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Preface “The Ink of the Scholars is more precious than the blood of the martyrs” is a saying from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that gives its title to this book. Ahmad Bâba, arguably the most famous scholar from Timbuktu, quotes that statement and makes it the heart of his work On the Merits of Scholars, a reflection on the importance of the pursuit and the transmission of knowledge. Such a title can certainly serve as an emblem for his hometown, asTimbuktu was, historically, an intellectual beacon, an important center of learning and written erudition. So the title “the Ink of the Scholars”, being a reference to a work on The Merits of Scholars by a scholar from Timbuktu is meant to shift the focus from the usual discussion about orality and oral tradition to the consideration of a tradition of written erudition which is very important, still to be studied further, and an integral part of the reflection on philosophy in Africa, But of course this title plays another crucial role given the current context prevailing in certain regions of Africa, in particular in northern Mali, whereTimbuktu came under attack from terrorist groups who loathe what the old monuments and the ancient manuscripts in that city stand for: the love for humanity and its creations, the spirit of tolerance that comes with knowledge and wisdom. At a time when terrorists attack institutions of learning and express hatred for education and the pursuit of a knowledge they absurdly call “western”, it may be useful to recall that the very religion in the name of which they pretend to be allowed to take so many innocent lives with their own proclaims loud and clear that the only combat that can be deemed holy is the one for the enlightenment of knowledge, for the appropriation of the word of wisdom whatever its origin: the ink of the scholars is more precious than the blood of the martyrs. ...


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MARC Record
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