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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.
Lawāmiʿ al-Naẓar fī Taḥqīq Maʿānī al-Mukhtaṣar is Aḥmad b. Yaʿqūb al-Wallālī's (d. 1128/1716) commentary on al-Sanūsī's (d. 895/1490) compendium of logic, al-Mukhtaṣar. Al-Wallālī was the first commentator on al-Sanūsī's compendium after the author's autocommentary. In this publication, Ibrahim Safri offers a critical edition of this work, together with a study of the author's life and oeuvre.
Safri also tries to show the indirect influence of Avicennism on logic in the Maghribī tradition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the basis of his writings on logic and philosophical theology, al-Wallālī was considered a master of rational sciences by his contemporaries.
Ibn Wāṣil (d. 1298), perhaps better known today as a historian and an emissary to the court of King Manfred in southern Italy, was also an eminent logician. The present work is a critical edition of his main work in the field, a commentary on his teacher Khūnajī’s (d. 1248) handbook al-Jumal. The work helped consolidate the logic of the “later scholars” (such as Khūnajī). It also shows that commentators did much more than merely explain the original work and instead regularly discussed and assessed received views. Ibn Wāṣil’s work was an influential contribution to a particularly dynamic chapter in the history of Arabic logic.
Al-Fazārī’s writings are a unique source of information about Ibadi teachings on ʿilm al-kalām and the early development of this branch of religious knowledge. It is for this reason that scholars of Islamic theology are particularly interested in early Ibadi theology. In this volume newly discovered, re-edited texts by al-Fazārī are presented, with previously lacking fragments included, texts that had already begun to offer new perspectives on Islamic ʿilm al-kalām, and on its origins and the sources of its concepts and debating techniques. In their revised state these Ibadi texts represent a major contribution to scholastic theology. They demonstrate how their respective theological debates already took place at the beginning of the second/eighth century and how associated ideas, as well as related sects and treatises, remained current for some time afterwards, thereby contradicting earlier claims that these debates started in the third/ninth century.
Aqdam Riḥla Shinqīṭiyya Mudawwana: al-Riḥla al-Mubāraka lil-Ḥājj Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr al-Burtulī al-Wulātī ilā al-Ḥaramayn al-Sharīfayn (1204-1206H/1789-1791M)
The Oldest Travelogue from Chinguetti [Bilād Shinqīt, present-day Mauritania]: The Blessed Journey of al-Ḥājj Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr al-Burtulī al-Wulātī to the Two Holy Sanctuaries (1204-1205AH/1789-1790CE) was long considered lost. In addition to its historical value and the information it contains on the cultural relations between the western and eastern parts of the Islamic world, it stands out from other Ḥajj travelogues due to the itinerary it follows. The author describes cities, villages, and shrines of righteous people. The work is unique in its account of the unknown Algerian desert of Tenazruft, the landmarks and places along the way, as well as water wells and the notes on whether these are fresh or salty. The travelogue contains many historical references and reports on some ancient Arabic linguistic phenomena and is characterized by its level of detail and cautiousness.

إنها أقدم رحلة حج مدونة تخرج من بلاد شنقيط (موريتانيا الحالية) والتي بقيت دهرًا طويلاً في حكم المفقود. بالإضافة إلى قيمتها التاريخية وأهميتها في دراسة التواصل الحضاري بين غرب العالم الإسلامي وشرقه، فهي تتميز عن رحلات الحج الأخرى بمسارها. يصف المؤلف المدن والقرى ومزارات الصالحين. تتفرد الرحلة بوصف الصحراء الجزائرية المجهولة تنزروفت وتصف المعالم والأماكن على طول الطريق إلى الحرمين الشريفين في شبه الجزيرة العربية، وكذلك آبار المياه وما إذا كانت عذبة أو مالحة. والرحلة مليئة بالعديد من الإشارات التاريخية، بالإضافة إلى بعض الظواهر اللغوية العربية القديمة، وتتميز بدقة الوصف والاحتياط في الرواية.
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.
Johann Michael Wansleben’s Travels in the Levant, 1671–1674 is a hitherto unpublished version of a remarkable description of Egypt and the Levant by the German scholar traveller Wansleben, or Vansleb (as he was known in France). He set out for the East in 1671 to collect
manuscripts and antiquities for the French king and also produced the best study of the Copts to have appeared to date. This book recounts his travels in Syria, Turkey and Egypt, his everyday life in Cairo, and his anthropological and archeological discoveries which include the Graeco-Roman Ǧabbārī cemetery in Alexandria, the Roman city of Antinopolis on the Nile, the Coptic monastery of St Anthony on the Red Sea and the Red and White monasteries in Upper Egypt.
Codex Amrensis 1, the first volume of the series Documenta Coranica contains images and Arabic texts of four sets of fragments (seventy-five sheets) of the Qurʾān codex, once kept in the ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ Mosque at Al-Fusṭāṭ, and now in the collections of the National Library of Russia, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha and the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. It includes an extensive introduction, the facsimile of the original, and the full text with annotations.The manuscript, copied during the first half of the 8th century and written in ḥiǧāzī script, contains diacritical signs for about 20% of the letters, without any signs for short vowels. It varies from today’s reference editions of the Qurʾān in verse numbering and has a different orthography. Essential reading for students and scholars of the history of the Qurʾān and its written transmission.

Le Codex Amrensis 1 rassemble quatre fragments manuscrits, aujourd'hui dispersés dans les collections de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, de la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie, du Musée d'art islamique à Doha et dans la collection de Nasser D. Khalili. Ces fragments appartiennent à un même manuscrit, le Codex Amrensis 1, qui était autrefois conservé dans la mosquée de ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ à Fusṭāṭ. Ses caractéristiques physiques et textuelles en font un témoin essentiel pour l'histoire du texte coranique et de sa transmission écrite au cours des deux premiers siècles de l'islam. Le présent volume propose aux lecteurs, étudiants et chercheurs, le fac-similé des folios, des annotations concernant son texte ainsi qu'une introduction à l'étude du manuscrit.


The Epic of Sumanguru Kante contains the Bamana text and English translation of griot Abdoulaye Sako’s oral narrative of the life of Sumanguru, recorded in 1997 in Koulikoro (Mali), together with explanatory notes, a scholarly introduction, and sections on the Bamana language and musical accompaniment. Sumanguru is a familiar figure within Manding epic oral traditions about ancient Mali. But while these narratives generally focus on Sunjata Keita, Sako’s oral poem is rare in according Sumanguru the central role. In so doing he includes hitherto undocumented episodes relating to Sumanguru’s life and role as the ruler of Soso, the little known state said to have flourished in the western Sudan between the fall of ancient Ghana and rise of ancient Mali.