Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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JEMAL Mohammed, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia

It is not as such arguable that religion influences the way people perceive the social world. The purpose of this study was to examine if there is any significant narration and discourse about Nile River in the Islamic religion which might influence the way Ethiopian Muslims perceive the River. Qualitative methodology has been employed to make document analysis. Hadith and the Qur’an are used as the sole sources of the research data. The findings of the study show that though the Nile River was far away from the place –Mecca and Medina - where Islam was preached, amazingly there are various Islamic narrations and discourses that overwhelmingly show the position of the River in the ancient history and development of Islamic world. In almost all of such stories and discourses, it is true that Nile has taken the central position in the formation of the subject matter and agenda of the stories and discourse. In other words, Nile River is not mentioned incidentally or as a side issue. The analysis of the data also discloses that Nile River and its basin are directly mentioned in several Hadith portraying the River as one of the miracles of Allah where its source is in heaven. There are also hadith that depict significant events that are related to Nile River which occurred at time of one of the great caliphates of Prophet Mohammed. When it comes to the data from the Quran, the document analysis shows that there is no any direct mention of the Nile River. But when the Quran interpretation of almost all distinguished scholars is assessed, there are various verses of Quran that indirectly refer to Nile River. Some of such verses depict the significant roles played by the River at time of Moses and Joseph. The findings of the study of the relationship of the River with Muslims and Islamic religion in general offer insights in the understanding of the place of Nile River in human civilization across religion, race and geographical location.