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Author Topic: What was so great about Mali or Songhai scholarly or intellectual pursuits?
Whatbox
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I always see mention of Mali's or Timbuktu's or Sankore's great scholars and don't see the writers ever go into any greater detail about them than that, aside from the occassional mention of something about them being or the Muslim religion.

Feel free to list or talk about:

What - if anything - did the civilizations of Mali Songhai or Ghana (or any West Sahelian civilizations for that matter) do or achieve that was striking or gr8?

Here is a list from another thread:

quote:
  • Mali in the 14th century was highly urbanised. Sergio Domian, an Italian art and architecture scholar, wrote the following about this period: “Thus was laid the foundation of an urban civilisation. At the height of its power, Mali had at least 400 cities, and the interior of the Niger Delta was very densely populated”.
  • The Malian city of Timbuktu had a 14th century population of 115,000 - 5 times larger than mediaeval London. Mansa Musa, built the Djinguerebere Mosque in the fourteenth century. There was the University Mosque in which 25,000 students studied and the Oratory of Sidi Yayia. There were over 150 Koran schools in which 20,000 children were instructed. London, by contrast, had a total 14th century population of 20,000 people.
  • National Geographic recently described Timbuktu as the Paris of the mediaeval world, on account of its intellectual culture. According to Professor Henry Louis Gates, 25,000 university students studied there.
  • Many old West African families have private library collections that go back hundreds of years. The Mauritanian cities of Chinguetti and Oudane have a total of 3,450 hand written mediaeval books. There may be another 6,000 books still surviving in the other city of Walata. Some date back to the 8th century AD. There are 11,000 books in private collections in Niger. Finally, in Timbuktu, Mali, there are about 700,000 surviving books.
  • A collection of one thousand six hundred books was considered a small library for a West African scholar of the 16th century. Professor Ahmed Baba of Timbuktu is recorded as saying that he had the smallest library of any of his friends - he had only 1600 volumes.
  • Concerning these old manuscripts, Michael Palin, in his TV series Sahara, said the imam of Timbuktu “has a collection of scientific texts that clearly show the planets circling the sun. They date back hundreds of years . . . Its convincing evidence that the scholars of Timbuktu knew a lot more than their counterparts in Europe. In the fifteenth century in Timbuktu the mathematicians knew about the rotation of the planets, knew about the details of the eclipse, they knew things which we had to wait for 150 almost 200 years to know in Europe when Galileo and Copernicus came up with these same calculations and were given a very hard time for it.”

[link]

Ok, so they knew about the planets and stars. Did they do anything that was special or original? Did they do anything else impressive?

One thing in particular that I had in mind, infact the only other thing than "Theologian" that I've heard (before reading the "solar-system" fact from the above quote) was something related to I think SURGICAL SCIENCE. If someone could find somethin on that it'd be appreciated.

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Whatbox
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Perhaps this is a topic that could be ditto'd over at ES R.

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Sundjata
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quote:
Scholars of Timbuktu


The following is a partial list of the scholars of Timbuktu. They’re so many of them that we decided to give a brief account of only a few:

All the scholars of Timbuktu shared the following divine qualities: they combined the practice of the commands of the Holy Scriptures with the science of the purification of the heart and the soul. In other words, through the practice of Tassawuf or purification of the heart from of all evil characteristics, they were able to walk in the footsteps of God's prophets. As a result, they have experienced spiritual states and divine insights not accessible by ordinary worshipers with blind hearts. They adhered to righteousness, piety, self-denial, truth, devotional worships, God's conciousness, excellence of character, spiritual tranquility, eminence, and sincerity in all their actions. They were Maliki scholars and followed the Tarika or spiritual path of the Qaadiriya. The founder of this inner spiritual order is Sheik Abd Al Qaadir Al Gaylani. He was a descendent of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). . He followed in the path of love and sincerity of the Messenger of God and achieved the highest degree of nearness to God.

Modibo Mohammed Al Kaburi
He was a Fulani, a Jurist and Judge. He was fortunate to be a companion to many righteous scholars of the Sankore University. He was the scholar who developed the curriculum of Sankore. He was also known for his pious and devotional character.

Al Qadi Al Hajj
He was an eminent Jurist from Walata. God blessed Al Qadi with the function of Chief Judge of Timbuktu. He ordered the people of Timbuktu to recite half of a "hizb"or part of the Qur'an after noon and evening prayers.

Abu Abdallah And Ag Mohammed ibn Mohammed ibn Uthman
He was a Tuareg Jurist and had a wealth of knowledge. He was a virtuous and righteous man. He was descended from Ahmed Baba es Sudane. He was appointed Judge of Timbuktu.

Sheik Sidi Abu Al Barakaat Mahmud ibn Umar ibn Aqit
He was also known as Sheik Al Islam Abu Al Barakaat. He was the Supreme Judge of Timbuktu, Imam and the Dean of Sankore University. He was firm, pious, humble, modest, and had an excellent mastery of the Arabic language.

Al Moctar Ag Mohammed ibn Utman
He is known as An-Nahawi, meaning the grammarian. He was brilliant and was endowed by Allah with knowledge in all Islamic branches.

Abd Arahman Ag Mohammed ibn Utman
the name Ag, usually referred to "son of"-a common name among Tuareg scholars. Abd Arahman was a learned professor; he was gentle, and possessed Taqwa or God's concisouness.

Abu Al Abbas Ahmad Buryu ibn And Ag Mohammed ibn Utman
Humble, he yearned for the hereafter; Abu Al Abbas was not only pious, he was a great source of knowledge. Most scholars of Sankore benefited from his abundant wealth of knowledge.

Abu Abdallah And Ag Mohammed ibn Al Moctar 'n-Nawahi
He was appointed as the Imam and Dean of Sankore by the Qadi Mahmud. Like his father An-Nawahi, he was known for his excellent command of the Arabic language. Every year during the month of Ramadan, he gave captivating and fascinating commentaries of the "Kitab Ashiffa" of Qadi Iyad. The Ashiffa is a spiritual biography of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).

Al Moctar ibn Mohammed ibn Al Moctar 'n-Nawahi ibn and Ag Mohammed
He was a Jurist, he loved singing the praises of the Messenger of God; he spent a great deal of his wealth for the "Festivities of Maulid" or the birthday of the Prophet.

Ahmed Baba Es Sudane
Descendent of Umar ibn Mohammed Aqit the Tuareg. He liked to be called Ahmed Baba, the black. At an early age, he dedicated his time to learning until he surpassed all his peers and contemporaries. He was the matchless Jurist, scholar and Imam of his time. His reputation spread all over Sub-Sahara Africa and North Africa. The Jurists of Timbuktu sought his advise in matters pertaining to legal decisions. He was a storehouse of Islamic knowledge. He firmly stood on truth in face of the Amirs and Kings. He had a library of 1600 manuscripts that was plundered during the Moroccan invasion of Timbuktu. He was deported to Fez in 1593. He authored 60 books (more than Shakespeare had written). He was called “Standard of Standards” by the Moroccans. He was also the student of the eminent black scholar Mohammed Bagayogo. He wrote excellent books on theology, grammar, history and Jurisprudence.

Mohammed Bagayogo Es Sudane Al Wangari Al Timbukti
His ancestors were the black scholars Wangari of the blessed city of Jenne. He was the Sheik and professor of Ahmed Baba Es Sudan. He was born in Timbuktu. He did all his studies in Timbuktu. He was one of the most eminent professors of both Sidi Yahya and Sankore Universities. He was without doubt a veritable Doctor of Islamic Sciences. This was confirmed when he stopped in Cairo on his way to Mecca. The scholars of Al Azhar University conferred on him the title of Doctor. He was a Jurist well versed in all branches of Islamic knowledge. He had a very busy schedule and loved imparting knowledge to people with great patience. He would loan his books to his students and friends and would not ask for them back. He was sincere in his intentions and actions. He loved people and people loved him. He was given the position of the supreme Judge of Timbuktu, which he kindly declined for fear of being unjust toward people. He lectured in all the Universities of the city. He wrote his own personal copies of the Holy Qur'an which are today with his descendent Baba Muhmud Hassay the actual Imam of Sidi Yahya Masjid. He possessed absolute mastery in the areas of Jurisprudence, Arabic Grammar, Prophetic Traditions, Logic, etc. He imparted knowledge to his students as well as received knowledge from them. He was humble and accepted truth wherever it came from.

The Professors and Imams of Jingaray Ber:
Jingaray Ber was built by Mansa Musa in 1325. This Masjid or University is 700 years old. Every Friday 9,000 people pray in this blessed Mosque. Among the list of eminent Scholars and Imams of the University of Jingare Ber are: Kaatib Musa, Sidi Abd Allah Al Balbali, Sidi Abu Al Kassim Tuwaati, Sidi Mansur Al Fezani, Ibrahim z-Zulfi, Ahmad the father of Nana Surgu (meaning the father of Nana the Tuareg woman), Sidi Ali Al Jazuli, Siddiq ibn Mohammed Ta'alla, Uthman ibn Al Hassan ibn Al Hajj at Tishiti, Mohammed Gididu al Fulani, Imam Ahmad ibn Imam Saddiq, Abd Arahman ibn Sayeed, Baba Alpha and Abderahman Ben Assuyut, the actual Imam.

The Professors and Imams of Sankore University:
As we said earlier, the Sankore Masjid was first built by Mandika people around the 12th century. It is located in the northeast district of Timbuktu. A Wangara or Mandika woman financed Sankore University making it the leading center of learning in West Africa at that time. The Moors and the Tuareg Sanhaja settled in the Sankore district around the 13th century. They contributed significantly to the intellectual life of the city. Sankore became very famous in the history of the University of Timbuktu. Among the scholars of Sankore are: Abu Al Baraaka, Mohammed Bagayogo, Ahmed Baba, And Ag Mohammed, Al Aqib ibn Faqi Muhmud, Abu Bakr ibn Ahmad Biru, Abd Arahman ibn Faqi Mahmud, Mohammed ibn Mohammed Kara and the actual Imam.

The Professors and Imams of Sidi Yahya University:
The Masjid of Sidi Yahya was built by Mohammed Naddi, one of the governors of the city appointed by the Mandika Dynasty. Mohammed Naddi was a friend of the Saint Sidi Yahya Al Andulusi. Sidi Yahya was the first Imam, scholar, professor, and saint of this Masjid. After him, there were: Mohammed Bagayogo, Saddiq, Mohammed Ben Al Wangari, Mohammed Ben Sayeed, Mohammed Ben Ahmadu, Ahmadu Ben Abdallah, Saleh Ben Mohammed, Salmay Al Wangari, Bagno Wangari, Baba Wangari, Ahmadu Bagno, Baba Alpha Umar, Al Imam Ahmadu, and the existing Imam Baba Mahmud Hassay, may Allah bless them for their valuable contributions.

http://www.timbuktufoundation.org/scholars.html
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-Just Call Me Jari-
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The best person to ask is Sundjaita as he is the most knowledgable about Mideval West Africa. From what I gather we will have to wait until folks translate the Manuscripts and to be honest outside folks who study Africana and a few historians there really is not a demand for authentic Sub-Saharan African scholarship and science. If this was in London, Ireland etc you would have at least some English Translations. Hell even other Muslim scholarship still remains untranslated, works by greats such as Al-Jahiz and many others.

quote:
Originally posted by Whatbox:
I always see mention of Mali's or Timbuktu's or Sankore's great scholars but don't see the writers ever go into any greater detail about them than that, aside from the occassional mention of something about them being or the Muslim religion.

Feel free to list or talk about:

What - if anything - did the civilizations of Mali Songhai or Ghana (or any West Sahelian civilizations for that matter) do or achieve that was striking or gr8?

Here is a list from another thread:

quote:
  • Mali in the 14th century was highly urbanised. Sergio Domian, an Italian art and architecture scholar, wrote the following about this period: “Thus was laid the foundation of an urban civilisation. At the height of its power, Mali had at least 400 cities, and the interior of the Niger Delta was very densely populated”.
  • The Malian city of Timbuktu had a 14th century population of 115,000 - 5 times larger than mediaeval London. Mansa Musa, built the Djinguerebere Mosque in the fourteenth century. There was the University Mosque in which 25,000 students studied and the Oratory of Sidi Yayia. There were over 150 Koran schools in which 20,000 children were instructed. London, by contrast, had a total 14th century population of 20,000 people.
  • National Geographic recently described Timbuktu as the Paris of the mediaeval world, on account of its intellectual culture. According to Professor Henry Louis Gates, 25,000 university students studied there.
  • Many old West African families have private library collections that go back hundreds of years. The Mauritanian cities of Chinguetti and Oudane have a total of 3,450 hand written mediaeval books. There may be another 6,000 books still surviving in the other city of Walata. Some date back to the 8th century AD. There are 11,000 books in private collections in Niger. Finally, in Timbuktu, Mali, there are about 700,000 surviving books.
  • A collection of one thousand six hundred books was considered a small library for a West African scholar of the 16th century. Professor Ahmed Baba of Timbuktu is recorded as saying that he had the smallest library of any of his friends - he had only 1600 volumes.
  • Concerning these old manuscripts, Michael Palin, in his TV series Sahara, said the imam of Timbuktu “has a collection of scientific texts that clearly show the planets circling the sun. They date back hundreds of years . . . Its convincing evidence that the scholars of Timbuktu knew a lot more than their counterparts in Europe. In the fifteenth century in Timbuktu the mathematicians knew about the rotation of the planets, knew about the details of the eclipse, they knew things which we had to wait for 150 almost 200 years to know in Europe when Galileo and Copernicus came up with these same calculations and were given a very hard time for it.”

[link]

Ok, so they knew about the planets and stars. Did they do anything that was special or original? Did they do anything else impressive?


Posts: 7970 | From: The fear of his majesty had entered their hearts, they were powerless | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Whatbox
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Thanks for both of your replies to the subject.

quote:
Originally posted by -Just Call Me Jari-:
The best person to ask is Sundjaita as he is the most knowledgable about Mideval West Africa.

That's right he sho is. Then again there's also that Markellion guy when it comes to this stuff, and I'm sure he of Tekrur in the Western Sahel, alTekruri, is not bad either.
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Brada-Anansi
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One of the problem is much of the works needs translation and when that happens it will more than likely be in French first,so really our French speaking members of this board would have to keep tabs on what is coming out of the work being done at the Library
http://digital.films.com/play/7RX5GW
Nice vid.

Many of the books were transferred to Morocco after the invasion by Mulai Ishmael,so many would be there also.

Posts: 6546 | From: japan | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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