Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Abdur Rahman Ibrahima 1762-1869

Abdur Rahman Ibrahima ibn Sori

He was a young Fula prince who was captured and sold in slavery in 1788. He was born in the Timbo village of Guinea. He was brought to Mississippi in Natchez. He became quite famous in New Orleans for his eloquent speeches and petitions to free himself, his wife and his children.

Here's a more detailed description of his life.

"Abdur Rahman Ibrahima ibn Sori (1762-1829) was born in a village in Timbo Guinea. A Fulani prince and captain in his father’s army, he was kidnapped in 1788, at the age of 26, and sold to British slavers in the Gambia. Eventually sold to a Thomas Foster in Natchez, Mississippi, Abdur Rahman, who was fluent and literate in Arabic due to his royal Fulani upbringing, wrote to his family in 1826.

Sen. Thomas Reed received a copy of the letter from a journalist and forwarded it to the U.S. consul in Morocco. The sultan read it and requested Abdur Rahman’s release from John Quincy Adams, who in turn put pressure on Foster. Abdur Rahman eventually was freed at the age of 60. He promptly raised enough money to purchase the freedom of his wife, Isabella, and conducted a speaking tour until they could afford to return to Africa. Six weeks after arriving in his home continent, Abdur Rahman died from cholera. When Thomas Foster died in 1830, the American Colonization Project purchased two of Abdur Rahman’s children and five of his grandchildren, reuniting them with Isabella in Liberia. The Anacostia Museum exhibit includes an original hand-written autobiographical note and the al-Fatiha (opening of the Qur’an) in English and Arabic by Abdur Rahman.

Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford

A short movie trailer for the upcoming documentary on PBS

Unity Productions Foundation: synopsis of Ibrahima film

Drowned history of New Orleans--Islamonline article featuring the Muslim presence in the deep South and some mention of Abdur Rahman Ibrahima.

Early Islamic Influence in Louisiana

1 comment:

Hajja said...

As Salaamu Alaikum. It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the return to Allah of Shaykh Al Hajj Imam Hassan Ali Cisse (RA),first grandson of Shaykh Ibrahim Niass(RA), Chief Imam of the Grand Mosque in Medina-Baye, Kaolack Senegal, the preeminent leader of the Tariqa Tijaniyya and the Founder and Chairman of the African American Islamic Institute(AAII).
His passing is a great loss to all Muslims, but especially to African American Muslims for whom Shaykh Hassan (RA) has been our spiritual father and teacher since 1976.

Please note that the URL provided for the Tariqa Tijaniyya is non-functioning. Kindly replace it with

Ma Salaam,
Hajja Ashaki Taha-Cisse