The arrival of Islam has modified the belief system of many population and tribes notably in the western part of Africa in Nigeria, Niger, Mali or Senegal. Indigenous tradition existed far before Islam even came to these particular areas. It is quite surprising to notice how those religions had similarities in term of belief practices or faith with Islam.
The Igbo people of Nigeria had their religion called Odinani, which means “anchored on the earth diety”. Their theocentric belief emphasis the importance of a supreme high God, “Chukwu” or “Chineke” depending on dual deity perspectives. Similar to the ancient Egyptian god “Ra”, Chineke is represented by the sun, which theoretically govern on the entire universe referring to this the term Eye of Light. Similar to Islam’s supreme God “Allah” and Judaism’s Adinani, he is the designer and the creator of everything existing in the world and beyond. The believers do not humanize him even though he is known to indirectly impact their affairs in the real world. Even though Chineke will cannot be manipulated in any way, it is possible to negotiate one fate or future by searching help from an intermediate deity called Chi. Just like Angel Gabriel in Isla...
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...after he dies. Healing practices by herbalist, talismans that protects, medicine, sacrifices, singing, chants, and sacred narratives are all elements present in both those religions. The only thing that is different is the way people perceive it and use those elements for the best of their benefit in the real world.
The various religions discussed above have in common a belief system centered around a High God and their existence, adaptation and growth indicate and resilience of the African religious and cultural heritage. These religions have been the effective means by which the African descendants have fought back colonialism, the influx of major religions, their cultural identity and have therefore succeeded in gaining a cultural and social space for them. These religions have enriched and given worth and significance to the lives of many people across the map.
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