Ajami Tradition in Non- Islamic Society: The Roles of Ajami-Arabic Scripts in Keeping Records and Documentation
The term Ajami is a complex body of linguistic phenomena. It is a process of linguistic domestication of Arabic scripts in written communication. It is wide spread not only in Nigeria but in many parts of Africa and Asia. Its usage predates colonial rule, therefore colonial officials mastered and employed it in their correspondences with the emirs. Ajami script received a boost in Sokoto Caliphate, it was used to compose local poems and waka during preaching and other Islamic religious assembly. Today, Ajami-Arabic script is used in Hausa, Fulfulde, Nupe, Kanuri and Yoruba and other African languages. It is against this background that this study investigates the use of Arabic scripts in the preservation and documentation of records for personal, academic and official purposes.. It is interesting to note that Ajami –Arabic script has gained international recognition and it keeps space with science and technology. Consequence upon this, this paper attempts to discuss the foundational ideas of Ajami Arabic script in Nigeria, its evolution, development and continuous existence. The paper x-rays its contributions to scholarship in the distant past and its usefulness in historical re-constructions of Africa and Nigeria. The paper concludes that Ajami-Arabic script is part of indigenous African culture and its skill enhances literacy among people in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Keywords: Yoruba, Ajami, Arabic scripts, Documentation, Manuscript