According to an ancient religious manuscript called “Kitab el Barbariyya” written between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, the Arabs and the Arabic language were completely absent from the North African vocabulary, but that of “Taserghint” was omnipresent. The document is probably one of the oldest Amazigh manuscripts still available.
This manuscript is said to exist in only four copies, one of which is the property of the Italian linguist Vermando Brugnatelli. He is considered to be one of the most learned and leading scholars of the Amazigh language.
This manuscript is said to have circulated for a long time in Ibadi circles in Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria. It is also quite voluminous since it contains nearly nine hundred pages, written in Tamazight and transcribed in so-called Arabic characters. It is considered to be probably the oldest Berber manuscript known to date.
The origin of this manuscript called “Kitab El Barbariyya” dates back to the late middle ages. The aim of the document was to explain the point of view of the religion which was in force in the region and to facilitate religious practice in accordance with this rite. The manuscript was written for the general public. The use of the word “Aserghin” in this manuscript must surely indicate a movement of thought at the time. Maybe the North African Sarazzin.
The Amazigh language of this manuscript “Book of Berber” reveals to us words that have disappeared and which are no longer used today. But on the whole, it reflects the Zenet language still used today in North Africa, from Libya to Morocco, via Tunisia and Algeria”. In addition to the ancient Berber words, we find there interesting names that the ancient Amazighs gave for the religion of the time known today as Islam by falsification of history, called “Aykuzen”, and one of the names of God “Ababay” .
These words forgotten today reflect a part of Amazigh history, since “AyKuzen” is derived from a North African deity called Yakush. This is also the origin of the name of the Moroccan city Marrakech, whose Berber name is “Amour N Yakouch” which means the land of Yakouch, name of a god among North Africans from Morocco to Libya. On the other hand, that one of the names of God was Ababay indicates the Christian influence in those centuries, since Christians are the only ones to call God their Father, or Abba, as stipulated in the Bible. This manuscript, therefore, contains, in addition to information on the religious rite, valuable information on important elements of the Amazigh language and history. We thus find plenty of words that have somewhat disappeared like Youch (God), baba Ennegh (Our Father, Lord or Master), Iser (Prophet), Adaymun (Demon), Tifellas (People of the Book, Jews, and Christians), etc. The monotheistic Berbers of the late Middle Ages, from Morocco to Siwa in Egypt called their god by the name of Yakkouch.
Bism n Yakouch: in the name of God.
Moqqar Yakouch: God is great.
Our d am Yakouch: there is no such thing as him.
Iddjen Yakouch: God is one.
On the other hand, the word Aserghin comes directly from the term “Sarrazin”. In the manuscript “Kitab El Barbariyya”, the word “Arabic” does not appear at any time. This name must have been completely unknown to the Amazighs of the time. The words “Aserghin”, “Taserghint” and “Iserghinen” were widely used, as they were in use in the Siwa Valley in Egypt, and in Figuig in Morocco. The word “Arab” was imposed later since it was not until the 14th century that there was an agreement between Spanish clerics that Arabs had invaded Africa and Spain.
In this manuscript, there is also irrefutable proof that the ancient Berbers called themselves “Imazighen”, and called their language “Tamazight”. There is no trace of the word “Berber” (apart from the title of the book itself).
The Amazighs were certainly proud of their name and revered it all along. The word Amazigh means free men.
It is a religious Catholic of late antiquity, Saint Augustine himself, Amazigh but Christian, who gave them the name: barbarians.
The document can be found on the academia.educ websit “Kitab el Barbariyya”