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Ibadi Muslims of North Africa
Manuscripts, Mobilization, and the Making of a Written Tradition


Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: June 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108459013

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About the Authors
  • The Ibadi Muslims, a little-known minority community, have lived in North Africa for over a thousand years. Combining an analysis of Arabic manuscripts with digital tools used in network analysis, Paul M. Love, Jr takes readers on a journey across the Maghrib and beyond as he traces the paths of a group of manuscripts and the Ibadi scholars who used them. Ibadi scholars of the Middle Period (eleventh–sixteenth century) wrote a series of collective biographies (prosopographies), which together constructed a cumulative tradition that connected Ibadi Muslims from across time and space, bringing them together into a 'written network'. From the Mzab valley in Algeria to the island of Jerba in Tunisia, from the Jebel Nafusa in Libya to the bustling metropolis of early-modern Cairo, this book shows how people and books worked in tandem to construct and maintain an Ibadi Muslim tradition in the Maghrib.

    • Offers a new and in-depth overview of Ibadi history in North Africa
    • Situates the Ibadis within the broader historical context of the history of the Maghrib, the Mediterranean, and the Sahara
    • Develops a model for studying the complementary networks of people and ideas across regions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Using network analysis coupled to a scholarly examination of extant manuscripts, Love's study opens new perspectives on the developing traditions of prosopography among the dispersed Ibadi communities of the Maghrib. It would make a stimulating model for examining the reasons behind a generally dissimilar development in Oman.' John C. Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus, University of Oxford

    'Love's work achieves something rare: it sheds new light on long familiar North African Ibāḍī prosopographical works by focusing on the written networks of scholars implied in their pages, as well as on the lives of the manuscripts. He significantly enriches our knowledge of how Ibāḍīs used books to create tradition and community.' Adam Gaiser, The Florida State University

    'Love's study of the biographical tradition of the Ibadi communities of North Africa from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, copied and recopied in manuscript and latterly in printed form down to the present day, is a highly original and perceptive analysis of the way in which the tradition has developed and circulated among those communities over the past thousand years, serving to maintain their social cohesion and religious identity in the face of the tide of history. As a contribution not only to the study of the Ibadis, but to the history of Islam itself, it cannot be too highly recommended.' Michael Brett, Emeritus Reader in the History of North Africa, SOAS

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108459013
    • length: 231 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 27 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue. Tunis, 2014
    Introduction: mobilizing with manuscripts
    1. Ibadi communities in the Maghrib
    2. Writing a network, constructing a tradition
    3. Sharpening the boundaries of community
    4. Formalizing the network
    5. Paper and people in Northern Africa
    6. Retroactive networking
    7. The end of a tradition
    8. Orbits
    9. Ibadi manuscript culture
    Conclusion: (re)inventing an Ibadi tradition
    Appendix: extant manuscript copies of the Ibadi prosopographies.

  • Author

    Paul M. Love, Jr, Al Akhawayn University, Morocco
    Paul M. Love, Jr is Assistant Professor of North African, Middle Eastern, and Islamic history at Al Akhawayn University, Morocco. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, is a former Fulbright scholar, and received three prestigious Critical Language Scholarships from the United States Department of State. His research has been funded by the Council for American Overseas Research Centers, the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

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