Everyday Islam in Kumasi: Devout Lay Men and Women in Daily Life

by Gracia Clark

The Muslim men and women in this gallery live and work in Kumasi, Ghana. They are not professional scholars or teachers, but they are deeply interested in following the principles of Islam. Their interpretations of the requirements and values of their faith influence their behavior at home, with their neighbors and at work as traders and tailors. Muslims are a minority in their city and country, where Christianity is the dominant religious affiliation and indigenous spiritual practices remain popular. The broader community sometimes neglects their interests or discriminates against them, but they continue trying to live a virtuous life and to expand their understanding of the Koran through study groups and discussions. The idea of this website appealed to these individuals as an opportunity to correct distorted perceptions of Islam that they hear are commonly held by foreigners in the United States and Europe. By seeing and hearing their explanations, you are making their efforts worthwhile.

Featured Interview
Sister Habiba
"Not Every Woman Can Do This Work"
Highlighted Document
Palaver Held at the Central Market, Kumasi (October 13, 1946)
This document shows high-ranking palace officials mediating a conflict between male traders from Gao (Mali) and Asante women traders.
The commercial importance of Kumasi encourages both men and women to trade, and many moved to Kumasi for that purpose.