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Blog by interns here

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1 10月

RELIGION HISTORY IN ZANZIBAR

Most of the people in Zanzibar are Muslims (the followers of the Islamic faith) and all towns and villages in Zanzibar Islands (Unguja) and Pemba have mosques.

The place in which Muslims are going to praying as the means of completing their obligations bestowed on them by the God who passed the prayers on them through his messenger notably known as Prophect Muhammad (s.a.w 

 

Honestly, it is undoubtedly that Islam is the most prominent religion on the island of Zanzibar. More than 99% in the island are Muslims.

The vast majority of Muslims in Zanzibar are Sunni of Shafi’i school of jurisprudence with minority Ibadi, Ismaili and Twelver Shia. There is also a presence of Ahmadi Muslims in Zanzibar.Islam came to Zanzibar in the 8th century. 

 

Visitors to Zanzibar Town cannot fail to hear the evocative sound of the muezzins calling people to payer from the minarets, especially for the evening session at sunset. And visitors cannot fail to notice the effects of the holy month of Ramadan, when most people fast during the day, and the pace of life slows down considerably.

 

Islam was founded by the Prophet Mohammed, who was born around AD570 in Arabia.

He then received messages from God during solitary vigils on Mount Hira, outside his home town of Mecca.

 

When driven out of Mecca by his enemies, he migrated to Medina. Here, at the age of about 53, he started to convert the world to Islam, and his message spread rapidly through the Arab world and beyond.

 

By AD1100 Islam had spread from Arabia and the Horn of Africa along the east African coast, through the current countries of Kenya and Tanzania, all the way down to Sofala (in present-day Mozambique). Today, Islam is the dominant religion of these coastal areas, which includes the islands of Zanzibar.

 

It is believed that the people of these islands are affected by the Islamic teachings in all aspect of life, the way they live, behave, act and interacting is definitely compatible with the Islamic perceptions.

 

From the long time life experience, the people of these islands are trying the best it could to preserve and protect their religion so that in the long so distance future, there might still be the continuation of the attributes of Islam at large.

 

The organization of madrasat (the place in which children from three ages and above are sent to get Islamic knowledge), Islamic schools, Islamic doctrines and mosques are the reasons the wider spread of Islam in these islands, causing even other non Muslims to convert into Islam. 

 

The most eyed catching ones are the work rate done by the previous Islamic scholars and the ongoing schools who never look back when it comes to spread Islamic messages and teachings as was ordered and commanded by their prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). Such scholars are the likes of Sh Abdullah Saleh Farsy who was an internationally known poet, scholar and Muslim historian in Zanzibar.

 

He is well known for his contribution to Islamic knowledge, being first to translate the Quran into the Swahili language and Sh. Nassor Bachoo who was a well known Muslim cleric in East Africa, particularly in Tanzania and Kenya, while he was a controversial figure in Zanzibar, in spite of death do us apart, their teachings, knowledge and their positive contributions in Islam still live on in the lives of the people of this islands.

 

On the side of coin, there are small populations of Christians on both Zanzibar Island and Pemba. The two most notable churches are the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ and the Catholic Church of St  joseph in Zanzibar town, which also has temles for local hindus.

 

Christianity was first introduced to Zanzibar by the Portuguese. Moving up the from the south after successfully rounding the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 they staged a violent and ultimately unsuccessful bid to lay claim to the harbors, trading routes and resources of almost 2000 miles of African coastline.

 

Reaching Zanzibar in 1499 the Portuguese soon established a Catholic Mission and trading station in Zanzibar Town.

 

For the next 200 years they dominated the shipping lanes of East Africa and strived to establish a string of coastal settlements. Ruins of Portuguese settlements can still be found near Fukuchani in the north and on Pemba Island. The Fortress that stands today near the harbor in Zanzibar City was built overtop of an earlier catholic chapel located there; after it was captured by Omani forces.

 

These forces are said to have been invited to Zanzibar and Pemba by the islanders to help drive out the overbearing Portuguese.