PREACHERS (KHAÛBS) AND PRAYER LEADERS (IMÅMS)
pious acts (amål ‚åliªa) during the month of Rajab.76 He instructs preachers to recite from the Qurån during their khu†bas, and to answer juridical questions, but condemns poetry, even poems with a religious lesson, as bida.77 In a similar vein, he deplores the use of rhetoric ourish, stressing that the sermon should benet all, and calls on the preacher not to show off his eloquence by using rhymed prose.78 In fact, he instructs him to give it up altogether, unless it serves a didactic purpose. Ironically, his own son Ibråhm b. Abd al-Azz, who assumed the kha†åba in the communal mosque of al-Aqba, used to speak in rhymed prose (saj) “like a soothsayer (kåhin),” claiming to be possessed by a jinn! He must have been very different from his stern father: he is said to have wept during his sermons, performing in a “wa-like style (yataanna al-wa),” that is, in a popular informal manner (that will be described in the following chapter).79 In this respect, too, al-Sulam senior seems to have been ghting against the current. One of the documents that al-Qalqashand reproduces in his encyclopedic manual to the administration of the Maml¨k state is, allegedly, the decree (tawq) by which qå al-quåt Kamål al-Dn Umar ibn al-Adm was appointed to the kha†åba.80 In it, the positive, benign effect of the preacher on his audience is commended, rather than his capacity to threaten, frighten and distress wayward believers. It is said there, that “he delights the ears with the pearls of his exhortation . . . and bestows upon the community on Fridays the 76 Al-Sulam, Fatåwå, 326, 393–394, 483–488. About Rajab, see Kister, “Rajab,” 191–223. An interesting earlier example of a preacher who admonishes his audience to perform concrete good works may be found in al-Muqaddas’s report of a Friday sermon he gave at the tomb of Íiddq in the environs of Tyre: “In my address I urged them to restore this mosque, which they did, and they also constructed a pulpit for it” (Muqaddas, Aªsan, 188; Wheatly, The Places, 415). 77 He did not condemn the recitation of poetry on other occasions, justifying his position with quotations of the Prophet (al-Sulam, Óall al-Rum¨z, 63–64). 78 The employment of saj in sermons was introduced in the middle of the third/ ninth century, and became the standard way of preaching in the tenth century (Mez, Renaissance, 323; Swartz, “Arabic rhetoric,” 41). 79 Ibn Taghribird, al-Manhal, 1:112. 80 Qalqashand’s identication of the nominee must be mistaken; Kamål al-Dn Umar is indeed the name of the historian Ibn al-Adm, but, although his grandfather, uncle and father served as kha†bs, he did not—under Saladin’s rule the kha†åba in Aleppo was given to Shås (see above). For the same reason Ibn al-Adm probably did not serve as qå al-quåt (again—other members of the family did: see Eddé, Alep, 364). However, it is the characterization of the kha†b in this text, rather than the identity of the nominee, that is of interest to us.