About 10 per cent of the African population is still practicing some form of traditional religion today. African Traditional Religion has been evolving; there is in it the element of continuity as well as discontinuity. The main ones are AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS, CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM. Introduction. In that sense, perhaps these ancestors include the very Prophets of Africa that we are seeking. ‘If your parents take care of you up to the time you cut your teeth, you take care of them when they lose theirs’, Akan proverb (Ghana). The prominence of ancestors is everywhere in Africa, even amongst the followers of Christianity and Islam. Most of Africa's organized religions were brought to the country from Europeans and other foreign settlers. About the Author: Fazal Ahmad is the Editor for the ‘World Religions’ section of The Review of Religions. It is clear that Africa has been a cradle of civilization for millennia, and that as mentioned in the Qur’an (10:48), the various tribes across Africa have not been devoid of prophecy and revelation. African religions are very diverse. His justice is true and he will examine your feet, he will know how to find every stain, whether visible or hidden under the skin; if you have fallen on the way, he will know. That is the case concerning issues about Africa and its religious beliefs. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this. It is not easy to date how far back these religious systems go, but as an example, the Bantu people of Central Africa are believed to have emerged from Cameroon and Nigeria around 1000 BCE and then spread in the region. In Africa you are automatically born into your African Traditional Religion, unlike Christianity and Islam where you have to be converted. There are also codes of ethics and morals that are entrenched in these rural communities. The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions . 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For the continent of Africa, were those people devoid of religion until the Abrahamic faiths came to the continent in the last two millennia, or were they also the beneficiaries of revelation which would have impacted their cultures and behaviours? It is often evident that adults, children and other family members have an established system, as do more senior figures in a village or community. The four linguistic phylums spoken in Africa are: Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoi-San. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. The majority of Africans are adherents of Christianity or Islam. African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. 3 Leo Frobenius, The Voice of Africa, Vol. Other great empires such as Great Zimbabwe built by descendants of the Shona people had amazing architecture depicting their power, but also had what are thought to be temple complexes before the advent of Islam and Christianity through trade [6]. When addressing religion in Africa, scholars often speak of a “triple heritage,” that is the triple legacy … Like tribal religions from other parts of the world …   Wikipedia, Traditional African religion — Main article: Religion in Africa An early 20th century Igbo medicine man in Nigeria, West Africa. Westerners, and even most misinformed Africans, are wont to use derogatory words such as primitive, idolatry, paganism etc. Some examples of African traditional religions include the Yoruba and Igbo of Nigeria, the Serer of Senegal, the Akan of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and Vodun, a religion practiced by the Gbe peoples. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. The main difference is that the revelations were never written down, and have therefore evolved through verbal transmission from generation to generation. African Traditional Religion is now widely taught in African universities, but its identity remains essentially negative: African belief that is not Christianity or Islam. Elements of the traditional religion that a Christian would need to consider when sharing the Christian faith/gospel with a person from this community. About 10 per cent of the African population is still practicing some form of traditional religion today. In Benin, the ritual to achieve the devotion of the Vodun ancestors led to what is now the popularised Voodoo traditions of Haiti in the Caribbean [10]. The great faiths of the world have a religious text to refer to, and yet, our observance of religious people is often that their behaviour does not reflect their teachings and faith. They are like indigenous African religions in that they are preoccupied with healing. The traditional religions indigenous to Africa have, for most of their existence, been orally rather than scripturally transmitted. There is also a Hadith [4] saying of the Holy Prophet (sa)] recording a conversation in which Prophet  Muhammad (sa) when asked how many Prophets had been sent to mankind, answered that there were 124,000! Pour une vision d ensemble des religions en Afrique, voir Religions en Afrique. to tag the traditional religion of Africans and believe […] In many ways East and Southern African Traditional Religions, which lack professional Priests, share common elements which make them quite distinct from West and North African religions, where professional Priests play an important role in traditional religious practices. Traditional African religion has common themes such as a Creator or High God, positive ancestor influences as well as tricksters, and an afterlife with spirit worlds. Les religions traditionnelles africaines sont l ensemble des …   Wikipédia en Français, African religions — Indigenous religions of the African continent. In this way, we might find traces of the prophets and revelations given to the tribes of Africa. Eliade mentioned that around 800 languages are spoken on the continent [5]. There are common beliefs in Africa although the continent is a large with many different cultures and The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. Rain will come and again the sun will shine, and over it all passes the eyes of God. Ancestors are also worshipped for this purpose, and are believed to provide a link to their living relatives. 2 E. B. Idowu, African Traditional Religion, S.C.M., 1973, p.87. In contrast to the indigenous religious systems of Africa, which are generated and sustained by the community, Christian prophetic movement s are organized around an individual. Sometimes this will also be manifested in a move to towns with communal responsibility and shared worship from traditional pastoral herders who would have moved across the region just as the Tuareg do to this day. He also serves as the Global Operations Director with Humanity First, and is responsible for poverty alleviation projects in 54 countries, mainly in Africa, South Asia and Central America. African traditional religions are the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of African peoples including various traditional religions. OK. the RELIGIONS of African peoples have developed within various African CULTURES without being influenced by major world religions such as CHRISTIANITY, HINDUISM or ISLAM. Understanding the Creator is intrinsic in mankind, and not learned, as the following Ghanaian proverb highlights: ‘God needs no pointing out to a child’, Akan Proverb (Ghana). So normally we refer to African Traditional Religions in the plural, and it’s simply summarized or written in notation form as “ATR” – African Traditional Religion. They are folk religions, and combine different beliefs.In general, people in the cities confess to either Christianity or Islam. Then there is the characteristic of the Creator being omnipresent and seeing all of our actions and thoughts: ‘God has nothing hid from him’, Ovambo Proverb (Angola), ‘The sun shines and sends its burning rays down upon us, the moon rises in its glory. When Ludwig got to It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional religions of West Africa and Roman Catholicism.Adherents are known as Vodouists (French: vodouisants) or "servants of the spirits" (Haitian Creole: sèvitè).Vodou focuses on the veneration of deities known as lwa (or loa). It is inconceivable that if ‘every people’ received Messengers from God, that this would not include all of the different tribes across Africa. The Yoruba of Nigeria record that Obatala creates the physical body, but the greater Olodumare who sits in the heavens, blows the spirit into the body [5]. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on. There must have been many Messengers that we are not aware of, but whose legacy would be imprinted in the changes in behaviour and culture resulting from their teachings. Traditional African religion is still popular throughout Africa and stems from the beliefs of Central and West African ancestors. Just as the concept of Satan is familiar to the Abrahamic faiths, in Africa they talk about the Trickster, and ceremonies would seek to ward off the impact of the Trickster and evil spirits. Pour une vision d ensemble des religions en Afrique, voir Religions en Afrique. 5. Africa is a massive continent with diverse religious traditions, to the extent that within the same tradition there have been variations. Les religions traditionnelles africaines sont l ensemble des …   Wikipédia en Français, Religions négro-africaines — Religions traditionnelles africaines  Cet article concerne les religions africaines traditionnelles. Over time, the concept of ‘home’ may be hazy, but knowledge that this is not the end means that people accept their position in society, accept trials and tribulations such as plagues and floods, and seem to be less inclined to hoarding worldly possessions. There is also a recognition that time on earth is limited, and that there is a greater purpose: ‘We are on a market trip on earth: whether we fill our baskets or not, once the time is up, we go home’. There are numerous indigenous faiths still found throughout Africa. Many of these diverse faith traditions have some characteristics in common. Mbiti regards African Traditional Religion(s) (ATR(s)) as monotheism and as a praeparatio evangelica, and maintains that the Christian God is the same as the God worshipped in ATR(s). But before those two religions arrived, there were several traditional religions practiced. These faiths are usually confined to local areas and tribes, and are passed down from one generation to the next, mostly through oral tradition. For example, the song mentions that the Judge will see all stains whether visible or hidden; similar to the notion that God can see all of your actions and your intentions. That is, African traditional religion or African traditional religions (Mbiti 1969, 1–2; Idowu 1973, 103; Booth 1977, 3; Ikenga-Metu 1987, 19; Alolo 2007; Ejizu n.d). Generally, they are oral rather than scriptural, include a belief in a deity, belief in ghosts, ancestor worship, use of magic, and traditional medicine. The most important thing is that in the new South Africa religion and spirituality are used to create greater understanding and harmony rather than to divide people as was done in the past. It is often combined with elements of Christianity and Islam. Trained in the new method of \"fieldwork\"—which entailed observing participants and speaking the language of the community—these anthropologists worked for their governments. Then among them were some whom Allah guided and among them were some who became deserving of ruin.’ [2], ‘And We sent some Messengers whom we have already mentioned to thee and some Messengers whom we have not mentioned to thee.’ [3]. There are many behaviours that are expected of people. Les religions traditionnelles africaines sont l ensemble des …   Wikipédia en Français, Religions tribales africaines — Religions traditionnelles africaines  Cet article concerne les religions africaines traditionnelles. Vodun gave rise to a number of different diaspora faiths, throughout the world collectively known as “Vo… The Holy Qur’an mentions that all tribes (including those across Africa) have received revelation and prophets: ‘And for every people there is a Messenger. Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people. Over millennia, this is sometimes distorted into worship of natural resources such as rivers and mountains, but even then, there is always a recognition of a greater power. They were organised in tribes with a hierarchy, and each tribe had a chief or king with a religious legitimacy [6]. Traditional/Indigenous African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of African people including the various traditional religions and customs. In Africa, the term ancestors does not cover all predecessors, but only those of high rank and achievement, who act as mediators to access divine guidance and favour. The distinct identity of African American culture is rooted in the… …   Wikipedia, Religions africaines — Religions traditionnelles africaines  Cet article concerne les religions africaines traditionnelles. Traditional Religions The religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa are Christianity and Islam. In this song, there are similarities to the Day of Judgement of the Abrahamic faiths. This is not just seen with parents who are treated with respect and kindness, but also with teachers who are shown the utmost respect. Traditional African religions are the traditions of the religious groups in Africa.After Christianity and Islam, they are the third-biggest religious group in Africa.These religions still stick to their traditions. Sometimes tribes refer to lots of deities especially from an animist perspective, but they almost always recognise a High God or Creator. Since it is a religion practised by living persons today, changes are to be expected. The introduced religions of Islam (in northern Africa) and Christianity (in southern Africa) are now the continent s major religions, but traditional religions still play an important role,… …   Universalium, We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. But it is also noticeable that the major world religions all seem to originate from the Middle East and South East Asia. Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. This Yoruba proverb from Nigeria illustrates the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated yourself: ‘One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.’, (Yoruba Proverb, Nigeria). Man generally is given to misconception, especially in the midst of conflicting ideas or contending issues. Some examples of devotional masks and outfits are shown below (images courtesy of the author unless otherwise attributed): Examples of masks and ceremonial outfits from the Bassam area of Ivory Coast, Examples of masks and statuettes made by craftsmen on the Gambia-Senegal border. AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS: translation. The main religious divisions in Africa follow geographic lines and are North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and South Africa. Having established that a more powerful Creator sits above us and sees everything that we do, there is also a recognition that the Creator is also our benefactor, planning and providing for us: ‘As you plan for somebody, so God plans for you’, Igbo Proverb, (Nigeria). African traditional religions stress healing and the spiritual well-being of people and are usually expressed through dance and music. Thus, strictly speaking, religion in its pristine form is no longer in existence. History of African traditional religion Christianity came to Africa from the outside, it happened, as the legend says, in 42, then the Orthodox Coptic Church was formed by the Apostle Mark. The majority of Africans are adherents of Christianity or Islam. There are hundreds of major tribes across Africa with their own languages and distinct cultures, but broadly they are grouped into the following families: The locations of the various tribes are shown in the following map: Across African tribes, there is a recurring theme of an ultimate superior Creator in the heavens, as illustrated through the following proverbs and prayers passed down: ‘Nzame (God) is on high, man is on the earth’, Fang Tradition (Gabon), ‘God, you are in the heavens, you are the only one’, Anuak Prayer (Sudan), ‘The earth is wide, but God is the elder’, Akan Proverb (Ghana). Whether you be in your home, whether you be on the water, whether you rest in the shade of a tree in the open, here is your Master.’. African Traditional Religion is a huge part of its believers’ culture; it’s one of the main parts of culture in Africa. An example is among the Dinka tribe in South Sudan (Enc. Today, around 10 percent of the African population still practice some form of traditional religion. Often good behaviour is highlighted in proverbs, such as this Kenyan proverb about the virtue of being humble: ‘It is humility that exalts one and favours him against his friends’, Kipsigis Proverb (Kenya). Nothing is hidden from Him. Britannica 2020). So when their Messenger comes, it is judged between them with equity, and they are not wronged.’ [1], ‘And We did raise among every people a Messenger, preaching: “Worship Allah and shun the Evil One”. The Egyptians of north Africa had a clear concept of a day of judgement and life after death as described in their ‘Book of the Dead’. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic, and traditional medicine. The challenge is to study faith, proverbs, traditions and mythology across Africa to identify the fragments of religion passed down as oral traditions and mythology in the great cultures of the continent. Pour une vision d ensemble des religions en Afrique, voir Religions en Afrique. Abrahamic religions are widespread throughout Africa. It was also esti… Again the reverence for ancestors stems from the same concept of social order that is seen throughout African life. More than 100 million Africans still adhere to the traditional African religions. In Africa, especially with traditional rural culture, the concept of respect for elders is very strong. Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. African religions also share many ideas with world religions such as Judaism and Buddhism. Abrahamic religions are widespread throughout Africa. At the end of the examination by the Judge, if the person has no stains, they are joyous just as someone would be if they are destined for heaven. Healers, PROPHETS and other RITUAL specialists play an important role in these religions although not all have people easily identified as PRIESTS. There are similar accounts hidden away in African culture, such as this song from Benin: ‘At the gates of the land of the dead you will pass before a searching Judge. They have both spread and replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. The first academic studies of African traditional religions were written in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries by Muslim and European scholars. Like tribal religions from other parts of the world … Pour une vision d ensemble des religions en Afrique, voir Religions en Afrique. The possessed are referred to as “horsemen,” because they are … Les religions traditionnelles africaines sont l ensemble des …   Wikipédia en Français, Religions tribales de l'Afrique noire — Religions traditionnelles africaines  Cet article concerne les religions africaines traditionnelles. 2. African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. The World Book Encyclopediahas estimated that in 2002 Christians formed 40% of the continent's population, with Muslims forming 45%. Ceremonies and rituals involve the veneration of ancestors and heroes through the use of masks, chanting and drumming in order to have an active dialogue with intermediaries, just as we see with Shaman in other parts of the world. African traditional religion— African traditional religions, also referred to as African indigenous religions or African tribal religions, is a term referring to a variety of religions indigenous to the continent of Africa. Travelling around Africa, it is clear that people are comfortable with a social order that has been in place since antiquity. 3 And similar to this was the dialogue that took place between Edwin Smith, who had gone out as a missionary to Africa, and Emil Ludwig, an eminent biographer. [1] …   Wikipedia, AFRICAN RELIGIONS —    although some books speak about African religion it is clear that there are many religions in Africa. And in the 2nd century, a new religion became popular in Egypt, as well as in Ethiopia and Eritrea. There is also a common theme of the High God having created the world, and then withdrawn to allow humans to work and flourish, but also to suffer illness and misfortune. Yet certain aspects of African faiths differ from those of most world religions. Similarly, when visiting a village, there is normally a set of customs to first seek permission from the village chief and declaring your mission before being allowed to engage with other members of the village. Traditional African religion is very popular and arrived here with our North and West African ancestors. Among the tribes, they will often have statues or use mask ceremonies to access secondary divinities or intermediaries between humans and the High God. To understand the issue one must go back to the beginnings of anthropology in the 19th century and follow its evolution (see 19th-Century Background). Evaluation of the impact American or European policy has had on Native American or African Tribal Religion beliefs and practices. Although Africa is represented as countries through the political and colonial influences of the last century, in fact there are many more distinct tribes in Africa, many stretching across multiple country boundaries. Haitian Vodou is an African diasporic religion that developed in Haiti between the 16th and 19th centuries. Their studies avoided describing African cultures in indigenous terms. These proverbs show an understanding of a superior Creator who is also on a different physical plane to mankind, often depicted as being in the heavens. 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