Sudanic Africa 1, 1990

Ahmad ibn Idris
Recent and Forthcoming Publications

R.S. O'Fahey

The earlier neglect of the Moroccan mystic and teacher, Ahmad b. Idris (1749-50 to 1837), is being made good. A number of studies have been or will soon be published that taken together greatly enrich our understanding of his life, teachings and influence.

  • Ahmad, Hasan Makki Muhammad, al-sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris al-Fasi. Khartoum, al-Markaz al-Islami al-Ifriqi bi `l-Khartoum, 1986.
    A modern assessment of Ibn Idris from a "Salafi" viewpoint by a Sudanese scholar [copy in Bergen].

  • Hofheinz, Albrecht,"Encounters with a Saint: Al-Majdhub, al-Mirghani and Ibn Idris as seen through the Eyes of Ibrahim al-Rashid", Sudanic Africa, i, 1990, 19-59.

  • Ibrahim, Yahya Muhammad, "Madrasat Ahmad ibn Idris wa-atharuha fi'l-Sudan", Ph.D. thesis, University of Khartoum 1990, 435pp.
    This is a major study in seven chapters with a conclusion based on a wide range of new sources. In particular, Dr. Ibrahim has made a major advance by recovering many hitherto unknown or inaccessible manuscripts of writings by Ibn Idris or his direct or indirect students, particularly those in the possession of the Adarisa of Luxor, Egypt. The dissertation has four main sections; the first is a detailed discussion of the writings ascribed to Ibn Idris (pp. 7-29). I say "ascribed" because Dr. Ibrahim emphasises the uncertainty surrounding the degree to which any particular work represents the actual words of the Moroccan. Next comes a biography of Ibn Idris (pp. 30-77), followed by a long section - the heart of the dissertation - on his teachings, both mystical and exoteric (pp. 79-249). Dr. Ibrahim stresses the continuity of Ibn Idris' teachings within the Sufi tradition and his rejection of taqlid. The final section comprizes a series of biographical notices of Ibn Idris' students, with particular emphasis on those from the Sudan. The bibliography (pp. 413-35) gives a comprehensive listing of the Arabic primary and secondary sources.
    Dr. Ibrahim's dissertation is rich in detail and insight; of particular value are the precise and full descriptions he gives of the many new manuscripts he has discovered. His thesis signals a major new step forward in our understanding of Ibn Idris and his tradition. Dr. Ibrahim intends to publish his dissertation soon.

  • al-Idrisi, Ahmad b. Mustafa b. 'Abd al-'Al, al-Sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris, al-Uqsur 1406/1986, 81 pp. handwritten and privately distributed.
    This work, representing presumably the current state of knowledge and understanding among the Adarisa of Luxor, is undoubtedly the single most important "traditional" source for Ibn Idris' life [copy in Bergen].

  • Martin, B.G., "A short note on Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Fasi", The Maghreb Review, 10, 1985, 114-7.

  • Massignon, Louis, "Ahmad ibn Idris", EI 2, i, 277.
    Reprinted from EI 1.

  • Mårtensson, Ulrika, "Ahmad ibn Idris' Etikett".
    Major undergraduate dissertation, Uppsala University, 1990, 90pp.
    An annotated translation into English (but with the introduction in Swedish) of Ibn Idris, Kimiya` al-yaqin fi mushawwaq al-muttaqin.

  • O'Fahey, R.S., "The Writings by, Attributed to, or on Ahmad Ibn Idris", Bibliotheca Orientalis, xliii, 5/6, 1986, 660-9.
    This is now superseded by the bibliography in O'Fahey, Enigmatic Saint, 210-40.

    -- "Ahmad ibn Idris and Northeast Africa. Notes on a Theme", Islam et Sociétés au sud du Sahara, 3, 1989, 67-89.
    Concentrates mainly on the Idrisi tradition in Somalia.

    -- Enigmatic Saint. Ahmad ibn Idris and the Idrisi Tradition, London: Christopher Hurst and Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1990, xvii + 261pp.
    This book, in nine chapters, attempts to present as detailed a biography of Ibn Idris as the sources permit (pp. 27-106), followed by chapters on his principal students, Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Sanusi, Muhammad 'Uthman al-Mirghani and Ibrahim al-Rashid. Chapter Eight sketches out the spread of the Idrisi tradition in Somalia, the Ottoman Empire and southeast Asia, while Chapter Nine gives a brief introduction to his teachings. The bibliography (pp. 210-40), when combined with the material brought together by Dr. Yahya Muhammad Ibrahim, provides a basis for further studies of Ibn Idris and his tradition.

    -- and Karrar, Ali Salih, "The Enigmatic Imam: the Influence of Ahmad ibn Idris", International Journal of Middle East Studies, 19, 1987, 205-20.

  • Reissner, Johannes, "Die Idrisiden in 'Asir. Ein historischer ~berblick", Die Welt des Islams, xxi, 1981, 164-92.
    An informative history of the Idrisi state in 'Asir and its demise.

  • Spaulding, Jay, "The Fall of a Wayward Saint", Northeast African Studies, v/3, 1983-84, 43-50.
    On the relationship between Ahmad b. Idris and Muhammad 'Uthman al-Mirghani.

  • Thomassen, Einar, "Ahmad ibn Idris og den såkalte nysufismen", Svensk Religionshistorisk Årsskrift, 3, 1988, 25-38.
    In Norwegian; an introduction to Ibn Idris and his teachings.

  • Vikør, Knut S. and O'Fahey, R.S., "Ibn Idris and al-Sanusi: the Teacher and his Student", Islam et Sociétés en Afrique au sud du Sahara, i, 1987, 70-82.

  • Voll, John O., "Two biographies of Ahmad ibn Idris al-Fasi (1760-1837)", International Journal of African Historical Studies, vi, 1973, 633-46.
    Translations of two manaqib, one anonymous, the other ascribed to the Yemeni scholar, 'Abd al-Rahman b. Sulayman al-Ahdal.

    In press

  • Karrar, 'Ali Salih, Athar al-ta'alim al-Idrisiyya fi `l-turuq al-sufiyya fi `l-Sudan, MA thesis, 1977, University of Khartoum.
    Includes a valuable discussion of the Idrisiyya tariqa in the Sudan in the present century and its relationship with other brotherhoods. To be published by Dar al-Jil, Beirut.

  • O'Fahey, R.S., "The Idrisi Tradition: Some Organizational and Political Aspects".
    To be published in French in a book on Islam and Politics in the Sudan edited by Gérard Prunier.

  • Karrar, Ali Salih,The Sufi Brotherhoods in the Sudan until 1900, with special reference to the Shayqiyya Region, dr. philos. thesis, 1985, University of Bergen.
    To be published in revised form by Christopher Hurst, London, and Northwestern University Press, Evanston.

  • Thomassen, Einar & Radtke, Bernd, editors, The Letters of Ahmad ibn Idris.
    A collective volume containing the texts and translations of 35 letters to and from Ibn Idris; the contributors are Albrecht Hofheinz, Ali Salih Karrar, R.S. O'Fahey, B. Radtke & Einar Thomassen. Publication probably by Christopher Hurst, London.
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