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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Role of Language in West African Islam
Authors:Brenner, Louis
Last, Murray
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:West Africa
Fulfulde language
Hausa language
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:The appearance of Koran translations provides stark evidence of the changing role of languages in West African Islam over the last two centuries. Concern in this article is with two of the languages of 'explanation' of the Koran in West Africa: Hausa and Fulfulde. Two hundred years ago Fulfulde (after Arabic) was the language most closely associated with Islamic scholarship in West-Africa; Hausa was one of the languages of the 'Habe', the non-Fulani, the 'unbelievers'. Today Hausa is a respected language of Islam; the Hausa Koran is published alongside the Arabic original. The Fulfulde Koran is merely translated from the French! Retracing the changing role of Arabic and vernacular in the West African religious customs, this article places the Hausa and Fulfulde translations of the Koran in their historical and social context, and also deals with the concept of 'Popular Islam' as compared to the complexities of Islamic belief and practice of 'ulama establishment. - Notes, ref., sum. in French.