View from the mall Entrance to Timbuktu Books Shop Kids area Shaykh Seraj Hendricks - Keynote Speaker at official opening

Significance and Symbolism of the name Timbuktu

The Great Mosque at Djenne in Mali The largest mud building in the world “From Timbuktu to Kalamazoo”. This is the phrase synonymous with the ancient city of Timbuktu, evoking the idea of remote places at far-flung ends of the globe. The historical significance of Timbuktu, however, deserves far more attention than the limited interest that has previously been given to it.

During a period overlapping the European ‘Dark Ages’, African civilization thrived, with Timbuktu at its core. As an intellectual hub and a renowned centre for Islamic learning and scholarship, Timbuktu was the lifeblood of Africa’s cultural renaissance, known as The Third Golden Age of Africa. This period also saw the emergence of two successive West African Islamic Empires: Mali (or Mandingo, 1230-1400AD) and Songhai (or Songhay, 1468-1591), the latter being the largest empire Africa has ever seen.

A more appropriate expression to attach to the memory of Timbuktu, therefore, is encompassed in the following West African proverb:

“Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, and silver from the country of white men, but the word of God and the treasures of wisdom are only to be found in Timbuktu.”

The Connection between South Africa and Timbuktu

“The governments of South Africa and Mali have initiated a collaborative programme to conserve the important collection of manuscripts held at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu and we in South Africa took the lead in the visionary project to build a new library and archives for the Ahmed Baba Institute, to be presented to the people of Mali by the people of South Africa.”

- Former President Thabo Mbeki

In addition to this programme, academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have set up an initiative named The Timbouctou Manuscript Project. Their contribution towards preserving Timbuktu manuscripts and reviving their legacy is invaluable, as we attempt to re-connect with out rich African heritage.

Allah is Beautiful and He (Allah) Loves Beauty

The Great Mosque at Djenne in Mali The largest mud building in the world

The true nature of Islam is one of serenity, peace, and beauty. Sadly, the portrayal of Islam in today’s global media and in elements within the Muslim community is the antithesis of real Islamic philosophy and culture.

At Timbuktu Books, we aim to show the beauty of Islam.

We are passionate about our vision. We aim to:

  • Serve the community, enabling people to reconnect with our rich African Islamic heritage of learning and spirituality,
  • Showcase and celebrate the beauty of Islam through books and various other media,
  • Deliver and knowledgeable and personalized service.

In accordance with these objectives, Timbuktu Books has the widest selection of quality books, CD’s and DVDs, all carefully selected by our store manager. The 130 square metre space has been beautifully designed to provide you with a comfortable and unique retail experience. You will find a wide variety of books and media, from superb translations of classical treasures such as Al Ghazali, Ibn Rushd and An Nawawi, as well as though provoking contemporary writings by a host of international scholars.

Timbuktu Books is the largest dedicated Islamic bookstore in Cape Town. We are pleased to provide you with:

  • More than 1000 titles with nearly 4000 books from the best local and international publishers,
  • Thought provoking documentaries,
  • Classical and contemporary nasheeds for the whole family,
  • An impressive children’s and teens selection,
  • Relaxing coffee lounge with barista made Origin coffee,
  • Skyrove wireless internet access,
  • Ample secured parking,
  • Book ordering service,
  • Used book section – we will gladly purchase books in good condition,
  • E-commerce site for secure online purchases – coming soon!
Timbuktu Books also stocks original art and books from the city of Timbuktu. In doing so, we hope to reconnect our patrons to this ancient wisdom, as well as support the Muslims in that city.

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In this book, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali proves, once again, to be a man of the times by striking a balance between two extremes and refocusing the common Muslim ...

Structure of the Heavens
This text was written to train scholars in the field of astronomy, a science that Islamic tradition traces back to Adam and to the Prophet Idris. The author discusses how to use the movements of the stars to calculate the beginning of the seasons and how to cast horoscopes, among many other aspects of astronomy.
From the desert librabries of Timbuktu

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