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THE ASSEMBLY OF EXHORTATION (MAJLIS AL-WA)

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Ignoring that episode in his own accounts of the assemblies he had convened, Sib† ibn al-Jawz claims that often people would not let him step down from the pulpit. That was the case at the end of a sermon he delivered in Damascus in 604/1207, on the eve of his departure for one of his preaching tours. Knowing that he was about to leave the city, people chanted their disapproval in unison, crying lå (no), lå, lå. The excitement was such, he tells us, that more than ve hundred penitent men clipped their forelock (nå‚iya).64 Sib† ibn al-Jawz gives no further details about this gesture, but the Maghrib traveler Ibn Jubayr, who had witnessed it at a majlis of Ibn al-Jawz in Baghdad, does. According to Ibn Jubayrs description, in the midst of a demonstration of fervent public penitence each ˜one of the penitent men· oered him ˜the preacher· his forelock which he cut o, and placing his hand on the head of each, he prayed for them. Some fainted and he raised them to himself in his arms . . . People threw themselves on him, confessing their sins and expressing their remorse. Their hearts and minds were overcome by emotion.65 Ibn al-Jawzs grandson, who was greatly inuenced by his example, undoubtedly tried to emulate it.66 A sermon that Sib† ibn al-Jawz gave in the summer of 607/1210 (shortly after a three-year truce between the Ayy¨bid ruler al-Malik al-Ådil and the Frankish king Amalric had expired) had also ended with a large pile of hair from the heads of penitents. In his chronicle, Miråt al-Zamån, he tells us that the pile was so big that it reminded him of the story of Ab¨ Qudåma, and he related it to the audience. The story itself is not reproduced in Miråt al-Zamån, but, as mentioned above, it does appear in a chapter devoted to jihåd in another work by Sib† ibn al-Jawz: al-Jals al-Íåliª. It is a work in the genre of the Mirror for Princes, written for the Ayy¨bid prince al-Malik al-Ashraf M¨så, during the rst weeks of 613/spring 1216. The story of Ab¨ Qudåma, a ninth century veteran of many raids against the Christians of Byzantium, is a tale of a bizarre encounter

64 Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:530; Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 48–49; al-Sulam, Fatåwå, 325, 327. On the history of this gesture, see Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 1:227. 65 Ibn Jubayr, Riªla, 220–222. For more of Ibn Jubayrs enthusiastic description of daily preaching in Baghdad in 580/1184, see ibid., 200–204; trans. in Broadhurst, 228–234. 66 A good indication of the extent of this inuence may be found in Sib† ibn al-Jawzs literary works (Kronholm, Akhbarana jaddi).

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

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