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Hajj Omar ibn Sayyid

Hajji Omar ibn Sayyid
(1770 – 1864)

Hajji Omar ibn Sayyid was a writer and Islamic scholar born in present day Futa Toro, Senegal, located between the Senegal and Gambia Rivers. Educated in Bundu, he later made a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajji) before being enslaved in 1807, and sold in Charleston, South Carolina USA.

Although Sayyid converted to Christianity around 1820, many modern scholars believe he continued to be a practicing Muslim, based on dedications to Muhammad that are written in his Bible. While enslaved, he wrote his autobiography in 1831, as well as a series of works on history and theology. Sayyid, a Fula, also wrote fourteen letters in Arabic. He often corresponded with another enslaved Senegambian Lahmen Kebby (his story is a part of this series).

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill houses some of his writings. Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina has archived his letters. He died with no known relatives

Hajji Omar ibn Sayyid
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