The Dyula (Dioula or Juula) are a Mande ethnic group inhabiting several West African countries, including the Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau.
Characterized as a highly successful merchant caste, Dyula migrants began establishing trading communities across the region in the fourteenth century. Since business was often conducted under non-Muslim rulers, the Dyula developed a set of theological principles for Muslim minorities in non-Muslim societies. Their unique contribution of long-distance commerce, Islamic scholarship and religious tolerance were significant factors to the peaceful expansion of Islam in West Africa.
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