140436Re: Black Muslims in American Revolution.
- Dec 8, 2013
Although the following is somewhat tangential to whether or not there were Muslims who fought in the Revolution, I am adding part of the entry on the Koran from World of a Slave: Encyclopedia of the Material Lives of Slaves in the United States, which was edited by Kym Rice (director of the museums studies program at The George Washington University) and me, and published in 2011. We included the Koran precisely because of the presences of literate Muslims in this country who knew the Koran and could quote it. The entry was written by Daniel Dillard, a doctoral candidate in religion at Florida State University (http://danielcdillard.wordpress.com/).
"Compared with non-Muslim slaves, enslaved Muslims tended to be literate when
they arrived in North America and some of them transcribed portions or even entire
reproductions of the Koran in Arabic, a few of which still exist. For example, Job Ben
Solomon Jallo (1701–1773), also known as Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, a Senegalese
Muslim of aristocratic birth enslaved for a brief period in Maryland, composed three
separate copies of the Koran solely from memory. Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori
(1762–1829), also known as Abd ar-Rahman, the famous West African prince
enslaved for 40 years in Mississippi, occasionally delighted audiences by telling them
he was writing out ‘‘The Lord’s Prayer’’ in Arabic, when in actuality he had transcribed
the first sura, or chapter, of the Koran, known as the fatiha. Omar Ibn Said
(1770–1864), a Muslim scholar from Senegal enslaved in the Carolinas until his
death in his mid-90s, recorded in Arabic many passages and prayers from the Koran as
well as excerpts from the Christian Bible that include invocations to Allah and the
Prophet Muhammad. Bilali Mohammed (ca. 1770–1857), a Georgian slave originally
from Timbo, Fouta Djallon (Guinea, West Africa), where he may have been an imam,
or religious leader, was buried with his own copy of the Koran.
"Although Islamic law and tradition allowed for limited forms of slavery—Muhammad
and his companions owned slaves, for example—the Koran’s verses dealing with slavery
tend to emphasize the humanity of the enslaved and grant them legal rights."
I don't know whether this is useful for this discussion, but I did want to add some information for those who wanted to know more.
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