In 1646 he became chief secretary to the Arma administration of Timbuktu.The early sections of the chronicle are devoted to brief histories of earlier Songhay dynasties, of the Mali Empire and of the Tuareg, and to biographies of the scholars and holymen of both Timbuktu and Djenné.The Tarikh al-Sudan (also Tarikh es-Sudan - the "History of the Sudan") is a West African chronicle written in Arabic in around 1655 by Abd al-Sadi.
In his book Barth wrote: But I myself was so successful as to have an opportunity of perusing a complete history of the kingdom of Songhay, from the very dawn of historical records down to the year 1640 of our era; although, unfortunately, circumstances prevented my bringing back a complete copy of this manuscript, which forms a respectable quarto volume, and I was only able, during the few days that I had this manuscript in my hands during my stay in Gandó, to make short extracts of those passages from its contents which I thought of the highest interest in an historical and geographical point of view.In 1853 the German scholar and explorer Heinrich Barth visited Timbuktu on behalf of the British government.During his stay in Gwandu (now in northwest Nigeria) he consulted a copy of the Tarikh al-Sudan in his investigation of the history of the Songhay empire.These annals, according to the universal statement of the learned people of Negroland, were written by a distinguished person of the name of A'hmed Baba, although in the work itself that individual is only spoken of in the third person; and it would seem that additions had been made to the book by another hand; but on this point I can not speak with certainty, as I had not sufficient time to read over the latter portion of the work with the necessary attention and care."How could a man so well informed in Arabian subjects be so completely deceived? If he had read the entire book with more attention, he would have seen that the date – year, month and day – of Ahmed Baba's death is mentioned by the author ...".
Dubois realized that the manuscript was by Abd al-Sadi.