Paper Abstract: There is no doubt that heritage is one of the most important things that should be maintained and preserved. It sometimes represents the records of a whole nation, shedding light on its history, glory and characteristics. The Islamic civilization is known to have made significant contributions to enriching human thought. Muslim scholars understood the meaning of the Quranic verse “Nun. By the pen and what they inscribe”. So they started writing and authoring books. Old explorers such as Abdallah Al-Bakri, Ibn Hawqal, Yaqut al-Hamawi, Ibn Battuta, and others, played a key role in highlighting Islamic heritage, especially in western Africa. I would like to contribute to the research on Arabic-Script Manuscripts in Black Africa by shedding light on the Manuscripts Department, Fundamental Institute of Black Africa, University of Dakar, which plays a vital role in preserving our Arab and Islamic heritage through efforts aimed at collecting, studying and publishing this heritage.
This paper will cover several points, including the causes of preserving our Arab and Islamic heritage and how the French colonialism paid attention to Islamic heritage (manuscripts) in western Africa for special purposes, leading to the creation of the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa in the first half of the past century, and the establishment of the Manuscripts and Islamic Studies Department. The paper will also look at the division of manuscripts at our Department into collections, indicate their age and some famous and important works among them, look at the development and use of manuscripts after Senegal’s independence, and the problem we face in relation to preserving manuscripts. The paper will conclude by highlighting the importance of our Arabic-script manuscripts and the attention they receive from scholars.