Shaykh Qassim and Barawa’s Islamic response to Italian Missionaries

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Barawa has long been a hub of the Qadiriya Sufi tariqa and was a preeminent centre of ‘ilm and scholarship in Somalia. With the advent of European colonialism the Italians occupied the Banadir coast and soon formed ‘Italian Somaliland’ in 1889. Missionaries opened a school in Barawa in 1908 and began to directly target the youth for conversion.

Response

This provocation would not go unanswered by the great Shaykhs of the city most notably Shaykh Qassim Muhiyiddin Maie Umar also known as Qassim bin Muhyi al Barawi. He would lead the pushback to this blatant attempt to convert the people to Christianity. Shaykh Qassim was a Hajji who had studied under Shaykh Uways al Barawi and some of the leading Shaykhs of Makkah. He was Barawani and traced descent to the Al Wa’ili clan of southern Arabia.

Shaykh Qassim al Barawi composed this shtenzi in Chimini which is the Swahili tongue spoken in the city of Barawa. One of the ‘ulama of Barawa had received a vision of the recently departed Shaykh Uways and this is recounted in the poem. It is a call to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to aid the community and lend his strength.

In total there are 55 lines and here are some below in both Chimini & English

Rescue us, O Prophet of God

1. Chidirke ya Rasuuḻ Aḻḻah
chidirke ya Rasuuḻ Aḻḻah
chidirke ya Rasuuḻ Aḻḻah
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

2. Ondroka luunga diiniyo
walangaḻe umaṯiyo
na wiikuḻo ka nafsiyo
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

3. Burhaanizo ni dhaahiri
kamu ba hawakhaadiri
wapozelo ni shaahiri
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

4. Ṯawaḻḻa amri yaawo we
ndiwe ṯabiibu we ndiwe
dawa ya maasho menewe
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

5. Thowba shifa waveeshe waa=
=nawo waṯozele dawa
waamo maghaniyo iwa
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

6. Chimbaḻazi jawaabuza
ni karka yaako moʾjiza
ṯomeelo Sheekhi nuuruza
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

7. Haaji Uweesu sheekhuna
sheekhi ya mashariifuna
khuweeno we Rasuuluna
Mtume chiimo maghaniyo

 

1. Rescue us, O Prophet of God,
Rescue us, O Prophet of God,
Rescue us, O Prophet of God.
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

2. Rise and bring together [all those who are of] your faith,
look after your ummah and
your spiritual descendants.
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

3. Your miraculous powers are evident
[because] so many sick people
were unmistakably healed [by you].
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

4. Tend to them,
you who are the healer,
the true remedy for [those afflicted with] the burning illness.
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

5. Clothe in the garment of health
your children who failed to find a cure.
Remember that they are under your protection.
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

6. My words in the Chimbalazi language
are one of your miracles.
It was my light, the Sheikh, who inspired [this poem].
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

7. Hājj Uways, our sheikh,
the sheikh of our sharifs,
who saw you, our Prophet.
O Prophet, we are under your protection.

 

Reference

‘Stringing Coral Beads’: The Religious Poetry of Brava (c.1890-1975): A Source Publication of Chimiini Texts and English Translations. pg. 118-137

The poem can be found here in full length in each language

https://textuploader.com/ts5vy

https://textuploader.com/ts5v3

 

 

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