Arabic manuscript. IE TCD MS 2258: satchel/wrappers Public Deposited

Arabic manuscript. IE TCD MS 2258: satchel/wrappers

Shelf Mark/Reference Number
  • IE TCD MS 2258
Rights statement
  • Copyright The Board of Trinity College Dublin. Images are available for single-use academic application only. Publication, transmission or display is prohibited without formal written approval of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
Publisher location
  • West Africa
Date Created
  • between approximately 1800-1974
  • IE TCD MS 2258 is an Arabic manuscript dating from around the early 19th century to 31 May 1974. This section contains images of the manuscript’s leather wrappers and satchel. ?Scribe: 'Uthmān bin Fodiyo, ?early 19thcentury. ?Contains Hausa text(s). There are several explanations as to the contents as follows: G. Desmond Fitzgerald in a letter (16 July 1945) to Sir Robert W. Tate says it contains ?ethnological texts of West African (Nigerian?) origin. R.H.B. Abd El-Motaal (lecturer in accountancy 1963) says it contains prayers (with religious poems) chiefly for the use of a traveller. Jan Knappert says (1968) it contains Abdillahi bin Fodiyo, Abdillahi bin Fodiyo, Kitab sabil annaja'im (book of astronomical method), date 561. Prof. B.G. Martin says (31 May 1974) it contains magical formulae, prayers, and pages from a MSS 'Sha'rami,', millennial material, poetry, metrics. Details from the Library’s unpublished ‘Black Catalogue’, which includes both typed and handwritten notes on various library manuscripts, including MS 2258: Folios 51-90: 1. Muhammad Bello: Tan bih al-Ghafil 'Ala 'l-Tawassul Bi-'Azam Al-Wasa'il (read: Tanbīh al-ghāfil ‘alā ’l-tawassul bi-a‘am al-wasā’il). Folios 91-96: 2. 'Abdallah' Dan Fodio: Sabil Al-Najah (read: Sabīl al-najāt). Folios 121-123: 3. M Bello: Nubdha Fi Amr Al-Mujaddid Li-L-Imam Al-'Adl (read: Nubdha fī amr al-mujaddid li'l-imām al-‘adl wa'l-qudrat al-fal) , 1232 H/. Folios 124-186: 4. Uthman Dan Fodio: 'Umdat Al-'Ulama (read: ‘Umdat al- ‘ulamā’). Folios 187-232: 5. Al-Bulqíní, Al-Kashf Al-Quyubi Li'l-Qutb Sidi Ahmad Al-Sharnubí (read: al-Bulqīnī, al-Kashf al-Quyūbī li'l-qub Sīdī Amad al-Sharnūbī) 19th century copied by Ahmad B'azi (read: Amad b. ‘Alī) Al-Barnawi, living in Zaria, [no date]. Folios 233-258: 6. Utaman (read: ‘Uthmān) Dan Fodio: Tabshír al-uhma (read: Tabshīr al-umma). Folios 259-267: 7. Uthman Dan Fodio: Suq Al-Sádiqin ila hadrat Al-quds.(read: Sawq al-ādiqīn ilāarat al-Quddūs). Folios 268-302 - 8. Uthman Dan Fodio: Tamyiz Al-Muslimin Wa'l-Kafirin. (read: Tamyīz al-muslimīn wa'l-kāfirīn) / -Folios 303-309 - Qasida. Folios 310-315: 8. Uthman Dan Fodio: Nur Al-Albāb(read: Nūr al-albāb). Folios 316-391: 10. Long MS: Laikrí Nafa'ná Allah Bihá. The rest of IE TCD MS 2258, left without detailed description, includes folios 1-50 and 97-120. Binding note: Loose papers between plain boards with leather covered edges, in a decorated stiff leather wrapper, all in a suede leather satchel. The manuscript was examined by Dr N. Dobronravin in 2011 who kindly provided notes from his study. See full description in PDF format attached below.
Biographical note
Finding aid
  • Desmond Fitzgerald, G., active 1945, Donor
  • The details of acquisition and subsequent history of IE TCD MS 2558 are described in two letters (IE TCD MS 2258a/1, IE TCD MS 2258a/2). According to G. Desmond Fitzgerald, the manuscripts (the writer was certainly right when he used the plural form in his letter) were likely acquired during the Ashanti expedition of 1895, by his brother-in-law, the late Capt. F.H. Romilly, D.S.O. (IE TCD MS 2258a/1, Fitzgerald’s letter to Sir Rober Tate, 14 July 1945). In another letter sent together with the manuscript to the Trinity College, Fizgerald’s wife (sister of Captain Romilly) described the same story in slightly different terms, and with different date and place of manuscript acquisition:“The story of how it came into my possession is this: - My brother Captain F.H. Romilly D.S.O. who was attached to the West African Frontier Force in 1902, being seconded from his regiment – the Welsh Regiment, after the ‘South African War’ & was at the taking of Sokoto& Kano; found this manuscript in its leather case, on the body of an old native, presumably a priest, who had been killed in the fighting & and took it off him & and brought it home as a curio. My husband has written to Sir Robert Tate about this manuscript, & who will most probably get the letter by the same post as you receive this. He has mistaken the date of when my brother was attached to the West African Frontier Force & said it was in 1895 & was at the Expedition to Ashanti but the dates & place I have mentioned in the earlier part of my letter are the ones that are correct” (IE TCD MS 2258a/2, letter from Ms Fitzgerald to Rev. Gwynn, TCD , of 16 July 1945). It is clear that IE TCD MS 2258 was part of military booty acquired during the Kano-Sokoto campaign in 1902. Both letters give a description of the Islamic scholar (“priest” or even “Mahdi”) who did not leave the manuscript till he died in the battle. Most probably, this happened near the gates of Kano before the city was conquered by the British. IE TCD MS 2258 is a typical example of a colonial curio collection. Many West African manuscripts were acquired/found and brought to Britain under similar circumstances.
Resource type
  • ink
  • leather
  • paper (fiber product)
Digital Object Id
  • MS2258_779
  • DCAT0120850


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