and strategically single out ONE ASPECT of the whole of Africa and this is one reason why we have a difficulty seeing the most important part about Mansa Musa and many other rulers in the African continent around his lifetime. We need to regard the very date that he lived and ruled and also, consider other events GLOBALLY going on at that time in history. Some of the key factors that I consider are:

    (1) the very date ************AD 1300s******************


    (2) the massive waves of migratory 'white' and 'non-white' people coming into West Africa at that time and they came all the way from the far east. They were incredibly racist and their very motive was to take over Africa. The very core of their belief system is that they believe they were better than the Africans. Also, they exploited other Africans to completely exploit the populations that were already in the land.

    (3) the eastern religions and cultures that are NOW defined as AFRICAN RELIGIONS AND CULTURES but, they are not!!! ...

    And, there are many more details left out that could help us to understand how the white man was able to exploit millions of Africans for hundreds and hundreds of years. The IRON TRADE, THE SALT TRADE, ARABISMS as oppossed to the MUSLIM religion and many more details would shed more light on true history.

    But more importantly would be the Bible prophecy written by Daniel thousands of years ago concerning this very time period AD 1300s:


    ****************THE BUBONIC PLAGUE*******************

    This Bubonic Plague also known as THE BLACK DEATH PLAGUE marks history very well regarding this time period. This plague started in the far east and eventually made its way to Europe. It was so profound that it stopped trade operations and etc. Certain survivors of this plague eventually set the stage for race blaming and black-on-black exploitation and hatred began. Soon slavery became a fact of life.
     
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