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own people and well beyond the limits of their school of law. Their formal roles as prayer leaders and preachers of the Friday sermon represented only a fraction of their functions within the community. Shaykh Aªmad’s son Ab¨ Umar was a mediator: he negotiated peace in cases of inner strife, and intervened at the courts of rulers on behalf of his people.49 Interestingly, the petitions he addressed to local governors and ofcials were considered to be efcient, not necessarily on account of their contents, but rather due to the baraka transmitted through the actual document he had handled. Likewise, the copies of the Qurån, and of some other religious texts he reproduced in his handwriting, were known to convey baraka into the homes of those who held them.50 His repertoire included a well balanced collection of tafsr, Óanbal qh and dogma, and mainstream, or ‘moderate’ Susm: the Mukhta‚ar of al-Khiraq (d. 334/946)—the rst compilation of Óanbal law, Óilyat al-Awliyå—the popular ͨf dictionary by Ab¨ Nuaym al-I‚fahån (d. 430/1038), al-Ibåna—a theological treatise by the Óanbal Ibn Ba††a (d. 387/997), Tafsr al-Baghaw—a Qurån exegesis by the Shå Ab¨ Muªammad al-Óusayn al-Baghaw (d. 516/1122), and al-Mughn—the book of Óanbal law written by his learned brother, Muwaffaq al-Dn ibn Qudåma. Ab¨ Umar is portrayed as “a father to the community (kåna li-ljamåa ka-l-ab),” supporting the needy, visiting the sick and burying the dead. His custom to frequently recite certain verses (the åyåt al-ªaras—2:284–286, 2:256–259, 7:52–54, 16:109–111, 37:1–11, 55:33–36, 70:1–4) was held to have “kept evil away from his people in times of constant warfare, violence and crime.” The shaykh extended protection to his neighbors by reciting verse 2:255 (åyat al-kurs) on the threshold of his house, while making a gesture with his hand towards the other houses. All in all, Shaykh Aªmad’s and Shaykh Ab¨ Umar’s array of occupations call to mind the Jewish dayyan (communal leader) of the same period, who was in charge of the social services of the community, of its inner and outer politics, and—of preaching to it on formal and informal occasions.51 Ab¨ Umar’s betterknown brother, the faqh Muwaffaq al-Dn ibn Qudåma, succeeded


Dhahab, Siyar, 22:7; ¤iyå al-Dn al-Maqdis, Aªwål, 123a. ¤iyå al-Dn al-Maqdis, Aªwål, 122b-123b. Stephan Leder calls this combination of roles and attitudes ‘charismatic scripturalism’ (Leder, “Charismatic Scripturalism”). 51 Goitein, Mediterranean Society, 2:216. On the “protective verses,” see Canaan, Decipherment, 6 50

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Jsrc 007 talmon heller islamic piety in medieval syria mosques, cemeteries and sermons under the zan  

Jsrc 007 talmon heller islamic piety in medieval syria mosques, cemeteries and sermons under the zan