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Arabic Manuscripts from West Africa

page with arabic writingThis rare collection of manuscripts dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries and come from mainly northern Nigeria (Kano in particular) but also includes items from Ghana, Senegal and Mali. Mostly handwritten in Arabic and Ajami scripts, these manuscripts cover a wide range of subjects from Arabic grammar, history, theology, law and astronomy to name a few, with particular strength in Tijâniyya Sufi order and Hausa poetry. 

Comprised of 5,000 items, the manuscripts are split across four separate collections and serve as an excellent example of West African literacy in Arabic:

  • The 'Umar Falke Collection
  • The John Paden Collection 
  • The John Hunwick Collection
  • The University of Ghana Collection

See collection details