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CHAPTER FOUR

Assemblies took place in diverse locations: most often in the congregational mosque and its courtyard, in neighborhood and village mosques; sometimes in the mu‚allü (a large open space, usually reserved for the festival prayers), in madrasas and by shrines of sorts. Other possible locations were cemeteries, funerary processions, the grounds and dwüns of citadels or palaces, and open spaces.4 Majülis were convened on any day of the week, especially on Saturdays, at various hours of the day. Unlike the kha†b—the preacher of the Friday ocial sermon, the wüi was not formally appointed by the ruler and was not obliged to endorse political authorities in his speech. He was less bound by conventions, and could perform in a more spontaneous and charismatic manner. The art of popular preaching became part of the curriculum of madrasas in twelfth century Baghdad. It was taught by rst-rate teachers, and performed by scholars who vied for fame and prestige with their peers.5 Merlin Swartz attributes this process to the energetic patronage of the Óanbal vizier Ibn Hubayra (d. 560/1165). Ibn Hubayra brought traditionalist preaching into the service of his political patrons, the Abbüsid caliphs al-Muqtaf and al-Mustanjid, aiming at the re-establishment of the power of the caliph with the help of popular sentiment, while undermining the authority of his rival, the Seljuk sultan.6 Majülis al-wa, held in open spaces on the banks of the Tigris, and in the halls of prominent madrasas, were attended by great and enthusiastic audiences.7 Seljuk Baghdad—with its militant Sh and Óanbal populations, bitter antagonism between Ashar, Mutazil and Óanbal theologians, erce competition between caliph and sultan (and their entourages), and irritable Turkish garrisons situated in and around the city—was an inammable city. The political authorities occasionally imposed bans on certain or even on all preachers, in an attempt to preserve peace 4 See Pedersen, The Islamic Preacher; Pouzet, Damas, 131. Some preachers assumed both the roles of kha†b and wüi on dierent occasions, or in dierent places (Ab¨ Shüma, Tarüjim, 146). In modern Egypt, wuü preach in urban and rural mosques, schools, clubs, factories, hospitals, army units, and prisons (Ganey, The Oce, 250). 5 Makdisi, Rise of Humanism, 173–186, 351. Ibn al-Jawz amongst them—see biography of his pupil (Dhahab, Tarkh, 53:99). 6 See Swartzs introduction to Ibn al-Jawzs Kitüb al-Qu‚‚a‚, 27–29. On the renewal of the institution of the wüi in twentieth-century Egypt, see Ganey, Æ! Oce, 247–257. 7 Berkey, Popular Preaching, 53–54; Swartz, Ibn al-Jawz, 27–29.

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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  

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