The African Islamic Heritage is distinguished by rich and important features, which characterize its culture and people. This heritage is undeniably considered as a religious reference and an inveterate spiritual landmark that the Kingdom of Morocco has in common with the African people.
In this regard, the efforts made by Muslims in several African countries have largely contributed to transforming the expressions of African cultures, from a dominant oral practice to a written scriptural heritage, wherein Arabic script was the major linguistic instrument used for several centuries. Other local languages also contributed to this process, such as hawsa, Yoruba, zarma, foulani, bambara, soninké, Songhay… and even Swahili and other local languages practiced in central and Eastern Africa.
In addition to the number of Arab-Islamic compilations that have allowed the preservation of several manuscripts over a broad historical period, there is still a great effort to be made in terms of research, preservation and publication to promote a large number of handwritten works and documents that are still unknown to the public. This heritage also includes a rich experience of teaching and education based on the constants of the Ach’arite doctrine, the Malekite rite, and Sunni Sufism, thus constituting a shared common ground of the majority of African Muslims.
In spite of the vastness of the African continent, the historical relations, perpetuated until today between the Kingdom of Morocco and Muslims in various African countries, and backed the constants of Muslim religious identity, are marked by the reciprocity of beneficial cultural exchanges, due essentially to the continuous movement of books, Oulema and students seeking knowledge.
Based on the foregoing, and in accordance with the objectives of the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Oulema related to the revitalization of the common Islamic cultural heritage, make it known and ensure its dissemination, preservation and protection, with the unstinted care of Amir Al Mouminine, the Commander of the Faithful, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God bless him,
The Foundation is organizing an international scientific symposium on the theme “The African Islamic Heritage: Memory and History” on 22-23-24 Rabi’ al-Awwal 1443 H, corresponding to 29-30-31 October 2021 in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
By holding this scientific symposium, the Foundation aims to achieve a set of objectives, including:
- Discovering the African heritage, its components, developmental stages, contributions of various environments to it, and its prominent figures, including scholars, jurists and Sufis. This is in addition to discovering its power of creativity and mechanisms of communication and intercultural exchange.
- Preserving the African Islamic heritage, manuscript in particular, through the identification of its nature, conservation centers, as well as its protection against the multiple hazards that threaten it, with a view to its preservation from deterioration and loss.
- Establishing scientific mechanisms to discover the manuscripts, catalogue them, disseminate and preserve them, using modern technology, as well as restore the damaged ones, digitize them and make them available to researchers.
- Exploring ways of using them for the purpose of cultural and social development, and also to use them in consolidating the values of peace and religious tolerance among the peoples of the African continent, irrespective of the differences in their languages, races and religions. It also aims at consolidating the concept of social coexistence, which is considered one of the bases of development and civilizational advancement.
In order to cover the various aspects of the African Islamic heritage, past and present and how to benefit from it and preserve it, the following sub-themes are identified:
Theme 1 : THE AFRICAN ISLAMIC MANUSCRIPT HERITAGE: CONCEPT, ORIGIN, AND EVOLUTION
- The African Islamic Manuscript Heritage: Concept, Origin and Evolution
- Prominent Figures in the Production of African Islamic Manuscripts: Oulema, Jurists and Sufis
- Instruments of African Islamic Heritage : Books, Libraries, Schools, and zaouïas.
Theme 2 : THE COMMON HERITAGE AS A FACTOR OF INTERCULTURAL PROXIMITY BETWEEN AFRICAN MUSLIM PEOPLE
- Cultural and Scientific Communication among the African Muslim Communities: Aspects and Development
- The Impact of Religious Constants (the Sunni Schools of Thought – the Ash’ari dogma – the Sunni Sufism) in Strengthening the Scientific, Spiritual, and Social Relationships among African Muslims through the Scientific Manuscript Heritage
- Aspects of Creativity and Originality in the African Islamic Heritage
Theme 3 : AFRICAN ISLAMIC MANUSCRIPT HERITAGE IN
THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
- The Nigerian Islamic Manuscript in Public and Private Libraries
- The Distinctive Features and Characteristics of the Nigerian Islamic Manuscript Heritage
- The Reality and Prospects of Research on Islamic Manuscript Heritage in Nigerian Universities and Research Centers
Theme 4 : THE REALITY OF THE AFRICAN ISLAMIC HERITAGE:
CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
- The Cultural Value of the African Islamic Heritage : Identification of Threats and Means of Preservation
- The African Islamic Heritage in the Service of the Development of the African People and the Consolidation of the Values of Peace and Tolerance
- Adoption of a Scientific Plan for the Indexing, Analysis, Dissemination, and Study of the Islamic Heritage Manuscripts.
- Workshop 1 : Catalog creation and manuscript description techniques
- Workshop 2 : Manuscript preservation techniques
- Workshop 3 : Authentication of heritage manuscripts
- Workshop 4 : Codicological data in the manuscript
- Workshop 5 : The science of manuscript
In the margins of the international scientific symposium, the Foundation is launching the exhibition“ An anthology of Moroccan and Nigerian manuscript heritage ”, which aims to promote Islamic manuscript heritage with its scientific and historical value.