In ancient times, Nubians practiced a mixture of traditional religion and Egyptian religion. Prior to the spread of Islam, many Nubians practiced Christianity. Beginning in the eighth century, Islam arrived in Nubia, though Christians and Muslims (primarily Arab merchants at this period) lived peacefully together.
Ancient Nubian religion
Amun appears to be the major deity worshipped in Nubia after the Egyptian conquest of the New Kingdom. Considered to be a national and universal god, he became the protector of Kushite kingship, spread through the religious conversion of the Kushite elite to Egyptian religious beliefs.
Nubian sovereign religion in the fifth century CE was an amalgamation of Classical Sudanese and Egyptian traditions, Meroitic imperial culture, Christian traditions indigenous to Coptic Egypt, and Roman military piety.
Nubia and Ancient Egypt had periods of both peace and war. It is believed, based on rock art, that Nubian rulers and early Egyptian pharaohs used similar royal symbols. There was often peaceful cultural exchange and cooperation, and marriages between the two did occur.
Ancient Nubia was reached by Coptic Christianity by the 2nd century. The Coptic Church was later influenced by Greek Christianity, particularly during the Byzantine era.
Nubia is described as a region rich in gold, bdellium and onyx in Genesis 2:11. This marks the southwestern boundary of Eden, a vast well-watered region that was bounded on the northeast by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The red area is the likely extent of Biblical Eden.
Through their shared history, Egyptians and Nubians also came to worship the same chief god, Amun, who was closely allied with kingship and played an important role as the two civilizations vied for supremacy.
Polytheism was widespreaded in most of ancient African and other regions of the world, before the introduction of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. An exception was the short-lived monotheistic religion created by Pharaoh Akhenaten, who made it mandatory to pray to his personal god Aton (see Atenism).
Christianity in Ethiopia is the largest religion in the country, the Ethiopian community at large, and dates back to the early medieval Kingdom of Aksum, when the King Ezana first adopted the faith in 330 AD. This makes Ethiopia one of the first regions in the world to officially adopt Christianity.
Christianity spread South from the North of Egypt to Nubia (modern day Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan) some two hundred years after the collapse of the powerful Nile Valley kingdom of Meroe in the 4th century AD. It was brought by traders from Egypt and by travelers from Aksum.
Nubians conquered Egypt in the 25th Dynasty. Egyptians called the Nubian region “Ta-Seti,” which means “The Land of the Bow,” a reference to Nubian archery skills. 2040-1640 BCE), Egypt began expanding into Nubian territory in order to control trade routes, and to build a series of forts along the Nile.
King Piankhi is considered the first African Pharaoh to rule Egypt from 730 BC to 656 BC.
For the next century, the region known as Nubia — home to civilizations older than the dynastic Egyptians, skirting the Nile River in what is today northern Sudan and southern Egypt — was paid relatively little attention.
Islam spread to Sudan from the north, after the Islamic conquest of Egypt under the government of Amr ibn al-Aas. Nubia had already been Christianized, also from Egypt, hence the old Nubian church followed Coptic Christianity.