Islamic Studies Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea
by
Alessandro Gori
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 July 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0253

Introduction

According to the official figures of the national census conducted in 2007, there were about twenty-five million followers of Islam in Ethiopia, representing 33.9 percent of the total population. More updated data are not available. Geographically, Muslims are the majority in the southern and eastern parts of the country, and in the southwest, while they remain a tiny minority in northern Ethiopia. As for Eritrea (independent since 1993), in the absence of official state data and of a universally accepted estimation, it is realistically surmised that around half of the Eritreans are Muslim, or about three million people. Most of the Eritrean Muslims live in the lowlands and in the coastal areas. Practiced by nomadic and semi-nomadic groups, merchants and peasants, businessmen and employees, residents of big cities and inhabitants of small villages, and both old faithful believers and new converts, Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea is multifaceted and linguistically, culturally, and historically differentiated. The Islamic tradition maintains that the new message preached by Muhammad entered the Ethio-Eritrean region at its very inception, when in 615 the Prophet invited a group of his first followers to seek refuge at the court of the Ethiopian king (al-Naǧāšī; Ethiopic: Nəgus) Ashama from the mistreatment by the polytheists in Mecca. Islam eventually became widespread and deeply rooted in the landscape of the whole Horn of Africa, thanks to the conversion of many different local peoples. The diffusion of Islam was promoted and fostered especially by merchants and scholars (often, but not always, combined in the same persons) who reached almost every spot in the Ethio-Eritrean hinterland by following ancient or newly opened trade routes from the shores of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The control of the whole coastal strip from Suakin in Sudan to Zeila (and later Berbera) in Somalia allowed Muslims to act as a living and dynamic trait d’union between the Ethiopian Christian kingdom, based in the highlands, and the wider world. The import and export of natural goods, artifacts, slaves, precious stones, textiles, and, in more recent times, weaponry has been traditionally the main activity on which Muslims have managed to build up not only the prosperity of their own communities, but also the networks of economic, political, and cultural connections that have given them power and prestige on a regional and transregional level. The formation of territorially limited and often short-lived Muslim potentates during the Middle Ages surely helped the spread of Islam, but it did not play the most crucial role in the processes of Islamization. Also, the expansionist movement led by Imam Ahmad b. Ibrahim (1529–1543) did not trigger any long-lasting further diffusion of the Islamic religion. Closely connected to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt, but also to India and Southeast Asia, Ethiopian and Eritrean Islam has managed through centuries to shape its own peculiar features, which include a widely spread performance of the religious and legal obligations (daily prayers, zakat distribution, Ramadan fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca, division of the inheritance); a mystically oriented daily practice (not necessarily linked to an organized brotherhood) reflected in the local pious visits (ziyarat) to the holy shrines and in popular devotional practices; a widely diffused but still tightly bound network of centers of teaching and transmission of knowledge; and a steady attention toward all the main branches of traditional Islamic learning (Arabic grammar, fiqh, theology), reflected in the literature circulating among the common faithful as well as the intellectual elite. Forcibly included into the modern Ethiopian monarchy by the expansionist and unifying politics of Emperor Menelik II (Mənilək, b. 1889–d. 1913), Ethiopian and Eritrean Islam passed through many difficulties under the rule of Haile Selassie (Ḫaylä Səllase, d. 1975), but it managed to blossom after the fall of the Socialist regime (the so-called Därg) in 1991. Muslims of the region then became more and more connected to and influenced by the wider Islamic world, thanks in part to the spread of the World Wide Web and other mass communication tools. Interpretational schools and streams of thought generally labeled as Wahhabism/Salafism spread quickly and strongly among Muslims in Ethiopia and Eritrea, fostering a general tendency toward a more uniform practice of the faith and a refusal of a more “traditional” way of living Islam. The response of the representatives of the “traditionalists” only partially managed to contain this drift, which continues today.

General Overviews

Until the middle of the 1990s, Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea had long been a neglected topic. With a few remarkable exceptions (e.g., the Italian Orientalist and colonial administrator Enrico Cerulli [b. 1898–d. 1988] and the German Arabist Ewald Wagner), scholars of Ethiopian studies traditionally devoted their attention and research activities almost exclusively to Ethiopian Christian culture, literature, and history. Scholars of Islamic studies disregarded the Ethiopian-Eritrean region (and the Horn of Africa as a whole), probably considering it a mere appendix to the Arabian Peninsula and thus unworthy of a specific attention. Scholars of African studies did not show much interest in Ethiopian and Eritrean Islam, as they probably perceived it as not sufficiently “African,” exactly because of its tight connections to the “central” Muslim lands. Despite this generalized neglect in academia (a critical review of the available bibliographies can be found in Hussein Ahmed 1992 and Hussein Ahmed 2009), some useful introductory and comprehensive descriptions of the historical trajectory (see Trimingham 1952, Cerulli 1962, Cerulli 1969, Cerulli 1971, Tubiana 1981, and Kapteijns 2000), and of the most relevant and characterizing cultural and social features of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Islamic communities (e.g., Abbink 1998, Hussein Ahmed and Gori 2007), were nevertheless produced, especially from the end of the 1990s onward.

  • Abbink, Jon. “An Historical-Anthropological Approach to Islam in Ethiopia: Issues of Identity and Politics.” Journal of African Cultural Studies 11.2 (1998): 109–124.

    DOI: 10.1080/13696819808717830Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Introductory essay analyzing the Islamic presence in Ethiopia from the perspective of one of the most outstanding anthropologists working on this country.

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    • Cerulli, Enrico. “L’Islam en Ethiopie: Sa signification historique et ses methods.” In Colloque sur la sociologie musulmane: Actes, 11–14 septembre 1961. Correspondance d’Orient 5. 317–329. Brussels: Publications du Centre pour l’Étude des Problèmes du Monde Musulman Contemporain, 1962.

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      Brief historical excursus on the Islamic presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and a description of some of the most important manifestations of the Muslim culture in the region. The author was an Italian Orientalist and a high-ranking colonial officer in Ethiopia, persona non grata in that country after World War II.

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      • Cerulli, Enrico. “Islam in East Africa.” In Religion in the Middle East: Three Religions in Concord and Conflict. Vol. 3. Edited by Arthur John Arberry, 203–219. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1969.

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        A short overview of the relationships of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Muslim communities with the Central Ethiopian Christian kingdom.

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        • Cerulli, Enrico. “L’Islam etiopico.” In L’Islam di ieri e di oggi. Pubblicazioni dell’Istituto per l’Oriente 64. By Enrico Cerulli, 113–133. Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1971.

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          Short but rich excursus on the main historical events of the Muslim communities in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and on their most remarkable cultural and social features.

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          • Hussein Ahmed. “The Historiography of Islam in Ethiopia.” Journal of Islamic Studies 3 (1992): 15–46.

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            A quick but comprehensive critical review of the main primary and secondary literature on Islam in Ethiopia, written by one of the most outstanding Ethiopian scholars of the field, prematurely deceased in 2009. The article catalyzed research in the field.

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            • Hussein Ahmed. “The Coming of Age of Islamic Studies in Ethiopia: The Present State of Research and Publication.” In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies. Vol. 2. Edited by Svein Ege, Harald Aspen, Birhanu Teferra, and Shiferaw Bekele, 449–456. Trondheim: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2009.

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              List and critical assessment of the main relevant studies and contributions on Islam in Ethiopia published in the late 1990s and at the beginning of the new millennium, along with a description of the perspectives on and tasks of further research in the field.

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              • Hussein Ahmed, and Alessandro Gori. “Islam.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. Vol. 3. Edited by Siegbert Uhlig, 198–202. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007.

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                Encyclopedia article on the geographical distribution of Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea; the processes of Islamization of the region; and the main cultural, religious, and social characteristics of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Muslim communities.

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                • Kapteijns, Lidwien. “Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.” In The History of Islam in Africa. Edited by Nehemia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels, 227–250. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000.

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                  Useful description of the main cultural and social features of the Muslim communities in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and of the most relevant historical events that marked their development.

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                  • Trimingham, John Spencer. Islam in Ethiopia. London: Frank Cass, 1952.

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                    A “classical” comprehensive introductory book on the history, the culture, and the society of the Muslims of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and, partially, Somalia. Despite its date of publication, the volume is still recommended for a first approach to the topic.

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                    • Tubiana, Joseph. “L’Islam en Ethiopie.” In Societes africaines, monde arabe et culture islamique. Mémoires du CERMAA 1. Edited by Guy Nicolas, 235–250. Paris: Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, 1981.

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                      Sketchy description of the main features of the Islamic civilization in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and of its historical developments, penned by one of the most distinguished anthropologist working in the country.

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                      Reference Works

                      Ethiopian studies as a whole has a specific reference tool, the Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Uhlig and Bausi 2003–2014), which covers all the fields connected with the culture, history, languages, and geography of Ethiopia and Eritrea (and the Horn of Africa). Moreover, for the study of Islam in Ethiopia, articles contained in the classic second edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam (Bearman, et al. 1960–2005), and in the more recent and still ongoing third edition (Fleet, et al. 2007–), are an always reliable starting point for further research. The Coptic Encyclopaedia (Atiya 1991) can also yield useful data on Ethiopia and Eritrea. Focusing on the early history of the country is the bio-bibliographical collection Belaynesh, et al. 1975, while the wide and rich bibliography Wagner 2003 is mostly devoted to the Islamic history and culture of the city of Harar and southeastern Ethiopia. Abbink 2016 provides a detailed bibliography on the history and society of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Lockot 1982 lists the academic productions on Ethiopia published in German; it can be accompanied by Lockot 1998, which lists the English publications on the country. The annotated bibliography Munro-Hay and Pankhurst 1995 is very useful for a first orientation in the field.

                      • Abbink, Jon. Ethiopian-Eritrean Studies: A Bibliography on Society and History, 2010–2015. Leiden, The Netherlands: African Studies Centre, 2016.

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                        Updated online bibliography on Ethiopia and Eritrea, focusing on historical and socio-anthropological research.

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                        • Atiya, Aziz S., ed. The Coptic Encyclopedia. 8 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1991.

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                          General reference work on the Coptic world that is extremely useful to understand the wider framework of the Christian (and also the Muslim) culture in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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                          • Bearman, Peri J., Thierry Bianquis, Clifford E. Bosworth, Emeri J. van Donzel, and Wolfhart P. Heinrichs, eds. Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2d ed. 12 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1960–2005.

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                            Well-known all-encompassing work on the whole Islamic world. It contains numerous entries devoted to Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the surrounding areas and regions.

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                            • Belaynesh, Michael, Stanislaw Chojnacki, and Richard Pankhurst, eds. The Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography. Vol. 1, From Early Times to the End of the Zagwé Dynasty c. 1270 A.D. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Institute of Ethiopian Studies, 1975.

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                              Biographical and bibliographical repertoire containing entries devoted to the most outstanding characters of early and medieval Ethiopian history (both Christian and Muslim).

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                              • Fleet, Kate, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, and Everett Rowson, eds. Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3d ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2007–.

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                                The third edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam is in fact a totally new work covering present scholarship on the Islamic world, 20th-century developments, and Islamic minorities. It contains several articles of great help to the researcher working on Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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                                • Lockot, Hans Wilhelm. Bibliographia Aethiopica: Die äthiopienkundliche Literatur des deutschsprachigen Raums. Äthiopistische Forschungen 8. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1982.

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                                  Comprehensive bibliography of German-language works in the field of Ethiopian studies.

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                                  • Lockot, Hans Wilhelm. Bibliographia Aethiopica. Vol. 2, The Horn of Africa in English Literature. Aethiopistische Forschungen 41. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1998.

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                                    Companion of Lockot 1982; this volume is devoted to the literature on Ethiopia and Eritrea produced in English.

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                                    • Munro-Hay, Stuart, and Richard Pankhurst, eds. Ethiopia. Oxford and Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio Press, 1995.

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                                      Comprehensive bibliography on Ethiopia and Eritrea, penned by two of the most distinguished scholars in the field of Ethiopian studies.

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                                      • Uhlig, Siegbert, and Alessandro Bausi, eds. Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. 5 vols. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003–2014.

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                                        Unavoidable reference tool indispensable for anyone interested in the history, culture, languages, and literature of the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Most of the entries dealing with Islam are not simple introductory articles but insightful essays based on new research and unstudied or understudied sources. Volumes 1–4 edited by Uhlig; Volume 5 by Uhlig and Bausi.

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                                        • Wagner, Ewald Harar. Annotierte Bibliographie zum Schrifttum über die Stadt und den Islam in Südostäthiopien. Aethiopistische Forschungen 61. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003.

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                                          Impressively comprehensive and insightfully critical bibliography focusing on the history, language, and culture of the walled Muslim city of Harar (southeastern Ethiopia), but actually encompassing other Islamic regions of the country as well.

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                                          Collections of Articles

                                          Some of the scholars in Ethiopian studies who have had a more or less developed interest in Islam have produced volumes collecting their main contributions to the field; these include Braukämper 2002, Cerulli 1971, and Ellero 1995. A few specialized conferences devoted to Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea have been held so far, and their proceedings have been published (Scarcia Amoretti 2001, Gori and Scarcia Amoretti 2010). These miscellanies can be a useful repository of fresh information and of seminal research.

                                          • Braukämper, Ulrich. Islamic History and Culture in Southern Ethiopia: Collected Essays. Göttinger Studien zur Ethnologie 9. Münster, Germany: Lit Verlag, 2002.

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                                            Collection of contributions authored by the distinguished anthropologist Ulrich Braukämper, who devoted most of his research activity to analysis of the culture of the Muslim peoples of southern Ethiopia and Somalia.

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                                            • Cerulli, Enrico. L’Islam di ieri e di oggi. Pubblicazioni dell’Istituto per l’Oriente 64. Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1971.

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                                              Comprehensive collection of works of the famous (and at the same time notorious) Italian Orientalist and colonial administrator Enrico Cerulli, who authored pioneering studies on the history, culture, and literature of the Muslim peoples of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Horn of Africa as a whole.

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                                              • Ellero, Giovanni. Antropologia e storia dell’Etiopia: Note sullo Scirè, l’Endertà, i Tacruri e il Uolcait. Edited by Gianfrancesco Lusini. Udine, Italy: Campanotto, 1995.

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                                                Collection of articles published by the Italian ethnologist Giovanni Ellero (b. 1910–d. 1942), who produced seminal research on some Muslim communities of West African origin living in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

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                                                • Gori, Alessandro, and Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti, eds. L’Islam in Etiopia: Bilanci e prospettive. Civiltà del Mediterraneo 16–17. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2010.

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                                                  Proceedings of the first international conference entirely and exclusively devoted to the research and the analysis of many different aspects of the Islamic presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea, held in June 2008 in Naples. All the papers are based on fresh research and unstudied or understudied sources.

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                                                  • Scarcia Amoretti, Biancamaria, ed. Islam in East Africa: New Sources (Archives, Manuscripts and Written Historical Sources, Oral History, Archaeology); International Colloquium, Rome, 2–4 December 1999. Rome: Herder, 2001.

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                                                    Collection of contributions and papers discussing different kinds of sources and their usage for the reconstruction of the history and the analysis of the culture and the society of the Muslims of northeastern and eastern Africa. While not directly devoted to Ethiopia and Eritrea, the book can still be of interest for researchers working on these two countries.

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                                                    Journals and Series

                                                    Articles on Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea have been published irregularly but constantly in many different international journals. Particularly useful and important are those contained in journals specializing in the field of Ethiopian studies. Aethiopica is presently the leading international academic periodical focused on Ethiopia and Eritrea; Annales d’Éthiopie, the Journal of Ethiopian Studies, and the Rassegna di Studi Etiopici are other specialized journals that provide researchers with invaluable information and data. In addition, book series exist that are exclusively devoted to multidisciplinary research on Ethiopia and Eritrea; namely, the Äthiopistische Forschungen, published in Germany, and the Studi Africanistici, Serie Etiopica, based in Naples.

                                                    • Aethiopica. 1998–.

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                                                      The leading international multidisciplinary journal in the field of Ethiopian and Eritrean studies, published at the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg. The journal hosts many articles on Islamic topics and follows a wide open-access policy, allowing the downloading of all abstracts and more than 90 percent of all published articles.

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                                                      • Annales d’Éthiopie. 1955–.

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                                                        One of the most authoritative journals for Ethiopian studies. Founded in 1955, it was originally published in Addis Ababa as a French-Ethiopian journal specializing in Ethiopian archaeology and classical Ethiopian studies. It was relaunched in 2000 under the auspices of the Centre Français d’Etudes Ethiopiennes of Addis Ababa and opened to all the fields of the Ethiopian studies. It practices an open access policy.

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                                                        • Äthiopistische Forschungen. 1977–.

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                                                          Monographic series entirely devoted to Ethiopian studies, launched in 1977 by Ernst Hammerschmidt. Since 1994 (Vol. 35) it has been published under the editorship of Siegbert Uhlig by Otto Harrassowitz in Wiesbaden. Many volumes focus on Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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                                                          • Bausi, Alessandro. “Indice dei volumi I–XXXVII (1941–1995) della Rassegna di Studi Etiopici.” Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 38 (1994): 267–296.

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                                                            A full-fledged index of the content of Rassegna di Studi Etiopici that greatly facilitates using the journal.

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                                                            • Journal of Ethiopian Studies. 1963–.

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                                                              The first Ethiopian scientific periodical completely devoted to the field of Ethiopian studies, published since 1963 by the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University. Since the 1990s it has increasingly publishes contributions on Islam.

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                                                              • Rassegna di Studi Etiopici. 1941–.

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                                                                At its inception this journal was a direct expression of the Italian colonial presence in Eritrea and Ethiopia. After the Second World War it became the leading Italian academic periodical devoted to Ethiopian studies, hosting many pioneering contributions on the Islamic presence in the region.

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                                                                • Studi Africanistici, Serie Etiopica. 1991–2012.

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                                                                  Italian series on Ethiopian studies published by the Oriental Institute in Naples (“L’Orientale”), it has included many monographs and several conference proceedings, including works on Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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                                                                  History

                                                                  There are a number of general works on the history of Islam in Ethiopia and Eritrea, providing the researcher with a comprehensive introduction to the field. Cuoq 1981 reconstructs the history of the Muslims of the Horn until the second half of the 16th century, whereas Cerulli 1988 contextualizes it within the wider framework of the history of the Muslim world. Robinson 2004 analyzes the Islamic history of Ethiopia from an Africanist perspective, while Miran 2005 focuses on the Eritrean region, masterfully describing the history of the local Muslims.

                                                                  • Cerulli, Enrico. “Ethiopia’s Relations with the Muslim World.” In General History of Africa. Vol. 3, Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century. Edited by M. el Fasi, with the assistance of I. Hrbek, 574–585. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

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                                                                    Survey of all the main historical events in the history of the Muslims of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and of their interaction with the Ethiopian Christian kingdom and the wider Islamic world.

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                                                                    • Cuoq, Joseph. L’Islam en Ethiopie des origines au XVIe siècle. Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1981.

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                                                                      A well-conceived and detailed handbook on the history of the Muslim states and peoples in Ethiopia and Eritrea until the 16th century. It has become a classic reference for any researcher.

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                                                                      • Miran, Jonathan. “A Historical Overview of Islam in Eritrea.” Die Welt des Islams 45.2 (2005): 177–215.

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                                                                        Seminal article containing a comprehensive and extremely acute overview of all the main phases of the historical development of Islam in Eritrea since the very beginning until the post-independence period.

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                                                                        • Robinson, David. “Ethiopia: Muslims in a ‘Christian Nation.’” In Muslim Societies in African History. By David Robinson, 91–107. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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                                                                          Well-summarized historical description of the Islamic presence in Ethiopia from the very beginning up to present time, from the perspective of an outstanding scholar in African studies.

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                                                                          Primary Arabic Sources

                                                                          Arabic geographical literature and historiography, as well as biographical dictionaries and handbooks for chancellery and belletristics, provide a relatively substantial amount of information and data on the history, culture, and society of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Muslims. Apart from a few exceptions, however, texts on Ethiopia and Eritrea are scattered among works of a more general nature and content, and are therefore often difficult to access (see Gori 2007 as an introduction to classical Arabic sources on Ethiopia and Eritrea). The dispersion of the relevant texts in different locations and the heterogeneous nature of their linguistic register and style make their usage as sources difficult. No exhaustive collection of Arabic literature on Ethiopia and Eritrea is available. Some Arabic (mainly geographic) sources (see Cuoq 1975; Kubbel’ and Matveev 1960; Matveev and Kubbel’ 1965; Matveev and Kubbel’ 1985; and Dobronravin, et al. 2002) also deal with Ethiopia and Eritrea. Historiographical texts written by local Ethiopian and Eritrean learned men and kept in manuscripts provide scholars with exceptional firsthand sources; these are listed below under the relevant chronological entry.

                                                                          • Cuoq, Joseph. Recueil des sources arabes concernant l’Afrique occidentale du VIIIe au XVIe siècle (Bilād al-Sūdān). Paris: Editions du C.N.R.S. 1975.

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                                                                            Very wide and well-commented collection of medieval Arabic sources (provided, however, only in French translation), mostly dealing with western Africa. The book nevertheless contains some important firsthand references to Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia.

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                                                                            • Dobronravin, Nikolaj Aleksandrovič, Vladimir Aleksandrovič Popov, and Viktor Vladimirovič Matveev. Arabskie istočniki XIII–XIV vv. po ètnografii i istorii Afriki južnee Sahary. Vol. 4. Moscow: Izdatel’skaja firma Vostočnaja Literatura RAN, 2002.

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                                                                              Collection of Arabic sources of the 13th and the 14th century dealing with the history and culture of sub-Saharan Africa (thus including the whole Horn of Africa). Presented with a Russian translation, a general introduction, and a critical description of every mentioned author, this is a precious tool for every researcher.

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                                                                              • Gori, Alessandro. “Classical Arabic Historiography on Ethiopia.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. Vol. 3. Edited by Siegbert Uhlig, 46–48. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007.

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                                                                                Encyclopedia article describing the most important classical Arabic historiographical sources on Ethiopia and Eritrea. A first tentative listing and classification of the relevant texts is provided as a guide for further research.

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                                                                                • Kubbel’, Lev Evgen’evič, and Viktor Vladimirovič Matveev. Arabskie istočniki VII–X vekov po etnografii i istorii narodov Afriki južnee sachary. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1960.

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                                                                                  Collection of Arabic sources from the 7th to the 10th century, dealing with the history and culture of sub-Saharan Africa (thus including the whole Horn of Africa). Presented with a Russian translation, a general introduction, and a critical description of every mentioned author, this is a precious tool for every researcher.

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                                                                                  • Matveev, Viktor Vladimirovič, and Lev Evgen’evič Kubbel’. Arabskie istočniki X–XII vekov po etnografii i istorii narodov Afriki južnee sachary. Moscow: Izdatel’svo Nauka, 1965.

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                                                                                    Collection of Arabic sources from the 10th to the 12th century dealing with the history and culture of sub-Saharan Africa (thus including the whole Horn of Africa). Presented with a Russian translation, a general introduction, and a critical description of every mentioned author, this is a precious tool for every researcher.

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                                                                                    • Matveev, Viktor Vladimirovič, and Lev Evgen’evič Kubbel’. Arabskie istočniki XII–XIII vekov po etnografii i istorii narodov Afriki južnee sachary. Leningrad: Izdatel’svo Nauka, 1985.

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                                                                                      Collection of Arabic sources of the 12th and the 13th century dealing with the history and culture of sub-Saharan Africa (thus including the whole Horn of Africa). Presented with a Russian translation, a general introduction, and a critical description of every mentioned author, this is a precious tool for every researcher.

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                                                                                      Islamization Processes

                                                                                      The first spread of Islam along the shores of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean (Cerulli 1971a, Cerulli 1971b) and the subsequent diffusion of Islam into the Ethiopian and Eritrean highlands were directly related to the commercial activities linking Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and India (Monneret de Villard 1938, Pankhurst 1974) along trade routes that were well established since ancient times and were revived and strengthened by Muslim merchants and their business networks (Gori 2006). Some scholarly contributions try specifically to address the issue of the Islamization processes that have characterized the first arrival and the further diffusion of Muslim civilization in the Horn of Africa (Gori 1995, Fauvelle-Aymar and Hirsch 2008, Fauvelle-Aymar and Hirsch 2011).

                                                                                      • Cerulli, Enrico. “Il Mar Rosso nella storia della navigazione medievale.” In L’Islam di ieri e di oggi. Pubblicazioni dell’Istituto per l’Oriente 64. By Enrico Cerulli, 39–58. Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1971a.

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                                                                                        Provides a concise but masterful description of the historical evolution of the maritime trade routes between the Mediterranean basin and the Far East. In particular, the relationships among the commercial networks on the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf are clearly and critically analyzed.

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                                                                                        • Cerulli, Enrico. “La via delle Indie nella storia e nel diritto del Medioevo.” In L’Islam di ieri e di oggi. Pubblicazioni dell’Istituto per l’Oriente 64. By Enrico Cerulli, 21–37. Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1971b.

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                                                                                          An extremely interesting contribution by the Italian Orientalist Enrico Cerulli dealing with the navigation and the maritime trade routes along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. These routes played a crucial role in the Islamization processes of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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                                                                                          • Fauvelle-Aymar, François-Xavier, and Bertrand Hirsch. “Établissements et formations politiques musulmans d’Éthiopie et de la corne de l’Afrique au Moyen Âge: Vers une reconstruction.” Annales Islamologiques 42 (2008): 339–375.

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                                                                                            The article provides a very precise reconstruction of the first birth and developments of Islamic policies in the Horn of Africa and the contemporary spread of Islamic culture in the region. Based on a painstaking analysis of the available firsthand sources, it depicts a precise picture of the all the main events and their protagonists, while also sketching a more general geopolitical framework in which they can be situated.

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                                                                                            • Fauvelle-Aymar, François-Xavier, and Bertrand Hirsch, eds. Espaces Musulmans de la Corne de l’Afrique au Moyen Age. Annales d’Éthiopie–Hors-série du Centre Français des Etudes Ethiopiennes 1. Paris: Editions de Boccard, 2011.

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                                                                                              The volume collects a series of very interesting contributions on the medieval history of the Muslims of the Horn of Africa, making use of both written sources and recent archaeological surveys; thanks to new findings the book formulates fresh hypotheses on the Islamization processes of the Horn.

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                                                                                              • Gori, Alessandro. “Alcune considerazioni e precisazioni preliminary sull’origine e sulla natura dele presenze islamiche non autoctone nelle comunità islamiche d’Etiopia.” Annali dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale 55 (1995): 406–436.

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                                                                                                The article contains a conspicuous collection of data on the presence of foreign Muslims in Ethiopia at different times and under different circumstances in the history of the country. The information is assessed to evaluate the role played by external forces and individuals (merchants, families of scholars, and learned men) in the Islamization of the Ethiopian and Eritrean peoples.

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                                                                                                • Gori, Alessandro. Contatti culturali nell’Oceano Indiano e nel Mar Rosso e processi di islamizzazione in Etiopia e Somalia. Venice: Libreria Editrice Cafoscarina, 2006.

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                                                                                                  Concise excursus on the medieval history of the main port cities of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean that established trade connections with the Ethiopian and Eritrean hinterland, including their role in triggering and supporting the spread of Islam. A selected bibliography of primary and secondary sources complements the historiographical essay.

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                                                                                                  • Monneret de Villard, Ugo. “Note sulle influenze asiatiche nell’Africa Orientale.” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 17 (1938): 303–349.

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                                                                                                    General but extremely informative essay on the influences that India and Oriental Asia exerted on the culture, particularly the art, of the people of northeastern Africa, penned by one of the most distinguished Italian scholars of Islamic and Christian Oriental art.

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                                                                                                    • Pankhurst, Richard. “The History of Ethiopia’s Relations with India prior to the Nineteenth Century.” In IV Congresso Internazionale di Studi Etiopici (Roma, 10–15 Aprile 1972). Vol. 1. Problemi attuali di scienza e di cultura 191. Edited by Enrico Cerulli, 205–312. Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1974.

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                                                                                                      Magisterial excursus on the historical connections between Ethiopia and India penned by one of the most eminent scholars in Ethiopian Studies.

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                                                                                                      History until the End of the 16th Century

                                                                                                      Moving from the sea coast, Islam spread inward and Muslim settlements were established, creating more and more organized communities and, finally, organizing state structures. The first Muslim states were often at war among themselves and in competition with the Ethiopian Christian state. At the end of the 13th century, the ruler of the central region of Ifat managed to overpower the sultanate in nearby Shäwa (on this, see Cerulli 1941) and built the strongest state in the area. The sultanate of Ifat under the dynasty of the Walsama family lasted until the middle of the 16th century (Cerulli 1931, Wagner 1976, Wagner 1991), when it was de facto overthrown by Imam Ahmad b. Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of a revivalist Islamic movement. Ahmad launched a jihad against the tepid Muslims and the Christian kingdom (a great part of the events of the war is described in Basset 1897), but he was killed in 1543 by the Christian army supported by some Portuguese forces. A period of great instability and internal warfare followed, during which the Oromo people started to settle in many areas of central Ethiopia. Arabic sources—both local Ethiopian (Wagner 1974, Wagner 1978, Wagner and Getatchew Haile 1989) and of non-Ethiopian origin (al-ʿUmari 1927 and al-Maqrizi 2006)—provide valuable firsthand information on the reconstruction of the main historical events.

                                                                                                      • Basset, René. Histoire de la conquête de l’Abyssinie (XVIe siècle) par Chihab Eddin Aḥmed ben ‘Abd el-Qāder, surnommé Arab-Faqih. Vol. 1, Texte Arabe. Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1897.

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                                                                                                        See also Vol. 2, Traduction française avec notes (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1909). The Futuḥ al-Ḥabaša is a chronicle narrating the military campaign of Ahmad b. Ibrahim against the Christian kingdom until 1537. The text is apparently incomplete, but the missing part was probably never written by the author, whose personality and biography remain almost unknown. The historiographical value of the chronicle cannot be overestimated, as it is clearly the direct account of an eyewitness who was present at almost every event he is reporting. An English translation of the text has been produced by Paul Lester Stenhouse and published with notes by Richard Pankhurst in 2003 under the title Futūḥ al-Ḥabaša: the Conquest of Abyssinia (16th century) (Hollywood, CA: Tsehai).

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                                                                                                        • Cerulli, Enrico. “Documenti arabi per la storia d’Etiopia.” Memorie della Regia Accademia nazionale dei Lincei: Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche, 6th series, 2.4 (1931): 39–101.

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                                                                                                          Wide collection of Ethiopian Arabic Islamic sources dealing with the history of the Islamic sultanates of the country. The edition of the Arabic manuscript text is combined with an Italian translation and detailed commentary.

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                                                                                                          • Cerulli, Enrico. “Il Sultanato dello Scioa nel secolo XIII secondo un nuovo documento storico.” Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 1 (1941): 5–42.

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                                                                                                            Edition with Italian translation and commentary of an Ethiopian Arabic Islamic text on the history of the sultanate of Shäwa until its fall in 1285.

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                                                                                                            • al-Maqrizi, Taqi al-Din Ahmad. Kitāb al-ilmām bi-aḫbār man bi-arḍ al-Ḥabaša min mulūk al-Islām. Cairo, Egypt: Al-Maktaba al-azhariyya li-al-turaṯ, 2006.

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                                                                                                              Originally published with a Latin translation by F. T. Rinck in 1790, this short text by the famous mamluk historian al-Maqrizi is entirely devoted to the history and the culture of the Ethiopian Muslims.

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                                                                                                              • al-ʿUmari, Ibn Fadl Allah. Masālik el-Abṣār fī mamālik el-Amṣār: L’Afrique moins l’Égypte. Traduit et annoté par G. Demombynes. Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Geuthner, 1927.

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                                                                                                                This annotated French translation of the section of the geographic work by al-ʿUmari (d. 1349), devoted exclusively to Ethiopia, has been (and still is) among the main references on which scholars have managed to reconstruct the history of the Muslims of the region.

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                                                                                                                • Wagner, Ewald. “Three Arabic Documents on the History of Harar.” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 12 (1974): 213–224.

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                                                                                                                  One of the features of Harari culture is the wide availability of administrative, historical, and economical documents, which provide a huge amount of information about the city. Three of these original documents are published here, together with an English translation and commentary.

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                                                                                                                  • Wagner, Ewald. “Die Chronologie der frühen islamischen Herrscher in Äthiopien nach den Harariner Emirslisten.” In Wort und Wirklichkeit: Studien zur Afrikanistik und Orientalistik Eugen Ludwig Rapp gewidmet. Vol. 1. Edited by Brigitta Benzing, Otto Bocher, and Gunter Mayer, 186–204. Meisenheim, Germany: A. Hain, 1976.

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                                                                                                                    Publication, together with a German translation, of a locally produced Arabic chronology of the first emirs of Harar (eastern Ethiopia), the main cultural and (to a certain extent) political center of the Muslims of Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                    • Wagner, Ewald. Legende und Geschichte: Der Fatḥ Madīnat Harar von Yaḥyā Naṣrallāh. Abhandlungen für die Kunde der Morgenlandes 44, 3. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1978.

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                                                                                                                      Critical edition, with a German translation, of the Arabic text of the chronicle of the origins of the city of Harar (eastern Ethiopia), the main cultural and political center of the Muslims of the region. The narration has clear hagiographic tones but can be used to try to reconstruct the first inception of the Islamic presence in the Horn of Africa.

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                                                                                                                      • Wagner, Ewald. “The Genealogy of the later Walashmaʿ Sultans of Adal and Harar.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 141 (1991): 376–386.

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                                                                                                                        Ewald Wagner produced a masterly article in which a detailed analysis of the genealogical relationships among the last representatives of the ruling family of Adal and Harar is carried out on the basis of locally penned documents. On the basis of this analysis, the author reconstructs the dynastic dynamics and the succession of sultans before they were eventually deposed.

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                                                                                                                        • Wagner, Ewald, with Getatchew Haile. “Die Geschichte Nūr b. Muǧāhids von Harar oder: The History of Aẓe Zärʾa Yaʿqob.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 139 (1989): 43–92.

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                                                                                                                          Nur b. Mugahid was a high-ranking officer of the army of Ahmad b. Ibrahim. After the imam was killed, he married his widow and managed to become the emir of Harar. He resumed the war against the Christian state and managed to kill King Galawdewos of Ethiopia. Nur is credited with building the city wall in Harar. The article contains the publication of an Arabic Islamic and a similar Christian Amharic semi-legendary account of his life and deeds.

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                                                                                                                          History of the 17–20th Centuries

                                                                                                                          Until the middle of the 19th century, Ethiopian history is characterized by a centrifugal tendency in the Christian kingdom, which saw its power slowly declining in favor of local potentates and ruling families. The expansionist campaigns of King Tewodros (b. 1818–d. 1868) and his successors until Menelik II (b. 1889–d. 1913) managed to unify the (mainly) Christian Ethiopian highlands and then subjugate the overwhelmingly Muslim lowlands, putting in place the base for the modern Ethiopian state (Hussein Ahmed 2001). Among the Muslim communities, Harar in 1647 started to be ruled by a dynasty of emirs, which lasted until the conquest of the city by Menelik II in 1887. In this same span of time, the spread of Islam among the Oromo (see Mohammed Hassen 1990) and other southern and western peoples started changing the religious landscape of Ethiopia. In 1890, Eritrea became an Italian colony and experienced some peculiar historical developments, some of which directly affected the Muslim communities of the country (Bruzzi 2006, Miran 2009). The role played by Islam in the formation of the nationalistic movement in postcolonial Eritrea is also an extremely interesting issue that scholars have to deal with (Venosa 2014).

                                                                                                                          • Bruzzi, Silvia. “Il Colonialismo italiano e la Khatmiyya in Eritrea (1890–1941).” Africa 61 (2006): 435–453.

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                                                                                                                            Concise description of the intricacies of the relationship of the Italian administration in Eritrea and the different branches of the Khatmiyya mystical brotherhood, which played a leading role in the political landscape of the country during the colonial period.

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                                                                                                                            • Hussein Ahmed. Islam in Nineteenth-Century Wallo, Ethiopia: Revival, Reform and Reaction. Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia 74. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001.

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                                                                                                                              Very detailed, informative, and insightful monograph on the intricacies and developments of the Muslim communities of the region of Wallo (northeastern Ethiopia). The book can be considered a crucial contribution to enhance our knowledge of Islamic history, culture, and society in Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                              • Miran, Jonathan. Red Sea Citizens: Cosmopolitan Society and Cultural Change in Massawa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                This detailed, insightful, and informative monograph on the history and the social dynamics of the Eritrean port city of Massawa and its cosmopolitan population provides an extremely effective key to get into the world of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean Muslim commercial groups and their lively economic and cultural activities.

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                                                                                                                                • Mohammed Hassen. The Oromo of Ethiopia: A History, 1570–1860. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                  Pioneering essay on the general history of the Oromo people, who played a crucial role in the history, culture, and society of Ethiopia (especially of the Ethiopian Muslims) beginning at end of the 16th century.

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                                                                                                                                  • Venosa, Joseph L. Paths toward the Nation: Islam, Community, and Early Nationalist Mobilization in Eritrea, (1941–1961). Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                    The author analyzes the different ideological and cultural components that were active in the first formation of the Eritrean nationalistic movement. The role played by the local Muslim intelligentsia is clearly described, and the interaction of the Islamic and Christian communities of the country in the development of a national consciousness and identity in postcolonial Eritrea is assessed and discussed.

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                                                                                                                                    History: Latest Developments and Trends (including Salafism) in Ethiopian and Eritrean Islam

                                                                                                                                    The fall of the Socialist regime in 1991 marked a turning point for Ethiopia and Eritrea in general, and for the Muslim communities in the two countries in particular. A more liberal spirit started spreading in the region, and freedom of speech and of organization was proclaimed. The Islamic book market boomed, while new media and the Internet fostered the circulation of ideas. Ethiopian and Eritrean Muslims, who had always been connected to the wider Islamic world, intensified their relationships with the leading centers of learning in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Pakistan, Turkey, and other regions (Erlich 2002). New trends and streams of thought came to be more and more known among Muslims in Ethiopia and Eritrea (Kabha and Erlich 2006, Østebø and Wallelign Shemsedin 2015), radical Islam started spreading (Østebø 2012), and internal debates and disputes arose (Carmichael 1996). A relatively wide academic literature followed these developments and still keeps pace with present evolutions (Ficquet 2015).

                                                                                                                                    • Carmichael, Tim. “Contemporary Ethiopian Discourse on Islamic History: The Politics of Historical Representation.” Islam et sociétés au Sud du Sahara 10 (1996): 169–186.

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                                                                                                                                      The article analyzes the formation of a new representation of history among Ethiopian Muslims after the fall of the Socialist regime. In particular, the inclusion of the Muslim communities into the modern Ethiopian state is considered as a defeat of Islam and a victory of Ethiopian Christians and their European supporters.

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                                                                                                                                      • Erlich, Haggai. The Cross and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Nile. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                        The cultural and political intricacies of the long-lasting connections of Ethiopia to Egypt are reexamined in this monograph, whose starting point is the medieval myth of the “control” Ethiopians can exert on the flow of the Nile’s waters, which are so decisive for the life of the North African country.

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                                                                                                                                        • Ficquet, Eloi. “The Ethiopian Muslims: Historical Processes and Ongoing Controversies.” In Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia: Monarchy, Revolution and the Legacy of Meles Zenawi. Edited by Gérard Prunier and Eloi Ficquet, 93–122. London: Hurst, 2015.

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                                                                                                                                          A very updated, informative, and acute description of recent trends within the Muslim communities of Ethiopia, inserting current developments in their historical background and providing insights and perspectives for detecting the future evolution of Islam in the country.

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                                                                                                                                          • Kabha, Mustafa, and Haggai Erlich. “Al-Ahbash and Wahhabiyya: Interpretations of Islam.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 38. 4 (2006): 519–538.

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                                                                                                                                            A fundamental article describing in detail the origins and the theoretical positions of the anti-Wahhabi so-called al-Ahbas (The Abyssinians) movement, founded by the Harari cleric ʿAbdallah al-Harari (d. 2008) and well rooted in the Middle East. The paper focuses in particular on the Ethiopian background of the group and on the reception of the movement in the native country of its founder.

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                                                                                                                                            • Østebø, Terje. Localising Salafism: Religious Change among Oromo Muslims in Bale, Ethiopia. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                              Well-documented investigation of the spread of some new Salafist/Wahhabist streams of thought among the Muslim communities of the southeastern Ethiopian region of Bale, and their impact on local Islamic society.

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                                                                                                                                              • Østebø, Terje, and Wallelign Shemsedin. The Intellectualist Movement in Ethiopia, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Issue of Moderation. Oslo: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, 2015.

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                                                                                                                                                Extremely interesting and updated article on recent trends on the Ethiopian scene, with a specific focus on what the authors call the “intellectualist movement” that emerged among young Muslim intellectuals and students in Addis Ababa after the fall of the Socialist regime in 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                Sufism and Cult of the Saints

                                                                                                                                                Among the most relevant features of the culture of the Muslim peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea is an extremely widespread practice of what could be termed grassroots Sufism, comprising collective devotional prayers (Wagner 1975), pilgrimages to the shrines of holy men and women (Wagner 1973, Foucher 1988), and recitals of pietistic literature—all common activities of the average faithful (Eresso 2015). Mystical brotherhoods are also present in the religious and cultural landscape of the Islamic communities of Ethiopia and Eritrea (Gori 2012). Mystical orders played a crucial role in the Islamization of the region, and they remained for long (and to some extent also nowadays) the most important institutions for the transmission of the Muslim knowledge, teaching, and learning (Gibb 1999, Abbink 2012).

                                                                                                                                                • Abbink, Jon. “Muslim Monasteries? Some Aspects of Religious Culture in Northern Ethiopia.” Aethiopica 11 (2012): 117–133.

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                                                                                                                                                  A stimulating contribution devoted to the analysis of the internal organizational structure and the wider social role of the Sufi masters and their devotees, the mystical groupings, and their members. A comparison with the way Ethiopian Christian Orthodox monasteries are structured and organized is tentatively carried out.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Eresso, Meron Zeleke. Faith at the Crossroads: Religious Syncretism and Dispute Settlement in Northern Ethiopia; A study of Sufi Shrine in North Eastern Ethiopia. Aethiopistische Forschungen 82. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015.

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                                                                                                                                                    An interesting firsthand socio-anthropological study of the much renowned shrine of sayh Siraj Muhammad in northeastern Ethiopia, focusing on the different roles played by the sacred place and the various actors around and inside it (e.g., the family of the deceased master).

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                                                                                                                                                    • Foucher, Emile. “Names of Mussulmans Venerated in Harrar and Its Surroundings: A List.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 138 (1988): 263–282.

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                                                                                                                                                      The article contains a detailed list of the names of the Muslim holy men and women who are revered by the people of Harar, together with a map of their shrines and some information about their personalities and deeds.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Gibb, Camilla. “Baraka without Borders: Integrating Communities in the City of Saints.” Journal of Religion in Africa 29 (1999): 88–108.

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                                                                                                                                                        Seminal article analyzing the crucial role played by Sufi shrines, their groups of devotees, and their communal ceremonies in shaping a shared identity in Harar and in securing a social cohesion in the city.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Gori, Alessandro. “A Short Note on a Silsila of the Qādiriyya Brotherhood in Ethiopia.” In Collectanea islamica. Futūḥ al-Buldān: Sources for the Study of Islamic Societies 1. Edited by Nicola Melis and Mauro Nobili, 17–25. Rome: Aracne Editrice, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                          Philologically oriented contribution providing a critical edition and translation of the manuscript text of a spiritual genealogy (silsila) of a branch of the Qadiriyya, the most widespread Islamic mystical brotherhood in Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Wagner, Ewald. “Eine Liste der Heiligen von Harar.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 123 (1973): 269–292.

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                                                                                                                                                            The city of Harar is commonly called madinat al-awliyaʾ (the city of the saints). In this article the author provides an edition of a manuscript list of names of saints venerated in the city, together with a critical analysis and a rich commentary. The article is to be read together with Wagner 1975.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Wagner, Ewald. “Arabische Heiligenlieder aus Harar.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 125 (1975): 28–65.

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                                                                                                                                                              The article contains an edition of a selection of hymns and songs in praise of the Muslim saints venerated in Harar, together with an extremely detailed commentary that sheds light on both the literary and the social aspects of the cult of the holy men (and women) in the city.

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                                                                                                                                                              Education

                                                                                                                                                              Islamic education in Ethiopia and Eritrea (for a general introduction see Gori 2005 and Hecht 2005) has been flourishing around the shrines of the learned men, teachers, and saints and the pious pilgrimage to them. Directly connected with the Sufi networks and deeply imbued in a mystical environment, Muslim learning nevertheless managed to develop along its own path, covering almost all the main branches of the traditional knowledge: Arabic grammar, theology, law, logic, magic (Wagner 1989). A network of Ethiopian and Eritrean learned men has guaranteed the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation among the literate elite and the rooting of the Islamic principles and tenets among the illiterate faithful (Hussein Ahmed 1988).

                                                                                                                                                              • Gori, Alessandro. “Islamic Traditional Education.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. Vol. 2. Edited by Siegbert Uhlig, 230–233. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                Introductory encyclopedia article devoted to a general description of the origin, development, and recent trends of Islamic education in the different Muslim communities of Ethiopia and Eritrea. To be read together with Hecht 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Hecht, Elisabeth-Dorothea. “Islamic Education in Harar.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. Vol. 2. Edited by Siegbert Uhlig, 233–234. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The article provides a general description of the main features of the traditional Islamic education in the city of Harar. Teaching and learning practices are analyzed and put within the wider framework of the Muslim urban culture of Harar.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Hussein Ahmed. “Traditional Muslim Education in Ethiopia.” In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, Moscow, 26–29 August 1986. Vol. 3. Edited by Anatoly Andreevich Gromyko, 94–106. Moscow: Nauka, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                    The text of a seminal contribution to the study of the institutions, methods, and actors of the transmission of the traditional Islamic knowledge in Ethiopia, with a special focus on the region of Wallo (northeastern Ethiopia).

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Wagner, Ewald. “Ein arabischer Text zur traditionellen muslimischen Erziehung in Harar.” In Kaškūl: Festschrift zum 25. Jahrestag der Wiederbegründung des Instituts für Orientalistik an der JustusLiebig-Universität Gießen. Edited by Ewald Wagner and Klaus Röhrborn, 170–185. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                      The article contains the commented edition of a manuscript text describing in detail the traditional educational practices of the Harari people.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Literature

                                                                                                                                                                      The literature of the Muslims of Ethiopia and Eritrea has been neglected by scholars. Even those few researchers interested in the study of Islam have not devoted much attention to literary production in these countries. However, some recent contributions have started making up for the delay. In particular, a first general survey of the Islamic literatures of the Horn of Africa was published in 2003 within the framework of the Arabic Literature of Africa editorial project (see O’Fahey 2003). Other introductory studies on different aspects of Muslim literary production in Ethiopia and Eritrea are also available (see Gori 2010 and Gori 2015), while the forms and content of the literature of the city of Harar are described in detail in Banti 2010. Texts in the local languages of the Ethiopian Muslims written in Arabic script have also been the object of some pioneering linguistic studies (Wagner 1983 for Harari, Wetter 2012 for Amharic). Recent research activity has been devoted to the manuscript tradition of the Muslims of the Horn (Gori 2008). The location and analysis of manuscript collections (Gori, et al. 2014) will make it possible to gain a more precise idea of what the Muslim literati read and wrote, but also of what they copied, commented upon, and circulated around. Oral literature of the Muslim peoples of the Horn of Africa has also been partially collected and analyzed (Andrzejewski 1972, Ishihara 1996).

                                                                                                                                                                      • Mohammed Hakim Ahmed. Birilee-Ṣafā: An Ethiopian ‘Ajamī-Oromoo Manuscript. PhD diss., University of Addis Ababa, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                        A pioneering PhD thesis containing a full-fledged edition and an annotated English translation of an Oromo Islamic text written in Arabic script. The work is a first, fundamental contribution to the study of the Oromo Islamic manuscript literature.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Andrzejewski, Bogumil Witalis. “Allusive Diction in Galla Hymns in Praise of Sheikh Hussein of Bale.” African Language Studies 13 (1972): 1–31.

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                                                                                                                                                                          This article, by one of the most outstanding experts in Somali and Oromo studies, contains a detailed analysis of the form and content of some oral Oromo devotional poems in honor of sayh Husayn of Bale, one of the most revered Islamic holy men of the Horn of Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Banti, Giorgio. “The Literature of Harar until the End of the 19th Century.” In L’Islam in Etiopia: Bilanci e prospettive. Civiltà del Mediterraneo 16–17. Edited by Alessandro Gori and Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti, 149–181. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                            A brief but exhaustive and very informative excursus on the history, the genres, and the main stylistic features of the literature (both in Arabic and in the local language) produced by Harari authors and circulating in the city. From a conference in Naples in June 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Gori, Alessandro. “Arabic Islamic Literature in Ethiopia: Some Philological Remarks.” In Scritti in onore di Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti. Vol. 2. Edited by Daniela Bredi, Leonardo Capezzone, Wasim Dahmash, and Lucia Rostagno, 683–698. Rome: Edizioni Q, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                              The contribution is a first introductory description of the main authors and texts of the Arabic literature produced in Ethiopia, with special attention devoted to the manuscripts and manuscript collections in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the world that preserve this literature.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Gori, Alessandro. “Texts in the Mawlid Collection in Harar: Some First Critical Observations.” African Study Monographs Suppl. 41 (2010): 51–62.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A philological and comparative analysis of the content of the constellation of texts commonly recited in Harar on the occasion of the Mawlid celebration.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Gori, Alessandro. “Languages and Literatures of the Muslims of the Horn of Africa: Some First General Reflections.” In L’Africa, l’Oriente mediterraneo e l’Europa: Tradizioni e culture a confronto. Africana Ambrosiana 1. Edited by Paolo Nicelli, 119–126. Rome: Bulzoni Editore, 2015.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  The contribution is a general survey of the literary production of the Muslims of the Horn of Africa, together with a first series of observations on its literary genres and their main linguistic and stylistic features.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gori, Alessandro, with Anne Regourd, Jeremy Brown, Steve Delamarter, and Demeke Berhane. A Handlist of the Manuscripts in the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. Vol. 2, The Arabic Materials of the Ethiopian Islamic Tradition. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    A handlist of the Islamic manuscript collection kept in the library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of the University of Addis Ababa. The titles and authors listed in the catalogue give a general idea of the kind of texts that were read, copied, and produced by the cultivated elite of Ethiopian Muslims. A section of the book is devoted to a pioneering study of the codicology and paleography of the Ethiopian Islamic codices.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ishihara, Minako. “Textual Analysis of a Poetic Verse in a Muslim Oromo Society in Jimma Area, Southwestern Ethiopia.” In Essays in Northeast African Studies. Senri Ethnological Studies 43. Edited by Shun Sato and Eisei Kurimoto, 207–232. Osaka, Japan: National Museum of Ethnology, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      The paper is a detailed analysis of some orally transmitted poetical texts produced by the Muslim Oromo in the region of Jimma (southwestern Ethiopia). An introductory section describes the historical and cultural background in which this literary items can be framed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • O’Fahey, Rex S., comp. The Writings of the Muslim Peoples of Northeastern Africa. Arabic Literature of Africa 3A. Handbook of Oriental Studies 13. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        This first critical list of authors and works (in Arabic and in local languages) produced by and circulating among Muslims of the Horn of Africa is certainly incomplete and partial, but it is still very useful and informative for anyone interested in researching the Islamic literature of the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wagner, Ewald. Harari Texte in arabischer Schrift mit Übersetzung und Kommentar. Äthiopistische Forschungen 13. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          The book is a masterful scholarly study of a selection of six renowned traditional Harari texts in Arabic script, with German translation and commentary. The texts are critically edited, their language and style are analyzed in depth, and their cultural background is skillfully described.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Wetter, Andreas. “Rhetorical Means in a Didactic Amharic Poem from Wärrä Babbo.” Aethiopica 15 (2012): 176–203.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            The article contains a full-fledged analysis of an Amharic Islamic text in Arabic script from the area of Warra Babbo (Wallo region, northeastern Ethiopia). The linguistic features of the text and its content are described in detail. The cultural background in which this literary product has been produced is precisely sketched.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Music

                                                                                                                                                                                            Music is without doubt among the most remarkable, interesting, and fascinating manifestations of the culture of the Muslims of Ethiopia and Eritrea. There are few contributions available so far in this field, which, however, seems to be very promising and an important source of insights into the intellectual world of the Muslims of the region and their collective imaginary. Religious songs and hymns, devotional chants and litanies, together with secular songs (e.g., for weddings), first started attracting the attention of some scholars in the early 20th century (see Cerulli 1926). The ceremonies during which the texts are sung, the instruments used to accompany the singing, and the rituality of the performances have been analyzed in articles and papers by ethnomusicologists and anthropologists (Tarsitani 2006, Tarsitani 2008, Tarsitani 2011). The relationships and the reciprocal influences of the oral usage and the written transmission of the texts of chanted hymns have been highlighted. A first classification of the so-called manzumas of Wallo (northeastern Ethiopia) and the zikri of Harar has also been started, providing a first theoretical description of Islamic musical production in Ethiopia and Eritrea (Wetter 2007).

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cerulli, Enrico. “Canti amarici dei Musulmani di Abissinia.” In Reale Accademia dei LinceiAtti, Rendiconti, 6th ser., 2 (1926): 433–447.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Pioneering article on the Amharic texts sung and chanted by the Muslims of central-northern Ethiopia. Fundamental reference for the further study of the so-called manẓūma hymns and songs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Tarsitani, Simone. “Musica religiosa islamica a Harar (Etiopia): I rituali di zikri (Islamic Religious Music in Harar–Ethiopia: The Zikri Rituals).” EM: Rivista degli Archivi di Etnomusicologia 2 (2006): 127–148.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                The article analyzes the forms and performances of the Islamic religious music in Harar (eastern Ethiopia), focusing in particular on the rituals connected with the practices of dikr (remembrance of the name of God), which are extremely popular among the inhabitants of the city.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Tarsitani, Simone. “Mawlūd: Celebrating the Birth of the Prophet in Islamic Religious Festivals and Wedding Ceremonies in Harar, Ethiopia.” Annales d’Ethiopie 23 (2008): 153–176.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.3406/ethio.2007.1503Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The paper provides a detailed study of the hymns and chants performed during both religious and secular collective ceremonies in the eastern Ethiopian city of Harar. It is a first important contribution to the research on the Islamic music in the country.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tarsitani, Simone. “Melodic Analysis of the Performance of Islamic Hymns in Harar, Ethiopia.” Musikè: International Journal of Ethnomusicological Studies 5.6 (2011): 95–110.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seminal study of the musical structure of the religious hymns (sometimes also chanted during secular ceremonies such as weddings) sung during Mawlid and other collective and family ceremonies in Harar.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wetter, Andreas. “Manẓūma.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. Vol. 3. Edited by Siegbert Uhlig, 754–755. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Encyclopedia article introducing a description and a first general classification of the manzuma hymns and songs circulating in the Islamic areas of Wallo (northeastern Ethiopia).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Women

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The position of women in the Islamic communities of Ethiopia and Eritrea is still to be investigated, as is the role they play in both the public and private spheres. Some seminal works by anthropologists and sociologists have been published, however. The mystical milieu—not necessarily connected to a specific organized brotherhood—has offered a privileged area of analysis, as the presence of women in this environment is evident even to the superficial observer (Gibb 1996, Bruzzi and Zeleke 2015, Bruzzi 2018). Women form their own devotional groupings, and they gather together in both public and private areas to perform their pietistic ceremonies (Gibb 2000). The interaction with similar men’s associations is also studied, especially in the sacred spaces next to a shrine where the two genders often meet (Zeleke 2013).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bruzzi, Silvia. Islam and Gender in Colonial Northeast Africa: Sitti ʿAlawiyya, the Uncrowned Queen. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2018.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        The book is entirely devoted to the biography of a female high representative of the Khatmiyya brotherhood in colonial Eritrea. The political, cultural, and religious roles played by Sitti ʿAlawiyya inside her tariqa and on the wider public scene are analyzed in terms of their development and interplay with the will and impositions of the Italian administration.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bruzzi, Silvia, and Meron Zeleke. “Contested Religious Authority: Sufi Women in Ethiopia and Eritrea.” Journal of Religion in Africa 45.1 (2015): 37–67.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1163/15700666-12340028Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The article provides a comparative and insightful analysis of two female sufi figures in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The ways by which they manage to face the challenges posed by the cultural environment and the strategies that they put into effect to cope with the difficulties and achieve a widespread recognition of their spiritual authority cast new light on the position of women in the sufi milieu. The struggle for legitimization is carried out effectively and the gendering divide successfully overcome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Gibb, Camilla. “In the City of Saints: Religion, Politics and Gender in Harar, Ethiopia.” PhD diss. Oxford University, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            The dissertation is a pioneering work on the intricate relationship of gender with religious devotion and political practice in the historical Islamic city of Harar. The specific role played by female groups of devotees in the public and private scenes of the city is analyzed in detail, thanks to a direct observational work directly carried out by the researcher.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Gibb, Camilla. “Negotiating Social and Spiritual Worlds: The Gender of Sanctity in a Muslim City in Africa.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 16.2 (2000): 25–42.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gibb, one of the most renowned anthropologist working on Harari culture, acutely analyzes many issues directly connected with the participation of women in the religious life (especially the devotional ceremonies and the communal associations linked to the practice of the cult of the saints).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Zeleke, Meron. “The Gendering Discourse in the Debates of Religious Orthodoxy.” In Muslim Ethiopia: The Christian Legacy, Identity Politics, and Islamic Reformism. Edited by Patrick Desplat and Terje Østebø, 115–138. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1057/9781137322098_6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The contribution is a firsthand analysis of some gender dynamics connected with the practices of the cult of the Muslim saints and the spread of a more rigorist interpretation of Islam.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Muslim-Christian Relations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Since the very birth of Islam, Ethiopia and Eritrea have had a long, lively, and intricate history of Muslim-Christian relations, which have deeply and indelibly shaped the broad culture, the literature (van Donzel 1969), and the social structure of the different human groups living the region. From both an anthropological (Ficquet 2006) and sociohistorical perspective (Desplat and Østebø 2013), Ethiopia and Eritrea provide the researcher with a unique case, where an ancient Christian community managed to create a centralized monarchy and a structured church that had to continuously interact with a very old Islamic presence organized in various communities scattered through the lowlands (and partially the highlands) under different regimes, of which the most consistent was probably the emirate of Harar. The Christian kingdom and Muslim emirates and sultanates developed a very complex set of strategies, based on both competition and cooperation, which have continued functioning in different forms up till the present day (Hussein Ahmed 2006, Østebø 2008). More recent developments and events have attracted the attention of many scholars who have analyzed the influence that the religious factor has had on the foreign relationships of Ethiopia (Erlich 2007, Erlich 2010) and on the birth and spread of new identity movements in the region (Abbas Haji Gnamo 2002).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abbas Haji Gnamo. “Islam, the Orthodox Church and Oromo Nationalism (Ethiopia).” Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 165 (2002): 99–120.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This very well-conceived article explores the entanglement of nationalism, religious identity, and historical reconstruction among the Oromo of Ethiopia and their political organizations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Desplat, Patrick, and, Terje Østebø, eds. Muslim Ethiopia: The Christian Legacy, Identity Politics, and Islamic Reformism. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A collection of essays and papers devoted to recent turbulences within both the Christian and Islamic communities of Ethiopia and developments of the Christian-Islamic relationships in the country. The spread of the idea of “religious tolerance” supported by the local mass media is also analyzed against the background of the events of the past.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Erlich, Haggai. Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia: Christianity, Islam, and Politics Entwined. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The book provides well-documented research on the history of the relationships between Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia in modern times. The topic is approached from a general historical perspective, and its wider geopolitical framework is masterfully depicted. The ideological and religious background of Saudi-Ethiopian connections is precisely investigated and commented upon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Erlich, Haggai. Islam and Christianity in the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A dense, informative, and well-documented book penned by one of the most outstanding experts in the modern history of Christian-Islamic relationships in Ethiopia. The evolution of these relationships is followed up during the 19th and 20th century and analyzed against the background of the wider geopolitical context and with an in-depth assessment of the influence of the events of the past.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ficquet, Eloi. “Flesh Soaked in Faith: Meat as a Marker of the Boundary between Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia.” In Muslim-Christian Encounters in Africa. Islam in Africa 6. Edited by Benjamin F. Soares, 39–56. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Commensality is one of the most important markers of coexistence. This well-conceived article provides fresh insights on the issue of the sharing of food among Muslims and Christian in Ethiopia. With his fine anthropological expertise, the author analyzes the sensitive connection of religion and food usage as part of Christian-Islamic relations in the country.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hussein Ahmed. “Coexistence and/or Confrontation? Towards a Reappraisal of Christian-Muslim Encounter in Contemporary Ethiopia.” Journal of Religion in Africa 36 (2006): 4–22.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1163/157006606775569622Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Written by a distinguished Ethiopian Muslim scholar, the article, based on a collection of interesting firsthand information, provides the reader with an acute analysis of some of the most recent trends in the relationships between Christian and Muslims in Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Østebø, Terje. “Christian-Muslim Relations in Ethiopia.” In Striving in Faith: Christians and Muslims in Africa. Edited by Anne N. Kubai and Tarakegn Adebo, 71–89. Uppsala, Sweden: Life & Peace Institute, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A well-documented general description of the historical trajectory and the more recent developments in Christian-Muslim relations in Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • van Donzel, Emeri Johannes, ed. and trans. ‘Ĕnbāqom: Anqaṣa Amin (La porte de la foi), apologie éthiopienne du Christianisme contre l’Islam à partir du Coran. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1969.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Van Donzel, a distinguished scholar of Islamic studies, has produced a critical edition with a French translation of and detailed commentary on a 16th-century gǝʿǝz text written by a convert from Islam to Christianity (Enbaqom) and devoted to the confutation of Muslim tenets. An extremely interesting feature of the polemic work is that the author makes use of some passages of the Qurʾan to support his criticism of Islam.

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