The Influence of Islam on a Sudanese Religion

The Influence of Islam on a Sudanese Religion

The Influence of Islam on a Sudanese Religion

The Influence of Islam on a Sudanese Religion

Excerpt

The subject of the present study is the effect of Islam on the religious beliefs and practices of a Negro people. The group which was selected for this research consists of the inhabitants of Kano in Northern Nigeria with its surrounding rural districts. These folk constitute an important section of the Hausa-speaking peoples of the Central Sudan. The region chosen seemed to offer certain advantages for a study of the kind contemplated. There was a large amount of control of conditions of contact in the form of authentic historical records. Islamic influences had been at work a sufficient period for their effects to be judged; yet in the rural districts there remained a population which was still pagan and represented to a considerable degree the culture of the Hausa of this region prior to Moslem contact. In conformity with this situation, field studies were made both in Kano city, where Moslem influence had been most intense, and among the rural pagans. Of the eleven months devoted to field research (October 1938 to August 1939), five and one-half months were spent in Kano city, four months in the district of Gwarzo among the pagans of Jigawa and neighboring villages, and one and one-half months among a mixed Moslem and pagan population at 'Dan Zabuwa in the district of Bichi.

This work was carried on as a Field Fellow of the Social Science Research Council, under theauspices of Northwestern University and the results were submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy requirements at this university. I am grateful to the American Ethnological Society for publishing the study and to Dr. Marian W. Smith for her aid and advice in preparing the manuscript for publication.

I wish to express here my gratitude to His Excellency, Sir Bernard Bourdillon, and his staff, for the courtesies extended to me during my stay in Nigeria, and especially to Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Elliot for their helpfulness to me in Kano; I likewise wish to thank the Emir of Kano and the Hansas who served as informants, or in other capacities. I am under considerable obligation to Miss D. G. Brackett and Major Hanna Vischer of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures, and to Mr. C. T. Wasson, American Consul at Lagos, for courtesies extended to me. I also appreciate the suggestions as to field-work procedure and unpublished data placed at my disposal by Mrs. Frances S. Herskovits and Dr. William R. Bascom, and the constant advice and training given me by . . .

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