Islam in Malawi

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Islam is the second largest religion in Malawi after Christianity. Nearly all of Malawi's Muslims adhere to Sunni Islam.[1] Though difficult to assess,[2] according to the CIA Factbook, in 2008 about 12.8% of the country's population was Muslim;[3] such a lower figure is rejected by Muslim organisations in the country,[4] who claim a figure of 30-35% (which is described as "wishful thinking").[5] According to the Malawi Religion Project[6] run by the University of Pennsylvania, in 2010 approximately 25% of the population was Muslim, concentrated mostly in the Southern Region.[7]

History[edit]

Islam arrived in Malawi with the Arab and Swahili traders who traded in ivory, gold and later on slaves beginning from 16th century to the 19th century. It is also argued that Islam first arrived in Malawi through traders from the Kilwa Sultanate.[8] Two Muslim teachers, Shayhks Abdallah Mkwanda and Sabiti Ngaunje, also played an important role in the spread of Islam.[9] According to UNESCO, the first mosque was built by Swahili-Arab ivory traders.[10]

During the colonial era, the authorities in the country feared that Islam posed the greatest threat, as an ideology of resistance, to their rule.[11] This view was shared by Christian missionaries, who greatly feared that Islam could unite Africans in hostilities and uprisings against colonial rule.[12]

The 1970s witnessed the start of an Islamic revival among Muslims in Malawi, as well as among Muslims across the globe.[13] Recently, Muslim groups have engaged in missionary work in Malawi. Much of this is performed by the African Muslim Agency, based in Kuwait. The Kuwait-sponsored AMA has translated the Qur'an into Chichewa (Cinyanja),[14] one of the official languages of Malawi, and has engaged in other missionary work in the country. There are thought to be about 800 jumu'ah mosques in the country, with at least one or two to be found in nearly every town.[15] There are also several Islamic schools[16] and a broadcasting station called Radio Islam.[17] A major Muslim center of learning exists in Mpemba, outside of Blantyre, funded mainly by money from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.[18]

People[edit]

A large number of Muslims in Malawi come from the Yao people,[19] who are described as "the most important source of Islam in the country".[20] Even before their conversion to Islam, many Yao chiefs used Swahili Muslims as scribes and advisers.[21] As a result of their strong trading contacts with Swahili-Arabs, many Yao adopted Islam and the two groups often intermarried.[22] The Yao form the largest majority south and east of Lake Malawi.[23] Muslims can also be found among other groups, such as the lakeside Chewa people[24] and Indian[25] and other Asian Malawians.[26] Muslims in the country have been described as a "vocal and powerful community."[27]

An important Malawian Muslim is Bakili Muluzi, the first freely elected President of Malawi from 1994 to 2004.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Klaus Fiedler (2015). Conflicted Power in Malawian Christianity: Essays Missionary and Evangelical from Malawi (illustrated ed.). Mzuni Press. pp. 180–1. ISBN 9789990802498. 
  2. ^ Arne S. Steinforth (2009). Troubled Minds: On the Cultural Construction of Mental Disorder and Normality in Southern Malawi. Peter Lang. p. 79. ISBN 9783631587171. 
  3. ^ CIA statistics
  4. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 202. ISBN 9780810859616. 
  5. ^ Klaus Fiedler (2015). Conflicted Power in Malawian Christianity: Essays Missionary and Evangelical from Malawi (illustrated ed.). Mzuni Press. p. 213. ISBN 9789990802498. 
  6. ^ "The Malawi Religion Project (MRP) | Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH)". Malawi.pop.upenn.edu. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  7. ^ HANS-PETER KOHLER. "Cohort Profile: The Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH)". Repository.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  8. ^ Arne S. Steinforth (2009). Troubled Minds: On the Cultural Construction of Mental Disorder and Normality in Southern Malawi. Peter Lang. p. 78. ISBN 9783631587171. 
  9. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 200. ISBN 9780810859616. 
  10. ^ http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5603/
  11. ^ John McCracken (2012). A History of Malawi, 1859-1966 (illustrated ed.). Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 142. ISBN 9781847010506. 
  12. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 201. ISBN 9780810859616. 
  13. ^ Klaus Fiedler (2015). Conflicted Power in Malawian Christianity: Essays Missionary and Evangelical from Malawi (illustrated ed.). Mzuni Press. p. 202. ISBN 9789990802498. 
  14. ^ Proseletysation in Malawi
  15. ^ David Mphande (2014). Oral Literature and Moral Education among the Lakeside Tonga of Northern Malawi (illustrated, reprint ed.). Mzuni Press. p. 132. ISBN 9789990802443. 
  16. ^ Islamic organisations in Malawi
  17. ^ Harri Englund (2011). Christianity and Public Culture in Africa. Ohio University Press. p. 168. ISBN 9780821443668. 
  18. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 201. ISBN 9780810859616. 
  19. ^ Brenner, Louis, ed. (1993). Muslim Identity and Social Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (illustrated ed.). Indiana University Press. p. 79. ISBN 9780253312716. 
  20. ^ Timothy Insoll (2003). The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 393. ISBN 9780521657020. 
  21. ^ I. C. Lamba (2010). Contradictions in Post-war Education Policy Formulation and Application in Colonial Malawi 1945-1961: A Historical Study of the Dynamics of Colonial Survival. African Books Collective. p. 154. ISBN 9789990887945. 
  22. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 155. ISBN 9780810859616. 
  23. ^ Naʻīm, ʻAbd Allāh Aḥmad, ed. (2002). Islamic Family Law in A Changing World: A Global Resource Book (illustrated ed.). Zed Books. p. 189. ISBN 9781842770931. 
  24. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 200. ISBN 9780810859616. 
  25. ^ Naʻīm, ʻAbd Allāh Aḥmad, ed. (2002). Islamic Family Law in A Changing World: A Global Resource Book (illustrated ed.). Zed Books. p. 194. ISBN 9781842770931. 
  26. ^ Arne S. Steinforth (2009). Troubled Minds: On the Cultural Construction of Mental Disorder and Normality in Southern Malawi. Peter Lang. p. 79. ISBN 9783631587171. 
  27. ^ Owen J. M. Kalinga (2012). Historical Dictionary of Malawi (revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 201. ISBN 9780810859616. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ian D. Dicks (2012). An African Worldview: The Muslim Amacinga Yawo of Southern Malaŵi. African Books Collective. p. 510. ISBN 9789990887518.