Indeed, Maghrib imåms are mentioned time and again: amongst them Ab¨ Jafar Aªmad b. Al al-Qur†ub, imåm al-Kalåsa (d. 596/1200), who was also known as a calligrapher with an excellent Maghrib hand writing,111 and Ab¨ al-Fal Y¨suf b. Muªammad, who, on his way to visit Jerusalem, stopped in a nearby village and remained there upon the request of local villagers that he become their imåm.112 In Damascus, people crowded to pray behind al-Qur†ub because they felt he possessed baraka, and also because they were attracted to his ne voice—“iltimåsan li-barakatihi wa-istimåan li-ªusn ‚awtihi”).113 But not all Maghribs were equally successful. ¤iyå al-Dn tells an interesting anecdote about a “Maghrib stranger” who had settled in the village of Ar¨rå (in Mt. Nåblus), claiming that he could supply honey and olive oil from the tip of his nger, and offered to lead the prayer. The man attracted followers, but suspicious villagers went to inquire about him with two local venerated shaykhs who were considered to be blessed with råsa (penetrating insight). The shaykhs, undoubtedly anxious to preserve their own authority in the region, cast further doubt on the man’s piety. They even suggested that he was a trickster associated with Dajjål, or with a female-jinn, rather than a performer of divinely inspired wondrous deeds (such as themselves).114 The careers of some urban imåms included the posts of school teacher (muallim ‚ibyån), scribe115 and muezzin,116 as well as more prestigious jobs such as muft, mudarris, qå and qå al-quåt, kha†b and supervisor of endowments (mutawall al-awqåf ). The latter ofces were usually attained, so it seems, at a later stage in people’s professional lives.117 Many of the imåms mentioned in our texts are presented as men of religious learning and moral stature. Some are portrayed as leading lives of asceticism (zuhd ), devoting their days and nights to supererogatory prayer. A few of them were pronounced Í¨fs, who,
Dhahab, Tarkh, 50:230. On Maghrib script, see Pedersen, The Arabic Book, 82–83. 112 Al-Tådil, al-Tashawwuf, 94–95. His praise is sung by no other than the great alGhazzål, who happened to visit there. I thank Daphna Ephrat for this reference. 113 Ibn Jubayr, Riªla, 267; Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 17. 114 ¤iyå al-Dn, al-Óikåyåt, 94b; trans. in Talmon-Heller, “Cited Tales,” 137–138. 115 Dhahab, Tarkh, 52:299. 116 See e.g. Dhahab, Tarkh, 58:330; Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 91, 106, 202, 207. 117 Dhahab, Siyar, 22:82.