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Authors: ISHIHARA, Minako
Keywords: Ethiopia
Wali veneration
Life history
Issue Date: Mar-2010
Publisher: The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African study monographs. Supplementary issue.
Volume: 41
Start page: 81
End page: 89
Abstract: Historians and anthropologists studying local customs of venerating awliya (Muslim holymen) are likely to encounter diffi culties in collecting their life histories from sources contemporary and remote, consanguineous and unrelated. This article presents examples of my attempts to collect historical information on three awliya and discusses approaches that may be viable in accommodating diverse images of awliya without denying authenticity of some information in favor of others. The consideration of various oral and written life histories begins with Al-Faki Ahmad Umar (d.1953), a Tijani shaykh from Bornu, who is widely venerated among Muslim Oromos in western Ethiopia. Accounts of Hajj Bushra, a well-known Muslim reformer in 18th century Wollo who is widely venerated today in Wollo (northeast Ethiopia), are also explored, as are chronicles of Sitti Momina (d.1929), a highly venerated Muslim holywoman from Wollo well-known for her spiritual powers. Based on personal experiences in facing the challenges of collecting oral and written histories of awliya, this study suggests that researchers can approach historical information as 'local knowledge, ' which uses a variety of media to express diverse experiences and beliefs in the cult of awliya.
DOI: 10.14989/108282
Appears in Collections:41 (Preserving Local Knowledge in the Horn of Africa)

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