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A West African Jihadist’s Perspectives on Bori, Religious Deviance, and Race and Enslavement in Ottoman Tunisia. With Translation and Critical Annotation
While in the Ottoman Regency of Tunis after returning from pilgrimage around 1809 C.E., the Timbuktu cleric and religious puritanist, Aḥmad b. al-Qādī b. Yūsuf b. Ibrāhīm al-Fulānī al-Timbuktāwī wrote Hatk al-Sitr ʿammā ʿalayhi sūdān Tūnis min al-kufr (Piercing the Veil: Being an Account of the Infidel Religion of the Blacks of Tunis), which he dedicated to the ruler of the Beylic, Ḥammūda Pāsha (r. 1782-1814 C.E.)
In this treatise, al-Timbuktāwī provided a vivid account of the Hausa Bori cult and entreated Tunisian authorities to imprison or even re-enslave its practitioners whom he distinguished from the heterogeneous Black population in the Regency.
This critical edition and complete translation of Hatk al-Sitr places the story of al-Timbuktāwī’s encounter with the Bori practitioners not just in their Maghribi and Sudanic African contexts, but also in the environment of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Jihad and Islamic revivalism. The result is an insight into a discourse on Bori, jihad, and race and enslavement in the context of the African Diaspora to the Islamic World.
The manuscript from the thirteenth century deals with musicians’ behaviour at the court; singers'qualities; the eminence of music and its effect on people and animals; the importance of drinking when listening to music; the process of composition; rhythmic and melodic modes, and repertoire in Andalusia, the Maghreb, Persia and the Middle East; Andalusian song lyrics and the appearance of new poetic forms such as the zajal and the muwashshaḥ; Andalusian musical instruments; dances of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, India and China; Andalusian dances and shadow plays and shadow dancers; aesthetics of dance; poems describing the dances.
The Middle East, Africa and Asia
Modern Intellectual Trends is a peer reviewed book series that includes monographs, edited volumes, critical editions (for text from the pre-print age) in the original languages and scripts, and annotated translations on intellectual history from the 18th century to the present. The coverage includes philosophy, theology, hermeneutics, mysticism, views and debates on science and the so-called occult sciences, political thought, gender, legal theory, nahḍa studies, postcolonial studies, and adjacent areas, i.e. in intellectual history in the broadest sense. The series welcomes transregional and transcultural contributions.
The series will be open for publications on modern thought from the global south, with a special focus on the Middle East (Arab world, Turkey, Iran), but also the Balkans, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, as well as the Muslim diaspora. Submissions in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and other non-Western languages, will also be considered, in addition to English, French, and German.
Domestic Women and Slavery in Tetouan (19th - 20th centuries)
This book sheds light on the final process of slavery in Morocco, unraveling the contemporary roots of servility and stereotypes about blackness in the Arab world. Unlike other generalist analyses, this research focuses on the practice of servitude through a case study in the city of Tetouan. Until well into the twentieth century, bought women arrived in the city to join the domestic labor market, also becoming signs of social distinction. This historical ethnography is paradigmatic in reconstructing the relations between masters and domestics of slave origin, putting names and faces to subaltern people to rescue them from oblivion.
تُعدّ الأسدية منطلقا لمدونة سحنون في الفقه المالكي. وينسب فهرس مكتبة رقادة بالقيروان ثلاث قطع مخطوطة إلى الأسدية. فحصنا هذه القطع من ناحية المنهج فشككنا في صحّة تلك النسبة. ثم حققناها، فتبين أنها لم تكن الأسدية. فهي تمثّل سماعا أخذه أسد بن الفرات عن محمد بن الحسن الشيباني، وتهمّ الفقه الحنفي.
هذه القطع هي فريدة من نوعها، وهي تتجاوز في أهمّيتها الأسدية ذاتها. ولتحقيق تلك القطع، اعتمدنا على مختصر لها ألّفه الحاكم الشهيد في كتاب الكافي في الفقه، وقد شرح السّرخسي هذا المختصر في المبسوط، كما قارنّا هذه القطع أيضا بمدوّنة سحنون.

The Asadiyya is considered to be the foundation of Saḥnūn's Mudawwana, one of the most important works of the Malikī school of jurisprudence. The catalog of the Raqqada Library in Kairouan attributes three manuscript fragments to the Asadiyya. This work examines these fragments from a methodological point of view, since the validity of that attribution is questionable. From the edition by Nejmeddine Hentati, it becomes clear that they do not belong to the Asadiyya. These are rather witnesses of the scholarly transmissions of Asad b. al-Furāt from Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī, and they contain Ḥanafī jurisprudence.
These fragments are unique, and their importance stretches beyond the Asadiyya. For the edition, Hentati relied on al-Ḥākim al-Shahīd's compendium in al-Kāfī fī l-fiqh, as well as on al-Sarakhsī al-Mabsūṭ, which is a commentary on this compendium. Hentati also compared these fragments to Saḥnūn's Mudawwana.
In: Arabica
In: Arabica


In contemporary Egypt, the secularization of discourses and practices raises a fundamental challenge to sīra writing concerning its vocation to make the founding narrative and the religious ideals of Islam comprehensible and meaningful to contemporary Muslims. Arguing that the Muslim community’s image of the Prophet does indeed both affect and reflect its religious and spiritual condition, the known Egyptian intellectual and former rector of al-Azhar, ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Maḥmūd (1910-1978) holds the appearance of de-theologized forms of sīra writing as a symptom of a profound crisis of Islamic intellectuality. Against this background, his prophetological considerations seek to show that this challenge can only be overcome by a sīra writing that engages the audience in a personal and spiritual relationship with the Prophet.

In: Arabica


Le XII e/XVIII e siècle et le début du XIII e/XIX e siècle virent émerger dans le monde musulman de grandes figures de réformateurs, muǧaddids et muǧtahids, perçus comme tels par leurs contemporains. Conscients d’une crise générale du monde musulman et désireux de maintenir l’unité de l’umma, ils souhaitaient y remédier par leurs projets de réforme, et participèrent au renouveau du Hadith qui caractérise les XI e/XVII e et XII e/XVIII e siècle, en écho au IX e/XV e siècle. Beaucoup aussi discutèrent le takfīr, pratiqué par Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb. Comment les étudier, comment les lire, et avec quelles méthodes ? Ce sont les questions que posent les deux livres recensés ici, tout en éclairant les progrès historiographiques dans l’histoire intellectuelle et religieuse du XII e/XVIII e siècle.

Le livre important d’Ahmad Dallal, Islam without Europe : Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought, paru en 2018, part de la lecture attentive des œuvres de six réformateurs, inscrits dans une tradition érudite yéménite et indienne : Ibn al-Amīr al-Ṣanʿānī (1099/1688-1182/1769), Šāh Walī Llāh al-Dihlāwī (Shah Waliullah, 1114/1703-1176/1762), Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (1115/1703-1206/1792), ʿUṯmān b. Fūdī (Usman Dan Fodio, 1168/1754-1232/1817), Muḥammad b. ʿAlī l-Šawkānī (1173/1759-1250/1834) et Muḥammad b. ʿAlī l-Sanūsī (1202/1787-1276/1859). Fort savant, militant, mais malheureusement représentatif d’une histoire textuelle peu contextualisée, Islam without Europe est un livre très utile, qui encourage la lecture comparative des principaux auteurs abordés, al-Šawkānī en particulier.

Il est pourtant possible de lire les sources primaires dans une vraie réflexion d’historien. C’est le propos de Stefan Reichmuth dans The World of Murtaḍā al-Zabīdī, paru en 2009, sur Murtaḍā l-Zabīdī (m. 1205/1791), savant indien formé au Yémen et installé en Égypte. Mêlant biographie, étude de réseaux, histoire générale de la pensée islamique au XII e/XVIII e siècle dans son ancrage social, politique et économique, le livre conclut à l’humanisme de ce savant musulman et soufi.

In: Arabica