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Title:Muslim Sanhaja scholars of Mauritania
Author:Norris, H.T.ISNI
Book title:Studies in West African Islamic history
Editor:Willis, John Ralph
Geographic term:Mauritania
Abstract:This paper is concerned with Islamic scholarship in Mauritania in medieval times. Most manuscripts in Mauritania are not earlier than the 18th and early 19th centuries. It is sometimes hard to relate this literature to a medieval Islamic literature, which had preceded it by many centuries and which for various reasons - principally the Berber character of the Western Saharans at that time - one may call 'Sanhája' Islamic literature. The main question which the author poses himself is: how is any distinction to be drawn between the classical Arabic scholarship of what was on the one hand a mainly Berber-speaking community and, on the other, a society where the common parlance was the Hassaniya dialect of Arabic, and where the social classes were partly, if not wholly dominated by Ma'qil leaders or clans? Append., ref.