The Ibadite Mosques of Jabal Nafusa | الجوامع الاباضية في جبل نفوسة

The newest publication of the Society for Libyan Studies’ monograph series is a much-anticipated study of the Ibadite mosques in the Nafusa mountains of western Libya by Virginie Prevost, a scholar of the Ibadites in North Africa.

Virginie Prevost (2016) Les mosquées ibadites du Djebel Nafūsa: Architecture, histoire et religions du nord-ouest de la Libye (VIIe-XIIIe siècle). [The Ibadite Mosques of the Jabal Nafūsa: Architecture, history and religion of North West Libya (7th-13th centuries)]. London.

From the publisher’s description: “The mosques of the Djebel Nafūsa, little known and under threat, personify the continuity of traditions and faith of the Ibadites, who have retained their grip over the centuries on this rugged landscape, despite their many trials and tribulations. This book is the result of a mission carried out in 2010 with the photographer Axel Derriks and examines twenty or so mosques, bringing to light their architectural features and linking them to medieval Ibadite texts.” The book features over 150 full-color photographs, maps, and plans.

An Ottoman Pasha and the End of Empire

Related to the previous post is this article:

Ghazal, Amal. 2014. An Ottoman Pasha and the End of Empire: Sulayman al-Baruni and the Networks of Islamic Reform [باشا عثماني و نهاية الامبراطورية: سليمان الباروني و شبكات الاصلاح الاسلامي]. In Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print, eds. J. Gelvin & N. Green. Berkeley: University of California Press. 40–58.

From the article:

“In a photograph taken in 1913, Sulayman al-Baruni (1872/73-1940), a native of the Nafusa Mountains in what is now Libya, has donned an Ottoman army uniform and a fez and poses with an Ottoman officer. His appearance and his career epitomized the cosmopolitan Muslim reformer at the beginning of the twentieth century. Educated in Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria, elected to the Ottoman parliament in Istanbul, dispatched to Tripolitania to fight Italian invaders, and spending the end of his life in exile in Oman with intermittent visits to Baghdad, al-Baruni had a career resembling that of many of his contemporaries who zigzagged the Ottoman realm, defended its borders, and then watched as their world crumbled into fragments. But al-Baruni was distinctive among Ottoman officials. He was a member of the minority Ibadi sect who turned into a modernist reformer, a pan-Ottomanist, and, later on, a pan-Arabist.”

Studies on the Ibadis in Libya | دراسات في الاباضية في ليبيا

In North Africa, the Ibadi school (الاباضية) of Islam exists only among the Berber communities of the Nafusa Mountains in western Libya, the island of Jerba in Tunisia, and certain oases (such as Mzab) in eastern Algeria. The Ibadis of Libya are, of course, not so often discussed–to some extent even within the country itself. Although not everyone knows it, one of the most famous figures of Libyan history–Suleyman Baruni, who had a storied career as an Ottoman official and intellectual–was an Ibadi originally from the Nafusa Mountains.

Most of the western-language scholarship on the Ibadi communities of Libya was carried out by the Polish scholar Tadeusz Lewicki (تاديوش لويتسكي) some decades ago, fortunately usually in French. His publications include items that are also of interest for those working on Berber language and literature, such as medieval Berber chronicles (written in Arabic). Some important publications are the following:

Numerous further references, some with commentary in French, can be found at the website of the “Maghribadite” project based in France–click here for their bibliographic resources page. Otherwise, scholarship on various aspects of the Ibadis of North Africa is quite broad and this isn’t the place for a comprehensive bibliography. See the work of Virginie Prevost and Vermondo Brugnatelli, among others, for some good starting points.