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Medieval Authors about East Africa
By Pieter Derideaux

No Books have appeared on this subject for many years. This is strange as a number have appeared concerning West Africa. To fill this void I try making these texts available to everybody. When using these texts; (in e.g. articles or on a website) please mention my name; I worked years on collecting - translating them. No commercial use allowed.

Pieter Derideaux


Color Code
Muslim World
Chinese Empire
Christian World
India (Muslim+Hindu)
South East Asian States
Neighboring African States


Contents(3) : 


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 As illustration only are added here some examples of the finest manuscripts from East Africa. They are not connected with the list of authors on the left side of the page.


The Manuscripts of the Riyadha Mosque of Lamu, Kenya

It has about 150 manuscripts and was established by Ṣaliḥ b. ‘Alawi Jamal al-Layl, known in East Africa as Habib Saleh (1853-1936). He was a descendant of early migrants from Ḥaḍramawt, Yemen, who settled in Pate in the late sixteenth century. The Sufi content reflects its close connection with the Alawi. The library has Swahili and Arabic manuscripts. We give Arabic examples.

Astronomy Riyadha Mosque Lamu

On top from a work on Astronomy. Calculation of prayer times etc. specific for the East African coast all the way to Mozambique. Also including Iran etc. Manuscript, 68 pages. Contains several drawings and illustrations of astronomical phenomena. Date of original: Unknown. This is a 19th century copy.

Diwan Riyadha Mosque Lamu Kenya


On Top from a Diwan al-‘Adani (The Collected Poetry of Abu Bakr al-‘Adani),


copied by Salim b. Yusallim b. ‘Awaḍ Ba Ṣafar for Habib Saleh in 1927


Quran  Riyadha Mosque Lamu

An illuminated copy of the Quran

Copyright 2002-2005 Pieterderideaux
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