Guidance (Uwongozi) by Sheikh al-Amin Mazrui: Selections from the First Swahili Islamic Newspaper

A Swahili-English Edition


Sheikh al-Amin Mazrui wrote his essays of this Guidance (Uwongozi) collection in Mombasa between 1930 and 1932, providing social critique and moral guidance to Kenya’s coastal Muslims during a period of their decline during British colonial rule. The essays were initially published as a series of double-sided pamphlets called Sahifa (The Page), the first Swahili Islamic newspaper. Inspired by contemporary debates of Pan-Islam and Islamic modernism, and with a critical eye on British colonialism, this leading East African modernist takes issue with his peers, in a sharply critical and yet often humorous tone. Al-Amin Mazrui was the first to publish Islamic educational prose and social commentary in Swahili. This bi-lingual edition makes fascinating reading for specialists and general readers.

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Kai Kresse, PhD (2002), SOAS, University of London, is Associate Professor of African and Swahili Studies at MESAAS, Columbia University, New York. He has published on Swahili thinkers and society, African philosophy, Islam in East Africa and Indian Ocean connections. His book Philosophizing in Mombasa appeared in 2007.

Sheikh al-Amin bin Ali Mazrui (1891-1947) was the most influential modernist Muslim thinker in East Africa in the 20th century.
Alamin Mazrui and Hammad Muhammad Kasim Mazrui

Preface and Acknowledgments
Kai Kresse and Hassan Mwakimako

A Note on the Swahili Text and the Translation

Introduction: Guidance and Social Critique: Mombasa and Coastal Muslims through the Eyes of Sheikh al-Amin Mazrui, 1930–1932
Kai Kresse


Swahili Text and English Translation
Kai Kresse and Hassan Mwakimako

Appendix: a Sahifa text: ‘Dini katika Skuli’ (Religion in School)
Jasmin Mahazi (transliteration), Abdilatif Abdalla (transliteration), and Liese Hoffmann (translation)

All interested in the history and society of the Swahili coast around 1930, all students and researchers of Swahili, of trans-regional Islam, and of colonial history in Africa and beyond.
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