Islam and Polity in Northwestern Ghana

Islam and Polity in Northwestern Ghana

“The second group of Muslims: the scholars TM tell of the arrival of the second group (Arabic, firga, Hasua, iri) of Muslims in Wala. Its ancestor, Ya’muru, was also from the people of Mande. He brought Islamic teaching to Wa. He settled first with the Old Muslims in Nasa. At that time the three towns of the Wa ‘kings’ were Yaro, Guli and Gbetore. The people of the three towns assembled and made Ya’muru their limam. When Pelpuo moved from Gbetore to Wa to take the Nam, Ya’muru accompanied him. Ya’muru had many children, and his descendants are the people of Wa Limamyiri. They hold the Wa limamate.”

“Limam Ishaq’s account of the origins of the ‘ulama’ class is thus remarkably brief. Otherwise, he offers only a list of the limams, twenty-two in the Arabic text and twenty-three in the Hausa, a matter to be considered in chapter 4. Limam Ishaq knew, once again, much more than he recorded in TM. He elaborated on the theme in TATM: The Tarawiri (‘Tariwar’) people in the lands [diyar] of Wala are different, one fo them Tarawari Yeri Na and the other Taraqiri Limamyiri, The first of the people of Tarawiri Limamyiri to come to the lands of Wala was a man named Yusuf Langhfiyala and his brother ‘Umar.”

“They stayed with the king of Walaorigins: the ‘alim as local historian called Na Djare (‘Na Jari’) in their town known as Yaro (‘Yaru’). At that time the town Gbetore (‘Butari’) was ruled by the other king of the people called Yijisi. They did not have among them any men of learning. So they went to the town of Yaro, to Yusuf Langhfiyala, to ask him for an Imam. Yusuf told them, ‘My brother, he is a man of learning.’ They took him and returned with him to Gbetore. So they had an imam who was a man of learning.” 

“In conversations with Al-Hajj Siddiq in mid-1964, I asked him further about Tarawiri Limamyiri origins. He repeated the story that all Tarawairi were descendants of Sidi ‘ Abbas, an Arab; added that they, therefore, call themselves ‘Abbasiyya; and said that Muhammad Sunsu Jara died in Mande. In the course of these conversations, he consulted a short note in Arabic which he agreed to copy.”

It is associated as IASAR/297 in the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. The text reads:

“The name of our forefather [jadd] who sired seven sons was Jata. 1, the eldest of the sons was Musa who was called Jiki. 2, Inkunduka. 3, Suyata. 4, Mali Biri. 5, Mali Kinani, 6, Bukari Biri. 7, Bukari Nikini. Jiki and Inkunduka and Suyata stayed in Mandi in a town called Kaba. The descendants [dhurriya] of Bukari Biri are in Ja’a [Dya] and Jani [Jenne] and Waya [Wa].”

“The descendants of Bubikar Kini are in Skiasu [Sikasso] and Kun [Kong, in the presecnt Cote d’Ivoire]. Those who came to Wa in time, his name was Al Hajj Mahmud b. Uthman. The descendants of Mali Biri and Mali Kinani, their descendants are in Jabarima [the Zabarime country]. The name of the son of Mali Biri was Dusu. Those whose forefathers are in the Jabarima, their names are first Ghunbi[?], second Mawuri, and third Saja.”

Source: Wa and the Wala: Islam and Polity in Northwestern Ghana By Ivor Wilks

El Aemer El Mujaddid

American born Moor, Author, History Researcher, Modernist, 720 Entrepreneur/ Corporate Mogul in the making; who observes & analyzes human nature for data mining purposes. Knowing is Half the Battle, Wisdom is needed for appropriate application of knowledge and right reasoning.

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