Shed No Christian Blood, By Mohammed El-Kanemy [Sheikh Of Borno]

Praise be to God, and prayers and peace be unto the Apostle of God (Mohammed).

To the honoured and accomplished, the virtuous and munificent, the pattern of goodness and the standard of benevolence, head of the Soodanic kingdon, and ruler of the country of Hausa, our friend, the learned Mohammed Bello, son of the intelligent sheikh Ossman, whose soul may God shelter with the clouds of mercy and peace.

Our salutation, accompanied with affection as strong as the odour of musk, and as perpetual as the movement of the globe, and with the mercy and blessings of God, be unto you.

Hence, the cause of writing this letter and the purpose of its lines, is to acquaint you that the bearers are English travelers; whose nation, out of all the other Christians, has maintained with the Mooslemeen uninterrupted treaties of religious amity and friendship, established since ancient periods, which they inherited from their forefathers and ancestors; and on this account, they penetrate into Mooslemeen [moslem] countries whenever they please, and traverse all provinces and lands in confidence and trust, without fear.

They came to our country, sent to us by our virtuous and accomplished friend, the Lord Yousuf Pasha, master of Tripoli, to see and delight themselves with the wonders of the Land of Soodan [sudan], and to become acquainted with its rarities, as lakes, rivers, and forests (or gardens) ; equal to which are seldom seen in other countries.

After having accomplished their wishes, in seeing all the things that the land of Barnooh (Borno) and its environs contained, they felt anxious to visit your country from what they heard of the innumerable wonders therein. I have, therefore, permitted them to proceed on their journey, accompanying them with letters which explain their object.

You are well aware of what is stated in Alcoraanic [koranic] sayings upon the subject of the obervance of honour, dictated by our Lord, the Apostle of God; and that the true Mooslemeen have always avoided shedding the blood of Christians, and assisted and protected them with their honour. Be then attentive to these travelers, and cast them not into the corners of neglect; let no one hurt them, either by words or deeds, nor interrupt them with any injurious behavior: but let them return to us, safe, and may the high God bestow upon you the best reward for your treatment to them, and insure to us and to you the path of righteousness for conduct in this life.

Our salutation may be given to all who are about you, and to those who are related to you in general. And peace be unto you.


MOHAMMED EL-AMEEN EEN MOHAMMED EL-KANEMY, the then Sheikh Of Borno sent this letter to the then  Sultan Mohammed Bello of Sokoto dated 23rd of Rabee-ul-thani, 1238; (Corresponding to January, 1824). It is made available  by Aminu Gamawa.

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