Omar Ibn Said

Background

Omar Ibn Said, also known as Uncle Moreau and Prince Omeroh was born in Senegal in 1770. He was born in a wealthy family and went through a sound education of many years. He was captured during a conflict in 1807 and sold in the cross Atlantic slave trade and brought to US. He lived till the age of 94 and died as a slave in North Carolina.

He was supposed to have converted to Christianity in 1820 but recent research has shown that it is more complicated than that. He wrote various works in Arabic and they have Islamic inscriptions on them. It is supposed that though the circumstances did not allow, he continued to have belief in Islam through his life.

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Surat_al_Mulk

Why Famous

Omar Ibn Said is one of the rare slaves who were well educated and left written works by them that have been used by later researchers. He wrote fourteen manuscripts in Arabic including an autobiographical piece written in 1831. This was much after his ‘conversion’ to Christianity in 1820 but the work begins with Surah Al-Mulk of the Quran. He offers praise to the Prophet in it and uses the phrase for Jesus as used in the Quran.

He owned an Arabic Bible given to him by one of the Missionaries and has various notations on it written by him. There is an opinion that his belief in later life may have been ambiguous.