A rare "Islamic" uprising erupted in the 19th century in Brazil geographically far from the heart of the modern Islamic world, and a book by Brazilian historian Gao Jose Reyes presents the full story of the enslaved Muslim uprising in the state of Bahia (eastern Brazil) in 1835, and how the police faced it by examining the court records of African rebels The detainees, who revealed a well-organized and well-organized rebellion known as the "Great Revolution".
After one o'clock on the morning of January 25, 1835, which marked the month of Ramadan, a group of enslaved and ancient African enslaved persons exited a specific house in Bahia, quickly overpowered the police, and overnight nearly six hundred rebels marched through the streets, vandalizing a number of Municipal buildings; Because the leaders of the revolution were Muslims of African descent, some historians described the revolution as "jihad", while others underestimated the importance of the religious elements inherent in this insurgency, asserting - instead - that ethnic differences were the main motive.
Rebellious slaves heard of the Haitian revolution (1791-1804), wore necklaces bearing the image of President Dessalines who proclaimed the independence of Haiti, as well as special amulets containing Quranic verses, and amulets were common in the financial culture of Mali Muslims at the time.
The urban environment in Salvador (the capital of the state of Bahia) facilitated the spread of Islam due to the transfer of many Muslim slaves from Africa, and some were liberated in the new world at a later time, and many of these were reading, writing and communicating in the Arabic language, and many preserved the rituals of prayer and Islamic worship in mosques Especially, they fasted Ramadan and refrained from eating pork, and celebrated occasions such as the remembrance of Isra and Mi'raj.
By the end of the 19th century, slavery was on the verge of leaving Brazil permanently, raids increased on farms exploiting slaves, the army refused to deal with fugitives, and the authorities attempted to restrict slavery to the law before it was completely ended in 1888 by a law passed by parliament, called a "golden law" to drop the curtain on Slavery in Brazil.
The enslaved uprising
Reese's book "The Slave Rebellion in Brazil .. The Uprising of Muslims in 1835 in Bahia", published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, is presented. A complex picture of the interaction between Islam and race in the uprising of African Muslims in 1835, and Reyes begins his book analyzing the context of social, political, and economic conditions in Bahia at the time of the uprising, explaining the stark economic disparity that was amplified after Brazil gained independence from Portugal in 1822.
After independence, Bahia experienced economic decline, periods of drought, unemployment, and commodity price inflation, and economic and political instability in Bahia ignited a series of military revolts, anti-Portuguese colonial revolts, street riots, liberal and federal revolutions, slave uprisings, and the development of the African Islamic rebellion in general. 1835 from this long path of revolutions and uprisings.
Reyes explains the important role that Islam and race played in the success of the uprising of the 1835 uprising. For example, the rebellion was planned in Ramadan, and rebel participants wore distinctive Muslim clothes, although the author maintains that the rebellion was not a classic jihad or holy war, despite his religious connotations; Because African Muslims knew that they needed the solidarity of non-Muslims to succeed.
The organizers of the rebellion sought to build a unified ethnic revolution for all New Africans across the world, and encouraged the participation of non-Muslim Africans by promoting the idea that the rebellion was an uprising of the oppressed "Africans".
Unfortunately, the desired ethnic solidarity in Bahia was not achieved; The majority of the participants in the rebellion consisted of two ethnic groups: Nago and Hausa, although the two ethnic groups, Gigi and the Congo, participated in the struggle; Their numerical significance in the intifada was extremely limited. In fact, the presence of Nago's race prevailed, with the uprising often being conceived in the writings of historians as the Nago Revolution.
But Reiss denies in his book that the sons of race Nago are the core of the rebellion, stressing that Islam and race are interconnected factors; Where religion helped unite the diverse African ethnic groups, and a common race helped unite Africans from a variety of religious backgrounds.
Fearing that the entire state of Bahia would follow the example of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), rise up, revolt and independence, the authorities quickly sentenced four rebels to death, 16 to prison, eight to hard labor, and 45 to flogging. Then the municipal authorities deported two hundred surviving revolutionary leaders to Africa by ship across the Atlantic Ocean.
Reyes uses documentary evidence, including eyewitness accounts from Brazilian, French and English sources, to build a full account of the events of that period as possible. Then the author moves from the revolution itself to the various (religious, ethnic and social) affiliations that are interlinked with each other, and attract people of African descent in and around El Salvador, according to an article by an academic at the University of Texas researcher Michel Hatch.
The author says that the (Malian) Muslim rebels have "never been a threat" to ethnic and religious pluralism in Bahia, and confirms that there is no evidence to support the claim that religious "conquest" was the goal of the rebels, and the book reviews ethnic tensions within various African societies, especially among Africans who They were brought from their country, born in Brazil who formed a large part of the police, army and fishermen institutions who contributed to the suppression of the black rebellion.
News about the rebellion of the slaves was reported all over Brazil, and it reached the American and English press, and after that, enacted strict laws that impose censorship and more control over the slaves, and the penal laws included the possibility of executing executions in a rapid manner. In subsequent years, intense efforts were made to impose a transition to Catholicism and erase popular memory and passion for Islam. However, the African Muslim community was not wiped out overnight, and as late as 1910 there were close to a hundred thousand African Muslims living in Brazil, according to the author.
Many consider that this rebellion is the turning point of slavery in Brazil, and there were extensive discussions in the press about the end of the transatlantic slave trade, and while slavery existed for more than fifty years after the enslavement revolution, the slave trade was abolished in 1851, as slaves continued The influx to Brazil immediately after the rebellion, and this became a reason for widespread fear and turmoil among the Brazilian masters who were afraid that bringing more slaves would lead to the birth of a new uprising, and although it took more than 15 years, the slave trade in Brazil was eventually canceled, due This is partly due to the rebellion of 1835.
Although the writer considers that "Islam is not an ethnic religion", religion was an important element in the development of ethnic and cultural belonging, and in the final chapters of the book the author describes the reaction of government authorities, how the uprising was violently suppressed, and how the courts issued death sentences, some of them were commuted to flogging and imprisonment .
Thus, "The Rebellion of Slaves in Brazil" provides a wonderful historical example of the rebellion against slavery and racism in modern history, through a book based on the analysis of facts and the old archive and drawing lessons that may be useful in the time of contemporary protest.