تلوات خلال القرن الثامن عشر: لمحة موجزة عن وثائق محلية مخطوطة تهم مياه السقي
Telouet 18th century: A brief survey of a local manuscript documents about irrigation water
PhD researcher Hamza Ait El Housseine/Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco
ط.د.حمزة أيت الحسين/، جامعة القاضي عياض، المغرب
مقال منشور في مجلة جيل العلوم الانسانية والاجتماعية العدد 71 الصفحة 149.
يتلخص الهدف من وراء هذا المقال – المختصر – في محاولة استقراء مجموعة من الوثائق ذات الطابع التعاقدي بين ساكنة منطقة تلوات؛ وذات العلاقة المباشرة مع موضوع الماء في تاريخ المغرب؛ مركزين في ذلك على ثلاثة جوانب أساسية؛ غالبا ما يتم التركيز عليها في مثل هذه البحوث؛ وهي: الجانب الشكلي والمضمون ثم المفردات والمفاهيم المستعملة؛ أي محاولة تقديم قراءة تقنية ومنهجية للمادة المصدرية المعتمدة، من جهة، والعمل على طرح إشكالية جوهرية؛ تتمثل في مدى إمكانية الانطلاق من هذه المصادر لكتابة التاريخ الاجتماعي لمجال بحثنا، من جهة ثانية؛ متخذين دائما من تيمة “المعاملات المائية” نقطة الانطلاق.
الكلمات المفتاحية: تلوات، التاريخ، مياه السقي، نزاعات، رهن الماء، وثائق مخطوطة.
This article aims to analyze a set of contractual documents between the inhabitants of Telouet village on the subject ofwater in the history of Morocco, through three basic aspects, namely: the formal aspect, content, vocabulary and concepts used, to provide a technical and methodological analysis of these manuscript documents, on one hand, and try to raise a fundamental problematic about the possibility of starting from these sources to write the social history of our field of research, on the other hand, Based on the topic of “water transactions”.
Keywords : Telouet, History, irrigation water, conflicts, water mortgage and manuscript documents.
One of the causes of the discovery of this analyses was being interested in Telouet Village’s historical issues, which turns The purpose of this brief article into an extrapolate of a set of manuscript documents of a contractual reasons between the inhabitants of Telouet, Also directly related to the subject of water in the history of morocco which is a title of a Master program studies in the university of art and humanities in Marrakech city. Focusing on three essential aspects: such research namely: The formal and content aspect, and then the vocabulary and used concepts. In which we attempt to provide a technical and systematic analyses of our approved source material, onone hand, and work to raise a fundamental problematic concerning water issues, on the other hand.
First of all
From the outset, the issue of water in Telouet village is of a great interest to me, the short-cut contribution I’m involved in is only a small part of this general theme, which I intend to move forward with, so I point out that I will not stop at the point concerns presenting the geographical and historical characteristics of the field of research, note that it is a necessary methodological step, but will only refer to the nature of sources adopted, and then to rooting the name “Telouet” to address then to the content of these documents, due to several constraints.
I_ What type of sources adopted in the analyses?
The analyses is based on a very important obsolete historical sources, consisting of a set of manuscript documents (four documents), extending in time between the late thirteenth century AH (1295AH)/late seventeenth century AD (1878), and fifties of the fourteenth century AH (1351 AH)/ thirties the twentieth century AD (1932), they vary in size, font quality, the nature of the paper on which it was written, the topics addressed and the period of time in which they were written, and also vary according to the persons concerned. However, they are similar in several aspects, especially in terms of the starting words (Hamdalah= praise be too GOD alone) and the finishing ones (the name of the witness on the subject of the document and his signature, after the date of writing) and some phrases associated with the validity of the document’s subject.
Farther upward, in the Great Atlas tribes, this sort of documents is very common, but the same difficulties to reach them were encountered.
In terms of substance, these documents collectively categorize the following topics:
_ Waiving the right of irrigation water for good and benevolence (Document N° 1).
_ Conflict around irrigation water (Document N° 2).
_ Sale of irrigation water (Document N° 3).
_ Pledge of irrigation water (Document N° 4).
In this regard, however, the documents we have adopted cover only a small part of the public domain that we have shown in the headline and therefore the relative conclusions we may finally draw.
II_ Telouet: the name and attempt rooting it
The first caption we encounter is that the area of Telouet was a “lake” surrounded by a dense forest of a different oak, pine and almond trees, the Telouet depression, according to the same caption/explanation, was called “Tabhourt” (Grassland), a pasture for the Ait-Ouaouzguit tribe, and the other Amazighe Masmouda Tribes, which was later bought by “Sidi warghal” and paid for to the Ouaouzguit tribe, after that the caption spoke of one of the dignities of this master which was that He brought a balance to a plateau called “Taourirt n-lmizan” (the balance’s plateau), and some of the pebbles he had hidden under his clothes were turned into gold pieces once they were placed in the balance, they were led by what they saw fit as a price for Telouet, without any indication as to the origin of the name. note that it is the most echoing caption by the elderly residents of Telouet area.
The second caption linking the name to the fall of the Islamic kingdoms in Andalusia and the arrival of some of its scholars to the region and their stability in there, they wanted to be alone and interpret the Islamic religion, and they were the once that called it Telouet, which derived from the word “Tlou, plural: Tlwat” which means “read” to refer to the holy Coran recitation in Amazighe Langage, they were: “Sidi Warghal, Sidi Hkim, Sidi Mansour ou-Hamd, Sidi Ghaith and Sidi Belfoufoul”. The toponymical of this field still have the names of these men.
And there is the caption that links the name Telouet to the topographical nature of the region, which means the low basin. This explanation is largely excluded because it confuses the name Telouet (the village) with the name Gloua (the tribe) which derived from the word “Aglou, plural Iglwan” (means a deep gap) in the great atlas mountain, which is an accurate description of the topography of the high valleys of high Atlas, this meaning places it very far from Telouet, and making the two names very different.
In our opinion, the closest caption is the one that says the name was given by some scholars who we mentioned above, Although we do not have a direct and precise source that raises confusion, we can –through careful observation of the spatial distribution of the places where these five men are settled, the spiritual relationship of the population with them and the extrapolation of the toponymical meanings of these names-suggest the following:
1_ Since one of the plateaus in the region still have the name “Taourirt n-lmizan”near the place of residence of “Sidi warghal”, whose name was derived from “Orgh” (Gold), which refer that the sale has done, without paying much attention to how the price was paid, and to the aspect of the dignity of this man, the toponymical significance of the name largely support the caption that we favored.
2_ These jurists settled in distant places but formed centers of large residential communities (Imaounin, Ihindaken, Ighil n-byan and Ighriyyis Onila), the principle of teaching the Coran and its interpretations to the inhabitants was the main factor behind this stability, especially with the presence of the Jewish element in the region, not individuals but as important human groups, supporting the agreement that the word “Tlou:Read” has shifted from its first context to become a name given to the domain.
From this and that, we likely –besides the above- that this place (Telouet) had another name was known before the advent of these scholars, and disappeared after this coming a period that may be lengthened or shortened. The devotional aspect, the recitation of the Coran that prevailed after the stability of these Men and their initiation of the teaching of the Coran, may have a major role in the work of obliterating the first name and its extinction, in front of the prevalence of the word “TlouLkran: Recite The Coran”, because it is illogical that the Human groups that preceded the advent of these jurists continued to live in their domain without naming it, and been waiting for someone to come to name it, especially since the first step towards controlling the field/domain is to name it and store its features in memory and then draw its boundaries, distinguish it from other fields depending on its shape, topography, color and vegetation etc….
III_ The Formal aspect of our Documents
Given a great similarity between these documents, we will not display each of them individually, but we give in this general summarize everything related to the formal aspect, from the calligraphy type, size, number of lines and signatures.
Concerning the calligraphy these documents were written in a Moroccan font, in black ink and did not use any other color, this calligraphy handwriting varies, somewhat, from one document to another, in terms of writing some names, for example we read in the document N°2 the name “Ibrahim” (إبراهيم) was written as “Ibraiim” (ابرييم)while in the document N°4 as “Abraim” (أبرهيم), and only in document N°3 it appeared correctly. This leads to the reason behind this difference in drawing, and how this relates to scientific level of the authors of these documents, especially if we add some words that start in a line and end in the next one!
In term of size, they are of average size (about ten centimeters in width and fifteen others in length), with the exception of the document relating to the Jew Ishak Ben Yamin which is about five centimeters in width and twice that length, this is reflected in the number of lines in each document, where the first ones about seventeen lines, and thirteen lines in the document concerning the Jew.
Concerning the signatures we note that the difficulty in reading and deciphering them is the common denominator of all documents, except for the observation of two signatures, one on document N°3 and the other on document N°4 which concerned the Mortgage, we could not read these signatures because of the way in which they were put together, in addition to the erosion of some of them, which is mostly due to the desire of those who wrote it, to prevent fraud and manipulation of its content in the name of protecting it, especially as we have come to what supports it (The mystification of some names through Arabization).
IV_ The Content of our Documents
At this point, we deal with four models of water transactions, these constituted the content of these documents, the first relates to the waiver of the right from irrigation water for good and charity, the second to the dispute, and the third to the sale, while the fourth concerns the subject of foreclosure, drawing our information about it from the above sources.
1_ Waiver of the right from irrigation water for good benevolence
At this point we rely on document N°1 dated 1295AH (1878AD) 1309AH (1891AD): the first year is the year of writing the document by Mr “Ahmed Ben Mohammed Ait Ben Dris” as mentioned in the document, the second year constitutes a reaffirmation of the credibility and validity of the content of the document by another justice who witnessed the fairness and integrity of the former, the time difference between them is about thirteen years. What makes us, before proceeding with the analysis of the content, to question the motive behind this assertion, especially in light of the time interval between the two years, is that due to the frequency of conflicts periodically on the topics of these contracts? Or is this related to the desire to remove any possible questioning of its content? Or motivated by the desire to achieve and renew the continuity of the contract, especially after the death of the first writer, or his departure from the region, and resort to those acting on behalf or successor in this area?
Under the terms of this document, the heirs of Mohamed ben Karroum gave Abderrahman Ait Ala O-Yousef a portion of their share of irrigation water, free for charge, financially or in kind, provided that the beneficiary, in writing, is obliged to leave the water at some point in which he is asked to do so, “Without sued or rivalry”, but out of goodness and charity. the content of this document can be understood on two levels:
Positive: indicates the possibility of the prevalence of this type of social transactions in a large part of the society, which is supporting the social coherency.
Negative: suggests the need to codify this waiver, either the fear of turning the water ceded into a property dominated by the beneficiary over time.
these transactions may indicate that this waiver only included periods when water was available, especially in a society in desperate need of water resources.
2_ Disputes around irrigation water
We define the content of this document through the following elements:
_ Parties of the conflict: Mr Mohammed ben Karroum and Mr Ali ben Ahmed ait ben Ibrahim the jurist.
_ The cause of the dispute: the first one claimed that the second is acting in the water source of Ait Hammou ben Hassan on the face of good and benevolence, while the second refused and said that he had ownership of that water.
_ The Arbitrator: is the justice who wrote the document, denoted by the words “I have witnessed” and “I gave that judgement”, however, we do not know who he is, his name could not be read in the signature.
_ The Judgement and result: the above judge ruled that Mr Ali Ben Ahmed ait Ali ben Ibrahin (the second part) would own the disputed water, and that the case of Mr Mohammed ben Karroum (the first part) to possess that water is invalid and incorrect, so he wrote them a necessary provision under which to work.
The after mentioned elements, go beyond the mere history of a simple water issue, manifested in the phenomenon of conflict over water, and ask for an arbitration by a person known for integrity to separate the conflict parties, but it enables us to question another kind of analysis, which is rarely resonates in historical studies, it is the “legal reading of the content” through which we analyses an important aspect of the historical field: the History of law in Telouet society, And know its periods of progress and regression, by monitoring the evolution of its traditional legal systems, and work this highlight the role of historical, psychological, cultural and political factors in this, it may go beyond that, and enable us to identify part of the human mind and theoretical perceptions of the legal system, here, the importance of this type of document is obvious to the historian, it makes him discover the sidelined of history that modern historians have long sought it, it is what we call the history of the depth of society, the history of the simple man’s transactions.
On the other hand, the content of these documents is one of the reasons for writing the previous type (waiver documents).
3_ Sale of irrigation water
Before determining the content of this document, it is necessary to indicate the proper legal manner in which it was written, this is evidenced by the following:
_ The saleswomen: Aisha bent Ali aitbaant.
_ Buyer: Ahmed ben AbdLahait Ibrahim.
_ The subject of the sale: all the share of irrigation water that belongs to her.
_ Price: fifty oz of silver Dirham.
_ Conditions contained in the contract: full possession after inspection and flipping and consideration and satisfaction as it should, and sufficient knowledge and no ignorance of some of the sale, by the Sunnah and reference and maturity.
_ Date of the contract: Mid-du al-Qa’dah 1310AH /1892AD.
_ Witness: The word “Slave of his God” that indicated in the document refers to him, however, we were unable to read his name in the signature.
We proceed from this document, reassuringly, to say that the transaction of irrigation water sale was a phenomenon known to the inhabitants of Telouet in their social dealings, at a pace that may increase or decrease according to historical periods and events, like what is known in many other regions, but what draws attention in the document is that it suggests -as we seem- two possibilities: first the saleswoman had no land to use her share of water, or she did not have the ability to exploit her ownership of water and land. the document also raises the issue of the inheritance of women in this traditional society, with the right to dispose of ownership in various types of disposition, sale, mortgage, charity etc… it is subject with a great importance.
In addition to all above, this type of documents is useful in tracking the economic movement in Telouet society, by monitoring the heterogeneity of the price’s variability according to the place and time.
4_ Foreclosure of irrigation water
At this point, we rely on the transaction of a mortgage that took place between “Borhim ben lfakiraliaitlaasri” and the “Jew Ishaq ben yamin”, two from the village of “EghilNebian” -with the likelihood that the second is from the inhabitants of the navigator there- under which the second mortgaged from the first a full acre with enough water in his current bout.
This type of transaction, between the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of Telouet, largely indicates the state of cultural, civilizational, economic and social integration that was known to the Jewish communities that inhabited in this area, the sale of water -the strategic and essential element of a society based on its subsistence On the living economy and the management of scarcity- it would not have been possible without the reassurance of the inhabitants of Telouet, in their various dealings, of the Jewish element with which they shared the field, through the purchase and land mortgage, in addition to the historically known role of Jews as traders, craftsmen …etc.
Therefore, we wonder about the main motive behind dealing with this category (Jewish): Is it really due to their state of integration in Telouet society, in a way that has become an active factor in it? Which leads to another question: Where can this group be located within Telouet society? Or is it because the Jews were engaged in economic activities (jewelry making, peasant farming, blacksmithing …) that provided them with capital that their Muslim neighbors did not have, and thus a pressure factor that would not leave the other party with the option?
To answer these questions, first and foremost, the process of gathering as many of these documents as possible in all Telouet area, and having the necessary methodological tools is necessary to clarify the limits within which we can generalize the conclusions we may draw.
V_ Concepts and terms
We will not stop, at this point, at all the terms and concepts contained in these documents, some of them are related to the currency (ounces, dirhams, silver, weighted, rial ..) and what concerns the conditions of contract validity (inspection, satisfaction, flipping, consideration, maturity ..) In addition to the geographical names, we will only make two observations, which have drawn our attention as we read the contents of these documents:
The first observation is the kind of systematic policy that the writers of these documents (jurists and justice) used to obscure the content of these contracts, this is evident in the Arabization of some names, which one of the researchers attributed to the desire to monopolize its knowledge, and force its parties to refer to them to read it and explain it whenever they need to.
The following table shows the original version of some of the names as opposed to the language in the document:
Table: The original versions of some names with the corresponding in the document
|Origin of the name||Distorted name||Its significance|
It is clear from the table above that these models of names moved from their meaning and their original formulas recognized by the population, to other forms of definitively unknown to them, also this transition in names caused a complete break between the connotations that became document/contract and their real meanings.
For the researcher in historical studies, this is both positive and negative: positive because the document remains the way it was first written, and the content carried by its first author, it is impossible, with this method, to falsify and manipulate its content.
And Negative as it requires the researcher, who deals with this type of documents, to be fully familiar with the Amazigh language, the language of the field and the language of the daily interactions of the population, and the mental, social, economic and political backgrounds … which imposed the adoption of this type of opacity in writing, otherwise his analysis and his conclusions are only an embodiment of the process of forgery, as the text loses its true meaning and leaves it out of the real context in which it was produced.
The second observation relates to the document on the foreclosure transaction mentioned above, which includes the titles “dhimmi” “الذمي” and “Hazzan” “الحزّان”, where the first means a Muslim perspective for the Christians and Jews, that is the ability to deal with this category, in all activities in accordance with the rules governing Shariàa.
The second is related to the Jewish religious faith itself, “Hazzan” “الحزّان” is the religious leader of the Jewish community, whose task is to supervise the prayers in the synagogue. He played the role of chanter, issuing fatwas (orders), and supervising religious education and monitoring the execution of orders and prohibitions (food laws and observance of the Sabbath and so on), he also attended circumcision ceremonies, as well as writing marriage contracts and burying the dead. This refers to some kind of tolerance in the practice of Jewish religious rituals within the Muslim society (Telouet), especially as the region has three major Jews neighborhood, each with its own cemetery.
Through the analysis of these documents, we were able to draw the following conclusions:
_ These documents, as well as the information and issues they provide, also enable a “legal reading”, based on the terms of writing contracts, the reasons behind it, and the results of it, as well as the history of law in Telouet in particular, and the total Moroccan field in general.
_ The multiplicity and variety of types of contracting in Telouet -from which we have chosen four models- indicate the urgent desire of the inhabitants of this field to legalize their daily transactions, and their need to fulfill their covenants, to achieve the stability and continuity of their society. It also demonstrates deep awareness and advanced cultural maturity.
_ The different social relations associated with water transactions, solidarity, conflict, sale, mortgage, etc., reflect an important aspect of the crisis or prosperity known to society, and the degree of disparity between its components, especially between Muslims and Jews.
_ These contracts have been effective solutions to many conflicts, especially it was developed in a proper legal manner, albeit traditional, all contractual conditions are met, and therefore the possibility of discovering the depth of man’s successive management of their conflicts and transactions, both at lower levels (between members of the same village) or at higher levels (between the villages).
_ The kind of the information provided by such documents provides the researcher, of the historical studies, valuable reference information, it contains topics of direct relevance to man and society, through, which is not easy, it is possible to follow the march which the successive society passed through within different historical periods, and to identify the strengths and weaknesses in this march. This is closely related to the ability of the researcher studying these documents to question them.
We did not intend, through this brief work, to provide an accurate analysis of the subject of water transactions in the region of Telouet, and to take into account all its rationale – this is not allowed by the capacity of the research – as far as we are oriented towards a set of problems, which we have seen is important, which calls for research and study, which may be useful in forming the nucleus of a serious study on the social and economic history and the history of law in the region …
To the extent that water contributed to the creation of the historical event, through the various aforementioned transactions (sale, charity, mortgage, conflict …), so much as reflected in the documentary production, and contributed to its diversification, which constitutes, for a specialist in the field of history, a documentary material that is with a lot of importance, so we wanted to introduce our source/documents and offer a modest opinion on how to deal with it, by providing a technical reading.
- Four documents of interest: assignment of the right to water for good and charity, conflict, sale and mortgage of water, dated B: between the late thirteenth century AH (1295 AH) / late seventies of the nineteenth century (1878), and fifties of the fourteenth century AH (1351 AH) /thirteenth of the twentieth century AD (1932).
- It is as follows:
- _ Mr. Mohammed ben Mohammed Ben EL Madani Ait El Housseine, May God have mercy on him, from the inhabitants of the Telouet, he was about eighty-two (82) years on 01 January 2014.
- _ Mr. Haji AbdouLah Baliout, a resident of the Telouet, was about seventy-nine (79) years on 29 December 2014.
- _ Ahmad Houzali; Name Telouet, in Maàlamat Al Maghrib, Production of The Moroccan Association for authoring, translation and prenting, the prenting press Sala, Sale 1415 AH/1995 AD, volume VIII, p 2529.
- _ Mohammed Oujamaa; Name of Glaoua, in Maàlamat Al Maghrib, Production of The Moroccan Association for authoring, translation and prenting, the prenting press Sala, Sale 1410 AH/1989 AD, Volume II, p 618.
- _ Rachid El Housaini; Geographic names and identity, the Amazigh names of the Sahara and Mouritain, oublication of the associationof development and cultural and social action, whithout date, p 14.
- _ Ali Safi Moumen; Origin of the term “Laouh” which is called “Amazigh law recorded”, within the symposium “Law and Society in Morocco”, series of seminars and debates No. 7, Coordination of Al-Hussein, Azi and Al-Hussein Ait Bahcine, publications of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, New Knowledge Press, Rabat, 2005, pp. 145_152. (in Arabic).
 _ Telouet: a Village in the Southeast of the Great Atlas Mountains, of 1800 meters of altitude, known for its Historical role as one of the former locking road stations for commercial camel caravans that linking the Sahara, Sijilmasa and Marrakech. It was also the seat of the political power of the Glaoua Family.
 _ This name is still used to refer to that plateau to this day.
 _ Told me about this subject Mr Mohammad Ben Mohammad Ben EL Madani Ait ElHousseine, resident of Iraaben Village in Telouet, He was about eighty-two years old when I interviewed him on January 01,2014.
 _See: Ahmad Houzali ; name Telouet, in Maàlamat Al Maghrib, Production of The Moroccan Association for authoring, translation and prenting, the prenting press Sala, Sale 1415 AH/1995 AD, volume VIII, p 2529. (in Arabic).
 _ Mohammed Oujamaa ; Name of Glaoua, in Maàlamat Al Maghrib, Production of The Moroccan Association for authoring, translation and prenting, the prenting press Sala, Sale 1410 AH/1989 AD, Volume II, p 618. (in Arabic).
 _ This is likely to be a nickname after the dignity known to him, as no one mentioned his original name, which further complicates the task of revealing his identity.
 _Rachid El Housaini; Geographic names and identity, the Amazigh names of the Sahara and Mouritain, publication of the associationof development and cultural and social action, whithout date, p 14.
 _ check these documents at the beginning of this article.
 _ Document number One.
 _ Ali Safi Moumen; Origin of the term “Laouh” which is called “Amazigh law recorded”, within the symposium “Law and Society in Morocco”, series of seminars and debates No. 7, Coordination of Al-Hussein, Azi and Al-Hussein Ait Bahcine, publications of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, New Knowledge Press, Rabat, 2005, pp. 145_152. (in Arabic).