Islamisation of Liteta in Chibombo District in Central Province of Zambia

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Hanjoomo, Charles Aishah
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This study set out to explore reasons for conversion to Islam by the people of Liteta in Chibombo District in Central Province of Zambia. It aimed at establishing a variety of Islam found in Liteta, identifying the people converting to Islam, and establishing the extent of Islamisation of Liteta area. The study was guided by Humphrey Fisher’s theory of African Conversion. The study employed a qualitative design where face to face interviews and observations were used as methods of collecting primary data. Purposive sampling was used to select the participants who possessed the much needed data for the study. The sample size comprised a total number of thirty (30) participants who included one Chief, five headmen (three men and two women), five different Christian churches’ leaders, five teachers, eight new converts and five non-Muslims. Data analysis was done by extracting meaning from themes emerging from the field notes. Ethical issues were also considered when collecting and analysing data. The findings of the study showed that the variety of Islam found in Liteta is Sunni. The study established five categories of people that are converting to Islam in Liteta. These include the aged and the poor, the retirees, the widows and widowers, the youth and the orphans, and subsistence farmers. The findings also revealed seven reasons that led the people of Liteta to embrace Islam. These include; poverty, Islam’s tolerance of polygamy, extended family system, Islamic dress, promotion of good diet and good health as well as Islamic religious festivals. Finally, the study established the extent of Islam in Liteta which was found to be widely spread with a concentration in the Western part of the area. The total number of converts was reported to be between three hundred and fifty, and four hundred and fifty (350 to 450). Utilising Humphrey Fisher’s theory of African Conversion the researcher concluded that Muslim converts of Liteta are at the mixing stage where they are combining their old traditional beliefs with the new Islamic faith. And because these converts were Christians, they can be said to mix Islam and Christianity as well. From the findings of the study, the study also did recommend that other scholars should research more on Islam found in other Districts or Provinces of Zambia, the categories of people converting to Islam together with causal factors for converting to Islam in order to establish spread of Islam in Zambia.
Muslims-Liteta, Zambia , Islam-Zambia-Lusaka-21st Century