Utendi wa Miraji (Ms 53497h)

Material Information

Utendi wa Miraji (Ms 53497h)
Series Title:
Hichens Collection : Swahili Poems
Kijuma, Muhammad ( Author, Primary )
Publication Date:
Paper ( medium )
Handwritten and typescript manuscript : Typed and handwritten with black ink on thin paper


Subjects / Keywords:
Islam ( LCSH )
Religious history
Legends ( LCSH )
Swahili poetry ( LCSH )
Kiswahili mashairi
History -- Religious aspects ( LCSH )
Islam -- History ( LCSH )
Gabriel (Archangel) ( LCSH )
Muḥammad, Prophet, -635 ( LCNA )
Prophet Mohammed
Poetry ( LCTGM )
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Saudi Arabia -- Makkah Province -- Arabian Peninsula -- Makkah Al Mukarramah Governate -- Mecca
21.416667 x 39.816667


This section of MS 53497 contains the Utenzi wa Miraji that narrates, in 664 stanzas, the Prophet’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to Paradise. This is a Swahili epic based upon a well known book of Sunni traditions entitled ‘Mishkatu ‘l-Masabih. This manuscript was given to Hichens by M Kijumwa in 1933. According to Abou Egl (unpubl. 1983), Kijumwa translated the poem into Swahili, from various Arabic sources. Enclosed with the poem is a page from G. Dale’s book ‘The Peoples of Zanzibar, their customs and Religious belief’ (1920) where he discusses the meaning of Miraji. This Utendi is a Swahili epic based upon a well known book of Sunni traditions entitled ‘Mishkatu ‘l-Masabih. The first part of the Utenzi narrates the ‘Isra’, which is when the angel Jibril takes the Prophet from Mecca to Jerusalem, at night. From Stanza 1 to Stanza 50, the poem describes the burak, a kind of horse from heaven that will carry the Prophet, and the night journey to Jerusalem. From stanza 51 to Stanza 70, the poem narrates the arrival in Jerusalem. From stanza 70, the poem describes the preparation for the ascent to Paradise, which is metaphorically expressed as ‘climbing the ladder’ (stanza 75). At Stanza 80, Jibril and the Prophet reach Paradise. In their journey they pass through the seven heavens. The description of each heaven is quite extensive, for instance, the first heaven is described from stanza 81 to stanza 200. Regarding the type of language used and errors that occurs throughout the poem, the cataloguers noted the following: Here, as in Other poems, both northern and southern dialects are used, sometimes even in the same stanza, as for instance, in stanza 51, in kipande 1, we find ‘ziwa’ (northern form), whereas in kipande 3, we find ‘maziwa’ (southern form). Some grammatical and spelling errors, among Others, have been noted. For instance, Stanza 1, kipande 4, ‘Mwengeze’ should be’ Uwengeze’; Stanza 47, kipande 3 ‘mkasi’ should be ‘mkwasi’; Stanza 148, kipande 1, ‘hupiya’ should be ‘husikia’ ( en )
General Note:
Biographical information: Muhammad Kijumwa was born circa 1855 in Lamu. He was a poet, scribe, peformer calligrapher, carpenter, tailor and sculptor who taught his son, Helewa, the craft of decorative woodcarving. He assisted many Eurpoean scholars of Swahili literature, including William Taylor, Alice Werner, Carl Meinhof, H.E. Lambert, William Hichens, Ernst Dammann and John Williamson, and was a well-known character in Lamu
General Note:
Date of Composition: 1933 AD (1352 A.H.)
General Note:
Languages: Swahili (Roman script)
General Note:
Dialects: KiAmu
General Note:
Poetic Form: Utenzi
General Note:
Extent: 134 leaves
General Note:
Purchased from Kegan Paul, 6 October 1948
General Note:
Incipit: Alhamdu lillahi Namshukuru illahi Alompeka sahihi
General Note:
See SOAS University of London manuscripts MS 53497c
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Kijuma, Muhammad : URI
General Note:
Asia -- Arabian Peninsula -- Saudi Arabia -- Makkah Province -- Makkah Al Mukarramah Governate -- Mecca
General Note:
Asia – Israel -- Jerusalem District -- Jerusalem
General Note:
Asia -- Palestine -- Jerusalem Governate -- Jerusalem
General Note:
Publication information: Knappert, J. 1967. Traditional Swahili Poetry. Brill, Leiden, pp.201-238
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 212-214.
General Note:
Publication information: Harries, L. 1962. Swahili Poetry. Oxford University Press, London, p.26

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 53497h ( SOAS manuscript number )