Arabic Manuscripts

Manuscripts Collections Overview

The Arewa House established in 1970, has a long history of work in the area of Arabic/Ajami manuscript preservation and has initiated many programs for the procurement and preservation of Arabic manuscripts. It has over 836 photostats and photographs of Arabic/Ajami manuscripts in the form of letters, jurisprudence, history and poetry. These were collected by Professor Abdullahi Smith its former Director from (1970-1984), as a pace setting project for more collections in Northern Nigeria’s repositories.

Until April 2009, the Centre had only about 207 Photocopied Manuscripts other than Correspondences and 527 Letters, which are not catalogued. As a matter of fact, Procurement of Arabic Manuscripts by the Center had also stopped since the early 1980s. However, as a result of intensive fieldwork, which resumed in 2009 in the Northern parts of Nigeria especially, in States like Adamawa, Plateau, Jigawa, Katsina and Bauchi States, the Center collected more than 3160 Original Manuscripts. Also, the Centre collected about 111 copies of what was popularly known as market copies Manuscripts. As noted earlier, until April 2009, Arewa House itself had only 3 handwritten Original manuscripts and 34 of the so called “Market Copies” out of 207 Manuscripts other than Correspondences. It is interesting to note that, the situation has now tremendously improved with new acquisitions made particularly from Adamawa (over 985 catalogue originals), Katsina (30 catalogued originals) Plateau (870 originals catalogued) and many more “Market Copies”. Currently, the Arewa House has gone far in its negotiation with the management of the National Museum and Monuments for the possibility of rescuing Jos Museum Arabic Manuscripts Collection to Arewa House as permanent loan to the Centre. Also, a lot of activities are currently going on in the same direction

Manuscripts Collections Donors

This collection consists of approximately 986 original manuscripts deposited in Arewa House. It is the personal collection of the late Modibbo Ahmadu Fofure of Yola (1889-1960).

The collection is one of the largest of its kind in Adamawa Emirate so far recovered. The many scholarly treasures it contains and the breadth and scope of the subjects they cover make this collection one of the most important storehouses of Islamic knowledge and Northern Nigeria documentary heritage. They bear various titles as they were inherited from their great grandfathers in the period between the 14th and 20th century AD.

The collection is unique for two reasons. First, it contains many important items such as the finest illuminations and calligraphy with a variety of scripts of the Holy Qur’an, calligraphic art works, and other high-quality copies of many important works. Secondly, the collection is diverse in terms of the subjects it covers.

These include copies of the Holy Qur’an, works of Qur’anic sciences, Hadiths (reports from the Prophet and the Imams), Tawheed or theology, Islamic law, prayers and sermons, mysticism, philosophy, ethics and politics, biographies, history, geographical works, Arabic and Fulfulde and Hausa grammar, lexicography and philology, poetry and prose, anthologies and other literary works, alchemy, astronomy, traditional medicine, traditional pharmacy and pharmacology, and most importantly a large body of correspondences on Mahdism, etc.

This is the second Arabic manuscript collection in Arewa House, Kaduna. It belonged to the late Sheikh Ahmad Arabi of Jos in Nigeria (1910-1973) Shiekh Ahmad Arabi was born in 1910 in Nafada in the present Gombe state. He pursued his elementary school in Dukku, after which he worked briefly as court scribe. Sheikh Arabi later moved to Jos. There, he continued his Arabic Education under his uncle, Alkalin Jos Mall Abubakar. He was appointed Arabic Teacher at Jos NA Elementary School. Arabi’s search for knowledge took him to the School for Arabic Studies Kano, after which he became a teacher there. He was called back by Jos Native Authority in 1950. In 1947 founded the Islamiyya School Jos. He was appointed as the Deputy Grand Khadi for the defunct Benue Plateau and North Eastern States, and Chairman of Benue Plateau State Pilgrim Welfare Board. He died in 1973 at the age of 63. He received MFR in 1968. (Yaya Arabi 2008 interview)

As far as the Arabic script is concerned, majority of them were written in Naskh script with some Kufic letters. This Naskh has some Maghrib style, especially the curative lettering and the placing of the dots for letters qaf and fa. Diacritical points were not omitted and orthographic color is different from that of the texts. Special reeds were used in writing those manuscripts. Even the later ones are not written with pens or fountain pens. This is still observed until now in many places in Northern Nigeria.( Musa S M 2008)

The collection consists of 156 copies of handwritten manuscripts, including 930 volumes of hadith and fiqh works, some dating from the eighteenth century.

The owner of this valuable collection is Nupe by tribe who travelled far and wide in Nigeria for the purpose of seeking knowledge and trade and he finally settled in a village to the North of Jos.

He has more than 770 copies of original Arabic and Ajami manuscripts written in the period between the 19th and 20th centuries. The subjects covered by the manuscripts include Islamic matters such as interpretation of the Qur’an, Sufism, Astrology, Poetry, Sociology and Political Economy.

The collection has more than 550 copies of Manuscripts acquired by Arewa House, in 2011 by during our survey activities

The collection is made up of about 30 copies of original manuscripts written in the period between 18th and 20th centuries. It belonged to Mallam Musa Ilyasu Dalhat in Katsina state of Nigeria.

The works covered subjects such as Sufism, and Islamic law and theology. The entire collection was purchased by Arewa House from Mallam Iliyasu Katsina in May 2009.

Arewa House Arabic/Ajami Manuscripts Catalogues

SN wdt_ID ID Number Manuscript Title Author Date Language Content Abstract
1 1 AAC/1 تحفة ا لحكام Abubakar bin Asim Qadi Garnada (d. 1426) Arabic On Islamic Jurisprudence. (Part)
2 2 AAC/2 قصيدة Anonymous Arabic Poem praise to Amir of Bauchi, seeking his permission for a visit.
3 3 AAC/3 قصيدة بحمد الله ربي Ahmad Abubakar Muhammad Jos. 5/1/1945 Arabic Poetry praising Prophet (S.A.W) in Arabic language.
4 4 AAC/4 كتاب أم البراهين Sheikh Abu Abdullahi, Muhammad bin Yusuf Assanusiy. d. 895H Arabic Muhammad bin Yusuf as-Sanusi
5 5 AAC/5 قال طرفة بن عبد ( شعر الجاهلية) Tarfata bn Abdi Sufyar bn Saeed bn Malik. Arabic Eloquence Arabic poems, poetry written by Ṭarafah ibn al-Abd, in full Ṭarafah ibn al-Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Mālik ibn Ḍubayah al-Bakrī ibn Wāil (flourished 6th century), Arab poet, author of the longest of the seven odes in the celebrated collection of pre-
6 6 AAC/6 فائدة ما جاء في بيان الفلك Sayyid Abdul Abbas Allenth Arabic Manuscripts On Astrology.
7 7 AAC/7 عقيدة الإيمان Anonymous Arabic Arabic poetry on Islamic Monotheism.
8 8 AAC\8 قصيدة عجبية لباد Imam Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bn Masudi Allubady Arabic An Islamic Commandments.
9 9 AAC\9 بسم ماهو جار و المجرور Usman bn Fodio Arabic Teaching Arabic Grammar.
10 10 AAC\10 أبكيت بلى داني سكيني Anonymous Arabic Arabic poetry, about Importance of Knowledge.
11 11 AAC\11 الله Anonymous Fulfulde Poetry in Fulfulde praising the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) Fulfulde is a language widely spoken in West Africa
12 12 AAC\12 تفسير القرآن العظيم لجلالين Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli (d. 864 ah / 1459 ce) and his pupil Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 ah / 1505 ce), Arabic Commentary of the Holy Qur'an. (part) of the Tafsir al-Jalalayn is one of the most significant tafsirs for the study of the Qur’an. Composed by the two “Jalals” -- Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli (d. 864 ah / 1459 ce) and his pupil Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911
13 13 AAC\13 تحفة الحكام Qadi Garnada, Abubakar bn Asim. (d. 1426) Arabic On Islamic Jurisprudence.
14 14 AAC\14 كتاب الملحة الإعراب Abu Muhammad Qasim bn Aliyu bn Muhammad Al-hariri (1054-1121)AD Arabic Teaches Arabic Grammar and Language.
15 15 AAC\15 كتاب إبن مالك Jamaluddin Abu Abdullahi Muhammad bn Malik Attai.(c. 600 AH – 672 AH / c. 1204 – 22 February 1274) Arabic The Manuscripts teaches Arabic Grammar written by Ibn Mālik, Abū Abd Allāh Jamāl Al-Dīn Muhammad (c. 600 AH – 672 AH / c. 1204 – 22 February 1274) was an Arab grammarian born in Jaén, Spain. After leaving Spain for the Near East, he became a Shāfi‘ī, and
16 16 AAC\16 شرح ألفية إبن مالك Sheikh jalaluddin Abul Fadli Abdurrahman Suyudi c. 1445–1505 AD Arabic Commentry of Arabic Grammar Written by alal al-Din al-Suyuti (c. 1445–1505 AD), whose full Arabic name is Abu al-Fadl 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Bakr b. Muhammad Jalal al-Din al-Khudayri al-Suyuti, also known as Ibn al-Kutub (son of books) was an Egyptian rel
17 17 AAC\17 كتاب الحساب Anonymous Arabic On Astrology.
18 18 AAC\18 كتاب الدعاء Anonymous Arabic Supplications.
19 19 AAC\19 قصيدة مرموز طنطراني Sheikh Imam Ahmad bn Abubakar Arabic An Arabic poem praising the Almighty Allah.
20 20 AAC\20 كتاب مدرسة اللأولية لتعليم الصبيان في قرية جوس Qadi Bauchi Ibrahim bn Salih. Aabic Teaching children Arabic language in Jos town.
21 21 AAC\21 كتاب الدعاء Anonymous Arabic Islamic Supplications.
22 22 AAC\22 قراء اللأمور لبان الحسن Anonymous Arabic Arabic poem praising the Almighty Allah.
23 23 AAC\23 أسرا الذنوب Anonymous Arabic An Arabic poem teach Islamic Commandments.
24 24 AAC\24 قصيدة Anonymous Hausa Poem in Hausa language, praising Prophet Isah (A.S) and Almighty Allah.
25 25 AAC\25 قصيدة عمر الفاروق الكبوي جوس Anonymous Arabic An Arabic Poetry Contained Islamic Commandments.
26 26 AAC\26 هذا شعر الرحمن Anonymous Arabic An Arabic poetry contained Islamic Commandments.
27 27 AAC\27 كتاب أرشدة Anonymous Arabic An Islamic Commandments and Teaching Islamic Monotheism.
28 28 AAC\28 عقائد التوحيد Anonymous Arabic Teaches Islamic Monotheism.
29 29 AAC\29 سبحان خالقنا Abdussalam bn Adam Arabic An Arabic poetry containing an Islamic Commandments.
30 30 AAC\30 ميتم الله Anonymous Fulfulde A Fulfulde poem praising Allah (S.W.T)
31 31 AAC\31 تعالى إنا رقونك Anonymous Hausa A Hausa poetry written in Ajami contained praises.
32 32 AAC\32 الله غيتم Anonymous Fulfulde A poem written in Fulfulde.
33 33 AAC\33 الحمد لله حيط Anonymous Fulfulde A poetry written in Fulfulde.
34 34 AAC\34 يا ديار ميتا Ibrahim Dakul Arabic Arabic poetry teaching Arabic literature.
35 35 AAC\35 مقدارا جتغو جمنم Anonymous Fulfulde A Fulfulde poem.
36 36 AAC\36 كتاب الدر التبيان في علم المنطق Anonymous Not indicated Arabic Arabic Poem on logic
37 37 AAC\37 الدعاء Anonymous Arabic Islamic Supplications for protection.
38 38 AAC\38 خمسية Abu Zayd Abd al-Rahman ibn Yakhlaftan ibn Ahmad al-Fazazi (died in Fez in 627/1230) Arabic Poetry praising Prophets (S.A.W) writing by Abu Zayd Abd al-Rahman ibn Yakhlaftan ibn Ahmad al-Fazazi (died in Fez in 627/1230) was a poet and mystic. He is especially well known for his Al-Wasail al-Mutaqabbala, a long poem in praise of the Prophet. It
39 39 AAC\39 كتاب التوحيد Anonymous Arabic Book of an Islamic Monotheism.
40 40 AAC\40 شرح الملحة القرطبي Isah bn Muhammad Dan Kani. Arabic poetry in Arabic on Islamic Commandments
41 41 AAC\41 قصيدة يا سبدي Sheikh Shihabuddeen Arabic An Arabic poetry, praising the Almighty Allah.
42 42 AAC\42 نزهة ملك الغني في سياحة الأرض بماكو وغينية Aliyu bn Ahmad Tijjani Arabic An Arabic poetry Containing the praises of the Almighty Allah slowing gratitude to him for his brunties on the writter and gave him ability to travel to Bamako and Ghana.
43 43 AAC\43 الدعاء Anonymous Arabic Supplications.
44 44 AAC\44 كتاب الزهد Aliyu bn Hussain Arabic An Arabic poetry on Islamic Commandments.
45 45 AAC\45 نيني بسم الله Musa bn Aliyu Hausa A Hausa poetry praising the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)
46 46 AAC\46 مفتاح الأوقاف العدد Sheikh Muhammad Arabic Arabic poetry on Astrology.
47 47 AAC\47 الوجود Anonymous Arabic On Islamic Monotheism.
48 48 AAC\48 كتاب التوحيد Anonymous Arabic Teaches an Islamic Monotheism.
49 49 AAC\49 كتاب مجادلة الرجلين Amonymous. Arabic It Containang an agrument of two persons on the Importances of Knowlegdge and Wealth.
50 50 AAC\50 عرف بالمنفرج Mal. Ahmad. Arabic Arabic Poety teaches Islamic Commandments and to defend the Almighty Allah.