These regions have since the eighth century A.D. been a stronghold of Moslem unorthodoxy–a remote area where the Zenatian Berber tribes, who embraced the doctrines of the Kharijites or “seceders” from the Khalif Ali at the battle of Siffin, have been able to maintain even to present day a distinctive social organization.
It would appear, for instance, from the geographer Yacubi, A.D. 891, that the “fathers” of the medieval slave trade between Chad region and the Mediterranean were merchants from Basra and Kufa and Khorasan–Wahabites–who settled in Southern Fezzan.
Hence, no doubt, the reason why the Tomagheri Teda are commonly called by Bornu writers, “Beni Wahba,” and why in Bornu itself the leading hierarchs were called, as among the M’zab, “Tolba.”
From Edrisi we learn that the Zaghawa Berbers (who towards A.D.900 ruled Kanem) were fused and influenced by other Berbers called “Sadrata.” From Dr. Mercier’s work it seems fairly clear that the word “Sadrata,” hitherto unexplained and the reading even doubted, were Kharijite Berbers of the Wargla region, who, owing to one or other of the constant schisms, had gone south and settled among the Zaghawa of Kanem.
Source: Journal of the African Society, Volume 22 By African Society
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