Mestre Joao Grande


Truth, Liberation and Love

Jogo Bonito shirts drying off in Salvador da Bahia

UMMALES is a word we created combining two words, ummah, which is Arabic for community, and Malês, which comes from the Yoruban term for a black Muslim, Imalês. The Malês were responsible for the organization of the largest slave revolt in South America. Literacy of the Quran was instrumental in the planning of the insurrection. Messages were sent among each other in Arabic, and were indecipherable to the slave masters. The revolt united slaves from various African nations: Benin, Angola, and the Congo. Many were already Muslims, others converted in the Americas, while others were believers in the cause. The Revolt transpired over two days, January 24th and 25th of 1836 during the month of Ramadan on the holiest and most powerful night of the year, Lailat-al-Quadr. Unfortunately, the slave masters were tipped-off, and the revolt was squashed after much blood on both sides was spilled. The leaders of the revolt were publicly decapitated and mutilated to instill fear in the remaining slaves. As a result, thousands of Muslims were returned to Africa and Islam was suppressed to prevent any other uprisings. Unfortunately, there is no national holiday in Brasil celebrating the Muslim martyrs fight for freedom from their slave masters, and many people still do not know the islamic origins of Bahian culture, demonstrating that suppression of the religion still exists.

In the spirit of dissemination of the Truth, struggle for liberation, and love for everything beautiful, we honor our brothers with our concept, UMMALES.

UMMALES, is a creative co-operative bringing together lovers of Afro-Brazilian culture as it manifests itself in different art forms. UMMALES offers fair trade and sweat shop free products. We support our local community by donating part of the proceeds from our product sales to our community project, Projecto Zakat. Although, the project is still in its inception and development, the central theme of the project is the research and dissemination of information on the influence of Islamic tradition and mysticism on Afro-Brazilian culture and capoeira through education.