Unexpected Connections: Musa Bey Grada, the Ottomans, and the Buffalo Agency | روابط غير متوقعة: موسى بيك قرادة، العثمانيون، ووكالة الجاموس

موسى_قرادة_وسليمان_الباروني

Mūsā Bey Grāda (far right), Prefect of Yefren (d.1933). Image source: Wikipedia.

While working on an article on the history of Ibadi manuscripts at the Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale (UNO) in Naples, I ran across an interesting connection between that article and a larger project of mine on Ibadis in early-modern Egypt.

Several of the UNO Ibadi manuscripts belonged to an Ottoman prefect in the town of Yefren in the Jebel Nafusa, where Ibadis have lived since the 8th century or so. The man’s name was Musa Bey “Grada” (d.1933) and it was in his office that several of the manuscripts were found in 1911-12 and subsequently transferred to the UNO in 1913. [1]

I suspect there is a solid paper trail for Musa Bey, since he went into exile in Tunis along with the famous Sulayman al-Baruni and the latter shows up as a preoccupation of the French colonial archive. [2] Thus far, however, I have not run across any references to Musa’s father’s or grandfather’s name. Recently, however, I found a possible connection between Grada, the Naples manuscripts, and the Ibadi school, trade agency, and library known as the “Buffalo Agency” (Wikalat al-Jamus) in Cairo.

In a hand list of endowed manuscripts that used to be help in the Buffalo Agency library, Jerban historian Shaykh Salim b. Yaʿqūb (d.1991) provides the following entry:

Grada passage from SbY List

From the “Catalog of ًًEndowed Books” (Qāʾimat al-kutub al-mawqūfa) in the Buffalo Agency Library. The original manuscript was in the hand of Shaykh Sālim b. Yaʿqūb (d.1991). This photograph was provided to me by Martin Custers, who has also published a full translation of the hand list here on Academia.edu.  Many thanks to Martin for sharing these images with me.

[Kitab] al-Shifāʾ al-ḥāʾim ʿalā baʿḍ al-Daʿāʾim by the Imam al-Shaykh Abī al-Qāsim b. Abī Isḥāq Ibrāhīm al-Barrādī. Endowed (awqafahu) by the two brothers al-Ḥājj Yūnis and al-Ḥājj Sulaymān b. Shaʿbān and al-Sayyid Aḥmad b. Daḥmān. It’s copyist is Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. Thābit al-Jarbī [, who copied it] in the beginning of Shawwāl 883 [1479]. At the beginning and end of [the manuscript], al-Ḥājj Saʿīd b. Mūsā Agrāda al-Yafranī wrote these historical words and they are: “This is the Kitab al-daʿāʾim. I bought it from the al-ʿAskar al-Manṣūr, ʿAskar Sīdī Aḥmad Bāshā, the Wālī of Tripolitania, who seized the fort of Jādū  in the year 1259 [1843-4]. I bought it for myself on the advice of the people of knowledge (ahl al-ʿilm wa-‘l-maʿrifa) for a price of eight Ishbīliyya, the currency of the titme (sikkat al-tārīkh). I am…al-Ḥājj Saʿīd b. Mūsā Agrāda al-Salāmī al-Yafranī, may God be kind to him. Āmīn! [3]

With the resources I have now, I cannot prove that this Sa’id b. Musa Agrada al-Salami al-Yafrani is the grandfather of Musa Bey Grada. In terms of dates and context, however, the connection would make sense. Sa’id was alive in the mid-19th century, Musa Bey was active in the early-20th century. Likewise, it is noteworthy that Sa’id says he purchased the manuscript from Sidi Ahmad Basha, the governor of Tripolitania, and that Musa Bey was himself an Ottoman official in Yefren in the early-20th century. Finally, the names of those who were responsible for endowing the book (the two sons of Ibn Shaʿbān and Ibn Daḥmān), endowed several manuscripts in the mid-19th century, which would conform to the date of purchase in Tripolitania. [4] The manuscript would therefore have traveled from Tripolitania to Cairo sometime in the decade or so after its purchase in Tripolitania.

This will require a bit more searching to demonstrate with certainty, but if the former owner of the manuscript was indeed Musa Bey’s grandfather it would provide an additional clear connection between Tripolitania and the Buffalo Agency in Ottoman-era Cairo. In any event, it serves as a reminder that Ibadi books and their owners and users were constantly on the move!

أثناء كتابة مقال حول تاريخ المخطوطات الإباضية في جامعة نابولي الشرقية، تعثرت على رابطة غير متوقعة بين تلك المخطوطات وبين مشروعي حول الإباضية في القاهرة في العصر الحديث. ترجع عدد من تلك المخطوطات إلى مكتبة المتصرف العثمانية في مدينة يفرن في جبل نفوسة واسمه موسى بيك “قرادة” (ت1933) انتقلت بعض المخطوطات والكتب الحجرية من مكتبه إلى مكتبة الكتب النادرة في جامعة نابولي الشرقية في أول القرن العشرين [1]ـ

أتصوّر أنّه يوجد تأريخ موثّق لحياة موسى بيك في الأرشيف الإستعماري بما أنّه كان صاحبا للشخصية الإباضية المعروفة والثائر المشهور سليمان الباروني باشا. [2] ولكني حتى الآن لم أجد ذكرا لاسم أبيه ولا جدّه. بصدفة، وجدت أخيرا رابطة محتملة بين قرادة والمخطوطات النابولية وبين تاريخ وكالة الجاموس في القاهرة التي لعبت عدّة أدوار اجتماعية للمجتمع الإباضي في مصر من ضمنها وكالة تجارية ومكتبة ومدرسة

في قائمة من الكتب الموقوفة في وكالة الجاموس، كتب المؤرّخ الجربي الشيخ سالم بن يعقوب مدخلا  حول مخطوط صاحبه اسمه “الحاج سعيد بن موسى اقراده السلامي اليفرني” [انظر الصورة في الأعلى والهامش 3]. اعتمادا على المصادر بين يدي حاليا لا أتمكن من تثبيت هوية الشخصية هذه ولكنّي أعتقد أنّه قد يكون جد موسى بيك قرادة نظرا للسياق التاريخ ولظروف شراء المخطوط من والي طرابلس في وسط القرن التاسع عشر. فوق ذلك، أصحاب وقف الكتاب (ولديْ شعبان وابن دحمان) معروفون بهداء عدّة مخطوطات إلى مكتبة وكالة الجاموس في وسط القرن التاسع عشر [4]ـ

ما زال يحتاج الموضوع إلى البحث والتثبيت ولكن إن كان سعيد بن موسى جد موسى بيك ليُظهر رابطة تاريخية بين إباضية  وكالة الجاموس وبين طرابلس في العصر العثماني. على كل، يذكّرنا هذا المثال تنقّلات المخطوطات الإباضية وأصحابها في العصر الحديث التي لم تتوقّف!ـ


Notes

[1] Details in my forthcoming article: “Provenance in the Aggregate: The social life of an Arabic manuscript collection in Naples” (Manuscript Studies, fall 2018)

[2] On Saʿīd al-Bārūnī, see: Amal N. Ghazal, “An Ottoman Pasha and the End of Empire: Sulayman al-Baruni and the Networks of Islamic Reform,” in Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), 40–58.

[3] Translation adapted & expanded by that in M. Custers, “Catalog of Waqf-Books in the Wikālat al-Baḥḥār (Jāmūs), Ṭūlūn – Cairo” (Pt.1), pg.4.

[4] Details in my forthcoming article, “Ibadis on (and in) the Margins.
Manuscript notes from the Buffalo Agency in Early-Modern Cairo,” (Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, 2018)

This entry was posted in Catalogs & Inventories, Ibadi History (Other), Manuscripts, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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