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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Qur'anic exegesis in Niger: a Songhay-Zarma oral commentary on Surat al-Baqara
Author:Hassane, Moulaye
Periodical:Journal of Quranic studies = Magallat al-dirasat al-Quraniyya (ISSN 1465-3591)
Geographic term:Niger
Songhai languages
Zarma language
oral literature
External link:https://doi.org/10.3366/jqs.2013.0117
Abstract:The city of Saayi (Say), Niger has played an important role in the regional development of Islam from the early nineteenth century onwards. This paper traces its history and the biography of the founder, using the available written and oral sources, while also describing its role as a contemporary religious centre. The Qur'an is commented on in local languages both in the context of traditional advanced religious education and in Rama?an. The intellectual sources, language and ritual dimensions of enunciation of these oral commentaries are analysed, as are the ceremonies specific to Rama?an. Although Say was founded by Fulfulde-speaking scholars, reflecting the general cultural and social evolution of the city and its area, for the past 50 years, the Qur'an commentary in the Friday mosque has been given in Songhay-Zarma. While these commentaries are essentially based on recognised Arabic ones, their language makes some reference to the images and concepts of local Songhay-Zarma culture. The linguistic features and substantive content of Songhay-Zarma oral tafsir are illustrated by two excerpts, each presenting several verses of Surat al-Baqara: one is drawn from a full tafsir collected in Say in 1968, at the initiative of the well-known statesman and man of letters Boubou Hama; the other was collected in the Zarma country in 1905-6.