Archival records from Digital preservation of Wolof Ajami manuscripts of Senegal (EAP334)

From The British Library Endangered Archive Programme:

img-2The project team successfully digitized 5,494 pages, copying 29 manuscripts from 15 collections. The manuscripts primarily consist of Wolofal (Wolof Ajami) materials written by the members of the Muridiyya Sufi order founded in Senegal in 1883. The archival materials remain in the homes of the owners. Three copies were made and have been deposited at WARC (West African Research Center), the British Library and Boston University’s digital repository.

Read online the open access article: Murid Ajami sources of knowledge: the myth and the reality, published in the EAP Anniversary publication From Dust to Digital.

The records copied by this project have been catalogued as:

  • EAP334/1 Fallou Ngom Collection
  • EAP334/2 Serigne Ndiame Diajkhate Collection
  • EAP334/3 Amdy Moustapha Seck Collectionimg-3
  • EAP334/4 Serigne Mbaye Diakhate Siradji Collection
  • EAP334/5 Serigne Mouhammadou Masokhna Lo Collection
  • EAP334/6 Serigne Mbaye Nguirane Collection
  • EAP334/7 Mor Awa Thiobane Collection
  • EAP334/8 Mouhammadou Makhtar Mbodj Collection
  • EAP334/9 Cheikh Fall Kayre Collection
  • EAP334/10 Serigne Bassirou Kane Collection
  • EAP334/11 Cheikh Lo Collection
  • EAP334/12 Birane Gassama Collection
  • EAP334/13 Serigne Abdoulaye Sarr Collection
  • EAP334/14 Serigne Mame Mor Kayre Collection
  • EAP334/15 Baye Cherif Ndiaye Collection

Residency THREAD-Senegal

Calligraphy, Arts Education Sensibilisation, and Community Building


In November 2015 the West African Calligraphy Institute participated in a residency at the newly built cultural center Thread-Senegal in the village of Sinthian, located in the Tambacounda region of Senegal.  The focus of the residency was to build relationships with community members through workshops on calligraphy, art techniques, face to face mentorship, and discussions about West African calligraphy and arts education.

Calligraphy mentorship –
For community members interested in learning and practicing calligraphy we were available daily to practice techniques and learn about the history, numerology, and mystical significance of the 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet.
Pre-School Art Workshops –
Two workshops held with the smallest members of the Sinthian community focusing on artistic process and the techniques of art magic and collage.
Women’s workshop on fabric stenciling –
In conjunction with women of the Sinthian we discussed the design aspects and economic possibilities of decorating fabric using a basic stencil and acrylic painting technique.
Community Sensibilisation and discussions –
Sensibilisation is a French word meaning to bring awareness to a topic – in our case West African calligraphy and the importance of arts education.  We met with local leaders, imams, educators, and students to discuss the importance of the THREAD center in the community, arts education, and the significance of West African calligraphy.
Arts Education workshop for future artists-
With the help of THREAD and local schools we were able to bring together students interested in art from 5 surrounding villages: Sinthian, Fass, Jeliko, Koar, and Nguene. We discussed the importance of art in life, education, and careers – and led students through experimentation of 3 different artistic techniques.
We would like to give our thanks to the people at the Albers Foundation for making our visit possible, and our friends in at THREAD in Sinthian for all their help in making the residency a success.

Islam & World Peace 2015 Conference

Perspectives from African Muslim Nonviolence Traditions


11-13 September 2015

Nowadays Islam is clearly a growing source of suspicion and hostility in many societies. This situation is partly due to the numerous clichés and misunderstandings of the teachings of the faith in the media, and partly due to the various acts of terrorists who use the name of Islam in order to justify their ideology of violence and intolerance. Very often the media’s problematic treatment of Islam in its global and political contexts at large and of the concept of “Jihad” in particular, does not address the pervasive misunderstanding of the faith, nor does it do justice to its fundamental teachings of peace, tolerance, and forgiveness. In order to shed light on the central social and spiritual teachings of Islam and to emphasize the dominant understanding of the meaning of Jihad as self-improvement, it is pivotal to examine the legacies of Muslim leaders around the world who have promoted enduring traditions of nonviolence, tolerance, diversity, and respect of all cultures and religions.worldpeace

A selection of Yelimane Fall’s artwork is being shown at the conference along with the exhibition Muslim Nonviolence: Cheikh A. Bamba – A Muslim Peacemaker.  The exhibition can be found on the 15th floor of the International Affairs Building at Columbia University, 420 W. 118th St | New York, NY 10027

(All artwork ©Yelimane Fall: top Islam the Universal Peace 2012; bottom Salaam/World Peace 2012)

West African Arabic Manuscript Database

A database/union catalogue of Arabic and Arabic-script writing from West Africa.

What is AMMS?

[The Arabic Manuscript Management System]


AMMS is a bi-lingual database that was originally developed at the University of Illinois in the late 1980s to describe a collection of Arabic manuscripts in southern Mauritania (Boutilimit). Subsequently, seven other West African collections have been entered, including the manuscript libraries at the Institut Mauritanien de Recherche Scientifique, Nouakchott; Northwestern University; the original hand-list of manuscripts at the IHERIAB (Centre Ahmad Baba) repository in Timbuktu; the library of al-Hajj `Umar conserved at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; and a number of print catalogues from West Africa published by al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation. For more information on the activities and publications of the Foundation and these catalogues visit Additional collections are being added to further enhance the data base as both a resource and an authority file for the identification of manuscripts.

The database is comprised of five interactive data sets: the manuscript records, their authors, the authors’ nisbas, subjects, and the collections themselves. It has a search engine designed to identify manuscripts and authors when only fragmentary information is available, in Arabic or Latin characters. Experimental linkage of digital images of manuscript texts to the records is currently underway.

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Manuscript collections included: Boutilimit Ahl Sidiyya 1992 cat.
Ghana Northwestern U. 2008
Ibadan Furqan cat. # 37, 2001
Kano Northwestern U. 1991
Niamey IRSH 1979 cat.
Nouakchott IMRS 1992 cat.
Segou CNRS 1985 cat.
Shinqit Furqan cat. # 7, 1997
Timbuktu CEDRAB 1991
Wadan Furqan cat. # 7, 1997
ALA V Arabic Literature of Africa series, volume 5

The database and the AMMS cataloguing input tool are publicly available at no cost to users. Manuscript curators interested in using the input system developed for AMMS are encouraged to write to the editors to request access to data input forms. Thirty-odd fields in Arabic and English cover all the descriptors normally employed in manuscript work and we encourage the inclusion of newly-catalogued material into the main database; please contact the editors. Spreadsheet entries for transfer into AMMS can be made here.

Funding for the development and elaboration of AMMS during the past 25 years has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Johns Hopkins University, al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, and Duke University.

Historical Context: Notes on the Arabic Literary Tradition of West Africa