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The Barghawata still believed that Muhammad was a prophet, but simply the prophet of the Arabs.
Barghawata Islam differed vastly from “Arab” Islam in ritual.
Their prayers occurred at no set time, and there was no call to prayer. In addition to modified Muslim practices, we also see hints of Judaism and paganism in their religious practice, such as their taboo surrounding eating eggs and chickens, and the belief that the saliva of the prophet contained baraka, or, roughly translated, blessedness.
This new Barghawata religion is wildly different from Muslim orthodoxy, but it still clearly considers itself a form of Islam.
Many Muslim practices were maintained, but somehow adjusted.
Instead of fasting during the month of Ramadan, they fasted during Rajab; they assembled for collective prayer on Thursday, not Friday, and prayed an additional five times at night.
Not only did they enjoy freedom from outside political interference and Arab domination, one of their kings, Yunus (ruled 842-884), attempted to assert Berber cultural and religious autonomy by introducing a Berberized version of Islam.
We have seen how the Barghawata’s new Islam was a break with orthodoxy, yet did not strive to be a completely new religion.
In contrast, a typical Muslim would not go hunting for Muhammad’s legitimacy in the Bible or Torah.
This is our first indication that, while the Barghawata wanted to make a clean break with Islam as it was practiced by the Arabs, they did not seek to abandon Islam altogether. Enquire of anything which will master tongues in what they say.
However, this does not explain why this particular Berber kingdom, at this particular point in history, decided to introduce a radically different version of Islam.
When we examine the Barghawata’s political independence and durability as a regime, it seems only natural that they would be the Berber kingdom to seek a cultural emancipation from the Arabs.