The Ramsa of šayḫ Aḥmad Ādam, al-Danī al-Awwal (d. 1903)
The Muslim scholars of Wällo are known for composing panegyrics that are usually chanted on special occasions or gatherings like ḥaḍra and Mawlid (festival to solemnize the birthday of the Prophet). The Ramsa is a very famous collection of poems made up of three Arabic litanies: the first two of them were composed by šayḫ Aḥmad Ādam (d. 1903) the founder of Dana, centre of Islamic learning and mysticism located in Yäǧǧu province, northeastern Wällo. The third one is by šayḫ Ibrāhīm Č̣ale (d. 1958). This paper is a preliminary attempt to introduce the first of the three invocational poems composing the Ramsa to the academic world, to give a first impression of the level of Arabic proficiency of local Ethiopian scholars and to discuss the message the text contains as part of a spiritual culture practiced and cherished for at least a century by both the Muslim intelligentsia and the laity. Some codicological information about one of the manuscripts which preserve these texts is also given.
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