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[pp. 178-179]


(d. about 998 A.D.)

Abū-l-Faraj M.B.A. Ya’qūb b. Ishāq an-Nadīm al-Warrāq al-Baghdādī d. before 998 A.D.. Author and book-[p. 179]-seller who wrote the most important index for the oldest Arabic literature.

Brockelmann 1, 147 s; Sezgin 338; EI (s.v.)

K. al-fihrist

Ed.: G. Flügel-J. Rödiger-A. Müller, 2 vols., Leipzig 1871-72, Beirut 1964.

Exc.: MC 678.

T. : MC 678 v and Ar.Ist. II, pp. 83-84 A: 1

As for the peoples (ajnās) of the Blacks (Sūdān), such as the Nūba, the Buja, the Zaghāwa, the Marawa, the Istān, the Berbers and other various branches (asnāf) of Zanj, they possess no alphabet (qalam) nor any written literature, with the exception of the Sind, who write in Hindi script (al-hindiyya).

What al-Jāḥiẓ said in his "Kitāb al-Bayān" about the Zanj, actually applies only to their public speech (khuṭāba) and their eloquence (balāgha) in their own ways and tongues.

Some eye-witnesses say that if any calamity befalls them, their speaker (khaṭīb) sits on some mound higher than the surrounding ground and delivers a speech. Although his words are more similar to the mumbling (damdama) and the snarl of beasts (hamhama), yet the listeners understand what he says and then follow the directions which are given through that speech.

A person who travelled extensively told me that the Buja do possess an alphabet (qalam) and also have some written literature (kitāb), but we never saw any of it.

Another person reported to me that the Nūba make use of the Syriac (suryānīyya), Greek (rūmiyya) and Coptic (qubṭīyya) alphabets in their religious documents.