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2005/2 (53-1)

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Previous Pages 177 - 209



Many oral and written sources in Muslim Subsaharian Africa deal with the Arab origin of various peoples, clans, tribes or families. Though this claim to an Arab origin is not systematic, and may in many cases be true, it is relevant to note that Islam in Africa is often related to Arabity. Various factors may explain this process: a claim to a religious or social prestige, a kind of political and/or social legitimacy, the identification of Africanity with slavery. Of course, this claim to an Arab genealogy has to be qualified, first because it is not systematic, then because it occurs elsewhere in the Muslim world. It has, however, a particular importance in Subsaharian Africa.


  • alterity
  • Islam
  • genealogies
  • migration
  • slavery
  • foundation myths
  • arabic
  • sharifism
  • orality
  • traditions
  • racism

To cite this article

Xavier Luffin, “ « Nos ancêtres les Arabes... » ”, Civilisations 2/2005 (53-1) , p. 177-209
URL : www.cairn.info/revue-civilisations-2005-2-page-177.htm.

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