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Takrur the History of a Name

'Umar Al-Naqar
The Journal of African History
Vol. 10, No. 3 (1969), pp. 365-374
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/179671
Page Count: 10
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Takrur the History of a Name
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Abstract

The generic term Takarir (also Takarna) is a popular Middle Eastern concept applied to all West African Muslims. The progenitor of the name, to which the attribution Takarir is made, is the ancient state of Takrur, which existed briefly on the Senegal basin from ca. A.D. 1000 and which was the first West African chieftaincy to accept Islam. This paper suggests that probably the earliest West African Muslims to be seen in the Middle East in recognizable numbers may have come from that state. Because the milieu of the Hijaz and the diversity of races frequenting the annual pilgrimage ceremonies encouraged generalizations, the name Takarir was conveniently applied to West Africans. The ambiguity of the term may thus be seen to have progressively increased with the expansion of Islam in West Africa, while the name itself became sufficiently entrenched in popular usage for it to survive the fame of great West African empires like Mali and Songhay. The term 'Bilad al-Takrur' is essentially the extension of the Middle Eastern concept of Takrur and has therefore received various territorial definitions.

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