Scholar and professor Shareef Muhammad doesn’t believe Afrocentric criticisms against Islam are valid and he’s written a comprehensive article making his case.
In 2020, Muhammad published “A Summation of the Arguments and Rebuttals to the Afrocentric Criticisms of Islam in Africa.” He followed it up with the August 2022 release of his book, “Afrocentrism: A Black Muslim Critique” — which dives more deeply into Muhammad’s views on the current state of Afrocentrism at large.
In the article, Muhammad outlines what he calls “Afrocentrist myths” about Islam and counters each one with a response and metanarrative.
He discusses nine alleged Afrocentrist myths he says have been used to demonize the Islamic religion. They are as follows:
- Islam spread by the sword, undermined traditional African cultures and the Arab Slave Trade depopulated Africa and destabilized African societies.
- The Almoravid were Arab invaders who toppled Ghana in 1076 ACE and this is how Islam was introduced to the region.
- The Arab Invasion destroyed Egypt and enslaved the Native Black Population.
- Islam is an Arab, not an African religion.
- The Arabs introduced the enslavement of Africans, which paved the way for the European enslavement of Africans.
- The Indian Ocean Trade depopulated East Africa and ravaged the continent.
- Arabs are just as racist towards Africans, if not more than Europeans.
- Arabs relied on their inferior view of Africans and it has given Africans who’ve embraced Islam a negative view of other Africans.
- Islam did more harm to Africa than good.
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Muhammad carefully argues against each point in his article. For example, in response to the first statement, Muhammad says the “assertions are hyperbolic and not supported by either the African sources or the external Arab sources” that comprise the bulk of literature on the topic.
In response to the third statement, Muhammad argues, “Ancient Kemet was destroyed and compromised over a millennium prior to the 640 A.C.E when the Muslims invaded.”
When debating point five, Muhammad writes, “The trans-Saharan Trade and, more significantly, the Indian Ocean Trade predate the rise of Islam by thousands of years with the Indian Ocean Trade dating back to 2500 B.C.E.”
As for number nine, Muhammad says it is “a personal opinion.” He provides a much more thorough rebuttal to all of the “myths” in the article published on the Black Dawah Network, where he is the Director of Research.
According to his Twitter bio, Muhammad specializes in African American Islam, history and socio-political theory. He also holds a bachelor of arts in sciences and history from Central State University and a master’s in history from Kent State University.
He has taught at Spelman College and Georgia State University.