Analyzing Mansa Musa's Pilgrimage Essay

1191 words - 5 pages

Mecca, a city of Saudi Arabia is a sacred place where the Muslims annual holy gathering called the Hajj takes place. It is believed that a Muslim is supposed to take a visit at this holy place at least once in his or her lifetime. Being a Muslim Mansa Musa an empire of the medieval kingdom of Mali also made such an important visit to Mecca during his reign. On his pilgrimage it is said that he carried a lot of gold with him, and he spent it lavishly. Though, the gold was spent in such a way, the result of his pilgrimage was of great significance to his kingdom. It brought in a great change to his empire. But still his lavish spending of gold brought a negative impact in Egypt. This paper will analyze Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca by discussing its advantages and its disadvantages. I will start by discussing the advantages that this pilgrimage brought into the Malian Kingdom. These advantages were the recognition of Mali in other countries which contributed to trade, the strengthening of Islam and the promotion of education. After that I will discuss about its disadvantages which are spending gold at the expense of Malians and also the impact that it brought to Egypt’s gold trade.
To begin, with Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage is considered as one of the greatest in the medieval times. Rose E. Dunn (2004) has emphasized this view by stating that “[T] he hajj of Mansa Musa sum’s up Mali’s important place among the kingdoms of Africa and Asia in Ibn Battuta’s time” (p. 113). Obviously his pilgrimage to Mecca was really important to his kingdom. From his pilgrimage and the spending of gold made Mali to be recognized outside of Africa as one of the richest and greatest kingdoms of that time. This recognition may have led to the establishment of diplomatic relationships with Europeans and the Middle Eastern countries, which may have fostered its gold trade. From those relationships Mali was able to make new trading ties that could have increased his empire’s wealth. Dunn (2004) has noted that Mansa Musa’s reign came at a period that the relations with the Muslim merchants and with the states of North Africa were particularly important owing to the strong market for gold (p. 116). Thus, from his pilgrimage he must have exposed Mali to these Muslim merchants and the North Africans, in so doing they may have made new trading partners. Also by having many trading relations, it may mean that the kingdom of Mali’s gold trade may have been strengthened. From those trade revenues Mali became a very prosperous kingdom.
In addition to trade, the other significant thing that Musa’s pilgrimage brought to his kingdom was the strengthening of Islam. It has been stated that “Mansa Musa was naturally a great favorite of Muslim opinion, both in Mali and the wider Islamic world” (Dunn, 2004, p. 116). So Musa being a leader who was committed to Islam helped in spreading and strengthening this religion in his kingdom. Despite the fact that Islam was introduced in Mali...

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