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Mansa Musa, The richest person in History, Timbuktu University & The Mali Islamic Empire

The Mali Muslim Kingdom – The Greatest Muslim Empire
• The Mandika people had a Kingdom. Their leader
conquered large areas and named himself ‘Mansa’
meaning king of Kings.
• The region was known for salt and an abundance of
gold mines
• At its peak it had more than 400 cities
• Mansa Musa (1280- 1337) – was the most popular,
strongest and religious out of all the Mansas, he
ruled from 1312-1337
• He came to throne after his brother led an unsuccessful expedition of the Americas
• During the 1300s only the Mongol Empire was bigger than the Mali Empire
• He was an Islamic scholar of Quran and Maliki Fiqh
• It is his famed ‘Hajj in 1324’ which portrays his character and the power and wealth of the Mali Kingdom, his hajj journey lasted 2 years – 1324-1326
• He embarked on the Hajj journey with 60,000 people, including soldiers, officials and
families. 12,000 of them carried 2 grams of gold, 80 Camels and other animals were also loaded with bags full of gold
• Musa donated gold on the way to Hajj
• He built a Masjid every Friday
• The effects of his gold donations was seen economically in Arabia and Africa, although he
intended to eliminate poverty by large gold distribution, he instead created a massive
inflation in Egypt and beyond
• The Value of gold depreciated for 12 years
• Ibn Batuta (1304-1368) wrote after visiting Mamlook Egypt 10 years later that ‘he can see
the economy hasn’t recovered yet’
• Musa bought some gold back and even borrowed from the Mamlook government of Egypt in
order to restore the economy
• Mansa Musa is regarded by most historians to be the most richest person in history

His return Journey & Timbuktu university (Sankore Madrasah)
• In short Mansa Musa executed ‘a massive brain draining’ on his
return from Hajj, hiring and inviting the best Islamic scholars,
scientists and engineers who were from diverse backgrounds,
from Persia to Andalusia
• He established one of the greatest learning centres of History –
the Timbuktu University
• He brought Architects like Abu Ishaq – from Muslim Andalus to
build the Islamic City
• He was extremely generous and patronised scholars and scholarship, giving
them plot of lands and special privileges and permits
• He also sponsored African Muslims to study in the Maghrib and Arabia
• It had 25,000 students and
an estimated 1 Million
books and manuscripts
• Most Masjids and
Madrasahs are recognised
as world heritage sites

(Episode 10 – Islamic History & Civilisation – Muhammad Rayhan, Enam Farhan)


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