Islam and politics in Africa

Politics within and without the state

Authored by: Ahmed Ibrahim

Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367144234
eBook ISBN: 9780367144241
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Similar to the prevailing view held of politics in Muslim societies, any hint of religion in the politics of African Muslims is treated as a deviant mixing of distinct spheres of social life to the detriment of both and to be viewed with suspicion. Moreover, Islam and politics in Africa is further maligned and misunderstood by the common misconception that “traditional African Islam” is apolitical and thus any politics motivated by Islamic discourse and practice on the part of African Muslims is due to foreign influence. Recent literature has done much to dispel these common misconceptions by emphasizing the deep historicity of Islam in Africa, the variations in belief and practice among African Muslims, and the developments internal to the African continent that explain religious reform and activism among African Muslims. Despite this scholarship, the old misconceptions continue to hold sway and have in fact gained more currency since the onset of the so-called Global War on Terror. This chapter traces the historical roots of the notion of “traditional African Islam”, some aspects of the relationship of Islam and politics, and suggests new lines of inquiry that promise to further our understanding of Islam and politics in the twenty-first century.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.