The Nasiha is an epistolary text written by the religious leader Cheikhna Cheikh Saad Bouh to his brother Ma El Ainin who, in the 19th century, was engaged in a Jihad warfare between Morocco and Mauritania to fend off the expansionist ambitions of the French colonial invaders.

In the long letter, Cheikh Saad Bouh clearly cautions his brother against warfare, even in the name of the Islamic religion, since the requirements and conditions to sanctify such an action as a Jihad are so constraining that it is almost impossible to satisfy them all. Thus, the landmark statement in the letter “those who take up arms, stray away from virtue”.

According to the Rector of University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Professor Ibrahima Thioub who wrote the introduction, such a statement should be featured in gold letters at the entrance door of the United Nations building in New York.

The letter now published as a book by the UCAD Press was written in Arabic by the author himself and translated into French by the French colonial officials. The Wolof version was recently produced by a Senegalese linguist and the English translation made by the Director of the West African Research Center (WARC), Professor Ousmane Sene. Apart from the English translation, WARC significantly contributed to the dissemination of the letter as an effort to warn people against the lures and temptations of violent extremism.

The book launch took place at the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar on Saturday, December 14, and was attended by over 150 people. On the occasion, the book was presented to the audience by the Director of WARC.

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