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Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Despite the explosion in work on African American and religious history, little is known about Black Muslims who came to America as slaves. Most assume that what Muslim faith any Africans did bring with them was quickly absorbed into the new Christian milieu. But, surprisingly, as Sylviane Diouf shows in this new, meticulously researched volume, Islam flourished during sla ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by New York University Press
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4.39  · 
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 ·  171 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Rose Cecilia
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Asalaamu alaykum. This book is a must-read for anyone from the Americas (US, Caribbean, South America...), whether Muslim or not! This is an important piece of our collective history that is widely overlooked and unknown to most of us. I recently read this book for a Muslim book club that I lead. Below are my notes -- I highly recommend it for a book group, as it covers many issues that are incredibly relevant today (page numbers correspond to the edition published in 1998):

Servants of Allah by
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The most important book one can read to get an in depth understanding of how African Muslims reacted to the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how their presence affected the plantation societies of the New World.
Saadia Faruqi
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really informative book, it's on my recommended reading list for my cultural sensitivity/Islamic trainings. It helps Americans understand how intricately immersed is the Muslim experience within the American experience. For all those who think Muslims are newcomers/immigrants, this is a must-read.
Waheedah Bilal
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Much of her research came from original French and Spanish resources; as a result, Diouf presents entirely new material about the enslaved Muslim Africans who came to the West.
Tauheedah Najee-ullah
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
INCREDIBLE BOOK!! Usually don't bother w comments, but this one had to be lauded! MUST read for a consise-and sometimes humorous-account of Moorish history in the Americas.

Mustapha Walden
A Must Read
Habeeb Akande
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of slavery, Islam and America.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is often described as groundbreaking, and I agree with that assessment. It is a look at Muslims enslaved in America, how they were enslaved, how they practiced their beliefs, how some managed a return to Africa, and how their beliefs and traditions were transmitted to future generations (only partially - most was lost). The author can be forgiven for only touching on some very important and interesting areas (for example, the WPA interviews with former slaves) because there really hasn ...more
Roger DeBlanck
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Diouf offers one of the most important pieces of literature on the study of the African Muslims enslaved in the Americas. The scope of her research is both extensive and altogether moving in the profound insights she provides about the hardships and struggles of an almost forgotten group of individuals. She charts their African origins, their Islamic backgrounds, their harrowing journeys, their unrelenting courage, and their invaluable contributions to American culture. Most of the African Musli ...more
Tuscany Bernier
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is truly a groundbreaking book in its field. I learned so much about the history of Muslims not only in the USA but also in Central America and South America. I found it extremely intriguing that the USA is the only country on earth that completely lost its Islamic background. I didn't even know we had one for a long time honestly. I highly recommend this book to those who wish to have their horizons widened.
Yasmine S.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very informative. I believe it’s more for an academic setting. The copious historical details could only be appreciated academically. I was looking more for a few personal narratives, which was touched upon only briefly. However, overall, it’s worth reading and understanding how African Muslims arrived and survived in the Americas.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
So much research and information, it's almost too much. It tended to get redundant and repetetive, as the author would make a point and then relay story after story after story to back up that point. Still, I learned a LOT. Definitely an accurate, well-researched and detailed account of the lives of African Muslims swept up in the slave trade.
Maarya Abbasi
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
important scholarly work that begins to chip away at centuries of historical erasure and deliberate narrative obscuring of the fact that the first muslims that came to america were black slaves that used their faith to actively survive and often contest slavery. an accessible read.
Dan Gorman
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of those books that truly amazes you with the stories it contains. West African Muslims kept their religion despite enslavement in the Americas. American-born descendants rarely were Muslims, but the influence of Islam on other black religions of the Americas is profound.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-white-year
well researched and accessible
Papatia Feauxzar
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Must read
naseer yahya
May 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
ill do it next week iA
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very date and detail specific, but an amazing read. Diouf discusses, in depth, an area of the slave trade and African migration that is rarely if ever addressed. Interesting and informative.
Nov 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Well-researched, well-written, intensely interesting - the only reason I gave it four instead of five stars was because it relied a little too heavily on conjecture.
Line Up
very well researched
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a shame that this narrative is not more widely known!

Almost 25% of the Slaves taken from West Africa were Muslims. Muslims constituted the largest religious group amongst the Slaves taken. Yet today you will find that these facts are almost unheard of!

This incredible book lays out the story of the societal makeup and conditions that led to them becoming enslaved, their subsequent arrivals in the Americas, efforts to maintain their Islamic identity and religious practises and even attempts
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