Mansa Musa King Of Mali And His Pilgrimage. Essay Example
It is essential to refer to the fact that the Mansa Musa is referred as one of the most influential kings of Mali. His popularity in African history may be attributed not only to the contributions to development and expansion of the empire in terms of the territory, but also to the international recognition, which was gained by him for his empire in the timeframe of his pilgrimage to Mecca (Masterton 2005). In this paper, the detailed analysis of life of Mansa Musa king of Mali and his pilgrimage would be conducted.
Reign of Musa
One of the most famous aspects of Mansa Musa biography was the Hajj journey. In the timeframe of this journey, Mansa Musa has stopped off in Egypt and there he has gave out such quantity golden funds, that this action has caused the destruction of the local economy for durable timeframe. While referring to the origin of this extraordinary individual, additional attention should be paid to the fact that he was successor of Sunjata (the founder of Mail empire). The reign of Sunjata, which has taken its place in 1312-1337 CE and has lasted for 25 years; it is referred in historical literature as the golden age of the empire (Meri 2005).
It is essential to refer to the lack of historical data pertaining early life of Mansa Kankan Musa. The throne was taken by him in 1307. The word ‘mansa’ has the Mandingo origin and means “king”. The reign of this king, in the historical context, is attributed to the increased power and wealth of Mali. During his reign, the power and strength of Mali have been enhanced though the means of controlling of the routes for trading, which, in turn, involved the sale of salt, gold, kola nuts, ivory, and slaves. Additional emphasis should be put on the fact that this king has incorporated the set of the important mineral-producing, trading, economical and Islamic cities: Taghaza, Jenne, Gao, Takrur, Takedda, Walata and Timbuktu.
Musa has conducted an administrative reorganization as well as he has appointed the provincial governors (who were also referred as emirs) and in such manner the option of maximizing the benefits from the trade operations, conducted within the region, has emerged. Especially successful operations in his context were conducted within trans-Saharan trade with Muslims and Berbers from North Africa. Some of the provincial administrators were paid with clothes and horses, while others were paid with the salaries on an annual basis.
Musa has established a strong standing army of 100,000 people, which was equipped with 10, 000 horsemen. In such manner, the additional option for sustaining the economic prosperity and political stability was gained. Trade activity has made a significant contribution for the welfare of Mali. At the same time, the citizens were also involved into the fishing, agriculture, blacksmithing, cattle breeding, carving and weaving.
Additional attention should be paid to the fact of significant straightening of Islam as well as promotion of the trade, educating and commerce in the region of Mali. For instance,the foundations were done for the Jenne, Walata, and Timbuktu and afterwards these cities have become the commercial,trade as well as cultural centers of the Western Sudan. These cultural centers have eclipsed the similar Norh African cities. More than that, in the timeframe of Musa reign, establishment of the diplomatic relations between Mali and Morocco has taken its place alongside with exchange of ambassadors between these two countries. In addition, the programs for students exchange have been established.
While the major focus of Sunjata was placed on developing the ethnic Malinke empire, the core emphasis of Mansa Musa was put on the Islamic practice enhancement. That is why, Hajj was performed by him in 1324. This journey has lasted for more than one year and its chronology may be described in the following manner: it has taken its place along the Niger River to Mema and afterwards, Mansa Musa has travelled to Walata, Taghaza and Tua. At those times, Tuat was referred as the trade center in the region of the central Africa. That is why, significant quantity of traders were attracted to this place from Egypt and Majorca. These traders were both Muslims and Jews (Zamosky 2007).
As Mansa Musa has arrived to Egypt, he has camped in the near to Pyramids and stayed there for the timeframe of three days. At this time, he has sent a gift of more than 50,000 dinars to Egyptian Sultan before he has asked for settling for three months in Cairo. The Sultan has lent the residence as well as has ensured that his entourage was provided with the proper treatment. Thousands of ingots of gold were given away by Mansa Musa and this action has created an advantageous option for the Egyptian traders, because the traders have increased the normal prices for their goods for 500%. This has led to decrease in the value of the gold in Egypt for more than 25%.
. It is possible to attribute his ability of Musa for going on hajj to the gauge of his power. Before leaving for this trip, the special contribution was collected by Mansa Musa from his subjects. The major purpose of such action as gaining the means for the pilgrimage. The pilgrimage caravan was rich and it involved 500 slaves, 60,000 porters. Each of them was carrying a gold staff. Approximately 100 camels were accruing the dust of 300 pounds of gold.
As it was stated above, After the visit of Musa into Egypt, the prices of gold have decreased for 25%. In accordance with the information, presented by historian al-Umari, who has visited Egypt 12 years later, the recovery of the price for the golden funds still has not taken its place.
The golden cornucopia of Mansa Musa was not unlimited and thus, it has run out by the time he has come back to Caio, in his way home. That is why, he had faced a need of borrowing some monetary funds at the exorbitant interest rates from Cairene merchants. It was stated by Musa at this stage of this trip, that the major purpose of the travel was religious, rather than political. That is why, he has made an attempt of begging off communicating with Mamluk sultan. The underlying message of such attempt of avoiding the audience sultan was quickly recognize by Canny Egyptian diplomats – forgoing prostrating himself before another monarch. After the compromise decision was reached and Musa has prostrated himself before another monarch (but in the name of Allah) the relations between Musa and Sultan were rather
cordial. That is why the impression from the Mansa Musa's pilgrimage was lasting and deep among Egyptian people (Sammis 1997).
The pilgrimage was contributive to people of Mali in terms of the following aspects: he has brought back with him the religious scholars, Arabic library, as well as al-Sahili – the Muslim architect, who as famous for constructing the royal palace and building the great mosques at Timbuktu and Gao. The most famous works of this architect, however, was the chamber at Niani. It is considered by the leading experts in the area of architecture that the style, launched by Al-Sahili, has made a great impact on the architecture in the Sudan, the major trait of which is the absence of stone, compensated by the beaten earth and its reinforcement by the wood (Buck 2004).
Special traditions, practiced by Mansa Musa
It is essential to refer to the fact that even if Mansa Musa was devout, this individual cannot be considered as an ascetic one. The major evidence for such statement is the fact that there was a wide respect and recognition in relation to his power within empire as well as Mansa Musa was feared in Africa. In accordance with the information, represented in the accounts of Ibn Battuta, the traditional etiquette of reverence (which was performed in relation to other kings) was expected by Musa to be performed in relation to him. This approach implied that those people who have greeted him, were expected to kneel down as well as and scatter dust over themselves. That is why the procedure of greeting the king was practiced in relation to Mansa Musa everywhere (and in Cairo, in particular). That meant that no one was allowed for wearing the sandals in the presence of king and that the fact of neglecting such regulation was punished by death. In addition, there was one more rule- no one was allowed to sneeze in the presence of king an in the case if king sneezed by himself, other people, who were present at the meeting, beaten their breasts (Conrad 2009).
Even while taking into account the fact that rather informal practice of Shari’ah was followed in court Mansa Musa was noted by Ibn Battuta, the prayer was strictly observed by Mansa Musa as well as Qur’an was known to him. At the same time, the following custom and tradition was maintained by Musa “if some of the subjects of Musa was a father of a beautiful lady, he was obliged to bring her to the bed of king without marriage.” After Musa was informed about the fact that such activity is not allowed under Islamic law and to the kings in particular, this practice was cancelled by Musa (O’Halloran 1998).
Customs of Mansa Musa
One more custom, which was practiced at those times, was the fact that the orders have never been given by the king in a personal manner. The instructions were passed to the spokesman, whose major responsibility was conveying the words of the king. In addition, no writings were performed by the king by himself – for this purpose, the scribes were asked to put his considerations into the book which was furthermore sent by him to the Sultan of Egypt (Snider 2014).
Testing the humility by Mansa Musa
It is essential to refer to an interesting historical fact, relating to testing the humility by Mansa Musa, which was needed when he has greeted the Sultan of Egypt- kissing the ground –as an integral part of the greeting procedure. In accordance with the historical data, this act has not been performed by Mansa Musa in a traditional from because of his personal considerations and belief. It was reported by an individual, who was from the immediate surroundings of Mansa Musa, while he was in Egypt, in regards to this case, that many excuses were made by Musa before he was persuaded to enter the court of the Sultan. This situation was resolved in the following compromise manner – Musa has stated that if he was to prostrate wile entering the court, the only option for such doing is before Allah only, as he finally did.
Travelling style of Mansa Musa
The long tradition of the West African kings was followed by Mansa Musa in terms of making the pilgrimage to Makkah. In other words, the traveling style of his predecessors was followed by Musa. For instance, it was recorded by Ibn Battuta that the travelling style of Mansa Musa displayed wealth, which was represented by the following factors - large presence dignitaries, bodyguards, colored flags as well as saddled horses. In addition, the senior wife of Musa - Inari Kunate, has travelled with him. She has brought more than 500 maids-in-waiting with her. Additional emphasis should be put on the respectful attitude towards senior wife within society - the tributes were paid by the rulers of different cities to her (BHP 2014).
Significant impact was made by Hajj of Mansa Musa on the process of development of Islam in Mali as well as on the perception of this country though Europe and Africa. Later, Andalusian architect has accompanied Musa on his way to Mali as well as this architect has contributed to the design of mosque at Timbuktu. That is why, Musa is known in Mali for building mosques as well as for the practice of inviting the Islamic scholars from different cities of Muslim worlds to his empire - for its development and prosperity (Masterton 2005); (Salloum 2012)
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Conrad DC 2009, Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay. Infobase Publishing
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Meri JW 2005, Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press
O’Halloran K 1998, 61 Cooperative Learning Activities for Global History Classes. Walch Publishing
Salloum H 2012, Mansa Musa, An African Builder <http://www.dentonisd.org/cms/lib/TX21000245/Centricity/Domain/999/Mansa%20Musa%20Reading.pdf >
Sammis K 1997, Focus on U.S. History: The Era of Exploration and Discovery. Walch Publishing
Snider M 2014, Mansa Musa 38 Success Facts - Everything you need to know about Mansa Musa. Emereo Publishing
Zamosky L 2007, Mansa Musa: Leader of Mali. Teacher Created Materials
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