Islam médiéval en Ethiopie / Medieval Islam in Ethiopia

SEMINAIRE / SEMINAR

CFEE Monthly Seminar on Medieval and Post-Medieval History of Ethiopia, 2nd year (2014-2015)

4ème séance / 4th session : Muslim communities in Ethiopia during Medieval times, par / by Amélie Chekroun (IMAF), Deresse Ayenachew (Debre Berhan University/CFEE), Ahmed Zakarya (Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University)

Mardi 10 février 2015, 14h-17h, Bibliothèque d’études éthiopiennes Berhanou Abebe (CFEE) / Tuesday, February 10th 2015, 2-5 PM, Berhanou Abebe Library of Ethiopian Studies (CFEE).

1. Foundation and founding myths of the city of Harar, par / by Amélie Chekroun.

According to historical texts, the origin of the Muslim city of Harar date back to the 16th century. In 1521, the sultan of Barr Sa’d ad-dīn sultanate moved his political center from Dakar to Harar. Then, in the middle of the same century, Amir Nur built the surrounding wall that still defines the jegol, the old town of Harar. According to oral tradition and texts produced in the 19th and the 20th century, the foundation of Harar is much older, and dates from the 13th century, alternatively from the 10th century or even earlier. Today, oral tradition almost unanimously consider that the founder of Harar is Cheikh Abadir, who came from Arab Peninsula in the 12th-13th century to spread Islam in the country. This myth seems to have been fixed during the 20th century. European travelers who visited Harar in the middle of the 19th century noted a different story from old Harar inhabitants: the foundation of the town was attributed to a Shiite man whose name was Abd el-Kader, and who came from Baghdad after the end of the Fatimid caliphate. This presentation intends to recount the evolution of the founding myth of the city of Harar, from the 16th century up to now, through the analysis of textual evidences and oral tradition.

2. Historical survey of the Wärǧǝḥ: a Muslim community in the Christian highland of Šäwa, par / by Deresse Ayenachew.

The Wärǧǝḥ Muslim community constitutes more than 22,000 people in Ethiopia. They live in diverse parts of the country but the large number of the Wärǧǝḥ inhabits in North Šäwa and near Dǝre Dawa. In North Šäwa, the community of Wärǧǝḥ establishes scattered pockets of villages between Däbrä Berhan and Säbäta towns. Linguistically, they speak affaan Oromo and Amharic as well. The fragmentary medieval Ethiopian historical sources describe the Wärǧǝḥ as inhabitants of the lowlands of South-East Šäwa. They were herdsmen, particularly camel keepers. Post-16th century sources evoke that the Wärǧǝḥ transformed their way of life to traders following medieval great caravan trade routes. Due to their resistance against expansions, they were described as warriors and ferocious people. We have collected oral accounts from twelve local villages networked each other to endure the waves of dynamic religious and population movements of these periods. The funerary stelae were also surveyed to comprehend if their style would have relation with the megalithic cultures of South-West Ethiopia.

3. Statement regarding the Harla people, par / by Ahmed Zakarya.

Amélie Chekroun est chercheuse affiliée à l’Institut des mondes africains (UMR 8171). Deresse Ayenachew est professeur assistant à l’Université de Debre Berhan (Zar’a Ya’eqob Center for Medieval Studies). Il est chercheur associé au CFEE. Ahmed Zakarya est historien au musée de l’Institute of Ethiopian Studies (Université d’Addis-Abeba).

Amélie Chekroun is associated researcher to the Institut des mondes africains (UMR 8171). Deresse Ayenachew is assistant professor at Debre Berhan University (Zar’a Ya’eqob Center for Medieval Studies). He is associated researcher at the CFEE. Ahmed Zakarya is a historian working at the museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (Addis Ababa University).

Ce séminaire est organisé par le CFEE en partenariat avec le Centre Zer’a Ya’eqob d’études médiévales de l’Université de Debre Berhan / This seminar is organised in partnership with the Zer’a Ya’eqob Center for Medieval Studies, Debre Berhan University.

Organisateurs / Organisers : Anaïs Wion (CNRS, CFEE), Shiferaw Bekele (Addis Ababa University, History Dpt.), Deresse Ayenachew (Debre Berhan University, Zer’a Ya’eqob Center for Medieval Studies), Kindeneh Endeg (Addis Ababa University, Institute of Ethiopian Studies), Thomas Guindeuil (CFEE), Margaux Herman (IMAF).