Contrary to the Propaganda Columbus didn’t discover America — he never set foot in North America. During four separate trips that started with the one in 1492, Columbus landed on various Caribbean islands that are now the Bahamas as well as the island later called Hispaniola. He also explored the Central and South American coasts. But he never reached North America
"The pre-Columbian discovery of the American Continent by Muslim Seafarers" by Fuat Sezgin 2006
Digging for the Red Roots
by Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El
My name is Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El and I am a Cherokee Blackfoot American Indian who is Muslim. I am known as Eagle Sun Walker. I serve as a Pipe Carrier Warrior for the Northeastern Band of Cherokee Indians in New York City.
There are other Muslims in our group. For the most part, not many people are aware of the Native American contact with Islam that began over one thousand years ago by some of the early Muslim travelers who visited us. Some of these Muslim travelers ended up living among our people.
For most Muslims and non-Muslims of today, this type of information is unknown and has never been mentioned in any of the history books. There are many documents, treaties, legislation and resolutions that were passed between 1600s and 1800s that show that Muslims were in fact here and were very active in the comunities in which they lived. Treaties such as Peace and Friendship that was signed on the Delaware River in the year 1787 bear the signatures of Abdel-Khak and Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. This treaty details our continued right to exist as a community in the areas of commerce, maritime shipping, current form of government at that time which was in accordance with Islam. According to a federal court case from the Continental Congress, we help put the breath of life in to the newly framed constitution. All of the documents are presently in the National Archives as well as the Library of Congress.
If you have access to records in the state of South Carolina, read the Moors Sundry Act of 1790. In a future article, Inshallah, I will go in to more details about the various tribes, their languages; in which some are influenced by Arabic, Persian, Hebrew words. Almost all of the tribes vocabulary include the word Allah. The traditional dress code for Indian women includes the kimah and long dresses. For men, standard fare is turbans and long tops that come down to the knees. If you were to look at any of the old books on Cherokee clothing up until the time of 1832, you will see the men wearing turbans and the women wearing long head coverings. The last Cherokee chief who had a Muslim name was Ramadhan Ibn Wati of the Cherokees in 1866.
Cities across the United States and Canada bear names that are of Indian and Islamic derivation. Have you ever wondered what the name Tallahassee means? It means that He Allah will deliver you sometime in the future.
Timeline of American Indian Relations with the Federal Government,
1787 to 19561
1787 to 1886
1787 - First federal treaty enacted with the Delaware Indians.
From 1787 to 1868, 371 treaties were ratified the US
government. (Between 1607 to 1776, at least 175 treaties
had been signed with the British and colonial governments).
While treaty provisions varied, they commonlhy included a
guarantee of peace and friendship; clarification of boundaries
and understanding of any specific lands ceded to the federal
government; guarantee of Indian hunting, fishing, and gathering
rights (sometimes on ceded lands); statement that the
tribe recognized the authority and protection of the US government;
and an agreement about trade regulation and travel
of non-Indians in Indian territory.
1789 - Indian Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Article
I, Section 8, Clause 3 stated “The Congress shall have
Power...to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and
among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” This
clause is generally seen as the principal basis for federal rather
than state governmental plenary power over Indians.
1790 - Indian Trade and Intercourse Act. This first federal
Indian statute outlawed all Indian land transactions that were
not federally approved.
1823 - Johnson v. McIntosh. First of the Marshall Trilogy’s
Supreme Court decisions that limited certain exercises of Indian
1824 - The Indian Office. This federal agency was administered
by the War Department. The Office became the Bureau
of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1849 and was relocated in the
Interior Department in 1854.
1830 - Indian Removal Act. This law mandated the removal
of American Indians east of the Mississippi River to territory
west of the Mississippi in Oklahoma.
1831 and 1832 - Cherokee v. Georgia and Worcester v.
Georgia. US Supreme Court ruling that Indian tribes were
not foreign nations, but rather “domestic dependent nations.”
Both cases provided the legal basis for the federal trust relationship.
1834 - Indian Territory. Under the Western Territory bill of
1834, Congress created Indian Territory in the west that included
the land area in present-day Kansas, Oklahoma, and
parts of what later became Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming.
The area was set aside for Indians who were removed
from their ancestral lands which, in turn, would be given to
non-Indians. The area steadily decreased in size until the
1870s, when it was the size of today’s Oklahoma, excluding
1830s - The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal. Between
1835-71, between 150,000 and 300,000 Indians were forcibly
removed from their ancestral homes and relocated in Indian
Territory. In 1838, President Jackson sent federal troops to
forcibly remove almost 16,000 Cherokee who had refused to
move westward. In May, American soldiers herded most into
camps where they remained imprisoned throughout the summer
and where at least 1,500 perished. The remainder began
an 800-mile forced march to Oklahoma that fall. In all some,
4,000 Cherokee died during the removal process.
1851 - First Treaty of Fort Laramie. In this treaty, the Sioux,
as well as several other Plains tribes, allowed non-Indians to
pass through their territory on their way to the far west. In
return, the US government declared that most of the presentday
states of North and South Dakota and parts of Wyoming,
Nebraska, and Montana (134 million acres) comprised the territory
of the Great Sioux Nation.
1864 - Sand Creek Massacre. A peaceful camp of Cheyenne
and Arapahos were attacked by the Third Colorado Cavalry
whose soldiers mutilated and killed nearly 500 unarmed
1868 - Second Treaty of Fort Laramie. Treaty guaranteed
the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho rights to the Black Hills
and recognized tribal hunting rights beyond reservation boundaries.
The federal government agreed to abandon the Bozeman
Trail and pledged to keep non-Indians out of the Great Sioux
Reservation and other tribal lands.
1871 - Indian Appropriation Act. This money bill included a
rider that allowed the House of Representatives to ratify Inidian
treaties along with the Senate. Thereafer, all future Indian
policies would be made by both houses of Congress, rather
than by treaty.
1876 to 1877 - Battle at Little Big Horn. This battle occurred
when General George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh
Cavalry were involved in a campaign to forcibly place the Sioux,
Cheyenne, and Arapaho onto reservations. In retaliation for
Custer’s attack on a hunting camp in he Little Big Horn Valley,
Indians responded by killing Custer and the majority of his regiment.
The federal government spent the next two years tracking
down these nations, killing some of their people and forcing
most others onto reservations. In 1877, Congress annexed
the Black Hills and the million acre reservations guaranteed
by treaties were vastly reduced.
1878 - Carlisle Indian School. This first off-reservation military-
style boarding school for Indians was established in Pennsylvania.
The school created a model curriculum, disciplinary
regime, and educational strategy designed to “kill the Indian
and save the child.”
1880 - Civilization Regulations. These Interior Secretary rules
(re-issued in 1884, 1894, and 1904) set forth a series of offenses
and penalties that applied only to Indians. They outlawed
Indian religions, the practices of “so-called” medicine
men, religious ceremonies, and unauthorized roaming off the
reservations. They remained in place until 1936.
1886 to 1934
1887 - General Allotment Act (Dawes Act). This law authorized
the President to allot portions of certain reservation land
to individual Indians - 160 acres to each head of family and 80
acres to others - to establish private farms, and authorized the
Secretary of Interior to negotiate with the tribes for purchasing
“excess” lands for non-Indian settlement. The law sought to
destroy Indian communities where property- sharing encouraged
“tribalism,” subjected alloted land to taxation, and opened
Indian lands for non-Indian purchase and settlement. The result
was that from 1887 to 1934 (when the Act was repealed),
Indian land holdings decreased from 138 million acres to 48
1888 - The Sioux Act. This law divided the Great Sioux Reservation
into six separate reservations in an effort to dilute their
power and make much of their land available for non-Indian
1889 - Oklahoma Organic Act. This statute divided Indian
land into two territories in what is currently the state of Oklahoma:
the Territory of Oklahoma in western Oklahoma was
opened up to non-Indian settlement; and the Indian Territory in
eastern Oklahoma was retained for continued Indian settlement.
1890 - Wounded Knee Massacre. The massacre occurred
shortly after non-Indians in South Dakota became alarmed by
reports of Indians performing the Ghost Dance. Non-Indians
feared that such actions would result in war with the whites.
The Seventh Cavalry reacted by massacring more than 450
men, women, and children of Big Foot’s band of Miniconjou
Dakota and of Sitting Bull’s Hunkpapa people at Wounded
1891 - Indian Education. This statute authorized the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs “to make and enforce by proper
means” rules and regulations to ensure that Indian children
attended schools designed and administered by non-Indians.
1893 - Indian Education. This Act of Congress allowed the
BIA to withhold rations and government services if parents did
not send their children to school, as provided in the Civilization
1898 - Curtis Act. This law ended tribal governments refusing
allotments and mandated the allotment of tribal lands in
1906 - Antiquities Act. This law declared that Indian remains
and objects found on federal land were the property of the
1919 - Congress extended American citizenship to all Indian veterans of World War I.
1924 - Indian Citizenship Act. This law extended US citizenship
and voting rights to all American Indians. Some Indians
preferred to maintain only their tribal membership.
1928 - Meriam Report, “The Problem of Indian Administration.”
This report, commissioned by the Department of Interior
in 1926, focused on the poverty, ill health, and despair that
characterized many Indian communities. It recommended reforms
that would increase the BIA’s efficiency, promote the
social and economic advancement of Indians; end allotment;
and phase out Indian boarding schools.
1934 to 1968
1934 - The “Indian New Deal.” The brainchild of BIA Commissioner
John Collier, the Indian New Deal was an attempt to
promote the revitalization of Indian cultural, lingual, governmental,
and spiritual traditions. This blueprint for reform was
written by non-Indians who had championed Indian rights for
decades through private organizations.
1934 - Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The IRA was the
centerpiece of the Indian New Deal. It encouraged Indians to
“recover” their cultural heritage, prohibited new allotments and
extended the trust period for existing allotments, and sought
to promote tribal self-government by encouraging tribes to adopt
constitutions and form federally-chartered corporations. Tribes
were all but required to adopt a US-style constitution are were
given two years to accept or reject the IRA. Tribes who accepted
it could then elect a tribal council. 174 tribes accepted
it, 135 which drafted tribal constitutions. But 78 tribes rejected
the IRA, most fearing greater federal control.
1946 - Indian Claims Commission. The Commission established
by Congress was to end tribal grievances over treaty
enforcement, resource management, and disputes between
tribes and the US government. Tribes were given five years to
file a claim, prove aboriginal title to the lands in question, and
bring suit for settlement. The Commission would then review
the case and assess the amount, if any, that was to be paid in
reparations. Until the Commission ended operations in 1978,
it settled 285 cases and paid more than $800 million in settlements.
1953 - Termination. Under House Concurrent Resolution
108, the federal trust relationship with many Indian tribes was
terminated. Terminated tribes were then subject to state laws
and their lands were lost to taxes and sold to non-Indians.
Eventually, Congress terminated over 100 tribes, most of which
consisted of a few hundred members. The Menominee of Wisconsin
and the Klamath of Oregon were exceptions, with 3,270
and 2,133 members respectively.
1953 - Public Law 280. This law transferred jurisdiction over
most tribal lands to state governments in California, Oregon,
Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Alaska was added in
1958. Additionally, it provided that any other state could assume
such jurisdiction by passing a law or amending the state’s
1954 - Public Law 83-568. This law transferred responsibility
for American Indians and Alaskan Natives’ health care from
the BIA in the Department of Interior, to the Public Health Services
within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
1956 - Relocation Act. This Act allowed the BIA to offer grants
to Indians willing to leave the reservation to seek work in urban
locations. By 1975, more Indians lived in urban areas than
1 of important benchmarks in federal-tribal relations and is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive
timeline of such events or issues.PRECOLUMBIAN MUSLIMS IN THE AMERICAS
By: Dr. Youssef Mroueh
Preparatory Commitee for International Festivals to celebrate the millennium of the Muslims arrival to the Americas ( 996-1996 CE )
Numerous evidence suggests that Muslims from Spain and West Africa arrived to the Americas at least five centuries before Columbus. It is recorded,for example, that in the mid-tenth century, during the rule of the Ummayyed Caliph Abdul-Rahman III (929-961 CE), Muslims
of African origin sailed westward from the Spanish port of DELBA (Palos) into the "Ocean of darkness and fog". They returned after a long absence with much booty from a "strange and curious land". It is evident that people of Muslim origin are known to have accompanied Columbus and subsequent Spanish explorers to the New World.
The last Muslim stronghold in Spain, Granada, fell to the Christians in 1492 CE, just before the Spanish inquisition was launched. To escape persecution, many non-Christians fled or embraced Catholicism. At least two documents imply the presence of Muslims in Spanish America before 1550 CE. Despite the fact that a decree issued in 1539 CE by Charles V, king of Spain, forbade the grandsons of Muslims who had been burned at the stake to migrate to
the West Indies. This decree was ratified in 1543 CE, and an order for the expulsion of all Muslims from overseas Spanish territories was subsequently published. Many references on the Muslim arrival to Americas are available. They are summarized in the following
A: HISTORIC DOCUMENTS:
1. A Muslim historian and geographer ABUL-HASSAN ALI IBN AL-HUSSAIN
AL-MASUDI (871-957 CE) wrote in his book Muruj adh-dhahab wa maadin
aljawhar (The meadows of gold and quarries of jewels) that during
the rule of the Muslim caliph of Spain Abdullah Ibn Mohammad(888-912 CE), a Muslim navigator, Khashkhash Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad, from Cortoba, Spain sailed from Delba (Palos) in 889 CE, crossed the Atlantic, reached an unknown territory (ard majhoola) and returned with fabulous treasures. In Al-Masudi's map of the world there is a large area in the ocean of darkness and fog which he referred to as the unknown territory (Americas).(1)
2. A Muslim historian ABU BAKR IBN UMAR AL-GUTIYYA narrated that during the reign of the Muslim caliph of Spain, Hisham II (976-1009CE), another Muslim navigator, Ibn Farrukh, from Granada, sailed from Kadesh (February 999CE) into the Atlantic, landed in Gando (Great Canary islands) visiting King Guanariga, and continued westward where he saw and named two islands, Capraria and Pluitana. He arrived back in Spain in May 999 CE.(2)
3. Columbus sailed from Palos (Delba), Spain. He was bound for GOMERA (Canary Islands)-Gomera is an Arabic word meaning 'small firebrand' - there he fell in love with Beatriz BOBADILLA, daughter of the first captain general of the island (the family name BOBADILLA is derived from the Arab Islamic name ABOU ABDILLA.).Nevertheless, the BOBADILLA clan was not easy to ignore. Another Bobadilla (Francisco) later, as the royal commissioner, put Columbus in chains and transferred him from Santo Dominigo back to
Spain (November 1500 CE). The BOBADILLA family was related to the ABBADID dynasty of Seville (1031-1091 CE). On October 12, 1492 CE, Columbus landed on a little island in the Bahamas that was called GUANAHANI by the natives. Renamed SAN SALVADOR by Columbus. GUANAHANI is derived from Mandinka and modified Arabic words. GUANA (IKHWANA) means 'brothers' and HANI is an Arabic name.Therefore the original name of the island was 'HANI BROTHERS'. (11) Ferdinand Columbus, the son of Christopher, wrote about the blacks seen by his father in Handuras: "The people who live farther east of Pointe Cavinas, as far as Cape Gracios a Dios, are almost black in color." At the same time, in this very same region, lived a tribe of Muslim natives known as ALMAMY. In Mandinka and Arabic languages, ALMAMY was the designation of "AL-IMAM"or "AL-IMAMU", the leader of the prayer,or in some cases, the chief of the community,and/or a member of the Imami Muslim community. (12)
4. A renowned American historian and linguist, LEO WEINER of Harvard University, in his book, AFRICA AND THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (1920) wrote that Columbus was well aware of the Mandinka presence in the New World and that the West African Muslims had spread throughout the Caribbean, Central, South and North American territories, including Canada,where they were trading and intermarrying with the Iroquois and Algonquin Indians. (13)
B: GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS:
1. The famous Muslim geographer and cartographer AL-SHARIF AL-IDRISI (1099- 1166CE) wrote in his famous book Nuzhat al-mushtaq fi ikhtiraq al-afaq(Excursion of the longing one in crossing horizons) that a group of seafarers (from North Africa) sailed into the sea of darkness and fog (The Atlantic ocean) from Lisbon (Portugal), in order to discover what was in it and what extent were its limits. They finally reached an island that had people and cultivation...on the fourth day, a translator spoke to them in the Arabic language. (3)
2. The Muslim reference books mentioned a well-documented description of a journey across the sea of fog and darkness by Shaikh ZAYN EDDINE ALI BEN FADHEL AL-MAZANDARANI. His journey started from Tarfaya (South Morocco) during the reign of the King Abu-Yacoub Sidi Youssef (1286-1307CE) 6th of the Marinid dynasty, to Green Island in the Caribbean sea in 1291 CE (690 HE). The details of his ocean journey are mentioned in Islamic references, and many Muslim scholars are aware of this recorded historical event..(4)
3. The Muslim historian CHIHAB AD-DINE ABU-L-ABBAS AHMAD BEN FADHL AL-UMARI (1300-1384CE/700-786HE) described in detail the geographical explorations beyond the sea of fog and darkness of Mali's sultans in his famous book Massaalik al-absaar fi mamaalik al-amsaar (The pathways of sights in the provinces of kingdoms).(5)
4. Sultan MANSU KANKAN MUSA (1312-1337 CE) was the world renowned Mandinka monarch of the West African Islamic empire of Mali. While travelling to Makkah on his famous Hajj in 1324 CE, he informed the scholars of the Mamluk Bahri sultan court (An-Nasir Nasir Edin Muhammad III-1309-1340 CE) in Cairo, that his brother, sultan Abu Bakari I (1285-1312CE) had undertaken two expeditions into the Atlantic Ocean. When the sultan did not return to Timbuktu from the second voyage of 1311 CE, Mansa Musa became sultan of the
5. Columbus and early Spanish and portuguese explorers were able to voyage across the Atlantic (a distance of 2400 Km's) thanks to Muslim geographical and navigational information. In particular maps made by Muslim traders, including AL-MASUDI (871-957CE) in his book Akhbar az-zaman (History of the world) which is based on material gathered in Africa and Asia (9). As a matter of fact, Columbus had two captain of muslim origin during his first transatlantic voyage: Martin Alonso Pinzon was the captain of the PINTA,and his brother Vicente Yanez Pinzon was the captain of the NINA. They were wealthy, expert ship outfitters who helped organize the Columbus expedition and prepared the flagship, SANTA MARIA. They did this at their own expense for both commercial and political reasons. The PINZON family was related to ABUZAYAN MUHAMMAD III (1362-66 CE), the Moroccan sultan of the Marinid dynasty (1196-1465CE). (10)
C: ARABIC ( ISLAMIC ) INSCRIPTIONS:
1. Anthropologists have proven that the Mandinkos under Mansa Musa's instructions explored many parts of North America via the Mississippi and other rivers systems. At Four Corners, Arizona, writings show that they even brought elephants from Africa to the
2. Columbus admitted in his papers that on Monday, October 21,1492 CE while his ship was sailing near Gibara on the north-east coast of Cuba, he saw a mosque on top of a beautiful mountain. The ruins of mosques and minarets with inscriptions of Quranic verses have been discovered in Cuba,Mexico,Texas and Nevada. (8)
3. During his second voyage, Columbus was told by the indians of ESPANOLA (Haiti), that black people had been to the island before his arrival. For proof, they presented Columbus with the spears of these African muslims. These weapons were tipped with a yellow metal that the indians called GUANIN, a word of West African derivation meaning 'gold alloy'. Oddly enough, it is related to the Arabic word 'GHINAA' which means 'WEALTH'. Columbus brought some GUANINES back to Spain and had them tested. He learned that the metal was 18 parts gold (56.25%), 6 parts silver (18.75%) and 8 parts copper (25%), the same ratio as the metal produced in African metalshops of Guinea. (14)
4. In 1498 CE, on his third voyage to the new world, Columbus landed in Trinidad. Later, he sighted the South American continent, where some of his crew went ashore and found natives using colorful handkerchiefs of symmetrically woven cotton. Columbus noticed that these handkerchiefs resembled the headdresses and loinclothes of Guinea in their colors, style and function. He refered to them as ALMAYZARS. ALMAYZAR is an Arabic word for 'wrapper','cover','apron' and/or 'skirting' which was the cloth the Moors (Spanish or North African Muslims) imported from west Africa (Guinea) into Morocco, Spain and Portugal. During this voyage, Columbus was surprised that the married women wore cotton panties (bragas) and he wondered where these natives learned their modesty. Hernan Cortes, Spanish conqueror, described the dress of the Indian women as 'long veils' and the dress of Indian men as 'breechcloth painted in the style of Moorish draperies'. Ferdinand Columbus called the native cotton garments 'breechclothes of the same design and cloth as the shawls worn by the Moorish women of Granada'. Even the similarity of the children's hammocks to those found in North Africa was uncanny.(15)
5. Dr. Barry Fell (Harvard University) introduced in his book 'Saga America-1980' solid scientific evidence supporting the arrival, centuries before Columbus, of Muslims from North and West Africa. Dr. Fell discovered the existence of the Muslim schools at Valley of Fire, Allan Springs, Logomarsino, Keyhole, Canyon, Washoe and Hickison Summit Pass (Nevada), Mesa Verde (Colorado), Mimbres Valley (New Mexico) and Tipper Canoe(Indiana) dating back to 700-800 CE. Engraved on rocks in the arid western U.S, he found texts, diagrams and charts representing the last surviving fragments of what was once a system of schools - at both an elementary and higher level. The language of instruction was North African Arabic written with old Kufic Arabic scripts. The subjects of instruction included writing, reading, arithmetic, religion, history, geography, mathematics, astronomy and sea navigation. The descendants of the Muslim visitors of North America are members of the present Iroquois, Algonquin, Anasazi, Hohokam and Olmec native people..(16)
6. There are 565 names of places (villages, towns, cities, mountains, lakes, rivers,.. etc. ) in U.S.A. (484) and Canada (81) which derived from Islamic and Arabic roots. These places were originally named by the natives in precolumbian periods. Some of these names carried holy meanings such as: Mecca-720 inhabitants (Indiana), Makkah Indian tribe (Washington), Medina-2100 (Idaho), Medina-8500 (N.Y.), Medina-1100, Hazen-5000 (North Dakota), Medina-17000/Medina-120000 (Ohio), Medina-1100 (Tennessee), Medina-26000 (Texas), Medina-1200 (Ontario), Mahomet-3200 (Illinois), Mona-1000 (Utah), Arva-700 (Ontario)...etc. A careful study of the names of the native Indian tribes revealed that many names are derived from Arab and Islamic roots and origins, i.e. Anasazi, Apache, Arawak, Arikana, Chavin, Cherokee, Cree, Hohokam, Hupa, Hopi, Makkah, Mahigan, Mohawk, Nazca, Zulu, Zuni...etc..
Based on the above historical, geographical and linguistic notes, a call to celebrate the millennium of the Muslim arrival to the Americas, five centuries before Columbus, has been issued to all Muslim nations and communities around the world. We hope that this call will receive complete understanding and attract enough support.
(1)See ref 4 (2)See ref. 9 (3)See ref. 3 (4)See ref. 1, 2 and 5
(5)See ref. 6 (6)See ref. 14 (7)See ref. 21 and 22 (8)See ref. 15
(9)See ref. 4 (10)See ref. 15 (11)See ref. 15 (12)See ref. 6
(13)See ref. 20 (14)See ref. 16 (15)See ref. 7 (16)See ref. 10 &12
1. AGHA HAKIM, AL-MIRZA Riyaadh Al-Ulama(Arabic),Vol.2 P.386/Vol.4 P.175
2. AL-AMEEN, SAYED MOHSIN Aayan Ash-Shia(Arabic),Vol.7 P.158/Vol 8
3. AL-IDRISSI Nuzhat Al-Mushtaq fi Ikhtiraq Al-Afaaq(Arabic)
4. AL-MASUDI Muruj Adh-Dhahab (Arabic), Vol. 1, P. 138
5. AL-ASFAHANI, AR-RAGHIB Adharea Ila Makarim Ash-Shia,Vol.16,P.343
6. CAUVET, GILES Les Berbers de L'Amerique,Paris 1912,P.100-101
7. COLUMBUS, FERDINAND The Life of Admiral Christopher Columbus,Rutgers Univ.Press, 1959, P.232
8. DAVIES, NIGEL Voyagers to the New World,New York 1979
9. ON MANUEL OSUNAY SAVINON Resumen de la Geografia Fisica...,Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1844
10. FELL,BARRY Saga America, New York 1980
11. FELL,BARRY America BC, New York 1976
12. GORDON,CYRUS Before Columbus,New York 1971
13. GYR,DONALD Exploring Rock Art,Santa Barbara 1989
14. HUYGHE,PATRICK Columbus was Last,New York 1992
15. OBREGON ,MAURICIO The Columbus Papers,The Barcelona Letter of 1493,
The Landfall Controversy, and the Indian Guides, McMillan Co.,New York 1991 16. THACHER,JOHN BOYD Christopher Columbus,New York 1950,P.380
17. VAN SETIMA,IVAN African Presence in Early America,New Brunswick,NJ
18. VAN SETIMA,IVAN They Came Before Columbus,New York 1976
19. VON WUTHENAU,ALEX Unexpected Facts in Ancient America,New York 1975
20. WEINER,LEO Africa and the Discovery of America,Philadelphia, 1920,Vol.2 P.365-6
21. WILKINS,H..T. Mysteries of Ancient South America,New York 1974
22. WINTERS,CLYDE AHMAD Islam in Early North and South America,Al-Ittihad,July 1977,
Islam in America before Columbus
Hisham Zoubeir, 14 February 1998
Hisham Zoubeir, 14 February 1998
Before I begin this article, I would like to extend my thanks to the creators of the Internet. It was there that I found my research on the topic that follows, and it is to the people who wrote the various articles and references that credit for this article should go to. I merely put two and two together for the benefit of those reading this now.
The history surrounding the followers of our proud faith is one of two shades; the truth and the lie. The lies surrounding our history have been spread to every corner of the globe; that we were and are (?) barbarians, no better than animals. The truth is that although there were certain parts of history that do show that some of our followers were ruthless and brutal (such as the Ottoman Empire), this is not unlike every nation and country in the world. And we have a much more worthy things to focus on.
Before the West declared themselves the great scientists of the earth, before their own Renaissance, Muslims already were making discoveries in science that took the West hundreds of years to even begin to imagine. What a shame that people in Europe were being persecuted by the Church for their suppositions that the earth was round; they should have come to the Islamic world--- an Afghan Muslim had proved that in 793 C.E.!
However, the studying of the universe brought forth more questions, and more curiosity. The Muslims in West Africa were so intrigued by what was on the other side of the Great Sea, that they began their expeditions into the great unknown. Early reports of these travels are sketchy, but we can be sure that they crossed the Atlantic by 889 C.E.
That was 603 years before Columbus. And that is not counting the actual physical evidence in the United States today that dates back even further; however, we do know, as De Lacy O'Leary pointed out, that Muslims definitely had the scientific knowledge and skill to make journeys across the Atlantic ocean.
We were in the Americas, hundreds of years before Columbus, and of that we can be sure.
Clyde-Ahmad Winters. Barry Fell. Alexander Von Wuthenau. Ivan Van Sertima. What do they have in common? A lot. They all provided evidence to the above statement; and it is a statement of fact, not an opinion, although many have chosen to ignore it in the past.
Now, we are all aware of the grave tragedy that befell the various African people after the discovery of America. Many people from there were forcefully taken from their homes to America, to serve the people who had taken over that land. Black slavery. We also know, for a fact, that many of these people were indeed Muslims; that has never been in dispute, nor should it be. Clyde Ahmad Winters has given us details of how huge numbers of Muslims were brought to Latin America in a 1978 issue of Al-Ittihad: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Studies, although later on in 1543, Muslims in Spanish colonies were ejected from them by the residing government.
Dr. Barry Fell, a noted New Zealand archaeologist and linguist of Harvard University showed detailed existing evidence in his work, "Saga America" that Muslims were not only in the Americas before Columbus arrived, but very active there as well. The language of the Pima people in the South West and the Algonquian language had many words in their vocabulary that were Arabic in origin, and Islamic petroglyphs were found in places such as California.
In the Inyo county of the State of California, according to Fell, there is another petroglyph that states, "Yasus bin Maria" which means in Arabic, "Jesus, son of Mary". This is not a Christian phrase; in fact, the phrase is to be found in the verses and ayahs of the Holy Quran. This glyph, as Fell believes, is centuries older than the US. In the Western states of the US he found texts, diagrams and charts engraved on rocks that were used for schooling that dated back to 700-800 C.E. The schooling was in subjects such as mathematics, history, geography, astronomy and sea navigation. The language of instruction was Kufic Arabic, from North Africa.
The German art historian, Alexander Von Wuthenau, also provides evidence that Islamic peoples were in America, in the time between 300 and 900 C.E. This was at least half a millennium before Columbus was born! Carved heads, that were described as "Moorish-looking" were dated between 300 and 900 C.E. and another group of heads dated between 900 and 1500 C.E. An artifact found in the earlier group was photographed, and when later examined was found to resemble an old man in a Fez, like the Egyptians.
Ivan Van Sertima is widely renowned for his work, "They Came Before Columbus" which showed that there was definitely contact between the ancient and early African people with the Native Americans. This and another of his works, "African Presence in Early America" both prove that there were African Muslim settlements in the Americas, before the expedition of Columbus was even conceived. His research has shown that Arab Muslim trade was active in America and one can only imagine that the marvellous culture that the Native Americans had that shared so much with Islamic teachings was of great attraction to the Muslims that came so far across the sea.
And for the record, Christopher Columbus, the man who so-called discovered America, himself declared that his impression of the Carib people (i.e., Caribbean people) were "Mohemmedans." He knew of the Mandinka presence in the New World (Muslims) and that Muslims from the West coast of Africa had settled down in the Carribean, Central, South and North America. Unlike Columbus, they had not come to enslave the populations or plunder the land; they had come to trade and they married among the Natives. Columbus further admitted that on October 21st, 1492, as he was sailing past Gibara on the coast of Cuba, he saw a mosque, and remnants of other masjids have been found in Cuba, Mexico, Texas and Nevada.
On the second voyage Columbus took to the West Indies, the people of Haiti told him that "black" people had been there before him. They showed him spears of these visitors, and further study of the metals involved in their construction showed that they could have been made only in one place: Guinea.
Another historian, P.V. Ramos, also showed in his essay in "African Presence in Early America" that the dietary regulations of the Carib were similar to Islamic teachings.
But let us say that we are wrong. Perhaps it is all just a coincidence; after all, there are no living survivors of the Native American Muslims, are they?
Wrong. And this last part is what originally drew me into this quest for knowledge: an exposé written by a Native Muslim.
Brother Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El wrote in his account, recently posted on the Internet, about the Native Americans that were Muslims. He is of the Cherokee tribe; known as Eagle Sun Walker, and a Pipe Carrier Warrior of the Cherokees in New York. He tells of Muslim travellers that came to his land over one thousand years ago, and what is more important, existing evidence of legislation, treaties and resolutions that prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt that Muslims were in the Americas and very active. Although these documents have not been written after 1492, it is still interesting to note that Islam was in fact there. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1787 have the signatures of Abdel-Khak and Mohammed Bin Abdulla. According to a federal court case from the Continental Congress,
Native Muslims helped put life into the constitution.
These are a matter of record; they cannot be disputed. Go to the National Archives or the Library of Congress and see for yourself; the Treat of 1987 show that the Natives abided by an Islamic system in commerce, maritime shipping and government. The records of the State of Carolina has the Moors Sundry Act of 1790. The Cherokee Chief of 1866 was a man called Ramadhan Bin Wati. Native clothing up until 1832 was full Islamic wear. The name Tallahassee actually means," Allah will deliver you sometime in the future." In North America, there are no less than 565 names of tribes, villages, cities, mountains and other lands sites of Islamic or Arabic roots.
The truth of Islam and the truth of the Native American culture is one and the same; many people hundreds of years ago realised that. The protection of the land and of the animals; the non-wastage of resources and the non-pollution of nature are all Islamic concepts.
I finish this article with a few Native sayings. And then, I want you to tell me that Islam is not nurtured in the hearts of these people.
"Our belief is that the Great Spirit has created all things. Not just mankind but animals, all plants, all rocks, all on earth and amongst the stars with true soul. For us, all life is holy. All of nature is within us and we are part of all nature." Chief White Cloud
"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night." Crowfoot
"In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty- the duty of prayer - the daily recognition of the Unseen and the Eternal." Ohiyesa
Allahu akbar. Salaam wa allaykum wa rakhmatullah wa barakatu.
When this article was written] Hisham Zoubeir is at the University of Sheffield undertaking a multi-disciplinary degree in law. He has lived in Abu Dhabi, Cairo and London. His main interests delves into peace, equality, righteousness and spirituality.
Collections & Stories of American Muslims (CSAM)
Collections & Stories of American Muslims (CSAM)