Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. In Qasīdah (Poem), Sayyid al-Mukhtār ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr al-Kuntī al-Kabīr instructs students of Islamic law about the rights of orphans and of married women. He uses verse as a memory aid for the students.

Last updated: January 8, 2018