Utenzi wa Ayubu (MS 53497f)

Material Information

Utenzi wa Ayubu (MS 53497f)
Series Title:
Hichens Collection : Swahili Poems
Kijuma, Muhammad ( contributor )
Publication Date:
Paper ( medium )
Handwritten and typescript manuscript : Typed and handwritten with black ink and pencil on hard paper


Subjects / Keywords:
Islam ( LCSH )
Religious history
Legends ( LCSH )
Swahili poetry ( LCSH )
Kiswahili mashairi
History -- Religious aspects ( LCSH )
Islam -- History ( LCSH )
Poetry ( LCTGM )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Eastern Africa -- Swahili Coast
-9.633997 x 39.778998


This section of MS 53497 contains the ‘Utendi wa Ayubu’, as well as information and notes on the poem. The poem contains 391 stanzas, of 4 lines per stanza, and was transliterated by M Kijumwa. Included is a typed copy that was sent by A Werner to Prof. Bates at Harvard University for publication in the African Studies Series. However, the poem was published in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (1921-23) in a shorter version of 206 stanzas. This version contains many corrections, in pencil, in the margins. The introduction to the poem contains historical and literary information on the poem written by Alice Werner. The introduction is followed by 12 pages of glossary of words found in the poem, provided by M Kijumwa. The poem narrates a story about the prophet Ayubu (Job). As described in the first 22 stanzas, he was very rich but did not forget that God gave him such wealth, and he was therefore a committed worshipper of God, i.e. a prophet. This caused feelings of jealousy in Iblisi (devil) who went to tell God that Ayubu is so good simply because of his wealth. God does not agree with Iblis and praise Ayubu (stanzas 25-29). Iblisi then enlists his children to help him make Ayubu go astray (stanza 38-46). With the help of his children, Iblisi burns Ayubu’s goats and the slaves who guard the goats (stanzas 47-50). Pretending to be one of Ayubu slaves who escapes the fire, Iblisi goes and tells Ayubu the bad news, with the hope that Ayubu will stop worshipping God in order to rescue his wealth (stanza 51-55). Ayubu does not react and considers the misfortune God’s will. Therefore he can do nothing about it and he sends Iblisi off (stanza 56). Iblisi tries Other tricks, like trying to kill Ayubu’s children or to harm Ayubu himself by portraying him as sick and smelly in front of his community. Ayubu’s wife Rehema is the only who stands by him in support (60-120). Rehema has to look for work in order to support herself and her husband, which is very humiliating, as they are now very poor and Ayubu is very sick (121-149). Rehema is also rejected by the people she works for because she may herself be sick with leprosy, like her husband (150-153). Iblisi takes advantage of her status by trying to convince her that she is poor because of her ‘bad’ husband (154-215). Furthermore, a light comes down from heaven in the form of an angel that turns out to be Iblisi who tries to interact with Rehema. (234-270). After so much misfortune still upon them, Rehema and Ayubu ask God for help (280-288). God replies that all their misfortunes are over now and Ayubu’s health and wealth are restored (289-315). The story ends at stanza 366. ( en )
General Note:
Date of Composition is unknown
General Note:
Languages: Swahili (Roman script)
General Note:
Dialects: KiAmu
General Note:
Poetic Form: Utenzi
General Note:
Extent: 94 leaves
General Note:
Purchased from Kegan Paul, 6 October 1948
General Note:
Incipit: Introductory: Of this poem only a few stanzas have hitherto appeared in print.
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Kijuma, Muhammad : URI
General Note:
Africa -- Eastern Africa -- Swahili Coast
General Note:
Scribe: Kijuma, Muhammad
General Note:
Publication information: Knappert, Jan. 1967. Traditional Swahili Poetry. Brill, Leiden
General Note:
Publication information: Knappert, Jan. 1979. Four Centuries of Swahili Verse. London: Heinemann, pp. 210-217.
General Note:
Publication information: Knappert, Jan. 1999. A Survey of Swahili Islamic Epic Sagas. Lewiston, New York; Queenston, Ontario; Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press; pp. 32-33.
General Note:
Publication information: Knappert, Jan. 1971. Swahili Islamic Poetry. Brill, Leiden.
General Note:
Publication information: Dammann, Ernest. 1940. Dichtungen in der Lamu Mundart des Suaheli. Hamburg, de Gruyter.
General Note:
Publication information: Abou Egl, Mohammad. 1983. The LIfe and Works of Muhamadi Kijumwa. PhD thesis, SOAS-University of London, pp 207-208.
General Note:
Publication information: Werner, Alice. 1921-23. Utendi wa Ayubu. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol.2, pp. 85-123

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
Archives and Special Collections
Rights Management:
This item may be in the public domain. Its status has yet to be assessed.
Resource Identifier:
MS 53497 ( SOAS manuscript number )
MS 53497f ( SOAS manuscript number )