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Islam in North Africa

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Leo Miller

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of Islam in North Africa

Islam in North Africa Mosques & Architectural Styles Clothing Styles Rulers Artwork & Literature Merchant Activity Gender Roles Mosques were located in multiple sites around North Africa, and were often large, ornate structures for their times. For example, the Mosque of Uqba, built in 670 A.D. at the city of Kairouan, is built out of stone bricks, marble columns, and granite columns. It has an impressive perimeter of 415 meters. All major cities include a mosque of some sort, and many take inspiration from the Mosque of Uqba. Almost all mosques have large domes and ornate designs. Mosques have been built in Africa up to the present day, and are still being built throughout the world. In Islamic northern Africa, most clothing was quite practical. Both men and women wore long cloth robes called thawbs and turbans that protected them quite well from the desert sun and wind. In this area, rules on modesty for women were quite strict, with women required to wear veils that cover from head to toe, or headwear that covers the face, head, and shoulders. Much similar clothing is still wore today, except in urban areas, where western-style dress is the norm. Bibliography Islamic rulers were called Caliphs. A long line of caliphs ruled North Africa while Islam was prominent there, and they had very strong central power over the regions they ruled, especially in a military sense. Originally, caliphs were intended to follow the ways of Muhammad, who preceded them: shunning excess and refraining from the extravagant use of natural resources. However, as the caliphate progressed, caliphs relaxed in that way, becoming powerful, wealthy rulers with many personal privileges. Even though these rulers were specifically Islamic, some of them tolerated other religions, such as coptic Christianity. North Africa had a very rich artistic tradition even before Islam was introduced. they used traditional symbols such as hands in their painting, and they still retained many of their traditional styles, even after Islam came. Some of the really impressive artwork besides paintings arose after, and sometimes because, Islam spread through the area. Arabic script was used more in artwork, and pieces of the Qur'an were made into art, including sculpture, engraving, and painting. Trade was quite useful in North Africa. Traders were able to traverse the deserts easily by camel, and traded all sorts of goods, like salt, dates, and camels. Trade was very profitable for all sides of a trade route, whether to east Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, or the Middle East, and the economies of the regions profited from outside influence. However, something much more important was being traded. Merchants traded Islam wherever they went, spreading the religion to more locations, and getting more followers all the time. As with many Islamic regions, womens' rights differed significantly from those of men. Islamic law dictated that women not have the same jobs as men, not being allowed to do physical work. Also, rules on modesty were comparatively strict in North Africa, with women being required to be heavily veiled. Women did have some rights, such as divorce laws, but the men were quite separate. Works Cited "The Arts of Asia and the Islamic World." Dia.org. Detroit Institute of Arts, 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dia.org/art/asia-and-islamic.aspx>.

"Beautiful Mosques." Beautifulmosques.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://beautifulmosques.com/>.

"History of Africa." Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://www.focac.org/eng/zjfz/fzzl/t619148.htm>.

Wintle, Justin. History of Islam. London: London Rough Guides, 2003. Print.

"Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." The Magic of Signs and Patterns in North African Art. N.p., 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/nasp/hd_nasp.htm>.

"North Africa." Law.emory.edu. Emory Law, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://www.law.emory.edu/ifl/region/northafrica.html>.

Hill, Margari. "The Spread of Islam in West Africa." Spice.stanford.edu. Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Jan. 2009. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://spice.stanford.edu/docs/the_spread_of_islam_in_west_africa_containment_mixing_and_reform_from_the_eighth_to_the_twentieth_century/>.
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