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Swahili Poetry of Commitment by Ustadh Mahmoud Mau
The present volume is a pioneering collection of poetry by the outstanding Kenyan poet, intellectual and imam Ustadh Mahmmoud Mau (born 1952) from Lamu island, once an Indian Ocean hub, now on the edge of the nation state. By means of poetry in Arabic script, the poet raises his voice against social ills and injustices troubling his community on Lamu. The book situates Mahmoud Mau’s oeuvre within transoceanic exchanges of thoughts so characteristic of the Swahili coast. It shows how Swahili Indian Ocean intellectual history inhabits an individual biography and writings while also portraying a unique African Muslim thinker and his poetry in the local language, which has so often been neglected as major site for critical discourse in Islamic Africa. The authors’ approaches highlight the relevance of local epistemologies as archives for understanding the relationship between reform Islam and local communities in contemporary Africa.
The selected poetry is clustered around the following themes: jamii: societal topical issues, ilimu: the importance of education, huruma: social roles and responsabilities, matukio: biographical events and maombi: supplications. Prefaced by Prof. Rayya Timamy (Nairobi University), the volume includes contributions by Jasmin Mahazi, Kai Kresse and Kadara Swaleh, Annachiara Raia and Clarissa Vierke.
This book presents fifty-one didactic and devotional Sufi poems (with English translations) composed by the ulama of Brava, on Somalia’s Benadir coast, in Chimiini, a Bantu language related to Swahili and unique to the town. Because the six ulama-poets, among whom two women, guided local believers towards correct beliefs and behaviours in reference to specific authoritative religious texts, the poems allow insight into their authors’ religious education, affiliations, in which the Qādiriyyah and Aḥmadiyyah took pride of place, and regional connections. Because the poems refer to local people, places, events, and livelihoods, they also bring into view the uniquely local dimension of Islam in this small East African port city in this time-period.
Authors: Maria Bulakh and Leonid Kogan
The Arabic-Ethiopic Glossary by al-Malik al-Afḍal by Maria Bulakh and Leonid Kogan is a detailed annotated edition of a unique monument of Late Medieval Arabic lexicography, comprising 475 Arabic lexemes (some of them post-classical Yemeni dialectisms) translated into several Ethiopian idioms and put down in Arabic letters in a late-fourteenth century manuscript from a codex in a private Yemeni collection. For the many languages involved, the Glossary provides the earliest written records, by several centuries pre-dating the most ancient attestations known so far. The edition, preceded by a comprehensive linguistic introduction, gives a full account of the comparative material from all known Ethiopian Semitic languages. A detailed index ensures the reader’s orientation in the lexical treasures revealed from the Glossary.