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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2021

Mohamed Shahid Mathee
University of Johannesburg


Numerous tārīḫs (chronicles) were written in Timbuktu and its surrounding world from the seventeenth to the twentieth century CE. They constitute the Timbuktu tārīḫ tradition. The tārīḫs were embedded in different political projects, which became possible and necessary only under certain historical conditions. Hence, tārīḫs do not all belong to one single genre of historical literature. A chronicle that belongs to the Timbuktu tārīḫ tradition is the twentieth-century Kitāb al-turjumān. It sheds light on history writing in the Sahel during a crucial time, namely European colonial rule and the political realities it gave birth to thereafter. One of modern historians’ most important tasks is precisely to identify, describe, and analyse the different genres within the tārīḫ tradition. We attempt to do that in the case of the Kitāb al-turjumān.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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I thank my mentor Prof. Paulo F. de Moraes Farias for his guidance and the valuable suggestions he made on an earlier draft.


1 Seventeenth-century tārīḫs include the Tārīḫ al-Sūdān, the Tārīḫ ibn al-Muḫtār (also known as the Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ; however, these are two different chronicles: the former is a seventeenth-century chronicle and the latter nineteenth-century; see note 2), the text known as the Notice historique (which is available only in French as the ‘Second Appendix’ of Houdas, O. V. and Delafosse, M. (trans.), Tarikh el-fettach ou Chronique du chercheur (Paris, 1913)Google Scholar), and the lost Durar al-ḥisān fī akhbār baʿḍ mulūk al-Sūdān (this work is known from quotations of it in the Tārīḫ ibn al-Muḫtār; it may have been written earlier than the abovementioned tārīḫs, still in the first half of the seventeenth century). Nineteenth-century tārīḫs include Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ fī aḫbār al-buldān wa al-juyūŝ wa akābir al-nāss wa ḏikr waqāʾiʿ al-Takrūr wa ʿaẓāʾim al-umūr wa tafrīq ansāb al-ʿabīd min al-aḥrār and Tārīḫ Azawād fī aḫbār al-Barābīsh wa ḥurūb hum maᶜal-Ruqaybāt, Haggār wa Afūĝās, ḏikr baʿḍ akābirhim, wa duḫūl al-Naṣārā fī Tinbukt wa ĝayr ḏālik. Twentieth-century tārīḫs include the Kitāb al-turjumān and Jawāhir al-ḥisān fī aḫbār al-Sūdān. In addition to the tārīḫs, there are biographical dictionaries full of historical accounts. Among these figure the seventeenth-century Nayl al-ibtihāj bi taṭrīz al-dībāj, the eighteenth-century Taḏkirah al-nisyān fī aḫbār baʿḍ mulūk al-Sūdān (which is essentially an account of pasha rulers), the Diwān al-mulūk fī salāṭīn al-Sūdān (a history of the Pashalik of Timbuktu), the Ḏikr al-wafayāt wa mā ḥadaṯ min al-umūr al-ʿiẓām, the nineteenth-century Fatḥ al-ŝukūr fī maʿrifah ʿayān al-Takrūr, and the twentieth-century Izālah al-rayb wa al-ŝakk wa al-taʿrīf fī ḏikr al-ʿulamāʾ al-muʾallifīn min ahl Takrūr wa al-Ṣaḥrāʾ wa ahl al-Ŝinqīṭ and Al-Saʿādah al-abadīyyah fī taʿrīf ʿulamāʾ Tinbukt al-bahīyyah.

2 Notable exceptions include Abitbol, M., Mawlāy al-Qâsim: Tombouctou au milieu du XVIIIème siècle d'après la chronique de Mawlāy al-Qâsim b. Mawlāy Sulaymān (Paris, 1982)Google Scholar; and Nobili, M. and Mathee, S., ‘Towards a new study of the so-called Tārīkh al-fattāsh’, History in Africa, 42 (2015), 3743CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Although a study of the seventeenth-century Tārīḫ ibn al-Muḫtār, Nobili and Mathee show that the introduction of ‘Manuscript C’, which had hitherto been read as an interpolation of the Tārīḫ ibn al-Muḫtār, is in fact the actual nineteenth-century Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ. Importantly, it was Levtzion's pioneering research on Manuscript C that opened the door for Nobili and Mathee, see Levtzion, N., ‘A seventeenth-century chronicle by ibn al-Mukhtar: a critical study of the Ta'rikh al-fattash’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 3 (1971), 571–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The first and only in-depth study thus far of the nineteenth-century Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ is proffered by M. Nobili, Sultan, Caliph, and the Renewer of the Faith: Ahmad Lobbo, the Tārīkh al-fattash and the Making of an Islamic State in West Africa (New York, 2020).

3 Note that the author's name is rendered as ‘Ould Cheikh’ in colonial documents and either ‘Ould Cheikh’ or ‘Ould al-Shaykh’ in much of the secondary literature.

4 This study was limited by three factors. First, it worked from only one copy of the Kitāb al-turjumān, the unique available copy in Mali, which is in the archives of the Institut des Hautes Etudes et de Recherches Islamiques-Ahmed Baba de Tombouctou (IHERI-ABT). See IHERI-ABT manuscript (MS) 762, M. M. bin al-Ŝayḫ, Kitāb al-turjumān fī tārīḫ al-Ṣaḥrāʾ wa al-Sūdān wa bilād Tinbukt wa Shinqīṭ wa Arawān wa nubaḏ ʿan tārīḫ al-zamān fī jamī ʿal-buldān, n.d., ca. 1955 (hereafter referred to as KT). However, according to the editor of the printed version, another copy is available in the Markaz Jihad al-Lībiyīn li al-Dirāsāt al-Tārīḫīyyah in Libya; see al-Dālī, H. M., Tārīḫ al-Ṣaḥrāᵓ wa al-Sūdān wa balad Tinbukt wa Shinqīṭ wa Arawān fī jamīʿ al-buldān (Tripoli, 2009), 19Google Scholar. Second, the son of bin al-Ŝayḫ is not prepared yet to provide me with a copy he showed me of what is apparently Part Two of the tārīḫ; personal meeting, December 2018. Note that at the end of KT it is stated, ‘End of the index of Part 1 of the Turjumān’; see KT, 113. Third, the promiscuous interference of al-Dālī, the editor of the printed version, rendered that edition problematic to draw on as a secondary source.

5 As Bruce Hall puts it, Moraes Farias's reading has taught us to consider the primary sources for West Africa's precolonial history in more critical and careful way; see Hall, B., ‘Rethinking the place of Timbuktu in the intellectual history of West Africa’, in Green, T. and Rossi, B. (eds.), Landscapes, Sources, and Intellectual Projects of the West African Past: Essays in Honour of Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias (Leiden, 2018), 239Google Scholar. See also S. Jeppie, ‘Two examples of Sahelian book collectors over two centuries’, in Green and Rossi, West African Past, 259; and M. Nobili, ‘New reinventions of the Sahel: reflections of the tārīḫ genre in the Timbuktu historiographical production, seventeenth to twentieth centuries’, in Green and Rossi, West African Past, 201–7.

6 de Moraes Farias, P. F., Arabic Medieval Inscriptions from the Republic of Mali: Epigraphy, Chronicles and Songhay-Tuāreg History (New York, 2003), lix–lxxiiGoogle Scholar. Moraes Farias summarized a section of this work in a book chapter, see ‘Intellectual innovation and reinvention of the Sahel: the seventeenth-century Timbuktu chronicles’, in Jeppie, S. and Diagne, S. B. (eds.), The Meanings of Timbuktu (Cape Town, 2008), 95107Google Scholar.

7 In its entry on bin al-Ŝayḫ, the biographical dictionary Izālah al-rayb, still busy being written in 1942, does not list KT. A. bin Abī al-Aʿrāf, Izālah al-rayb (Timbuktu, 2019), 198. The author's full name is Aḥmad b. Mbārak b. Barka b. Muḥammad al-Mūsā-u-Alī al-Takanī al-Wadnūnī al-Sūsī al-Tinbuktī, known as Abu al-ʿArāf or Bou'l-Araf, see Hunwick, J. O. (comp.), Arabic Literature of Africa, Volume IV: The Writings of Western Sudanic Africa (Boston, 2003), 53Google Scholar.

8 Hunwick, Arabic Literature of Africa IV, 59.

9 al-Arawānī, M. M., Tārīḫ al-Ṣaḥrāʾ wa al-Sūdān wa balad Tinbukt wa Shinqīṭ wa Arawān fī jamīʿ al-buldān, ed. al-Dālī, H. M. (Tripoli, 2009), 910Google Scholar.

10 Hall, B., A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600–1900 (New York, 2011), 305–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

11 This claim must be read in the context of Saharan irredentism through the Organisations commune des regions sahariennes (OCRS) created primarily to ensure French economic interests. However, the OCRS apparently allowed for the political and social concerns of the many bidan who supported irredentism to be put forward. For a detailed account of the OCRS and bin al-Ŝayḫ's role in it, see Lecocq, B., Disputed Desert: Decolonization, Competing Nationalisms and Tuareg Rebellions in Northern Mali (Leiden, 2010), 55–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Hall, History of Race, 305–6.

13 Bin al-Ŝayḫ does so in a petition: ‘If there exists a right to self-determination for a people, we would like to believe that we are allowed to make our aspirations known. We declare without restrictions that we already are and want to remain French Muslims [Francais musulman] and an integral part of the French Republic. We manifest our formal opposition to being integrated in an autonomous or federalist Black Africa or North Africa. . . . We demand the incorporation of our country in the French Sahara of which we are part, historically, emotionally, and ethnically. . . . France has not found us under Soudanese domination. We have the strongest confidence that glorious France will not give us away freely to anyone.’ Lecocq, Disputed Desert, 55–6. The full text of the petition is in H. Claudot-Hawad (ed.), Le politique dans l'histoire Touarègue, Les Cahiers de l’ Institut de Recherches et d’Études sur les Mondes Arabes et Musulmans (IREMAM) 4 (Aix-en-Provence, 1993), 133–53.

14 M. M. Dadab, Kaŝf al-Ḥāʾil fī Taʿrīf bi Kutub Al-Fatāwā wa Al-Nawāzil (unpublished manuscript, Timbuktu, 2001), 273. The original manuscript is in Timbuktu in the possession of the author, who provided me with photocopy in June 2009.

15 Lecocq, Disputed Desert, 54.

16 In 1955, he visited Saudi Arabia, the Levant, Iraq, France, Tunisia, and Algeria; Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes (CADN), Dakar, Afrique occidentale française (AOF) 320, ‘Rapport de voyage de M. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Cheik, Cadi de Tombouctou’, n.d., ca. Nov. 1955. I thank Baz Lecocq for sharing this file.

17 According to Lecocq, bin al-Ŝayḫ had to resign his position in 1935 due to resistance from the local religious elite. Although he was reinstalled in his functions, he resigned for good in in 1949; see Lecocq, Disputed Desert, 54. Another colonial document states that he was appointed in 1931, 1936, and 1941, and that his mandate was not renewed in 1949; CADN Dakar AOF 320, ‘Notice de renseignements’, n.d., ca. Dec. 1956.

18 KT, 2.

19 IHERI-ABT MS 681, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Saʿdī, Tārīḫ al-Sūdān, n.d., ca. 1656; see also the print edition, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Saʿdī, Tārīḫ al-Sūdān, ed. O. Houdas, (Paris, 1898). IHERI-ABT MS 3927, Ibn al-Muḫtār, Tārīḫ ibn al-Muḫtār, n.d., ca. 1670; see also the print edition, Maḥmūd Kaʿt, Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ fī aḫbār al-buldān wa al-juyūŝ wa akābir al-nāss wa ḏikr waqāʾiʿ al-Takrūr wa ʿaẓāʾim al-umūr wa tafrīq ansāb al-ʿabīd min al-aḥrār, ed. A. A. Maiga et al. (Bamako, 2015). Aḥmad Bābā al-Sūdānī, Kifāyah al-muḥtāj li maʿrifah man laysa fī al-dībāj (Rabat, 2000), 68; A. Abī al-Aʿrāf, Izālah al-rayb wa al-ŝakk wa al-taqrīẓ fī ḏikr al-mu'allifīn min ahl al-Takrūr wa al-Ṣaḥrā’ wa al-Ŝinqīṭ, ed. M. Diagayetè et al. (Timbuktu, 2019); A. M. A. Bāber, Al-Saʿādah al-abadīyyah, ed. H. M. al-Dālī (Benghazi, 2001).

20 KT, 8–9. The Saʿdian invasion and conquest of Songhay is covered in KT, ch. 5

21 Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad bin Ḫālid al-Nāṣirī, Kitāb al-istiqṣā li aḫbār al-maĝhrib al-aqṣā, Volume V (Casablanca, 1997).

22 KT, 8.

23 Hunwick, J. O., Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Saʿdī's Taᵓrīkh al-Sūdān down to 1613 and Other Contemporary Documents (Leiden, 2003), 15, 178–99Google Scholar.

24 Hall, History of Race, 306.

25 As Elias Saad notes, ‘Timbuktu never produced a monument to its own history equal in wealth and detail to al-Saʿdī's chronicle,' see E. Saad, Social History of Timbuktu (Cambridge, 1983), 21. As Hunwick says, ‘[W]ithout [the Tārīḫ al-Sūdān], our knowledge of the workings of one of Africa's greatest pre-modern empires would be considerably diminished . . . and our understanding of a notable Islamic civilization much impoverished. Indeed, the existence of this work helps Timbuktu to cease to be seen as just a legendary fantasy,’ see Hunwick, Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire, lxv.

26 On the Tārīḫ al-Sūdān and its sibling chronicles not legitimating the invasion, see Mathee, M., ‘Probing the theological resources of a seventeenth-century tārīḫ: the Tārīḫ al-Sūdān and Ashʿarī kalām’, Islamic Africa, 7:2 (2016), 159–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 IHERI-ABT MS 3927, 103; Kaʿt, Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ, 205.

28 IHERI-ABT MS 681, al-Saʿdī, Tārīḫ al-Sūdān, n.d., ca. 1656, 185.

29 Kaʿt, Tārīḫ al-fattāŝ, 197–9; IHERI-ABT MS 3927, 95–7.

30 IHERI-ABT MS 681, al-Saʿdī, Tārīḫ al-Sūdān, n.d., ca. 1656, 181–2, 185–6; KT, 10. One miṯqāl equals about 4.25 grams

31 KT, 10.

32 Ibid. 10. Interestingly, KT is contradicted by its main source for the Saʿdian invasion of Songhay, the Kitāb al-istiqṣā: ‘Indeed the lands of the Sūdān have abundant minerals and [agricultural] produce and abundant in wealth to strengthen the [Saʿdian] army of Islam and the fighting arm of its armies.’ KT omits this piece although its account of the delegation Aḥmad al-Ḏahabī sent to Askiya Isḥāq II is taken almost verbatim from the Kitāb al-Istiqṣā. The Kitāb al-istiqṣā states al-Ḏahabī's advisors (notables and ᶜulamāᵓ) initially rejected al-Ḏahabī's plan to invade Songhay regarding it as undesirable and unfeasible while KT states they agreed immediately. See al-Nāṣirī, Kitāb al-istiqṣā V, 113.


33 Foucault, M., ‘Historical discourse and its supporters’ and ‘Stories about origins’, in ‘Society Must be Defended’: Lectures at the Collège de France, trans. Macey, D. (London, 2004), 66, 116Google Scholar.

34 Moraes Farias, Arabic Medieval Inscriptions, xlvi.

35 Hunwick gives the title as Sanjat al-wazzān fī nawāzil Arawān, see Hunwick, Arabic Literature IV, 151. Bāber has Ṭabḫah al-wazzān fi nawāzil Arawān as the title, see Bāber, Al-Saʿādah al-abadīyyah, 137.

36 KT, 1.

37 Ibid. 70–2. See Fig. 1


38 Ibid. The full account spans pages 70–2 and 97–100.


39 IHERI-ABT MS 3315, Ḏikr al-wafayāt wa mā ḥadaṯ min al-umūr al-ʿiẓām. See also, Abitbol, Mawlāy al-Qâsim; Abitbol, M., Tombouctou et les Arma: De la conquête marocaine du Soudan nigérien en 1591 à l'hégémonie de l'empire peul du Maçina en 1853 (Paris, 1979)Google Scholar; Cissoko, S. M., ‘Famines et épidémies à Tombouctou et dans le Boucle du Niger du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle’, Bulletin de I'Institut fundamental d'Afrique noire, 30 (1966), 806–21Google Scholar; Tymowski, M., ‘Famines et épidémies au Soudan nigérien du XVIe au XIXe siècle: causes locales et influences extérieures’, Hemispheres, 5 (1988), 527Google Scholar.

40 IHERI-ABT MS 12574, Sīdī bin Muḥammad Būtalimīt, Maktūb fī al-tarḥīb li al-Dawlah al-Faransiyyah fī duḫul hā wa siyāsāt hā wa iqtiṣadha ilā al-bilād al-takrūrīyah min al-bīḍān wa al-sūdān. See also Maktabat Mamma Haydara al-Tidhkāriyya (MMHT) MS 3747.

41 Moraes Farias, ‘Intellectual innovation’, 96–8.

42 Moraes Farias, Arabic Medieval Inscriptions, lxxiv–lxxvii. According to Lansine Kaba, the Arma underwent a cultural mutation through marriage to local women and adoption of the Soŋoy language and other local practices, but they still stuck to their distinctive collective identity. In this way they could reinforce alliances between their social category and the more influential conquered groups; see Kaba, L., ‘Archers, musketeers, and mosquitoes: the Moroccan invasion of the Sudan and the Songhay resistance, 1591–1612’, The Journal of African History, 22:4 (1981), 473Google Scholar.

43 As Shamil Jeppie points out, the Tārīḫ al-Sūdān does not cite Qurʾānic verses or prophetic traditions that exhort believers to learn from the Prophets and from either a specific past or the past in general. The Tārīḫ al-Sūdān — as well as the Tārīḫ ibn al-Muḫtār — is not conceived within the frame of sacred history. S. Jeppie, ‘Tarikhs and beyond: on Tarikh al-Sudan of al-Sa'di (c. 1655) and the writing communities of the middle Niger valley’ (paper presented at the Great Books on Africa – Africana in Basel Public Lecture Series, Basel, Switzerland, 27 Mar. 2007).

44 Hall, History of Race, 304. Bin al-Ŝayḫ reiterated his praise for France in 1955 in an interview with Radio Tunis, CADN AOF Dakar 320, ‘Traduction de l'interview donnee par le Cheikh Mohamed Mahmoud, cadi de Tombouctou, aux emissions arabes de Radio Tunis’, 20 Sept. 1955.

45 Hall, History of Race, 303.

46 Traditional religious scholars of the western and southwestern Sahara have written about the question of chaos and the absence of the state (a phenomenon known as al-saybah) since the seventeenth century and into the colonial era. See, Y. w Barā’ah, Al-Majmuʿah al-kubrā al-ŝāmilah li fatāwā wa nawāzil wa aḥkām ahl ĝarb wa junūb ĝarb al-Ṣaḥrā (1st edn, Nouakchott, Mauritania, 2009), 121–7.

47 Hall, History of Race, 303.

48 For French colonial conquests in West Africa, see L. T. Medinah, ‘Massina and the Torodbe Tukuloor Empire until 1878’, in Ade Ajayi, J. F. (ed.), UNESCO General History of Africa, Volume VI: Africa in the Nineteenth Century until the 1880s (Berkley, 1989)Google Scholar; Robinson, D., The Holy War of Umar Tall (Oxford, 1985)Google Scholar; and Forstner, K., The Conquest of the Western Sudan: A Study in French Military Imperialism (London, 1969)Google Scholar.

49 For more on the French colonial intelligence services keeping meticulous tabs on Muslim clerics, their students, their books, their Sufi affiliations, and so on, see Launay, R. and Soares, B. F., ‘The formation of an “Islamic sphere” in French colonial West Africa’, Economy and Society, 28:4 (1999), 497519CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The French appointed Muslim judges to areas where Muslims were a minority, and even to areas where they were non-existent, to apply Islamic substantive law texts to legal disputes as they viewed Islam as a stepping stone between animism and European civilization. See O'Brien, D. C., ‘Towards an Islamic policy in French West Africa, 1854–1914’, The Journal of African History, 8:2 (1967), 303–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Robinson, D., ‘French Islamic policy and practice in late nineteenth-century Senegal’, The Journal of African History, 29:3 (1988), 415–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 Hall, History of Race, 209. Sandra Greene shows that in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries most European governments had delinked their economic and political goals from the zeal of Christian missionaries to abolish both slavery and the slave trade, see Greene, S. E., ‘Christian missionaries on record: documenting slavery and the slave trade from the late fifteenth to the early twentieth century’, in Bellagamba, A., Greene, S. E., and Klein, M. (eds.), African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade, Volume II (Cambridge, 2016), 50Google Scholar.

51 Hall, B. S. and Addoun, Y. D., ‘The Arabic letters of Ghadames slaves in the Niger Bend, 1869–1900’, in Bellagamba, A., Greene, S. E., and Klein, M. (eds.), African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade, Volume I (Cambridge, 2013), 1Google Scholar.

52 B. S. Hall, ‘Mapping the river in black and white: trajectories of race in the Niger Bend, northern Mali’ (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005), 127.

53 Saad, Social History, 217.

54 Nobili, Sulṭān, Caliph, and the Renewer of the Faith, 178.

55 CADN Dakar AOF 320, ‘Un quart d'heure avec S. E. le Cadi de Tombouctou’, interview with Radio Tunis, 20 Sep. 1955.

56 KT, 3–7.

57 However, elsewhere in KT it states that they left Sūq after its destruction at the hands of the army of Askiya Muḥammad. See KT, 4.

58 KT, 9.

59 Ibid. 4.


60 This text was completed in 1598, with an addendum, the Kifāyah al-muḥtāj li maʿrifah man laysa bi al-dībāj added in 1605. A. B. al-Sūdānī, Nayl al-ibtihāj bi taṭrīz al-dībāj (2nd edn, Tripoli, 2000), 16.

61 Bāber, Al-Saʿādah al-abadīyyah, 135–6; al-ʿArāf, Izālah al-rayb. However, Aḥmad Bāber, the author of the Al-Saʿādah, omitted bin al-Ŝayḫ from the biographical dictionary ostensibly because bin al-Ŝayḫ allegedly refused to pray behind Bāber's teacher al-Ŝayḫ Abū al-Ḫayr al-Arawānī because the latter was Black. However, I have argued elsewhere that bin al-Ŝayḫ's alleged treatment of Abū al-Ḫayr is not sufficient to explain the omission. The alleged incident, I argue, was in fact a rumor created by bidan elites in postcolonial Mali having to, in a Black-dominated Mali, distance themselves from bin al-Ŝayḫ's controversial racialized political discourse; see M. S. Mathee, ‘Muftīs and the women of Timbuktu: history through Timbuktu's fatwās, 1907–1960’ (PhD thesis, University of Cape Town, 2011), 247–8. I draw on the fact that Bāber completed his Al-Saʿādah in November 1962, two years into the independence of Mali, and that he wrote his chronicle the Jawāhir al-ḥisān after the creation of Mali. In both works, Bāber embraces the nascent Malian state and embellishes its attributes: ‘Then commenced the nascent rule of Mali in the year 1380 (1960). Their rule of these lands now is one of benevolence, consolidating order and extinguishing dissension from hearts. Their rule is firm and upright.’ In contrast, both works devote only a few lines to France with no mention of the many benefits of French rule. See al-Arawānī, Al-Saʿādah, 69; A. B. al-Arawānī, Jawāhir al-ḥisān fī aḫbār al-Sūdān, ed. H. M. al-Dālī (1st edn, Benghazi, 2001), 52–3, 83. Although KT does not mention Mali — as it was written before its establishment — it would have rejected Mali, as we saw above.

62 MMHT MS 319, Āli al-Arawānī, Tārīḫ Sīdī Aḥmad Ag Ādd wa tārīḫ awlādih, n.d., ca. 1900; and IHERI-ABT MS 621, Abū al-Ḫayr al-Arawānī, Tārīḫ Arawān wa Tawdannī, n.d., ca. 1900.

63 ‘Palace’ refers to quarters for the governor, in this case the Arma.

64 KT, 11–12.

65 See note 62.

66 IHERI-ABT MS 621, al-Arawānī, Tārīḫ Arawān wa Tawdannī, n.d., ca. 1900, 2–5.

67 IHERI-ABT MS 681, al-Saʿdī, Tārīḫ al-Sūdān, n.d., ca. 1656, 13, 179.

68 KT, 107–8.

69 Bāber, Al-Saʿādah al-abadīyyah, 88. The phrase ‘covetous competitor’ plausibly refers to bin al-Ŝayḫ.

70 IHERI-ABT MS 5964, Ibn ʿĀlin al-Jaknī al-Tinbuktī, Fatwā fī al-ḫilāfāt al-zawjīyyah.

71 KT, 25.

72 CADN Dakar AOF 320, ‘Notice de renseignements’, n.d., ca. Dec. 1956.

73 CADN Dakar AOF 320, Service des Affaires Politiques, ‘Renseignements concernant le nommé Mohammed Mahmoud Ould Cheikh, Cadi des Ahel Araouane (Cercle de Tombouctou)’, n.d., ca. 1955.

74 Hall, History of Race, 306–7.

75 For example, the story that bin al-Ŝayḫ refused to pray behind al-Ŝayḫ Abū al-Ḫayr; see note 60.

76 The Congolese philosopher Valentin Mudimbe first spoke of the colonial library as a ‘body of writing by colonial scholars that creates a system of representation of African societies’. Quoted in Kane, O., Beyond Timbuktu: An Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa (London, 2016), 9CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Opposed to the colonial library, Mamadou Diouf speaks of the Islamic library in Muslim Africa which has a longer history and a broader demographic and cultural scope; see Diouf, M., Historians and Histories: What For? African Historiography Between State and the Communities (Calcutta, 2003), 8Google Scholar.

77 Moraes Farias, ‘Intellectual innovation’, 97.

78 P. F. de Moraes Farias, ‘Timbuktu historical chronicles and the recycling of tradition’ (paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom, Birmingham, UK, 11 Sept. 2018).

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