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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Textual analysis of a poetic verse in a Muslim Oromo society in Jimma area, southwestern Ethiopia
Author:Ishihara, M.
Year:1996
Periodical:Senri Ethnological Studies
Volume:43
Pages:207-232
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subject:literature
Abstract:The main themes recited in poetic verses in Ethiopia, locally called 'manzuma' or 'qasida' (Arabic, two types of poems), revolve around the glorification of the deeds and characteristics of particular 'walis' (Arabic equivalent to saints), the Prophet Muhammad and God. Although restricted in style and formula, the poetic verse provides a creative means of expressing various local concerns and social anxieties. The present paper discusses the changing role of the religious poetic verse in a Muslim Oromo society in southwestern Ethiopia through textual analysis of a 'qasida' in praise of Sayyid Ahmad Umar (who died in 1953), one of the migrant Islamic scholars who came to Ethiopia from West Africa at the beginning of the 20th century and one of the most prominent 'walis' venerated among the Muslim Oromo people in the Jimma area. The 'qasida' expresses the contemporary concerns of the Muslim Oromos concerning the ongoing dispute between the 'wali worshippers' and the 'Wahabiyas' (folk name for the Islamic revivalist or fundamentalist movement). The paper is based on anthropological research conducted in southwest Ethiopia from September 1992 to March 1995. The 'qasida' was transcribed and translated from a cassette tape which the author bought in a music shop in Jimma in October 1994. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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