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On arrival, the Muslims settled along the coast, engaging in trade.
The Shirazi intermarried with the local Bantu people resulting in the Swahili people, most of who converted to Islam.
Unlike West Africa where Islam was integrated to the local communities, the local Islam was ‘foreign’; the Arab-Muslims lived as if they were in the Middle East.
The primary concern for the early Muslims was trade with a few interested in propagating Islam.
Nevertheless, Islam grew through absorption of individuals into the newly established Afro-Arabic Muslim communities.There were no intermediary Africans to demonstrate that, adoption of a few Islamic institutions would not disrupt society.The spread of Islam to the interior was hampered by several factors: for instance, the nature of the Bantu society’s varied beliefs, and scattered settlements affected interior advancement.The tension surrounding the succession of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and the already established trade links between the Persian Gulf and the Swahili Coast were some of the factors leading to this development.Archaeological evidence attests to a thriving Muslim town on Manda Island by the Tenth Century AD.
In addition, the embracing of Islam by large portions of coastal tribes in the Nineteenth Century aided in its spread. The coming of the second wave of Europeans, in the Nineteenth Century, brought mixed fortunes to the coastal Muslims, their strong sense of pride and belonging was greatly diminished, with efforts being redirected to self adjustments.