ACHIEVEMENTS OF MAI IDRIS ALOOMA
Kanem Borno Empire had many Mais who contributed greatly to the development of the Empire in various. In this post, I am going to analyze the Achievements Mai Idris Alooma made in Kanem Borno Empire.
It was during the reign of Mai Idris Alooma that Kanem Borno reached its Zenith. He was active at home as a solider, administrator and Islamic personality, while in foreign affairs was a skilled diplomat and negotiator, corresponding with the major Islamic powers of the day. The achievements of Mai Idris Alooma are as follows:
1. To enhance military efficiency and to facilitate the transport of the armies across the waterways of the Chad Basin, Mai Idris Alooma was credited with his remarkable innovations of a fleet of large boats capable of carrying great numbers of troops and their animals was constructed. Idris Alooma increased the both the mobility and then the striking capacity of his army.
2. Mai Idris Alooma’s another remarkable political innovation was his strategy to use other states form a protective shield around his Empire because these friendly states, in solidarity, can help repel attacks on the Kanuri Empire. He encouraged the growth of small friendly states around the borders of the Empire which can be interpreted as a precautionary measure to provide a buffer region between the Metropolitan provinces and potential enemies. This was a high sense of diplomatic policy; which helped to fortify the security of any state, and was also a form of alliance against any hostile state.
3. During the reign of Idris Alooma immorality was stamped out in Ngazagarmu.
4. Mai Idris Alooma during his reign forbade the enslavement of Muslims captured in wars.
5. On Mai Idris Alooma pilgrimage to Mecca, he paid for the construction of a hostel for Kanuri pilgrims in the holy city itself.
6. With regard to civil affairs, ibn Fatuwa, the renowned Islamic scholar and cleric who was also the chronicler of this celebrated Mai, relates that Idris Alooma built brick mosques to supersede those of reeds in Ngazagarmu.
7. Mai Idris Alooma encouraged the spread of Islam in Kanem Borno. He was a pious Muslim who saw the spread of Islam as a religious duty and a political necessity. He encouraged strict adherence to the tenets of Islam that led to the growth of Borno as a major center of Islamic learning in West Africa.
8. During the reign of Mai Idris Alooma, he imported firearms from Tripoli and Turkey. These helped to fortify the army of Borno. It gave the army an advantage over their enemies in the Sudan. Also, Idris Alooma being the first to import firearms from North Africa, diplomatic relations was maintained with the states of North Africa.
9. Adding to his achievements and contributions, Mai Idris Alooma hired Turkish musketeers to train his solders in an effective use of those revolutionary weapons. This made the Empire to have corps of gunmen who probed to be especially valuable in the prosecution of siege warfare as well as on open battle.
10. Mai Idris Alooma is credited with the development of the dominance of the trade routes through Bilma form North Africa represented another landmark development that had both political and socio-economic relevance in the second phase of the Empire. From this direction were obtained not only luxuries for the comfort and prestige of the court, but also valuable supplies of war-horses and camels that enabled the Kanuri to build the most formidable war machine in the central Sudan.
11. Mai Idris Alooma initiated a skillful idea in the area of giving military support to a friendly states to harass another state hostile on Borno. He did not use naked force all the time. One example was the support he gave to the Kotoko, the neighbors of the Telala, to harass them with the continual incursion with their boats until the Telala retreated into the swamps of the Lake Chad. With this tactic, Idris Alooma also ordered the Kelwafi to continually invade the territory of the Tuaregs until the Tuaregs weed forced to make peace. All these were strategies that lent weight to the political development of Kanem Borno because without the suppression of external attacks, internal peace cannot be guaranteed.
12. There were numerous foreign elements who came to visit the Kanuri Empire and this was in the reign of Mai Idris Alooma. Turkish adventures and numerous North African scholars were also attracted to the court where thereby gained a cosmopolitan character. It is most probable that because the influence of the foreigners who were Muslims that Idris Alooma attempted to bring the Empire more into line with other Islamic lands. These reduced the influence of “ada” (customary law) and emphasized the sharia (Islamic law).
13. In the reign of Mai Idris Alooma, he made a policy to remove the administration of the law court from the control of the title holders which led to the appointment of Muslim Qadis (Muslim magistrates) to the court of local chiefs. These Qadis saw that judgments and penalties were those approved by Muslim law and were not based on customary and arbitrary procedures. It was Idris Alooma who made the reform to ensure that Islamic law was genuinely applied in the trial of civil and criminal cases.
In conclusion, Mai Idris Alooma during contributed immensely to the growth and development of Kanem Borno Empire that his good deeds cannot be forgotten easily.
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