An African manuscript on the history of Muslim Africa

[Waqidi, Abu Abd Allah al-]. Futuh Ifriqiya [The Conquest of Ifriqiya].

Sub-Saharan Africa or Sudan, [16 January 1898 CE =] 22 Sha'ban 1315 H.

8vo (130 x 162 mm). 230 ff. Arabic manuscript on paper. Black maghribi script, with titles and important words and phrases in red and green. Original full leather with flap, elaborately ruled and stamped with medallions.


A Sub-Saharan or Sudanese manuscript on the conquest of Africa through Uqba ibn Amir (d. 677/8 CE) under the reign of the Caliph Uthman (ca. 576-656 CE), closely based on the work by the Golden Age historian al-Waqidi (ca. 747-823 CE). While some passages are identical to al-Waqidi's history, other sections have been omitted and new information has been added, suggesting a work with several sources, among which Al-Waqidi is the predominant one.

The focus of this chronicle is important to the history both of Africa as well as of Islam: aside from their secular roles, Caliph Uthman and the conqueror Uqba ibn Amir were both companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Uthman ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate at the pinnacle of its power and expanse, including Mediterranean Africa and Nubia (today largely Sudan). It is particularly interesting that this is, as identified by its script and style, a sub-Saharan or Sudanese manuscript, an African manuscript on the history of Africa - though its main source, the historian Al-Waqidi, was a native of Medina. While largely based on and paraphrasing al-Waqidi's work, this manuscript is the only extant variant of "Futuh Ifriqiya" of its kind we have been able to identify, and may be a unique text.


Acquired by a French private collection in the 1980s.


Binding professionally repaired at extremeties; pages numbered in later blue ink and ballpoint (with some mispaginations).