Arabic Manuscripts Production in Ghana: A Close Study of Jumcat's al-lāmiyyat al-Ṣughrā

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University of Ghana


The study contributes to an ongoing discussion on the need to engage with the content of the Arabic and Ajami manuscripts deposited in archival centers across West Africa. Using one of the primary manuscripts from the Arabic and Ajami collection of the Institute of African Studies in the University of Ghana, the study vividly describes three core iterant processes that recur in manuscripts writing in Ghana and in West Africa. These processes comprise the occasions that necessitate the production of Arabic and Ajami manuscripts, the choice of appropriate titles and thematic interconnectedness of various Arabic manuscripts. The essence of the study is to demonstrate how these three processes have been catered for in the selected manuscript relative to a few manuscripts from the IAS collections. To contextualize the discussion, the paper began with an overview of Arabic manuscripts production in Ghana, accompanied by a brief description of the manuscript under study. The study revealed that akin to several Arabic manuscripts from the IAS collections, the occasion that necessitated the manuscript under consideration has been elaborated in a prelude. Indeed, for emphasis, the purpose of writing the manuscript has also been explicitly stated in the third lines of the poem. The two-worded title of the manuscript (al-lāmiyyat al-ṣughra) although catchy, barely reflects the content. Nonetheless, the manuscript share a close thematic affinity with a few manuscripts from the IAS collection and many others from West Africa. Notwithstanding, it is unique in many respects. It qualifies as a funeral dirge, a genealogy and obituary poem apiece. Above all, it contains invaluable information for historical and anthropological enquiries




manuscripts, West Africa, Institute of African Studies, Arabic