Discourses of Muslim Scholars in Colonial Ghana

by John Hanson and Muhammad al-Munir Gibrill

University of Ghana at Legon, Institute of African Studies

The University of Ghana at Legon, founded in 1948, is the oldest and largest of Ghana's thirteen universities today. The university's library, archive and institutes hold many important primary archival items, including the poems in this collection.

Ajami Script Example from Muslim Revival (historical poem)

Date: 1905

This is a close up of a section from the historical poem about Muslim Revival to provide you an example of `ajami Hausa

Arabic Script - Poem Extract

Date: 1932

This is a close up of one poem section to provide an example of the Arabic script found in the original poem

Colonial Rule 1 (historical poem)

Date: 1899

This historical poem is one of three composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr of Kete-Krachi (commonly al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi) to describe and comment on the European colonial rule in West Africa. Al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi was positioned well to provide commentary from a West African Muslim perspective on the European colonial advance into the region during the l  Show More

Colonial Rule 2 (historical poem)

Date: 1900

This historical poem is one of three composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr of Kete-Krachi (commonly al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi)) to describe and comment on European colonial rule in West Africa. Al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi was positioned well to provide commentary from a West African Muslim perspective on the European colonial advance into the region during the late  Show More

Colonial Rule 3 (historical poem)

Date: 1907

This historical poem is one of three composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr of Kete-Krachi (commonly al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi) to describe and comment on European colonial rule in West Africa. Al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi was positioned well to provide commentary from a West African Muslim perspective on the European colonial advance into the region during the late   Show More

Hosting Ramadan (praise poem)

Date: 1910

This praise poem was composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) to thank the people of Tetemu for hosting him during the month of Ramadan. The poem reveals an instance of the widespread West African Muslim practice of hosting Muslim scholars during the month of Ramadan. Al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi visited the Muslim community of Tetemu, perhap  Show More

Kete-Krachi Mosque (praise poem)

Date: 1933

This praise poem is composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) to express thanks and gratitude to all those who assisted him in reconstructing his mosque. This poem was composed late in al-ḥājj 'Umar's life. It lists and praises those who contributed funds to the building of a mosque in Kete-Krachi. It mentions one of the most generous   Show More

Labbo (elegiac poem)

Date: 1931

This elegiac poem is composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) on the death of his son, Lobbo. Al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi had numerous children, but he was particularly close to Labbo, whom he hoped would succeed him as a Muslim scholar. Labbo was one of the few family members accompanying al-ḥājj 'Umar on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land  Show More

Malam Salaw 1 (praise poem)

Date: 1919

This praise poem is one of several composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) in honor of Malam Ṣalaw (Ḥussain al-Kashnāwī). Malam Ṣalaw was a prominent Hausa scholar who assumed positions of influence in Kumase during the British colonial era. Malam Ṣalaw was born in Yendi (in today's northeastern Ghana); his father originally   Show More

Malam Ṣalaw 2 (praise poem)

Date: 1923

This praise poem is one of several composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) in honor of Malam Ṣalaw (Ḥussain al-Kashnāwī). Malam Ṣalaw was a prominent Hausa scholar who assumed positions of influence in Kumase during the British colonial era. Malam Ṣalaw was born in Yendi (in today's northeastern Ghana); his father originally   Show More

Malam Ṣalaw 3 (praise poem)

Date: 1928

This praise poem is one of several composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr), in honor of Malam Ṣalaw (Ḥussain al-Kashnāwī). Malam Ṣalaw was a prominent Hausa scholar who assumed positions of influence in Kumase during the British colonial era. Malam Ṣalaw was born in Yendi (in today's northeastern Ghana); his father originally  Show More

Muslim Revival (historical poem)

Date: 1905

This historical poem is composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) to describe and comment on a Muslim revival movement in northern Ghana in 1904-05. The Muslim revival had its origins outside of Ghana, and visiting Muslims arrived to stress the need for Muslim reform. The movement may have referenced the coming of the Mahdi, a religious   Show More

Muḥammad b. 'Uthmān (elegiac poem)

Date: 1895

This elegiac poem is composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) on the death of Muḥammad b. 'Uthmān. Muḥammad b. 'Uthmān was a leading Muslim scholar of the Mande-speaking Wangara diaspora. Al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi was connected to him through a close relationship with his son, Ṣāliḥ b. Muḥammad, a leading Sufi scholar in West   Show More

Peaceful Coexistence (didactic poem)

Date: 1932

This didactical poem was composed by al-ḥājj 'Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakr) to counsel for peaceful coexistence among Muslims in West Africa. It was written to Abī Bakr, whom John Hunwick argues was al-ḥājj 'Umar's son (Arabic Literature of Africa, Volume 4: Writings of Western Sudanic Africa, compiled by John O. Hunwick with the assistance of Ou  Show More

Tunkuyau Epidemic (historical poem)

Date: 1921

This historical poem is composed by al-ḥājj ‘Umar Krachi (al-ḥājj ‘Umar ibn Abī Bakr) to describe and comment on an epidemic of an illness referenced as tunkuyau that afflicted the town of Krachi during the early twentieth century. The poem is available in Arabic and with an English translation. This poem is one of the most studied works in al-ḥājj 'U  Show More

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