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“Letter on the appearance of the twelfth caliph” (Risāla fī ẓuhūr al-khalīfa al-thānī ʻashar). Edition of the Arabic Text with English Translation

“Letter on the appearance of the twelfth caliph” (Risāla fī ẓuhūr al-khalīfa al-thānī ʻashar). Édition du texte arabe et traduction anglaise
Mauro Nobili

Full text

  • 1  On West African Arabic script styles, see M. Nobili 2011, 2012; A. Brigaglia, M. Nobili, 2013.

1In the edition of the text, I have standardized some features of West African script styles.1Fā’, qāf, nūn and yā’ are written in the edited text in their standard modern form instead of the peculiar form they take in manuscripts produced in the western part of the Islamic world (fā’ and qāf respectively with one dot at the bottom and at the top of the letter; final fā’, qāf, nūn and yā’ without any dot). I also standardized the hamzas that do not regularly appear in the manuscripts. On the contrary, I decided not to address the lack of punctuation marks, thus respecting the original unbroken form of the text. Short vowels, which appear irregularly in the manuscripts, have been added only when they qualify non-Arabic names.

2The following synoptic edition presents the two versions of the Arabic text and the English translation of the Risāla. Version 1 is followed by the text of the manuscripts: MS 1, MS 5, MS 6, MS 8, MS 9, and MS 10. Version 2 is followed by the manuscripts: MS 2, MS 3, MS 4, and MS 7.

Arabic text

  • 2  The whole taṣliyya is missing in MS 3, MS 5, and MS 8; MS 1 does not report وصحبه وسلم تسليما; and (...)
  • 3  All the manuscrits have يدعوا.
  • 4 Qur’ān 10: 25. واللـه يدعو الى دار السلام is missing in MS 1.
  • 5 Qur’ān 3: 133. واللـه يدعوا الى دار السلام سارعوا الى مغفرة من ربكم وجنة عرضها السماوات والارض is m (...)
  • 6  These names of places are fully, partially, or not vocalized in the manuscripts. I added the vowel (...)
  • 7  MS 7 has معهم  instead of في الحوض.
  • 8  In the manuscripts, the preceding names are fully, partially, or not vocalized. Exceptions are MS (...)
  • 9  See note 4.
  • 10  MS 3: تم.
  • 11 MS 1 has only: أن. MS 4: مفعول الإعلام.
  • 12  MS 7: الى.
  • 13  MS 5 has الى instead of لإحياء.
  • 14 MS 2: الدين.
  • 15 تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 16 MS 2: سبيل اللـه.
  • 17  I use here for the region Masina the form مَاسِنَة that occurs below in the text fully or partiall (...)
  • 18 MS 2 and MS 9: وجنوبها.
  • 19  MS 2, MS 3 and MS 4: يليه.
  • 20  MS 2: ان الشيخ.
  • 21  The nisba is not vocalized in MS 2, MS 3, MS 4, MS 5, and MS 9. MS 7 has الكُرْمَنِي.
  • 22 تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 23  The order of the sentence in MS 1 is: ونفعنا به آمين وبامثاله وبكل من له جاه عنده.
  • 24  MS 1: والسلطان.
  • 25  مساعدة is missing in MS 1.
  • 26  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 27 MS 2, MS 4, MS 5, MS 6, and MS 10 have the nisba either not vocalized or only partially vocalized. (...)
  • 28 تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 29  MS 7: تعالى.
  • 30  MS 1: فإن.
  • 31  Qur’ān 94: 5-6.
  • 32 MS 1 lacks of أردتُ.
  • 33  MS 4: الحلو.
  • 34 Most of the manuscripts spell the name ‘Alī in the West African form عَالِ either vocalized or not. (...)
  • 35  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 36 MS 2: شميته.
  • 37  MS 1: بتاريخ.
  • 38  In the manuscripts, the name Songhay is fully, partially, or not vocalized. MS 1, MS4, and MS 9 ha (...)
  • 39 MS 1 and MS 6: عن. MS 4, MS 5, MS 8, MS 9, MS 10 lack both بـ and عن.
  • 40 تعلى only in MS 2 and MS 3.
  • 41 MS 7 ends here.
  • 42  MS 1, MS 8, MS 9, and MS 10: رحمه اللـه.
  • 43  In the manuscripts, fully, partially, or not vocalized. MS 1 and MS 2: مُورَ كُيْرَ. MS 3: مُورِ ك (...)
  • 44 MS 3: أخ.
  • 45  MS 1 has إلبسه instead of وجعل على رأسه.
  • 46  MS 1, MS 2, and MS 7, have no تعلى.
  • 47 MS 1 has the kāf with three dots. MS 4, MS 5, MS 6, MS 8, and MS 10 leave the name Kawkaw/Gawgaw (i (...)
  • 48  MS 9: عدل.
  • 49  MS 9: كثر.
  • 50  The manuscripts display the form بُرْكُ (fully, partially, or not vocalized), inconsistent with th (...)
  • 51 تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 52 محيا  is missing in MS 2, MS 3, and MS 4.
  • 53  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 54  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 55 MS 1: الثكلى.
  • 56  MS 1, MS 5, and MS 7 have the full form of the name احمد بن محمد. The other manuscripts only repor (...)
  • 57  In the manuscripts, the name Sebera is fully, partially, or not vocalized. MS 1 and MS 9 have سِبْ (...)
  • 58 MS 2 and MS 6: قبيلة.
  • 59  The manuscripts either vocalize the name, or leave it unvocalized or only partially vocalized.
  • 60  MS 6 has السانة.
  • 61  MS 1, MS 2, MS 3, MS 8, MS 9, and MS 10 lack بذكر اللـه
  • 62 MS 1: فقل.
  • 63  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 64  Inconsistently with the previous occurrence of the name, all the manuscripts have عَالِ, unvocaliz (...)
  • 65  In fact, for Gao the manuscripts have كاغ (except for MS 9: كاع). MS 1, MS 8, and MS 9 present the (...)
  • 66  MS 2: جني.
  • 67  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 68 MS 5: للشيخ.
  • 69 قبيلة  is missing in MS 1. The order of the sentence in MS 2, MS 3, and MS 4 is الاولى قبيلة جِنْدِ (...)
  • 70  The manuscripts display the form جَمْ وَلِ (fully, partially, or not vocalized), inconsistent with (...)
  • 71  The form present in the manuscripts is جَمْ. I use جَامْ following the spelling of the previous na (...)
  • 72  In the manuscripts, the preceding names are fully, partially, or not vocalized. Exceptions are MS (...)
  • 73 MS 1 has ليست وايلا in place of ان امه حرة واباه.
  • 74  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 75  تعلى only in MS 3
  • 76  MS 6 ends here.
  • 77  In the manuscripts واتفق.
  • 78 المغيلي is missing in MS 5.
  • 79  MS 1 has يسأل.
  • 80  تعلى only in MS 3
  • 81  MS 4: هكذا.
  • 82  MS 3 and MS 4 report only احمد.
  • 83 MS 1: وإكرم.
  • 84 هو is missing in MS 10.
  • 85 البر is missing in MS 1.
  • 86  تعلى only in MS 3.
  • 87  MS 5 adds here: على دعائه قال الفقيه محمود.
  • 88  تعلى only in MS 3
  • 89  In the manuscripts الحاضرون.
  • 90 MS 2: التعاتبي.
  • 91  In the manuscripts التاسعة.
  • 92  In the manuscripts الثالثة.
  • 93  MS 5 ends here
  • 94 MS 1, MS 2, and MS 3: أيديهما.
  • 95 MS 2: مذاكرة.
  • 96  أهل is missing in MS 1.
  • 97  تعلى only in MS 3
  • 98  وإباية is missing in MS 1. The copyist left an empty space.
  • 99 MS 2 ends here.
  • 100 MS 3: يوَكَّد ويشدد. MS 4: شدد.
  • 101  MS 1 has متى instead of على كل.
  • 102 Qur’ān 49: 10.
  • 103  Al-Nawawī, Matn al-‘arba‘īn al-Nāwāwīyya, 34.
  • 104  دايما only in MS 1.
  • 105  MS 10: اإيه.
  • 106  آمين only in MS 1.
  • 107  إنتهى is missing in MS 8.

Version 1

Version 2

بسم اللـه الرحمن الرحيم وصلى اللـه على سيدنا محمد نبيه وآله وصحبه وسلم تسليما2 واللـه يدعو3 الى دار السلام4 سارعوا الى مغفرة من ربكم وجنة عرضها السماوات والأرض5 يا إخوان الفقير نوح بن الطاهر بن ابي بكر بن موسى تلميذ الشيخ سيدي المختار بن احمد الكنتي لعل اللـه يهديكم ويهدى بكم من دونكم من الأمم

هذا تنبيه لكم وإعلام وتبصرة وتذكرة ونصيحة لسلطان الغرب [في] فاس ومراكش ومن معه من الرعية من تنبكت واَرَوَانْ وابُوجْبِهَة وتَوْدِنِّ واهل سوس الأدنان والأقصى وتُوَاتْ وغَدَامِسْ الى تونس والجزائر والبرابر الى مصر وقيروان وتلمسان والأندلس الى منتهى الاسلام6

هذا تنبيه لكم وإعلام وتبصرة وتذكرة ونصيحة لمن بقي من أهل عَلِ عَمَارْ ومن معهم من الرعية والإخوان من اولاد امْبَارَكْ وهَنُّونَ بُوسَيْفْ واولاد عَلُّوشْ واولاد محمد وازْنَاغَ الى تْرَارْزَ ومن في الحَوضْ7 في المدن كنِعْمَ ووَلَاتَ وتِيشِيتْ وفي بادية كالاغْلَالْ واِدَوْ بِلَال وتِنْوَاجْ وبُرْتَيلْ ودَيْبُسَاتْ وزُمَّانْ وكُنْتَ واِدَوْ عَلِ الى اولاد بَارِ كُلْ [او كُلَّ] واولاد دُلَيمْ الى وَادَانْ8 دار النخل ومن يليهم الى بحر المحيط9

 بعد أتم10 السلام وأكمله وأعم الأكرام وأشملهالإعلام11 أن12 الشيخ أمير المؤمنين احمد بن محمد بن ابي بكر الذي قام لإحياء13 دين14 اللـه تعلى15 والجهاد في سبيله 16في أرض مَاسَنَة17 وما والاها شرقا وغربا جنوبا18 وشمالا هو الثاني عشر من الخلفاء المجددين الذي بعده19 المهدي فإن قيل اين المصداق قلتُ نص تاريخ الفتاش في أخبار البلدان للشيخ20 الفقيه العالم محمود كعت الكُرْمِنِي21 دارا التنبكتي مسكنا الوعكري اصلا رحمه اللـه تعلى22 ونفعنا به وبأمثاله وبكل من له جاه عنده آمين23 وهو فلما كان ذكر قصص الأنبياء والسلاطين24 والملوك وأكابر البلدان من عادة الحكماء والعلماء الأعيان إتخاذا بسنة القرآن وتذكيرا لما غبر من الزمان وردا للغبى عن الحيف والهوى وعونا للتقى على مساعدة25 الإخوان ومن اللـه تعلى26 علينا بأن أظهر لنا في زمننا هذا الخليفة العادل والسلطان الغالب والمنصور القائم أسكيا الحاج محمد بن ابي بكر الترودي اصلا الكَوْكَوِي27 دارا ومسكنا فأنار لنا الهدى بعد ظلم الدجى وأماط عنا الصدى بعد الحين والردى فانفسح له بحمد اللـه تعلى28 البلدان شرقا وغربا وتداعت له الوفود فردا وجمعا فاذعنت له الملوك كرها وطوعا فصرنا من بركاته بخير ونعمى بعد ما كنا في ضيق وبوس فبدل اللـه تعلى29 ذالك بفضله كما قال لأكرم خلقه إن30 مع العسر يسرا إن مع العسر يسرا31أردتُ32 أن اجمع  من أحواله الحلوان33 مع ذكر شي عال34 الملعون ما سهل على اليد واللسان والى اللـه تعلى35 سبحانه التكلان وسميته36 تاريخ37 الفتاش في أخبار البلدان والجيوش وأكابر الناس وذكر وقائع التكرور وعظائم الأمور وتفريق انساب العبيد من الأحرار إعلم رحمنا اللـه وإياك أن الإمام العادل والسلطان الفاضل أسكيا الحاج محمد لما تولى السلطنة أقام طريقة سُغَيْ38 وجعل فيها قواعد السلطنة في اول أمره لتأليف قلوب قومه فلما ثبتت له السلطنة واستقامت المملكة خرج من ذالك كله ويجعل يسأل العلماء العاملين بسنة39 رسول اللـه صلى اللـه عليه وسلم ويمشي على أقوالهم رحمه اللـه تعلى40 حتى إتفق جميع علماء عصره على أنه خليفة وممن صرح له بذالك41 الشيخ محمد بن عبد الرحمن السيوطي والشيخ عبد الكريم المغيلي والشيخ شمهروش الجني والشريف الحسني مولاي العباس أمير مكة رحم اللـه الجميع42 وأقام للمسلمين حقوقا وحرمة على نفسه وأمر لاهل مُورِ كُيْرَ43 أن يتزوجوا ما يشاؤوا فيتبعهم أولادهم وهو موجود الى الآن لم يتغير ببركته رحمه اللـه وأعطى الشريف احمد الصقلي ابن أخي44 مولاي العباس زناجية كثيرة من القرى والجزائر ثم بعد أن حج وبشره مولاي العباس أمير مكة بأنه الحادي عشر من الخلفاء الذين ذكر رسول اللـه صلى اللـه عليه وسلم وجعل على رأسه45 قلنسوة خضراء وعمامة بيضاء وأعطاه سيفا واشهد الحاضرين انه خليفة بأرض تكرور وأن كل من خالفه فيها فقد خالف اللـه تعلى46 ورسوله صلى اللـه عليه وسلم ثم تهيأ للرجوع فلما وصل مصر وجد هنالك الشيخ عبد الرحمن السيوطي فسأله عن الخلفاء الذين ذكر رسول اللـه صلى اللـه عليه وسلم إنهم سيأتون بعده فقال له الشيخ هم اثنا عشر خمسة منهم بالمدينة واثنان بمصر وواحد بالشام واثنان بالعراق وقد مضى هؤلاء كلهم وبقي اثنان بأرض التكرور انت احدهما ويأتي بعدك الثاني قبيلتك منسوبة بتورود من أهل اليمن ومسكنك بكَوْكَوْ47 انت مؤيد منصور عادل48 كثير49 الفرح والعطاء والصدقة لا يعجزك موضع من مملكتك إلا موضع واحد يقال له بُورْكُو50 بباء مضمومة ممالة فراء ساكنة بعده كاف مضمومة ممالة ثم يفتح اللـه تعلى51 ذالك الموضع بيد الخليفة الثاني بعدك محيا52 تنام اول الليل ثم تصلى آخره ويصيبك عمى في آخر عمرك ويعزلك واحد من أبنائك ويرميك في بعض الجزائر ثم يخرجك إبنك آخر ومصداق جميع ما قلتُ علامة في فخذك اليسرى كان من برص فأبراه اللـه تعلى53 بغير علم احد فقال أسكيا صدقت يا سيدي وقرة عيني وقال له الشيخ ولك أبناء كثيرة نحو مائة رجل كلهم يتبعون أمرك في دولتك ثم يعكسون الأمر بعدك والعياذ باللـه تعلى54 حتى يصير الأمر ملكا عضوضا وحزن لذالك وسكت مليا ثم تنفس الصعداء وزفر فرة الثكلاء55 ثم سأل الشيخ ايضا هل يخرج من صلبه من يقيم الدين ويصلح أمره فقال له الشيخ لا ولكن يأتي رجل صالح عالم عامل تابع للسنة اسمه احمد بن محمد56 يظهر أمره في بعض جزائر سِبِرَ57 مَاسِنَة ولكن قبيلته58 من علماء سَنْقَرَ59 وهو يرثك في الخلافة والعدالة والصلاح والجود والتقى والزهد والنصرة ويكون كثير التبسم والسنة60 دائم [كذا] التحرك بذكر اللـه61 فى جلوسه وسبقك بكونه متبحرا في العلوم وأنت لا تعلم إلا أحكام الصلاة والزكوة والإعتقادات وهو آخر الخلفاء المذكورين  ثم سأل الشيخ هل هذا الخليفة يجد الدين قائما فيجدده او يجده خامدا فيوقده فقال له الشيخ بل62 يجد الدين خامدا فيكون كشرارة جمر وقعت في يابس الحشيش فينصره اللـه تعلى63 على جميع الكفار والمخالفين حتى تعم بركته البلاد والعباد والأفاق والأقطار فمن رآه وتبعه كان كمن تبع النبي صلى اللـه عليه وسلم ومن خالفه فكانما خالف النبى صلى اللـه عليه وسلم متوسط الأولاد في زمنه لكنهم لا يزالون على الجهاد الى بنائهم فقال الراوى من شيخه القاضى حبيب فبسبب هذا الرجل المذكور والخليفة المنصور تغلظ شي عال64 الملعون فى قتل قبيلة سَنْقَرَ وكان يسمع خبره كثيرا من افواه الكهان وأنه يخرج من قبيلة سَنْقَرَ فقتلهم حتى لم يبق منهم إلا طائفة قليلة ثم سأل الشيخ ايضا عن أمر أرض التكرور وما يؤل اليه آخره فقال له الشيخ فهي اول أرض تُخَرَّبَ لأجل إبايتهم الملوك وسأله عن أمر كَوْكَوْ65 وما سبب خرابها فأخبره بما أخبره وسأله ايضا عن تنبكت وجن66 فأخبره عن أمرهما بما يسىء له ان شاء اللـه تعلى67 ثم سأله ايضا عن أمر اربعة وعشرين قبيلة الذين وجدهم بيد شي بَارُ مملوكة له ورثهم عن أبائه فقال له الشيخ صفهم لي فوصفهم له فقال له الشيخ اما نصفهم فملكه لك سائع واما النصف الآخر فتركهم افضل لأن فيهم شبهة فقال الشيخ68 الاولى جِنْدِ كَتَ قبيلة69 بجيم ودال مكسورتين بينهما نون ساكنة وكاف وتاء مفتوحتين والثانية قبيلة جَامْ وَلي70 بجيم مفتوحة ممالة وميم ساكنة فواو مفتوحة ولام ممالة مكسورة والثالثة جَامْ تِينَ71 والرابعة كُمِوالخامسة سُرْبَنَى والسادسة من كفار بَمْبَرَ تنسب بجَرَ كُرُ بُكَرِ والسابعة تنسب بتَنْكَرَتِبِ والثامنة تنسب بِكَسَمْبَرَ والتاسعة تنسب بسَمَسيكُ والعاشرة تسمى بِسُرْكُ والحادية عشر تسمى كُرُ نْكُىْ والثانية عشر تسمى بِاَرْبِ72 ثم قال للشيخ المذكور فما حال من أدعى من هذه القبائل أنه ابن حر او حرة فقال الشيخ اما من ثبت أن أباه حر وأمه من هذه القبائل فملكه لك سائغ واما من ثبت أن أمه حرة وأباه73 من هذه القبائل فإن كان أقام فى دار أبيه وعمل بعمله فلك ايضا ملكه وإن كان خرج من دار الأب الى دار الأم فليس لك ملكه لأن هذه القبائل لم يزل الملوك والسلاطين منذ زمن مَلِّكُيْ الى شي باَرُ يحذرون الناس عن مناكحتهم فوافق قول الشيخ أقوال العلماء الذين سالهم أسكيا قبل ذهابه الى الحج رحم اللـه تعلى74 الجميع ثم بعد رجوع السلطان العادل أسكيا الحاج محمد رحمه اللـه تعلى75 حذر هو ايضا على تحذيرهم عن مناكحة هذه القبائل فكل من نكح فيهم إمراة ممن ليس من أهل مُرٍكُيْرَ فولده ملكي فكل أمراة نكحها رجل منهم فإن أحببت لولدها الحرية فلتخرجه من دار زوجها الى دار أبيها76 وإلا بأن أقام الولد بدار الزوج وعمل بعمل الزوج فهو اي الولد ملكي وهذا بعد ما سأل الشيخ محمد بن عبد الكريم المغيلى عن أمر هؤلاء القبائل فأخبره كما أخبره الشيخ عبد الرحمن السيوطي واتفقت77 أقوالهما كما يقع الحافر على الحافر ثم أمر الشيخ محمد بن عبد الكريم المغيلي78 أسكيا الحاج محمد أن يكتب برائةالى الخليفة الذى يجى بعده ويطلب79 منه الدعاء وقال له أسكيا الحاج محمد وهل تبلغ تلك البرائة فقال له الشيخ أرجو ان تبلغ ان شاء اللـه تعلى80  فأمر الكاتب على بن عبد اللـه أن يكتب برائة ونصها هذا81 كتاب أمير المؤمنين قامع الفجار والكافرين أسكيا الحاج محمد بن ابى بكر الى وارثه المسدد والقائم بأمره المؤيد أمير المؤمنين احمد بن محمد82 المنصور فالسلام أشهى من كل مشتهى وإكرام83 انور من الدر وأبهى يخصك ويعم على كافة من هو84 منك واليك بروح وريحان فموجبه اليك أيها الأخ البر85 الصالح أعلامك وتبشيرك بانك آخر الخلفاء وقاهر الأعداء وهادى السعداء باتفاق العلماء ونحن نطلب منك الدعاء وأن أكون يوم القيامة في كريم زمرتك كما نسأل اللـه تعلى العصمة من فتن الزمان ونرجو من اللـه تعلى86 سبحانك أن يجعلنا وإياك فى زمرة خير الورى آمين فدعا له الشيخ أن يبلغ87 اللـه تعلى88 هذه البرائة بأيما وجه فأمر الحاضرين89 على دعائه قال الفقيه محمود ويعضد قول الأمام ويوافقه ما روى عن الشيخ عبد الرحمن الثعالبي90 من أنه سيكون آخر الزمان في أرض التكرور وخليفتان احدهما يظهر في آخر القرن التاسع91 والآخر يظهر في اول القرن الثالث92 عشر ينكرهما أهل عصرهما أشد التنكير وينسبون افعالهما الى الظلم والأباطيل فيقمع اللـه لهما كل جاهل جحود وكل عالم حسود يستويان فى جميع الأوصاف الحميدة إلا في العلم93 يفيض اللـه في يديهما94 الأموال العريضة المخزونة بصرفأنها فيما يرضى اللـه

قال الشيخ محمود كعت وليعلم كل من وقف على هذه القصص التي ذكرناها انّا لم نقصد بذكرها مباهاتا ولا افتخارا بل لما رأيناه وشاهدناه من مناكرة95 أهل96 الزمان أحوال السلطان مع إتفاق العلماء الأعيان على أنه من الخلفاء النبلاء والعلماء النجباء فلم يضره ذلك في دينه ولا في دنياه بحمد اللـه تعلى وكما لم يضره لا يضر من ياتي بعده ان شاء اللـه تعلى97 أقوال الحساد وإباية98 الجهال وسعاية الغدار الفساق إنتهى99 محل الحاجة منه وأؤكِّدُ واُشَدِّدُ100 نوح بن الطاهر على كل101 من بلغه مكتوبي هذا ان يأخذ منه نسخة ويرسلها الى من يظن عدم وصول ما فيه اليه نصيحة للـه ولرسوله القائلين وهما أصدق القائلين إنما المؤمنون إخوة102 إنما الدين النصيحة103 وأؤكِّدُواُشَدِّدُ ايضا على حامله أن يجمع أهل كل بلدة او قرية او حلة من أهل الاسلام يمر عليهم ويظن عدم سماعهم ما فيه وأن يقرأ عليهم او يخبرهم بفيه على حسب الإمكان لذالك والسلام

 دائما104 والقادر على إيصال مكتوب أسكيا إلى أمير المؤمنين احمد بن محمد بن ابي بكر قادر على إيصال مكتوبي إلى من كتب اليهم105 ببركة الشيخ آمين106 إنتهى107

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Translation

  • 108  All the passages of the Qur’ān follow Arberry’s translation.
  • 109  I use the modern spelling for these toponyms.
  • 110  I use here the names of Saharan groups as spelled in the Arabic text, with the exception of aznāgh(...)
  • 111  In the Arabic text: Wa‘kurī.
  • 112  Torodo (pl. Torodbe) refers to a Fulani-speaking group of Muslim specialists in West Africa, with (...)
  • 113  Qur’ān 94: 5.
  • 114  Mori Koira means, in Songhay, “the village of the Muslims” and refers to a place inhabited by the (...)
  • 115  Borgo is a region situated east of Mopti and north of Bandiagara (see O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse(...)
  • 116  According to IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54, n. 1, Jindèkèta is a group of Sorko (group of fishermen and ri (...)
  • 117 Jīm means, in Songhay, “craftsman” and especially “blacksmith,” and Walé and Téné refer to the ance (...)
  • 118  According to Houdas and Delafosse, it refers to a group of griots (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1 (...)
  • 119  In Songhay, sorobanna means “builders of terraces” or “builders of minarets,” and here it refers t (...)
  • 120  Tentative reading, based on the available manuscripts. O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 20 F (...)
  • 121  According to O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 21, n. 1, Kaambara is a village in Bakounou, n (...)
  • 122  Read in IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54 as Samaseku, perhaps the name of a group of Songhay craftsmen (O.V. (...)
  • 123  Also read Kourounkï in O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 21. It refers to a group of craftsma (...)
  • 124 Arbi means, in Songhay, “black man” and is used to refer to a Songhay servile class.

Version 1

Version 2

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. May God’s blessings and perfect peace be on our master, Muḥammad His Prophet, his household and his companions. “God summons to the Abode of Peace.”108 “And vie with one another, hasting to forgiveness from your Lord, and to a garden whose breadth is as heavens and earth.” O brethren, from the needy Nūḥ b. al-Ṭāhir b. Abī Bakr b. Mūsà, the student of shaykh sīdī al-Mukhtār al-Kuntī—Allah guides you and guides through you those who are not with you among nations.

This is a warning for you, a notification, an enlightenment, a reminder, and an admonition to the Sultan of the West in Fes and Marrakesh, and his wards in Timbuktu, Araouane, Boujbeiha, Taoudenni, the people of the far and hither Sousse, Touat, Ghadamis, all the way to Tunis, Algiers and Berber, to Egypt, Kairouan, Tlemcen, al-Andalus, until the far end of the abode of Islam.109

This is a warning for you, a notification, an enlightenment, a reminder, and an admonition to those remaining from the Ahl ‘Ali ‘Amār and their wards and the brethren from among the Awlād Mbārak, Hannūna Būsayf, Awlād ‘Allūsh, and the Awlād Muhammad, to the Znaga all the way to Trārza and those in al-Ḥawḍ, in cities such as Nema, Walata, and Tishit, and in the desert areas of Aghlāl, the Idaw Bilāl, the Tinwāj, the Burtayl, the [I]daybusāt, the Zummān, the Kunta, the Idaw ‘Ali, the Awlād Bār Kull [or Kulla], Awlād Dulaym, all the way to Ouadane, the home of  palm groves, and surrounding areas extending to the Ocean.110

After the fullest and most complete greetings of peace, the all-encompassing and perfect honor, know that shaykh, the amīr al-mu’minīn Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr, the one who stood up to revive the religion of God the Most High and jihād in His path in the land of Masina and its surrounding territories to the east, west, south and north, is the twelfth caliph and renewer of the faith after whom the mahdī will emerge. If it was asked where is the source [for this statement], I would say it is documented in The chronicle of the inquisitive researcher on the information of the lands by the shaykh, jurist, and scholar, Maḥmūd Ka‘ti, from Kurmina but resident in Timbuktu, of Soninke111 origin—God the Most High have mercy on him and benefit us through him, through the likes of him, and through all those of high rank. Amīn:

“The mention of stories of the prophets, sultans, kings, and great lands is one of the traditions of philosophers and great scholars, acting in accordance to the example of the Qur’ān, recording the obscured events of the past, keeping the ignorant away from wrong and capriciousness, and helping the righteous one in supporting his brethren. God the Most High has blessed us by making manifest in our time the just caliph, the conqueror and victorious sultan, the upright Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr, of Torodo origin, but resident in Gao.112 He illuminated our path through His righteous guide, after the darkness of misguidance, and chased away from us echoes of fear and destruction. By the glory of God the Most High, lands from east to west became open to him and delegations submitted to him individually or in groups. Kings became subjects to him, by force or spontaneously. By His blessing, we are in good state and happiness after having been in difficulty and misery. God the Most High has replaced all of that with His favor just as He said to His best of creation: “So, truly with hardship comes ease, with hardship comes ease.”113 I wanted to collect, among the most important stories along with the memory of the cursed shī ‘Āli, what has been made easy for the hand and the tongue—from God the Most High I seek help. I title it The chronicle of the inquisitive researcher on the information of the lands and armies, the elite, and the mention of the incidents of Takrūr, the relevant events and the differentiation of the lineages of slaves from the freeborn.

Know—God have mercy upon us and you—that when the righteous imām, the eminent sultan, Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad, took over power, he observed the Songhay way and made it the foundation of the state. This was at the beginning of his rule to draw near in enticement the hearts of his people. Then, when his authority became firm and the kingdom became upright, he left all of that. He began asking the scholars who act on the teaching of the Prophet—may God honor and grant him peace—and he started acting on their words—God have mercy on him—until there was a consensus of all the scholars of that age that he was a caliph. Among those who were explicit about it was shaykh Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Suyūṭī, shaykh ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Maghīlī, and shaykh Shamharūsh the jinn, and the Hassanī sharīf Mūlāy al-Abbās, prince of Mecca—God have mercy on them all. He ensured Muslims their rights and protection. He ordered that the people of Mori Koira could marry whoever they wished and their offspring would follow [the free status] of their fathers.114 This order is still in place today, unaltered, thanks to Askiyà’s Muḥammad’s blessing —God’s mercy be on him. The askiyà also gave Aḥmad al-Ṣiqlī several slaves from villages and islands. After embarking on Pilgrimage, Mūlāy al-‘Abbās, the prince of Mecca, gave him the good news that he was the eleventh caliph mentioned by the Prophet—may God honor him and grant him peace. He put on the askiyà’s head a green hat and a white turban, and also gave him a sword and declared in front of the attending crowd that he was the caliph of the land of Takrūr. [Mūlāy al-‘Abbās also said that] whosoever disobeyed him would be disobeying God the Most High and His Prophet—may God honor him and grant him peace.

Then the askiyà prepared for his return. When he got to Egypt, he found shaykh ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Suyūṭī there. He asked him about the caliphs the Prophet—may God honor him and grant him peace —mentioned would come after him. The shaykh answered, saying: “They are twelve: five in Medina, two in Cairo, one in the Levant, and two in Iraq. They all have already come. Only two are left, who will come from the Takrūr. You are one of the two. The other will come after you. Your tribe is genealogically linked to the Torodo from the people of Yemen. Your house is in Gao. You are triumphant and victorious, just, full of happiness, generosity, and charity. No region will resist your sovereignty except one called Borgo, with bā’ with elongated ḍamma, rā’with sukun and after it kāf with elongated ḍamma.115 God the Most High will open up this place by the hand of the second caliph who will live after you. You will sleep the beginning of the night and pray the rest of the night. You will go blind at the end of your life and one of your sons will depose you and will confine you in some islands; then another of your sons will free you. The proof of what I said is the mark on your left thigh that resulted from leprosy and God the Most High healed it, without the knowledge of anyone.” And the askiyà said: “You have spoken the truth, oh my master and delight of my eyes.”

The shaykh told him: “You have so many sons, around a hundred men. They follow your orders during your reign, but later on they will go against them—God the Most High help us—until the kingdom will become a disintegrated one.” The askiyà became sad at this and remained silent for a moment. Then he took a deep breath and sighed like one bereaved. Then, he also asked the shaykh if there would be from his offspring one who would revive the religion and restore his order. The shaykh replied to him: “No, but a virtuous, knowledgeable, and active man who will follow the Sunna will arrive. His name will be Aḥmad b. Muḥammad and his reign will emerge in some island of Sebera in the Masina. His tribe will be of the Sangare. He will be your heir to the Caliphate, in justice, virtues, generosity, devotion, piety, and victory. He will be full of smiles and emulating the Sunna, always excited by the remembrance of God in his gatherings. He will surpass you in knowledge, for he will excel in several sciences, while you know only the rules of prayer, alms giving, and the fundamentals of the creed. He will be the last of the caliphs mentioned.” Then the askiyà asked the shaykh: “Will the caliph find the religion vibrant and then revive it, or will he find it extinguished and rekindle its light?” The shaykh replied: “No, he will find the religion extinguished and will be like a ember of coal that is dropped in dry grass. However, God will make him victorious over all the infidels and the dissenter until his blessing will envelop lands, servants of God, regions, and states. Whoever sees him and follows him will be like one who follows the Prophet—may God honor him and grant him peace—and whosoever disobeys him will be like one who disobeys the Prophet—may God honor him and grant him peace. He will have an average number of children in his time, but they will be waging jihād until their disappearance.

The narrator says, from the qāḍī Ḥabīb, that it is because of the abovementioned person, the victorious caliph [Aḥmad b. Muḥammad], that the cursed shī ‘Āli was so intense in killing the Sangare tribe. He used to hear this news so much from the mouth of soothsayers that he came for the Sangare tribe and killed them until there was nothing left of them except for a small group.

The askiyà also asked the shaykh about the fate of the land of Takrūr and what will become of it in the end. The shaykh told him: “It will be the first land to be destroyed because of rebellion of its people against their kings.” Then the askiyà also asked about the issue of Gao and the causes of its destruction, and the shaykh informed him of what he had informed him of. The askiyà also asked about Timbuktu and Jenne, and the shaykh told him about what will become of the two, God willing.

Then the askiyà also asked about the issue of the twenty-four tribes that he had found owned by shī Bāru as bond people, who had in turn inherited them from his ancestors. The shaykh asked him: “Describe them”, and he did. Then the shaykh told him: “Half of them belong to you by right. As for the second half, it is better that you leave them because there is doubt about them.” Then the shaykh added: “The first is Jindèkèta, a tribe [spelled] with jīm and dāl both with kasra and a nūn with sukūn in between, and then with kāf and tā’ with fatḥa. The second is Jām Walé, with jīm with elongated fatḥa and mīm with sukūn, and then wāw with fatḥa and lām with elongated kasra.116 The third is Jam Téné;117 the fourth Komé;118 and the fifth Sorobanna;119 the sixth are the infidels Bambara descending from Diarra Kur Bukari; the seventh descends from Tankara Tibi;120 the eighth from Kasambara;121 the ninth from Samasiku;122 the tenth is called Sorko; the eleventh Gorongoy;123 and the twelfth Arbi.”124

Then the askiyà asked the abovementioned shaykh: “What is the condition of someone from these tribes who is the son of a free man or a free woman?” The shaykh replied: “For one who is certain that his father is free and his mother is from one of these tribes, he is your property by right. As for somebody who is certain that his mother is free and his father is from one of these tribes, if he stays in his father’s house and works his father’s job, he belongs to you. However, if he leaves the house of the father [to go] to the mother’s house, he is not your property anymore. This is because since the time of the Mallikoy until shī Bāru, kings and sultans have warned people against marrying with these tribes.” The words of the shaykh matched those of the‘ulamā’ that the askiyà had consulted before his Pilgrimage—God have mercy on them all.

After the return of the rightful sultan, the just, Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad—God have mercy on him —he warned against marrying with these tribes: “Whoever marries a woman from these tribes—and  does not belong to the people of Mori Koira—his offspring will be my property. As for every woman who marries a man from these tribes and wants freedom for her son, she has to make him leave the house of her husband and go to her own father’s house. However, if he stays at the husband’s house and works his job, he, meaning the son, will be my property.” This happened after he had asked shaykh Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Maghīlī about the status of these tribes and the latter told him the same as shaykh ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Suyūṭī, and their words were the same as the footprints of two horseshoes.

Then shaykh Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Maghīlī ordered Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad to write a letter to the caliph that will come after him and request a prayer from him. Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad asked him: “Will the letter reach him?” and theshaykh answered: “I hope it will reach him, God willing.” Askiyà ordered the scribe ‘Alī b. ‘Abd Allāh to write the letter. He wrote: “This is the letter of the amīr al-mu’minīn, the one who stood against the impious and the infidels, Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr to his legitimate inheritor, the one who will continue his work, the supporter, amīr al-mu’minīn Aḥmad b. Muḥammad, the victorious. Peace is more desirable than all desired things and honor more illuminating and splendid than the pearl, especially for you, and it encompasses all in entirety of those that are from you and turn to you by essence and sweetness. Accordingly, the motivation for writing to you, dear righteous and pious brother, is to inform and give you the glad tidings that you are the last of the caliphs and the one to subdue the enemies and the guide of the successful believers by the consensus of the scholars. We request from you supplication and I hope to be in your noble company on the Day of Resurrection; likewise we beseech God’s protection from the tests and trials of our times and hope from God—glorified be He—to place us in the company of the best of creation. Amīn.” Then the shaykh prayed for the askiyà so that God delivers this letter by any means. He ordered those present to pray.

The faqīh Maḥmūd [Ka‘ti] said, giving strength to the words of imām[al-Suyūṭī] and in agreement with what is attributed to the latter, that shaykh ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Tha‘lābī stated that at the end of the time there will be two caliphs from the land of Takrūr. The first will appear at the end of the ninth century, the second at the beginning of the thirteenth. The people of their time will reject them as caliphs and will declare their actions to be the result of injustice and falsehood, but God will suppress every ignorant one who denies and every jealous ‘ālim. The two caliphs will be equal in every laudable quality except in knowledge. God will lavishly pour on them abundant wealth protected from sight that the two will spend on what pleases God.

Shaykh Maḥmūd Ka‘ti said: “For all those who came across these stories that we have mentioned: know that we did not mean, by mentioning them, to be boastful and proud. However, [I did mention them] because we saw and witnessed the denial of people of the time of the affairs of the sultan [Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad], notwithstanding the agreement of the eminent and venerable ‘ulamā’ that he was from among the noble caliphs. However, thanks to God, the Almighty, this denial will not harm him in his religious or worldly life, as the words of the jealous, the rejection of the stupid, or slander of the godless traitor will not harm the one who will come after him [i.e. Aḥmad Lobbo].”

Here ends what was necessary to report. I, Nūḥ b. al-Ṭāhir, urge and press all those who receive this letter of mine to make a copy of it and to send it to everybody who they think did not receive what is included in it. For him [is valid] the admonishment of God and of his Prophet—and they are the two most trustful ones who said: “The believers are indeed brothers” and “the religion is an admonishment.” I also urge and press the carrier of the letter to gather the Muslims of the towns, the villages, and hamlets that he passes through and he thinks did not hear of it to read the letter to them or inform them orally, according to his capability.

Always peace. The one who has the power to make the letter of the askiyà to the amīr al-mu’minīn Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr has also the power to allow my writing to reach those it was written for, by the baraka of the shaykh. Amīn. End.

Peace.

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Notes

1  On West African Arabic script styles, see M. Nobili 2011, 2012; A. Brigaglia, M. Nobili, 2013.

2  The whole taṣliyya is missing in MS 3, MS 5, and MS 8; MS 1 does not report وصحبه وسلم تسليما; and تسليما  is missing in MS 6 and MS 9.

3  All the manuscrits have يدعوا.

4 Qur’ān 10: 25. واللـه يدعو الى دار السلام is missing in MS 1.

5 Qur’ān 3: 133. واللـه يدعوا الى دار السلام سارعوا الى مغفرة من ربكم وجنة عرضها السماوات والارض is missing in MS 2.

6  These names of places are fully, partially, or not vocalized in the manuscripts. I added the vowels only for the correct pronunciation of lesser-known places.

7  MS 7 has معهم  instead of في الحوض.

8  In the manuscripts, the preceding names are fully, partially, or not vocalized. Exceptions are MS 2: بُوسِيْف; MS 3: تُرارِزَ; MS 3 and MS 7: وُلات; MS 4: تِيشِيتْ; MS 2 and MS 7: اِدُو بلال; MS 2: دِيبْسَاتْ; MS 3: ديبِسَاثْ; MS 4: دنبسات; MS 7:ديبساتْ; MS 2: كُلَّ; MS 3: كُلْ; MS 3: يلُوب.

9  See note 4.

10  MS 3: تم.

11 MS 1 has only: أن. MS 4: مفعول الإعلام.

12  MS 7: الى.

13  MS 5 has الى instead of لإحياء.

14 MS 2: الدين.

15 تعلى only in MS 3.

16 MS 2: سبيل اللـه.

17  I use here for the region Masina the form مَاسِنَة that occurs below in the text fully or partially vocalized, since all the manuscripts agree on it, with the exception of MS 1, which has مَاسنه. In this part of the text, the manuscripts display different shapes for the name Māsina. The most common is مَاسِنَ (MS 3, MS 4, MS 6, MS 8, MS 9, and MS 10), partially or not vocalized in MS 2, MS 5, and MS 7. MS 1 has مَاسْنَ.

18 MS 2 and MS 9: وجنوبها.

19  MS 2, MS 3 and MS 4: يليه.

20  MS 2: ان الشيخ.

21  The nisba is not vocalized in MS 2, MS 3, MS 4, MS 5, and MS 9. MS 7 has الكُرْمَنِي.

22 تعلى only in MS 3.

23  The order of the sentence in MS 1 is: ونفعنا به آمين وبامثاله وبكل من له جاه عنده.

24  MS 1: والسلطان.

25  مساعدة is missing in MS 1.

26  تعلى only in MS 3.

27 MS 2, MS 4, MS 5, MS 6, and MS 10 have the nisba either not vocalized or only partially vocalized. Exceptions are MS 1 (الكَوْكِي) and MS 7 (الكُوكَوِي). The kāf has three dots in MS 1 and MS 6 (respectively on top of the letter and below) to reproduce the sound “g.”

28 تعلى only in MS 3.

29  MS 7: تعالى.

30  MS 1: فإن.

31  Qur’ān 94: 5-6.

32 MS 1 lacks of أردتُ.

33  MS 4: الحلو.

34 Most of the manuscripts spell the name ‘Alī in the West African form عَالِ either vocalized or not. Exceptions areMS 4 (عل) and MS 6 and MS 8 (علي).

35  تعلى only in MS 3.

36 MS 2: شميته.

37  MS 1: بتاريخ.

38  In the manuscripts, the name Songhay is fully, partially, or not vocalized. MS 1, MS4, and MS 9 have سُغُيْ. MS 5 and MS 6 have سَغَيْ. MS 10 has شغي.

39 MS 1 and MS 6: عن. MS 4, MS 5, MS 8, MS 9, MS 10 lack both بـ and عن.

40 تعلى only in MS 2 and MS 3.

41 MS 7 ends here.

42  MS 1, MS 8, MS 9, and MS 10: رحمه اللـه.

43  In the manuscripts, fully, partially, or not vocalized. MS 1 and MS 2: مُورَ كُيْرَ. MS 3: مُورِ كِيْرَ.

44 MS 3: أخ.

45  MS 1 has إلبسه instead of وجعل على رأسه.

46  MS 1, MS 2, and MS 7, have no تعلى.

47 MS 1 has the kāf with three dots. MS 4, MS 5, MS 6, MS 8, and MS 10 leave the name Kawkaw/Gawgaw (i.e. Gaw) unvocalized.

48  MS 9: عدل.

49  MS 9: كثر.

50  The manuscripts display the form بُرْكُ (fully, partially, or not vocalized), inconsistent with the spelling given in the Arabic text.

51 تعلى only in MS 3.

52 محيا  is missing in MS 2, MS 3, and MS 4.

53  تعلى only in MS 3.

54  تعلى only in MS 3.

55 MS 1: الثكلى.

56  MS 1, MS 5, and MS 7 have the full form of the name احمد بن محمد. The other manuscripts only report احمد.

57  In the manuscripts, the name Sebera is fully, partially, or not vocalized. MS 1 and MS 9 have سِبْرَ.

58 MS 2 and MS 6: قبيلة.

59  The manuscripts either vocalize the name, or leave it unvocalized or only partially vocalized.

60  MS 6 has السانة.

61  MS 1, MS 2, MS 3, MS 8, MS 9, and MS 10 lack بذكر اللـه

62 MS 1: فقل.

63  تعلى only in MS 3.

64  Inconsistently with the previous occurrence of the name, all the manuscripts have عَالِ, unvocalized or partially vocalized. The only exception in MS 4: علي.

65  In fact, for Gao the manuscripts have كاغ (except for MS 9: كاع). MS 1, MS 8, and MS 9 present the kāf with three dots. The name is left not vocalized except for MS 1 (كَاغُ), MS 3 (كَاغَ), MS 6 and M 8 (كَاغِ), and MS 9 (كاعُ).

66  MS 2: جني.

67  تعلى only in MS 3.

68 MS 5: للشيخ.

69 قبيلة  is missing in MS 1. The order of the sentence in MS 2, MS 3, and MS 4 is الاولى قبيلة جِنْدِ كَتَ.

70  The manuscripts display the form جَمْ وَلِ (fully, partially, or not vocalized), inconsistent with the spelling given in the Arabic text.

71  The form present in the manuscripts is جَمْ. I use جَامْ following the spelling of the previous name جَامْ وَلي. The form تِينَ is fully, partially, or not vocalized in the manuscripts.

72  In the manuscripts, the preceding names are fully, partially, or not vocalized. Exceptions are MS 5: شربنى; MS 2, MS 3, MS 4: جَرَ كُرْ بَرِ; MS 3: تَكُرِ تِبِ; MS 9: بنت كرَتِبِ; MS 1: سَمِّسِيكُ; MS 3: سَمَبِيكُ; MS 6, MS 10: سَمْسِيكُ; MS 2: كُرُ نْغُيْ; MS 3: كُرْ نكُيْ; MS 4: نكُرْ نَكُيْ; MS 5: كُر نْكَيْ; MS 6: كُرُ نْكَيْ; MS 1, MS 2, and MS 7: اُرْبِي.

73 MS 1 has ليست وايلا in place of ان امه حرة واباه.

74  تعلى only in MS 3.

75  تعلى only in MS 3

76  MS 6 ends here.

77  In the manuscripts واتفق.

78 المغيلي is missing in MS 5.

79  MS 1 has يسأل.

80  تعلى only in MS 3

81  MS 4: هكذا.

82  MS 3 and MS 4 report only احمد.

83 MS 1: وإكرم.

84 هو is missing in MS 10.

85 البر is missing in MS 1.

86  تعلى only in MS 3.

87  MS 5 adds here: على دعائه قال الفقيه محمود.

88  تعلى only in MS 3

89  In the manuscripts الحاضرون.

90 MS 2: التعاتبي.

91  In the manuscripts التاسعة.

92  In the manuscripts الثالثة.

93  MS 5 ends here

94 MS 1, MS 2, and MS 3: أيديهما.

95 MS 2: مذاكرة.

96  أهل is missing in MS 1.

97  تعلى only in MS 3

98  وإباية is missing in MS 1. The copyist left an empty space.

99 MS 2 ends here.

100 MS 3: يوَكَّد ويشدد. MS 4: شدد.

101  MS 1 has متى instead of على كل.

102 Qur’ān 49: 10.

103  Al-Nawawī, Matn al-‘arba‘īn al-Nāwāwīyya, 34.

104  دايما only in MS 1.

105  MS 10: اإيه.

106  آمين only in MS 1.

107  إنتهى is missing in MS 8.

108  All the passages of the Qur’ān follow Arberry’s translation.

109  I use the modern spelling for these toponyms.

110  I use here the names of Saharan groups as spelled in the Arabic text, with the exception of aznāgh, consistently referred to in the literature as Znaga. As for toponyms, I used the modern spelling.

111  In the Arabic text: Wa‘kurī.

112  Torodo (pl. Torodbe) refers to a Fulani-speaking group of Muslim specialists in West Africa, with whom the leaders of the Caliphate of Ḥamdallāhi identified too (see J.R. Willis, 1978). The reference to the Torodbe proves that the quotations from the Tārīkh al-fattāsh are not original from the 15th century as they pretend to be, since, according to John R. Willis, the Torodbe identity emerged only in the late 17th century with the first West African jihāds (J.R. Willis, 1978, p. 200). The use of the term seems to indicate Nūḥ b al-Ṭāhir’s attempt to impose on Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad a Torodo identity. The Tārīkh al-sūdān refers to the Songhay ruler as al-Tūrī (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 71). Hunwick translates it as Ture (or Touré), referring to it as a Soninke name (J.O. Hunwick, 2003, p. 102, n. 3). I read al-Tūrī as a nisba relating to Toro, meaning the region of Fouta Toro on the river Senegal, as supported by the information recorded in the Tārīkh Ibn al-Muktār that Askiyà al-ḥājj Muḥammad’s ancestors came from Ṭūru (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 59 Arabic text, p. 114 French translation).

113  Qur’ān 94: 5.

114  Mori Koira means, in Songhay, “the village of the Muslims” and refers to a place inhabited by the descendants of Mori Hawgāru, perhaps a neighborhood in Gao (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 15, French translation, n. 5). According to Hunwick, Mori Koira is close to Diré (J.O. Hunwick, 1992, p. 189).

115  Borgo is a region situated east of Mopti and north of Bandiagara (see O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 17 French text, n. 2).  

116  According to IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54, n. 1, Jindèkèta is a group of Sorko (group of fishermen and river hunters of the Middle Niger) from the area of Banikan, in the cercle of Niafunké. I prefer this interpretation over that provided by Houdas and Delafosse, who read the name as Tyindikèta and suggests that it means, in “Manding,” “cutter of stems” (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 20 French translation, n. 2). On this group, see T. Tamari, 1997, p. 71-72.

117 Jīm means, in Songhay, “craftsman” and especially “blacksmith,” and Walé and Téné refer to the ancestor of these two groups of blacksmiths (see O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 20 French translation, n. 3 and 4; IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54).

118  According to Houdas and Delafosse, it refers to a group of griots (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 20 French translation, n. 5). IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54 simply reads it as Gumi.

119  In Songhay, sorobanna means “builders of terraces” or “builders of minarets,” and here it refers to a group of stone workers (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 20 French translation, n. 6). IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54 reads it as Serbéné without explaining its meaning.

120  Tentative reading, based on the available manuscripts. O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 20 French translation, has Ngaratibi. IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54 has Nkartaba. These two readings are not supported by the form the name takes in the manuscripts I used.

121  According to O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 21, n. 1, Kaambara is a village in Bakounou, north-west of Goumbou.

122  Read in IHERI-AB, 2014, p. 54 as Samaseku, perhaps the name of a group of Songhay craftsmen (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p.  21 French translation, n. 2).

123  Also read Kourounkï in O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 21. It refers to a group of craftsman devoted to shoemaking (O.V. Houdas and M. Delafosse, 1913, p. 21 French translation, n. 4; HIERI-AB, 2014, p 54, n  5).   

124 Arbi means, in Songhay, “black man” and is used to refer to a Songhay servile class.

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References

Electronic reference

Mauro Nobili, « “Letter on the appearance of the twelfth caliph” (Risāla fī ẓuhūr al-khalīfa al-thānī ʻashar). Edition of the Arabic Text with English Translation », Afriques [Online], 07 | 2016, Online since 13 December 2016, connection on 23 March 2017. URL : http://afriques.revues.org/1958 ; DOI : 10.4000/afriques.1958

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About the author

Mauro Nobili

Assistant professor, University of Illinois, Honorary Research Associate at the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, Huma, University of Cape Town

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