5 reasons you should teach about Africa and Islam and a Africa lapbook

5 Reasons You Should Teach About Africa and Islam

Excuse me sister, but why did you choose Africa and Islam as a topic? The question surprised me a little at the time. I was running an online study and a curious sister asked this in the group. I realised that the answer might not be obvious so here is an explanation of why it is so important to teach Muslim kids about Africa and Islam.

The Arabian Peninsula is connected to Africa.

The Arabian Peninsula is technically part of the continent of Asia.  However, The Arabian Peninsula is connected by land to both Africa and Asia.  Understanding their close geographical relationship makes the relationship between Africa and Islam a natural connection. Many of the sahaba were originally from Africa such as Um Ayman and Bilal (may Allah be pleased with them).

Africa was the place of the first hijirah

Africa was home to the first hijrah

When the Muslims were oppressed by the pagan Quraysh of Makkah, it was an African king, An-Najashi of the Kingdom of Aksum who welcomed them and protected them.  Even when the Quraysh sent one of their most noble and influential men, Amr bin Al-Aas, he refused to send them back.  If you would like to teach about Jafar bin Abi Talib who made hijrah and spoke on behalf of the Muslims to An-Najashi, you can download a free resource here.

The noble Companions fled to Africa seeking safety and protection. Africa was the place of the first hijrah and those Companions who made two hijrahs are especially honoured because of eemaan and this great action.

Africa and Islam have a relationship that predates much of the Middle East

An-Najashi accepted Islam and the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) prayed the funeral prayer for him Madinah.  He was an early Muslim king before it had spread to other areas that we associate with Islam today.

Africa has been a part of Islamic history from the very beginning. Before other modern nations that we associate with Islam such as Pakistan and Indonesia.

The Prophets Musa and Yusuf resided there

The stories of how Yusuf came to live in Egypt and how Musa took his people away from Firawn’s oppression are epic and a great way of teaching kids about patience and perseverance.  When you show kids where the Prophet’s lived it helps them to relate to them as real role models and examples of how to live a righteous life.

Africa is full of rich Muslim cultures

There are lots of Muslim countries in Africa with rich Muslim cultures and histories.

The ummah is made up of so many different kinds of people all worshipping Allah alone.  The deen was sent to all of mankind and learning about the different Muslim countries and people helps to drive home that point.  Africa is often portrayed in a certain way in the media but it is a huge place (the second-largest continent) full of variation.  East African Muslim countries like Somalia vary from North African countries like Morocco and West African countries like Mauritania.  The richest man according to many historians was a king called Mansa Musa from West Africa who was so rich he changed whole economies when he travelled for hajj.  Africa and Islam have enjoyed a close relationship for centuries.

This isn’t specific to Africa, but learning about and developing respect for people from the ummah helps kids to relate to all Muslims.  It helps to develop the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.

An extra reason that’s especially important right now

There are a lot of narratives that are pushed about Africa. Children can be influenced to believe that Africa belongs to other religions and not Islam. Christian missionaries dedicate a lot of time and resources to spreading Christianity via missionaries. Additionally, back to Africa movements among the diaspora black communities in the West call to a return to African ancestor worship or even the ancient Egyptian religion as the authentic religion of their forefathers.

But Islam is deep-rooted in Africa. Many of the ancestors of diaspora communities were Muslim. Islam was the religion of their forefathers.

Perhaps we see their du’aa made during their appalling oppression, now answered in the crowds of their descendants currently entering the deen.
May Allah make reward them and make them firm.

Africa and Islam Unit Study

Our kids should understand that Africa is not what you see in the charity adverts. It’s the land of Musa and Yusuf. The place of the first hijrah. The home of noble Muslim cultures from Ethiopia to Mali. But in order for them to know that, they have to be taught. Because sadly this is knowledge that they won’t just pick up.

If you want to teach your kids about Africa and Islam but aren’t sure where to start, you can check out the complete unit study here.  It contains 6 lessons that cover geography, history and Islamic Studies with beneficial and fun activities.

If you would just like to focus on one country a mini-unit on Egypt and Islam is available here.

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