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Voici enfin un de ces fameux « manuscrits du désert » publié en français et en arabe, réunis dans le même ouvrage. Ce texte arabe, L’INSPIRATION DE L’ÉTERNEL, date du milieu du XIX e siècle. Son auteur y fait l’éloge de Shékou Amadou, fondateur de l’empire du Macina, dans l’actuel Mali.

l’inspiration de l’éternel

vendredi 11 février 2011

ISBN : 978-2-909550-69-5
Code Belin : 645069
Format : 16x24 cm
Nombre de pages : 200
Prix : 19€
Autres infos : français/arabe
Date de publication :

Ce manuscrit fait l’éloge de Shékou Amadou Lobbo, fondateur de l’Etat du Macina, la dina, dans la Boucle du Niger. Il a été rédigé en arabe par Muhammad b. ‘Ali Pereejo dans les semaines qui ont suivi la mort de Shékou Amadou, survenue en

P.-S.

Nuls n’étaient plus qualifiés que Georges Bohas (agrégé d’arabe, professeur à l’École Normale Supérieure de Lyon), Abderrahim Saguer (docteur en linguistique et en lettres arabes, ingénieur de recherche à l’École Normale Supérieure de Lyon) et Bernard Salvaing (agrégé d’histoire, professeur à l’Université de Nantes) pour traduire et présenter ce manuscrit.

http://www.ens-lyon.eu/130166589614...

Auteur :
Préface :
Presse : Islamic Africa Northwestern University 620 Library Place Evanston, IL 60208 USA www.isita.northwestern.edu www.islamicafricajournal.org In sum, L’inspiration de l’éternel is an important contribution to our still limited historical and literary knowledge of the Masina Caliphate, a state that has long been overshadowed by its more famous neighboring centers, Timbuktu, Sokoto, and the Tukuleur “empire” of ʿUmar Tall. The edition and translation of L’inspiration de l’éternel, as well the introduc-tory essay, locates the work in the path of those great scholars who have disclosed to a wider public the fi rst works of West African Arabic litera-ture, such as Octave Houdas between the nineteenth and the twentieth cen-turies or John O. Hunwick later on. Mauro Nobili, University of Cape Town Georges Bohas, Abderrahim Saguer, and Bernard Salvaing, eds. L’Inspiration de l’éternel: Eloge de Shekou Amadou, fondateur de l’empire peul du Macina by Muhammad b. Ali Pereejo. Brinon- sur- Sauldre: Éditions Grandvaux, 2011. 200 pp. €19. As David Robinson observed in his study of ʿUmar Tall, “the historiography of the Central and Western Sudan has been dominated by the themes of long distance trade, state formation and islamization . . . It runs through the medieval states of Ghana, Mali, Gao- Songhay, Hausaland, and Kanem- Bornu, and then culminates in the jihāds, or holy wars, of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the states which resulted from them.”1 Among the different postjihad states in West Africa the one that has attracted the least scholarly attention is by far the Fulani Empire of the Masina, also known as the Dina (from the Arabic word dīn, “religion”), or the Caliphate of Ḥamdallāhi (from the name of its capital)—from now on simply referred to as the “Caliphate.” The Caliphate, located in an area that belongs today to modern Mali, was founded in 1818 by Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Būbū al- Fulānī, better known as Aḥmad Lobbo (d. 1845).2 The core of the state was the Masina region, situated in the inland Niger Delta, but at the peak of its power, the Caliphate claimed authority over an area spanning from the southern shores of the Sahara and town of Timbuktu to the latter’s “twin city” Jenne, from northeastern Burkina Faso to the Malian city of Segu. For a long time Hampaté Ba and Jacques Daget’s classic L’empire --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 David Robinson, The Holy War of Umar Tal: The Western Sudan in the Mid- Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985), 1. 2 On Aḥmad Lobbo and his writings, see John O. Hunwick et al., Arabic Literature of Africa IV: The Writings of Central Sudanic Africa (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 208–13. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- peul du Massina3 and Bintou Sanankoua’s monograph4 were the only major contributions on the topic. These works are based on oral traditions. This represents a paradox, since both studies convey the notion that the spread of literacy in the Arabic language within the lands controlled by Ḥamdāllahi was one of the most relevant achievements of the Caliphate. The recent L’inspiration de l’éternel: Eloge de Shekou Amadou, fondateur de l’empire peul du Macina, edited and translated by Georges Bohas, Bernard Salvaing, and Abderrahim Saguer, represents a fi rst step toward a serious evaluation of the literary heritage of the Caliphate, a heritage that is still largely uncharted. L’inspiration de l’éternel is part of a larger project devoted to the study of the texts preserved in the Bibliothèques du Desert, the newly established VECMAS (Valorisation et édition critique des manuscrits arabes sub- sahariens).5 The VECMAS project, led by the well- known Arabist Georges Bohas, started in 2009 after an agreement between the École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines of Lyon and the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library of Timbuktu. However, the team includes other scholars from different European and African institutions, such as Tal Tamari, Bernard Salvaing, and Seyni Moumouni. The aim of VECMAS is to produce critical editions of Arabic works from sub- Saharan Africa and the project has already published eight works—one in three volumes—some with both the Arabic text and the French translation and some with only the Arabic text. This is a most welcome addition to the African Islamic library. Unfortunately, these publications neglect the material features of the manuscripts that contain the texts being edited and translated, confi rming the argument that the bulk of the work done on West African manuscripts tends to satisfy the “thirst” of scholars for new sources that can cast light on the history and culture of Africa.6 These studies are thus, in the words of Graziano Krätli, “conceived and implemented to serve literary interests and purposes. Therefore, they meet the expectations and the needs of literary scholars, but inevitably disappoint codicologists and other students of -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 Amadou H. Ba and Jacques Daget, L’empire peul du Macina, 1818–1853 (Paris: Mouton, 1962). 4 Bintou Sanankoua, Un empire peul au XIXe siècle: La Diina du Maasina (Paris: Karthala, 1990). 5 See the project website at http://vecmas- tombouctou.ens- lyon.fr/. 6 Mauro Nobili, “Manuscript Culture of West Africa,” forthcoming 2013. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- the book as a material and technological object.”7 Indeed, a more holistic approach to the manuscripts, as both content and container, would further enrich the value of the VECMAS publications which represent nonetheless one of the major contributions to the study of the West African literary heritage in the last decade. Among the fi rst outputs of the VECMAS series, L’inspiration de l’éternel is a meticulous critical edition with the French translation of an elegy written to celebrate the founder of the Caliphate, Aḥmad Lobbo. The work is a hagiography in the basīṭ meter, titled in Arabic Fatḥ al- ṣamad f ī dhikr shayʾ min akhlāf shaykhinā Aḥmad and written shortly after the death of Aḥmad Lobbo in 12 Rabīʿ I 1261/April 20, 1845. Its author is Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Pereejo, a son of a Muslim Kunari chief who pledged bayʿa (alliance) to Aḥmad Lobbo after the battle of Noukouma in 1818 which marks the beginning of the Caliphate. The Fatḥ al- ṣamad consists of an introduction (muqaddima), seven chapters (bābs), and a conclusion (khāṭima). From the work emerges a hagiographic portrait of Aḥmad Lobbo which focuses on his virtues, asceticism, and knowledge, and the baraka he was bestowed with (bābs 1–6). It completely avoids all reference to Aḥmad Lobbo’s important military and political efforts. The Fatḥ al- ṣamad is a work imbued with Ṭaṣawwuf (Sufi sm) without any reference to ṭarīqas (brotherhoods), notwithstanding the general agreement of scholars that Aḥmad Lobbo was affi liated to the Qādiriyya. The Sufi background in which the work is framed in the introduction is that of the founders of Ṭaṣawwuf, with explicit references to al- Ghazālī (d. 1111) and indirect allusions to Ibn ʿArabī (d. 1240). Furthermore, the work makes several references to later Andalusian and North African scholars, most of whom belong to the Shadhiliyya, confi rming the intuition of Constant Hamès that the latter ṭarīqa might have infl uenced West African Islam well before the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries— the period usually associated with the initial spread of Sufi - oriented Islam in West Africa.8 Bāb 7 and the khātima seal the work with a series of poems written during Aḥmad Lobbo’s life or shortly after his death. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 Graziano Krätli, “Camel to Kilobytes: Preserving the Cultural Heritage of the Trans- Saharan Book Trade,” in The Trans- Saharan Book Trade: Manuscript Culture, Arabic Literacy and Intellectual History in Muslim Africa, ed. Graziano Krätli and Ghislaine Lydon (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 329. 8 On this topic, see Constant Hamès, “La Shâdhiliyya ou l’origine des confréries islamiques en Mauritanie,” Cahiers de recherche du Centre Jacques Berque 3 (2005): 7–19. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Pereejo’s work is preceded by an erudite présentation which represents a fundamental guide to reading the Fatḥ al- ṣamad. But the introductory essay goes beyond the text itself, locating the work in the intellectual milieu of West Africa and comparing it with other similar works, i.e., the biographical- hagiographical entry on al- Sanūsī (d. 1490) included in the Nayl al- ibtihāj by Aḥmad Bāba (d. 1627) and the al- Ṭarāʾif wa- l- talāʾid by Muḥammad b. al- Mukhtār al- Kuntī (d. 1825–1826).9 Furthermore, the editors provide an accurate synthesis of the previous studies on the Caliphate which benefi ts substantially from two unpublished Ph.D. dissertations, by William A. Brown and by the Malian scholar Muḥammad Diagayété,10 that are diffi cult to access, but crucial for any study on this topic. In sum, L’inspiration de l’éternel is an important contribution to our still limited historical and literary knowledge of the Masina Caliphate, a state that has long been overshadowed by its more famous neighboring centers, Timbuktu, Sokoto, and the Tukuleur “empire” of ʿUmar Tall. The edition and translation of L’inspiration de l’éternel, as well the introductory essay, locates the work in the path of those great scholars who have disclosed to a wider public the fi rst works of West African Arabic literature, such as Octave Houdas between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries or John O. Hunwick later on. Mauro Nobili, University of Cape Town
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