Aḥmad Bābā al-Massufi al-Timbuktī , full name Abū al-Abbās Aḥmad ibn Aḥmad al-Takrūrī Al-Massufi al-Timbuktī (October 26, 1556 – April 22, 1627), was a Sanhaja Berber writer, scholar, and political provocateur in the area then known as the Western Sudan. Called Timbuktu’s greatest scholar, he wrote more than 40 books. He died in 1627
During his lifetime, he was known for his legal treatises, which dealt with issues relating to Islam and the appropriate way for Muslims to practice their religion. Today, Ahmed Baba’s name is associated with the memory of Timbuktu’s golden age.
The Ahmed Baba Institute is a library and research centre in Timbuktu. It was named after 17th-century Timbuktu scholar Ahmad Baba al Massufi. It currently has nearly 30,000 manuscripts covering centuries of Malian history being studied, cataloged and preserved. The institute is fitted with modern air conditioning to preserve manuscripts as well as an automatic fire-fighting system.
The types of manuscripts found here include;
1. Key texts of Islam, including Korans, collections of Hadiths, 2. Sufi and Devotional texts
3. Works of the Maliki school of Islamic law
4. Writings that represent Islamic sciences including grammar, mathematics and astronomy
5. Original works from the region, encompassing documents such as contracts, commentaries, historical chronicles, poetry, marginal notes and jottings
Ahmed Baba al Massufi was a Songhai writer, scholar, and political provocateur in the area then known as the Western Sudan. Throughout his life, he wrote more than 40 books and is often noted as having been Timbuktu’s greatest scholar.