Historical Islamic roots & Conversion/Reversion stories


A few modern day Muslims that many people amongst the younger and older generations (respectively) may recognize include: Dave Chappelle, Mos Def, Akon, Freeway, Q-tip, Lupe Fiasco, Ice Cube, Beanie Sigel, Scarface, Everlast, Bernard Hopkins, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X (aka Malik El-Shabazz), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rasheed Wallace, Yusef Islam (aka Cat Stevens), Jazz Great John Coltrane and many more.



"I was raised Catholic and later became a Muslim while attending Wayne State University. I am inspired by the Qur'an's message of an encompassing divine love, and a deep faith guides my life every day." - Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota


On November 8th, 2006 the first ever Muslim elected to serve in the U.S. Congress was sworn in on The Holy Qur'an once owned by former President and founding American father Thomas Jefferson. http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/11/08/muslim.elect/index.html



Historical Islamic/African roots and tradition


Islam arrived to Africa in the earliest days of Islam, when Muslims fleeing persecution in Mecca arrived in Ethiopia. Islam spread to Africa via passages through the Sinai Peninsula and Egypt and through Islamic Arab and Persian traders and sailors. Islam's first muezzin (person who calls people to prayer), Bilal ibn Ribah, was also of East African descent.


From the American contemporary perspective, Muslim men and women whom were enslaved from West Africa were taken by force to the United States for three centuries, from the 1600’s to the mid-1800’s. From the 10 million Africans who were uprooted from their homes upward of 30 percent of the population were Muslim. 


Also, historians now agree that an untold number of them spoke and wrote Arabic (the language that the Qur’an was revealed in). Many were pressured by slave owners to adopt Christianity and give up their old ways. Many of these African slaves were from the Fulas, Fula Jallon, Fula Toro, and Massiona as well as other areas of West Africa. These areas were governed from their capital, the great “mythical” city of Timbuktu.


In testament to the glory of Timbuktu, for example, a West African Islamic proverb states that "Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, but the word of God and the treasures of wisdom come from Timbuktu." During the early 15th century, a number of Islamic institutions were erected there. The most famous of these is the Sankore mosque, also known as the University of Sankore.


Gate of Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Interior of The Muhammad Ali Mosque in Cairo, Egypt



The 14th Century Sankore Mosque & University in Timbuktu, Mali

Abuja National Mosque in Abuja, Nigeria



For more on African-American Muslim history:





FACT, the most populous religion in Africa today is Islam:





Historical Islamic/Latino roots and tradition


Many Latinos today have ancient roots in Islam although they don’t realize it. Spain was under Islamic-Moorish control for 800 years. Compare that to how old America is for an appreciation of how long 800 years truly is; America is only 230 years old.


This should be a thing of historical pride amongst Latinos because the age of the Moors in Spain is considered one of the Golden Age’s of world history; an age where technology/science and advances in society and social equality were no less than ground-breaking. Instead some distance themselves from their history because of the negative stereotypes wrongly associated with Islam.


Today many Latinos are converting or as they say themselves reverting back to Islam in huge numbers.



Alhambra, Moorish palace and fortress in Granada, Spain



The 8th Century Grand Mosque, Mezquita (The Aljama Mosque) of Córdoba, Spain




Check out this interesting article describing how Islam is gaining a foothold in Chiapas, Mexico amongst the indigenous Mayans whom are converting by the hundreds.



For Topics on Current Latino Muslims:






Historical Islamic/European roots and tradition


Islam has enjoyed a presence in Europe for more than 1300 years starting with its early introduction into Spain and France.


The 17th Century Sultan Ahmed Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey




The 16th Century Karadjoz Bey Mosque in Mostar, Bosnia


The 16th Century Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia, Bulgaria



Historical Islamic/Asian roots and tradition


Stretching from the sands of Arabia via the silk road to China, Islam has always had an intimate relationship with the continent of Asia.



Al-Masjid al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Kaaba was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael for devout monotheistic worship.


"Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma'il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer)." – Qur’an English Translation [2:125]


"And remember Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing." – Qur’an English Translation [2:127]


"Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways" – Qur’an English Translation [22:26-27]



Masjid al-Haram Mosque at night



The 7th Century Dome of the Rock located on the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem










The Arabic is a Quranic verse telling of Muhammad's Night Journey:

 "Glory be to He Who carried His servant by night, from the Holy Mosque [Mecca] to the Furthest Mosque [Jerusalem], the precincts of which We have blessed so that We might show him some of Our signs. Surely He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing."

        – Qur’an English Translation [17:1]


The 10th Century Niujie Mosque in Beijing, China


The 17th Century Taj Mahal (Mausoleum) in Agra, India displaying stunning Islamic Mughal Architecture


The entrance gate to Shaw Imam Mosque in Isfahan, Iran

 The Sultan Mosque in Singapore




Converts and Islamic roots in general


Indeed, Islam has touched the world. There’s much more history to be explored on Muslims of all races and creed. Simply search a topic for yourself if you’d like to find out more.


Famous Converts and Muslims:




Former Christian Priests and Missionaries who have Embraced Islam:





For Information on Jews who converted to Islam:



For more about how to become a Muslim:




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