'Umar Al-Naqar
Takrur the History of a Name

The Journal of African History, Vol. 10, No. 3, (1969), pp. 365-374

Takrur was the name of the capital of the state, also known by the same name, which flourished on the lower Senegal River for a brief period from ca. A.D. 1000. Attribution, nisba—that is, a name derived from a tribe, a town, a sect, etc.—is well known in the Arab world; hence the word Takruri (plural Takarir 1) was coined to refer to the people of this kingdom. This form is still used by the Moors and Arabs of the northern bank of the Senegal; the Wolof use Tocolor from which the French Toucouleur is derived 2. In the Middle East, however, al-Takrur, i.e ahl al-takrur or the Takarir, came to have a generic sense inclusive of all peoples of West African origin. This paper is concerned with the origin, development and some aspects of this Middle Eastern use.

Two regions have been confused with the original homeland of the Takarir.

The first is ‘Bilad al-Takrir’—another name by which the ‘Bilad al- Sudan’, or rather parts of it, of medieval Arab writers was known 3. Thus the ethnic ‘Takriiri’ (in Arabic it takes the form min al-Takrur) was seen as equivalent to Sudanese (i.e. min al-Sudan). ‘Bilad al-Takrur’ is, however, anterior to the popularization of that particular name; Takriri does not imply, by itself, any distinguishing elements, while ‘Sudan’ simply means ‘Blacks’ 4.

The second is a Takrur in Abyssinia 5 (modern Ethiopia). There is little doubt that this is the Takriri settlement in the district known as Ras al-Fil, or Qallabat, on the border of the Sudanese Republic and Ethiopia. It was originally founded by Ja'aliyin merchants from Berber, who also called it Matama. It was, according to its traditions, occupied by a band of Takarir on their way back from Mecca about the middle of the eighteenth century 6. It had an instrumental role in the Mahdist invasion of Abyssinia between 1885 and 1891. Its fame, its proximity to the pilgrimage lands, and the retention of the title Takarir by the dynasty are among the reasons for its mention. Its origin was, however, too recent, and its small population too well understood to be alien, to explain a phenomenon involving the entire population of Western Africa at a much earlier period 7. The origin of the name should be sought in the homeland of the Takarir (Toucouleur in French sources) in West Africa, in the region of Futa Toro, where an organized Muslim state was reported by Arab writers to have existed as early as the eleventh century 8. Al-Bakri, writing in the second half of that century, gives the following account.

Successor-states to Ghana
T. L. Miles. Wikipedia

Following Sanghana, between the west and the Qibla [south] is the city of Takrur [which] is inhabited by sudan [i.e. blacks]. They were, like all the other sudan, pagans worshipping Dakakir; the Dukur is their idol, until they were ruled by War Jabi ibn Rabis who became a Muslim, established among them the laws of Islam, forced them to obey them and adorned their eyes by that. He died in the year 432 [A.D. 1040/1]. Today, the people of Takrur are Muslims. You go from Takrur to the town of Sila; it [Sila] is two towns on the bank of the Nil. Its people are also Muslims, Islamised at the hands of War Jabi—God's mercy be on him. Between Sila and the town of Ghana is a march of 20 days in country inhabited by sudan tribe after tribe. The king of Sila raids the unbelievers who are only a day's march from him; these are the inhabitants of the town of Galanbu. His country is huge, well populated and is almost equal to that of the king of Ghana 9.

In this passage al-Bakri establishes the early eleventh century as the date by which Takrur had become the first Muslim community in Negro-land. Its Islamization was not the work of the Almoravids. Ibn Yasin only left his ‘ribat’ 10 about 1042 (according to al-Bakri, after 440/1048). It could have been a result of previous wars, since the tradition of jihad in the Sudan was not initiated by the Almoravids 11. It could equally have been the result of peaceful contact. This would fit with the story that Ibn Yasin, when dismayed by Sanhajan resistance to his puritanical reforms, contemplated withdrawing among the Sudan, ‘among whom Islam had already appeared’ 12. If the conversion of the king of Sila at the hands of War Jabi, mentioned by al-Bakri, was a result of war, which seems a likely possibility, the king of Takrur would also be the first Sudanese king to wage holy war. His son, Lebi ibn War Jabi, al-Bakri tells us, was besieged with Yahia ibn 'Umar on Mount Lemtuna by the rebellious Godala, and in the ensuing battle at Taferili the Almoravid chief lost his life 13. There may thus have existed an alliance between Takrur and the Almoravids. This may also explain the presence of 4,000 Sudanese troops with Yusuf ibn Tashfin in the battle of al-Zalaqa in Spain in 479/1087 14. The town of Takrur was not destroyed by the Almoravid army in 473/1080-1 15, as will be seen from accounts subsequent to that of al-Bakri. Al-Idrisi, writing about the middle of the twelfth century, gives us a picture of Takrur, which dominates his first ‘clime’. Al-Idrisi, who did not visit the Sudan, may have coined the ethnic ‘Takruri’, or else (which is more likely) it was reported to him in that way. He tells us :

In this part [first clime] are the towns of Awlil, Sila, Takrur, Dao [Walata], Baris, Maura and all these are from maghzarat al-Sudan… From the island of Awlil to the town of Sila is one stage. The town of Sila lies on the left bank of the Nil. It is a populous city in which the sudan gather. Its commerce is profitable, and its people chivalrous. It is part of the domain of the Takruuri [i.e. the ruler or king of Takrur] who is a powerful sultan who has slaves and armies; he is firm, patient and renowned for his justice. His country is safe and tranquil. His residence, the country that is his home, is the town of Takrur. It is to the south of the Nil, about two days march from Sila by land and water. The town of Takrur is larger than Sila. It has more commerce and to it merchants from the far Maghrib travel with wool, copper and beads. They come out of it with gold and slaves. From the towns of Sila and Takrur to the town of Sijilmasa is 40 days with caravan travel… also from the Island of Awlil to Sijilmasa is about 40 days. The town of Brisa is small and has no walls; like a populous village. It is in-habited by itinerant traders who are subjects of the Takruri. To the south of Brisa is the land of Lemlem. The people of Brisa, Sila, Takrur and Ghana raid the land of Lemlem, capture its inhabitants and sell them to merchants who take them out to all countries 16.

A position of predominance was enhanced for the Takriiri by the decline of Ghana in the second half of the eleventh century, and by the rapid disintegration of the Almoravid empire. Meanwhile, war to the south con-tinued to be conducted under the leadership of the king of Takrur, which must have enriched his purse as well as his reputation. This continued into the thirteenth century, at the beginning of which Ibn Sa'id, the most quoted of the early geographers of the Sudan, wrote:

[Of the first clime] the first you meet of the cities of al-Takrur to the west of the Nil is the city of Ala. Islam has entered them, and all of them belong to the Sultan al-Takrur. Their base [capital], which is on both sides of the Nil is called Takrur, by which they became known. Their race is called maghzara, and they are two sections: sedentary living in towns, and nomads… The site of the city of Takrur is 17° of longitude and 13° 30' of latitude. Its ruler raids Lemlem who are nomads… Brisa is one of the most famous towns in the land of al-Takrur. When the power of the Sultan al-Takrur weakens, the Sultan of Brisa acts on his own… it is the last of the cities of al-Takrur 17.

In the above, Ibn Sa'id gives Takrur as the name of the people and of the country. This, in fact, is the way it appears in Muslim compendia like Mu'jam Yaqut, which states:

“Takrur is a country attributed to a tribe of the Sudan in the far south of the Maghrib; its inhabitants have the closest resemblance to the Zanj.” 18

Takrur also appears in the Wafayat, written between 1256 and 1274, to explain the term Kanem:

Kanem is a race of the Sudan. They are cousins of al-Takrur. These tribes are not attributed, tunsabu-ila, to father or mother, but Kanem is the name of a town… so the race was named after the town; [equally] Takrur is the name of the land in which they are, and their race was named after their land 19.

Why the name Takrur eventually came to denote an area larger than the kingdom itself is a question that has so far received various answers. An easy approach has been to explain it by the precedence of Takrur in embracing and propagating Islam:

None of the Mamalik… situated north of the Senegal enjoyed the renown of Gana, Mali and Songhay, but that of Takrur was eventually to extend its name to the whole of the Sudan. Its people were the first Negroes to embrace Islam and have remained fervent followers, so that the word Takrur has become equivalent to west Sudan Muslim 20.

Delafosse suggested, first, that with the expansion of the Fulani from Futa to Darfur, all this region became known to the Arabs as Takrur: “par suite d'une extension de sens facile à comprendre, à toute cette vaste region où il avait introduit avec lui la langue Tekrourienne.21 In another place, he suggested that the name was given “specialement a l'ensemble des pays soudanais conquis ou organises par des princes originaires du Fouta” 22. Arkell suggested a common root in the names of Kuri, of Koara (an old name for the Niger), of the oasis of Kawar, near Bilma, and of the name Takruuri, “which still today at Mecca is practically equivalent to Sudanese”. This common root, taken from Berber languages, usually took the form Kuri (plural Kawar). In Arabic Kawar is thus the exact equivalent of the word ‘Sudan’ 23. Burckhardt suggested that Takruri was derived from the Arabic ‘takarar, meaning to purify, i.e. their faith, by pilgrimage etc.’ 24
A major shortcoming in the above explanations seems to be their common failure to recognize the fact that the term ‘Bilad al-Takrur’ was essentially a popular concept of the Middle East. The primary requisite for the popularization of the name Takrur was not knowledge of the history of the state of Takrur or of the Islamic exploits of its rulers and people: these could anyway have been available only to the very few. It was rather the fact that the Takariir themselves were seen in sufficient numbers in Middle Eastern countries to attract attention.
Some early references suggest that a number of Takariir had found their way to the Middle East, where they took up residence. A quarter of Bulaq, the suburb of Cairo, became known as Bulaq al-Takriri, according to al-Maqrizi, because there lived al-Shaikh Abu Muhammad Yusuf ibn 'Abdallah al-Takruri:

“Many miracles, karamat, were reported of him… and he is said to have lived during the reign of al-'Aziz ibn al-Mu'iz [975-996]… When he died they built a tomb over his grave with a mosque attached. The mosque was renewed by Muhsin al-Shahabi, the Muqqadam of the Mamalik, after 743 [1342-3/25] 25.

A reference that could be interpreted as an indication of the existence of a settled Takruri community in Cairo is given by Ibn Khaldun. Among the informants of this fourteenth-century historian was a certain al-Haij Yunus, whom Ibn Khaldun described in one place as turjuman al-Takrur bi Misr (the interpreter of the Takrur in Egypt), and in another as turjuman hadhihi al-ummah bi Misr (the interpreter of this nation in Egypt) 26. Al-Haj Yunus was probably a recognized elder of a community of West Africans that included peoples from regions other than Takrur 27. For, earlier in the fourteenth century, al-'Umari (d. 349) had already disclosed a discrepancy current in Egyptian usage of the name Takrur. When in 1324 Mansa Musa of Mali made his celebrated pilgrimage, al-'Umari was prompted to make the cautionary remark that the king of Mali was angered by the appellation of Malik al-Takrur, because Takrur was only one of the provinces of his vast empire 28. It is possible that the name Takarir first came into use as the comprehensive name for all West Africans not in Egypt, but in the Hijaz.
By the eleventh century the world of Islam had incorporated peoples from three continents whose differences were linguistic, ethnic and cultural. During the pilgrimage season in the Hijaz, one spoke in terms of heterogeneous groups like the Syrian, Egyptian, Maghribian Hajj caravans and so on, which all collected a diversity of peoples en route to Mecca. The cities of Mecca and Madina, where many Muslims take up permanent residence in mujawara, have become a microcosm of the wider world of Islam. Their resident population is consequently classified under large but convenient groupings. Under the name Jawah, according to C. Snouck- Hurgronje, “are included in Arabia all the people of Malay race, in the fullest meaning of the term; the geographical boundary is perhaps from Siam and Malacca to New Guinea.” 29 The name Shanaqit 30 (singular Shinqiti), no less well known than Takarir and used to refer to people from the Western Sahara, is another instance and, possibly, a clue to the origin of the name Takarir. Mauritanian traditions explain the relationship between the town of Shinqit, the Middle Eastern generic Shanaqit, and the pilgrimage in the following manner: “Pilgrimage caravans used to depart annually from the town of Shinqit. All those from the outlying districts who wanted to make the pilgrimage went with this caravan. Thus the people from all these regions—I mean from al-Saghia al-Hamra to the Sudan—if seen in the East are known only as Shanaqitah [Shanaqit].” 31
Although our earliest records of pilgrimage from West Africa do not include Takrur 32, it seems none the less plausible to suggest that the earliest West African pilgrims, given the facts about Muslim Takrur and its people, may have been Takarir. Transplanted to the Hijaz, the name was granted a new lease of life, while the original African state was being overshadowed by the rise of more populous and affluent empires. The price was the ambiguity which the name began to acquire perhaps as fast as new peoples in West Africa accepted Islam and came to the Middle East for pilgrimage or otherwise. In time, the generic meaning became established: it sym-bolized the West African identity in the central lands of Islam, and the original meaning of the name was too remote or else an unnecessary factor in an explanation of the phenomenon.
A term like Bilad al-Takrur, born casually in the above manner and circulated by popular usage, cannot be treated with the precision which modern writers seem to demand 33. The different dimensions to which it was applied nevertheless form an interesting study. I can only make a few leading observations here.
Much, if not all, of the confusion with which the question is riddled arises from using as sources not the early, but the relatively late medieval Arab authors. Ibn Khaldun, al-'Umari, al-Qalaqashandi, al-Maqrizi and others, all wrote at a time when Takrur had already lost its specific connotation. What general opinion took its equivalent in Africa to be was, there-fore, a considerable influence on their writings. Thus, while none of them entitled his book or section with the word Takrir 34, they invariably used it, and in a generic sense, throughout their works, and especially when record-ing annals of events 35.
Confusion also arises from the practice of quoting indiscriminately and as much as possible from previous writers. Al-Qalqshandi, writing about 1411, has a remarkably confused section on Takrur. Although he does not use the name for Mali, he inserts a quotation which leaves the reader with that impression. He places Takrur to the east of Kaw Kaw (Gao), and places Bornu west of Takrur, which could suggest that Bornu and Kaw Kaw were one and the same place. His text also reveals how some phrases became of stock use: Ibn Sa'id's division of the Takarir into sedentaries and nomads is introduced in the section on Mali (the central region), after we have been told that it was inaccurate to call Mali Takrir 36!
The anachronism between the Middle Eastern and West African con-notations of Takrur was directly related to the extension of the Islamic frontier in Africa. But apparently, at a given time, only one of these African territories is taken as 'Bilad al-Takrur'. The identification with Mali, predominant in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, was with little doubt the result of Mansa Musa's expensive pilgrimage. By the sixteenth century it was the Songhay empire, a Songhay historian claiming that during his pilgrimage Askia Muhammad was appointed khalifat bilad al-Takrur 37. Al-Siuti (d. 1505), however, also called the kings of Agadez and Katsina ‘sultans of the Hausa Sudan or Takrur’ 38. In the closing decade of the eighteenth century, al-Tunisi claimed that what the ancients meant by Takrur was the land of Bornu and the area to the east of it 39. This periodic shift, mainly affected by historical events, may also have been strengthened through possible shifts of the name in West Africa, by migration, borrowing, or the tendency for African visitors to the Middle East (who were usually the informants) each to call his own part of West Africa Takrur.
Takrfur was thus given varying sites on the map. For example, W. Cooley, often the source for European writers on Africa, puts Takrur to the east of Jenne. He took Ibn Khaldun's (fourteenth century) statement on the ‘Zaghai’ (the name by which the Takrur were known in contra-distinction from Mali) as Leo's (sixteenth century) Songhay. Ibn Batuita (fourteenth century) had described the 'Zaghai' as good Muslims. Cooley therefore concluded that that area and people must be the original Takrur. The Takrur then moved eastwards (reason given: their desire to obtain more slaves) because this would fit with al-Maqrizi's statement of a Takrur to the west of Bornu. When Takrur was fixed on the Niger, the author did not hesitate to add the twin city of Sila, because the two had always been associated 40. Such treatment, besides neglecting important early sources, dismisses some six centuries of development in the use of the word both in Africa and abroad.
West Africans accepted the appellation of Takarir; it was not derogatory in any sense, though it remained a usage of the Middle East, which they encountered only when abroad. Hence a problem of origin did not arise for the Sudanese writers. Their preoccupation, when they touch on the subject at all, is to attempt a definition of the territory to which the name would be correctly applied. In many cases this coincided with the region of the author or that covered by his work. The history of Songhay, the Tarikh al-Fettash, was thus a history of Takrur 41. Al-Bartali's biographical dictionary of the 'ulama of the area, including Timbuktu, Arwan and Shinqit, of whom a considerable number were not ‘sudan’, describes that area as Takrur 42. A significant example of the use of the term Takrur is provided by Muhammad Bello's Infaq. This work starts with an investigation of the name. Takrur, according to Bello, was in fact the area of Timbuktu and its vicinity, while Sudan was the name given to the area east of Timbuktu—‘the area of Kano and Kashna’. The area with which the Infaq was concerned was, however, “all this country from the land of Fur [Darfur] to Futa and the countries behind it”. When choosing a title for his work, Bello apparently neglected his own definitions to call his book Infaq al-Maisur fi Tarikh Bilad al-Takrur 43. This underlines the fact that the extended Takrur was not first conceived in West Africa. It also shows a considerable awareness of the 'milieu' of the Middle East, made possible by the annual contact of pilgrimage, and possibly by the diffusion of Arabic books propagating the Middle Eastern use of the name. Unfortunately, the interest of Sudanese writers in the name stemmed from its association with the central lands of Islam. This gave it mainly a decorative value when used in the title of a book. But, by this means, it also reached a degree of full recognition which it was denied by Middle Eastern writers, who often dismissed the name as 'language of the common manammah 44.


The generic term Takarir (also Takarna) is a popular Middle Eastern concept applied to all West African Muslims. The progenitor of the name, to which the attribution Takarir is made, is the ancient state of Takrur, which existed briefly on the Senegal basin from ca. A.D. 1000 and which was the first West African chieftaincy to accept Islam. This paper suggests that probably the earliest West African Muslims to be seen in the Middle East in recognizable numbers may have come from that state. Because the milieu of the Hijaz and the diversity of races frequenting the annual pilgrimage ceremonies encouraged generalizations, the name Takarir was conveniently applied to West Africans. The ambiguity of the term may thus be seen to have progressively increased with the expansion of Islam in West Africa, while the name itself became sufficiently entrenched in popular usage for it to survive the fame of great West African empires like Mali and Songhay. The term Bilad al-Takrur is essentially the extension of the Middle Eastern concept of Takrur and has therefore received various territorial definitions.

1. Other known forms are Takariin and Takarna (singular Takruni). There is no justification for D. Mather's distinction between ‘Takruni-applied to indigent Westerner pilgrims, and Takrori-more widely used but strictly applied to people from the area of the ancient kingdom of Tekrour, in the Senegal’ (cf. D. Mather, “Aspects of migration in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan”, Ph.D. thesis, London, 1954). ‘Westerner’, a translation of the Arabic gharbawi, was the official designation in the Sudan government's records for all immigrants from the west. Fellata, the Kanuri name for the Fulani, is more commonly heard in the Republic of the Sudan. Cf. I. A. Hassoun, “Aspects of migration and settle-ment in the Gezira”, Sudan Notes and Records, XXXIII (I952), and H. Davis, “The West African in the economic history of the Sudan”, Geography, XLIX (1964).
2. M. Delafosse, Haut-Senegal-Niger, II (Paris, 1912), 353 and note, and article ‘Takrur’, Encyclopaedia of Islam (Houtsma). The site of Takrur is taken to be near the present position of Podor.
3. Bilad al-Sudan is, literally, the “Land of the Blacks”, which, in classical Arabic terminology, denoted the belt south of the Sahara and between the Atlantic and the Nile, which is inhabited by black peoples. Strictly speaking Bilad al-Takrur, except in very few instances, was not used as a synonym of Bilad al-Sudan. Al-Maqrizi's use of the term for a belt extending to Ethiopia (see note 5) is a rare example. The more common use of the name covers territories that lay within the limits of what was known as the Western Sudan (roughly west of the Niger bend) and the Central Sudan (roughly east of the Niger bend, and covering the area of Kanem-Bornu and the states of Bagirmi and Wadai). The Eastern Sudan states were Darfur, Kordufan and Sennar.
4. J. L. Burckhardt's suggestion that the root of the word was the Arabic Takarar (see below 370) could very well have been an influence of opinion in Nubia, where the Takarir are associated with piety and their intense love for the pilgrimage. A Nigerian informant advanced to me a similar explanation, saying that the root of the word was the Afrikaans/ English ‘Trekker’, because these people used to travel on foot, or trek, to the pilgrimage.
5. R. Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Medinah and Meccah, II (London, 1855-6), 177 note: “This word [Takarir] says Mansfield Parkyns (Life in Abyssinia) is applied to the wandering pilgrims from Darfur, Dar Borghu, Bayermah, Fellata and Western Africa. He mentions, however, a tribe called ‘Toukrouri’ settled in Abyssinia near Nimr's country, but he does not appear to know that the ancient Arab settlement [sic] in West Africa, al-Takrur, (Sakatu [sic]), which handed down its name to a large posterity of small kingdoms, will be found in al-Idrisi (I. climate, I. section).” In M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes's French translation of al-'Umari's Masalik al-Absar (1927), p. 54 note I, reads, “le Tekrour est soit la region du haut-Nil, voisine de l'Abyssinie, soit une region du Soudan, soit le Soudan tout entier”.
6. Arthur E. Robinson, “The Takruri sheikhs of Qallabat”, J. Afr. Soc. XXVI (1926-7). The use of the title Takarir for this dynasty is curious. In the Republic of the Sudan, the Takarir (Fellata) are generally supposed to come from lands west of Darfur. The author often refers to sheikhs originally from Jebel Mara, in central Darfur. For the role of the colony in the Mahdist-Ethiopian conflict see P. M. Holt, The Mahdist State in the Sudan (1958), 148, and A Modern History of the Sudan (1961), 14-15.
7. Its comparatively recent history seems to have been read into writings of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The relevant sentence in al-'Umari (op. cit. translation, p. 22 and note 2), to which M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes added the footnote quoted below, which sentence was almost a photo-copy reproduction in al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-ilmam bi akhbar man bi ard al-habashati min muluk al-Islam, reads: “wa jihatu al-habashati al-gharbiyya tantahi ila bilad al-Takrur”. This was translated as ‘elle [Abyssinie] rejoint vers le sud le pays du Takrur’ for Masalik and as ‘Du côté de l'ouest l'Abyssinie touche au Takrur’ (p. 34) for Ilmam. The footnote reads: ‘Ce n'est pas, bien entendu, le Takrur soudanais. M. Cohen [Documents] propose le Takrur, region de Metamma etc.’ The Arabic phrase ‘tantahi ila’ does not imply any physical proximity; here it is a pointer of a general nature. It refers, more likely, to the enlarged meaning of “Bilad al-Takrur”, and was introduced by the authors to complete the picture.
8. According to M. Delafosse (op. cit., vol. I, 216-26), the kingdom of Takrur existed north of the Senegal from about the eighth century, when it was invaded by the ‘Judaized Syrians’. Their hegemony was broken up by War Jabi in the eleventh century. The descendants of the immigrants are the Fulani, who are thus seen as the outcome of two or three centuries of cohabitation between the immigrants and the Takarir.
9. Abu 'Abdallah ibn 'Abdel 'Aziz al-Bakri, Kitab al-mughrib fi dhikri bilad Ifriqiata wa-l Maghrib [of] al-Masalik wa-l-Mamalik, edited by Baron De Slane, Arabic text (1911), 172-4, and translation (1913), 324-7.
10. On the much-debated question of the ribat of the Almoravids, from which their name is derived, see P. Moraes Farias, “The Almoravids: some questions concerning the character of the movement during its period of closest contact with the Western Sudan”, Bulletin de l'I.F.A.N. XXIX, ser. B, nos. 3-4 (1967), who concludes (p. 861) that “The name Almoravids probably has nothing to do with the building of any 'ribat' (in the sense of a fortified religious centre) or rabita (in the sense of a ‘monastery’ for pious retreat). It seems to be directly derived from the Quranic meaning of the root r-b-t in the contexts refering to Holy War.”
11. 'Ali ibn 'Abdallah ibn abi Zar' al-Fasi, Kitab al-anis al-mutrib raud al-ghartas fi dhikri akhbar muluk al-maghrib wa tarikh madinat Fas (Arabic text, 1843, p. 76), who tells us that Turshini, predecessor of Yahia ibn Ibrahim to the chieftaincy of the Sanhaja, had died in Jihad against the Sudanese people of the south.
12. Ibid., 84.
13. al-Bakri, op. cit. (text), 167-8.
14. Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Khalikan, Wafayat al-'ayan wa anbà abnà al-zaman, II (1882), 484 (De Slane's translation, 1842, pp. 455-6). According to this, the black troops were crucial in the battle by resorting to the device of stabbing the horses to death from underneath.
15. V. Monteil's statement (L'Islam Noir. Paris, 1964), 62) that the town of Takrur was destroyed by the Almoravids in 1080 is based on Raud al-Ghartas (op. cit.). The full story in the latter source attributes the action to Yusuf ibn Tashfin. From 1062 Yusuf ibn Tashfin was, according to Raud al-Ghartas, engaged in subduing the Moroccan country-side, rif. Campaigning in the Sudan had been entrusted to Abu Bakr ibn 'Umar. As the destruction of the town of Takrur was said to have been a complete one, ‘after which the town never stood again’, and as Sudanese Takrur had continued to thrive in subsequent centuries, it is possible to suggest that the town of Takrur destroyed by Ibn Tashfin may have been a Takruri settlement in Morocco.
16. Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Idrisi, Description de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, texte Arabe publiee par R. Dozy et M. J. de Goeje (1866), 1-3.
17. 'Ali ibn Musa Sa'id al-Maghribi, Kitab bast al-ardfi-l-tal wa-l-'ard, ed. Juan Vernet Gines (Tetuan, 1958), 23-6.
18. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu 'jam al-buldan, II (Cairo, 1906), 399. Zinji (plur. Zanj or zunuj) denoted East African Negro in Middle Eastern usage.
19. Ibn Khalikan, op. cit. vi, 14.
20. J. Spencer Trimingham, History of Islam in West Africa (1962), 41-2. See also in the same sense M. Delafosse, op. cit., I, 199. W. Cooley, The Negroland of the Arabs (1841), 97-103, though for Cooley it was a different Takrur, as will be discussed below.
21. M. Delafosse. op. cit., I, 234. 22. M. Delafosse and O. Houdas's translation of Tarikh al-fettash of Mahmud Ka'ti (1964), p. 11 and note.
23. A. J. Arkell, “The history of Darfur, 1200-1700 A.D.”, Sudan Notes and Records, XXXII, pt. I (I957), 55.
24. J. L. Burckhardt, Travels in Nubia (1819), 404.
25. Ahmed ibn 'Ali al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-mawa 'iz wa-l-i 'tibar bi dhikri al-khitat wa-l-athdr, II (Bulaq, I853), 326.
26. 'Abdel Rahman ibn Khaldun, Tarikh al-'allamah ibn Khaldin, Kitab al-'Ibar wa diwan al-mubtada wa-l-khabar, etc., vi (Beirut, 1959), pp. 413-15.
27. N. Levtzion, “The thirteenth and fourteenth century kings of Mali”, J. Afr. Hist. IV, no. 3, I963), suggests that Yunus was the ambassador of Mali in Egypt. But, although the practice of sending emissaries with presents and so on to foreign courts was known among Sudanese states, there seems no reference to an office of ambassador of a permanent nature, i.e. in the modern sense. In this particular case there is no reference in the known major sources of an ambassador of Mali in Egypt. However, an elderly member of the foreign community, Hajj Yunus for example, could, unofficially, become an acceptable spokesman for that community.
28. S. al-Munajid, Mamlakat Mali 'ind al-jughrafiin al-Muslimin, I, texts (Beirut, 1963), 44. C. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, op. cit. (translation of Masalik), 53-4.
29. C. Snouck-Hurgronje, Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century, trans. I. H. Monhan (1931), 215.
30. Also spelt Shinjiti (plural Shanajit or Shanajitah).
31. Ahmed ibn al-Amin al-Shinqiti, al-Wasit fi tarajim udaba Shinqit (Cairo, 1911), 413. Also see H. T. Norris, “The History of Shinjit according to the Idaw 'Ali Tradition”, Bulletin de l'I.F.A.N., I, ser. B., nos. 3-4 (1962), and by the same author, Shinqiti Folk Literature and Song (1968), 3. Mr Norris gives alternative dates for the foundation of the town of Shinqit, the earliest of which and the most acceptable is ca 1300. On the Shinqiti pilgrimage caravan itself there is remarkably little information. It is possible to suggest, from references in al-Wasit supported by oral information obtained from present-day Mauritanian scholars, that such organization may have developed in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and was necessitated by increasing insecurity of the west Saharan routes.
32. The earliest recorded pilgrimage is that of the Kanemi Mai Dunama ibn Umme, who between ca. 1098 and 1150 made the pilgrimage twice and died returning from a third, according to the Diwan of the Sultans of Bornu. (See H. R. Palmer, History of the First Twelve Years of the Reign of Mai Idris Alooma, 1571-1583 (1926), 85-6.)
33. See V. Monteil, op. cit., 62.
34. An important exception here is al-Maqrizi's chapter in his treatise on the pilgrimages of kings and sultans entitled al-Dhahab al-masbuik fi dhikri man hajja min al-khulafa'i wa-l-muluk, ed. J. al-Shayal (Cairo, 1955). The chapter is entitled man hajja min muluk al-Takrur and is an enumeration of the kings of Mali who made the pilgrimage. The chapter is in fact mostly on Mansa Musa. It is possible to see al-'Umari's famous correction of current opinion regarding the inaccuracy of calling Mali Takrur to have been, for later generations of scholars, a source of confusion. That is to say, Mansa Musa became known as he who is not king of Takrur.
35. This includes al-'Umari himself, who in the annals of 724/1324 recorded the arrival of Mansa Musa malik al-Takrur, and recorded the death of a merchant, Siraj al-Din b. al-Kuwaik (the main debtor of Mansa Musa), in ‘Bilad al-Takrur’ in the year 734/ 1333-4 (Masalik MS no. 2328 in B. N. Paris). Also see al-'Umari's al-Ta 'rif bi-l-mustalah al-sharif, British Museum MS no. 7466, where Takrur is used as an alternative for Mali.
36. Ahmed ibn 'Abdallah al-Qalqashandi, Subh al-a'sha, V (Cairo, 1913), 282-301. 37. Mahmud Ka'ti, Tarikh al-fettash, Arabic text (Paris, 1964), II.
38. H. R. Palmer, “An early Fulani concept of Islam”, J. Afr. Soc. XIII (193-14).
39. Muhammad ibn 'Umar al-Tuunisi, Voyage au Darfur, ed. Perron (Paris, 1850), 64-5.
40. W. Cooley, The Negroland of the Arabs (1841), 97-103.
41. Mahmud Ka'ti, op. cit., p. 1 , the full title of which reads Tarikh al-fettashfi akhabr al-bulddn wa-l-jiush wa akabir al-nas wa waqa'i 'al-Takrur wa akabir al-umuur.
42. Muhammad ib Abi Bakr al-Bartali, Fath al-shakur fi ma'rifat a'yan 'ulama al-Takrur. Copy of Manuscript in Institut de France, Fonds de Gourincourt, no. 118.
43. Muhammad Bello ibn 'Uthman, Infaq, ed. C. E. J. Whitting (1957), 2.
44. al-Qalqashandi, op. cit. v, p. 282.