THE ASSEMBLY OF EXHORTATION (MAJLIS AL-WA)
is the main point—expects them to wait patiently for God and his agents to put things right. 4.4. Less Known Preachers Sib† ibn al-Jawz was the most acclaimed preacher of Syria at his time. He was also a historian who recorded his own career with pride. Naturally, the sources tell us much less, if at all, about humbler preachers. Yet, we will try to save their names from total oblivion and glean whatever information there is regarding preachers such as the Iråq Í¨f preacher Ibn al-Shåshr (d. 601/1204), who preached at funerals, in mosques and in villages,94 or Ab¨ Bakr al-Óamåw, the wåiz at the mosque of Ab¨ al-Yaman, who died in 649/1252, at the age of ninety.95 While al- Óamåw was aliated with one particular mosque, his contemporary, Shaykh Tåj al-Dn Jafar al-Sarråj (d. 649/1251), was an itinerant preacher. Known also as a performer of karåmåt (wonders) and tutor of Í¨f novices, al-Sarråj preached in Ismål villages of northern Syria (Mt. al-Summåq, Sarmn, alBåb, al-Buzåa), apparently propagating Sunn Islam. According to his biographer, he was quite successful: under his inuence many people returned to God (wa-rajaa bi-sababihi khalq kathr ilå Allåh).96 The historian Thiqat al-Dn Al Ibn Asåkir supplies a few biographical details about Abd al-Raªmån b. Marwån al-Tan¨kh (d. 559/ 1164). Abd al-Raªmån came from a lowly background—his father was a munajjim (astrologer) who exercised his profession by the side of the road, and he, as a youth, would sing or recite poetry in the marketplace. He began his career as a preacher at funerals, and after some time rose to a kurs—literally a chair (or in our context, a pulpit)—a more permanent and prestigious position. Who accorded it to him—we do not know. He could arouse fear and hope, and make people cry and laugh (a talent he sometimes used inappropriately, according to Ibn Asåkir, who thought laughter at the cemetery oensive). After gaining a measure of recognition and some money,
94 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 77; Ibn Kathr, al-Bidåya, 13:61; al-abbåkh, Ilåm, 4:431. 95 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 187. 96 Ibn al-Ward, Tarkh, 2:183.