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THE CEMETERY

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The community could also punish—by denying those honors, and, in extreme cases, by refusing to perform the prayer for the dead. Thus, even though the shara does not prohibit praying for a suicide,25 most of the ulama of Damascus refused to pray for their colleague Ûså b. Y¨suf al-Gharråf (d. 602/1206), who had hanged himself in the western minaret of the great mosque.26 In a similar vein, Shaykh Ab¨ Muªammad of al-Qaråfa in Cairo refused to rise to his feet when the con of a homosexual passed by.27 In biographies of ruthless rulers or members of the ruling elite it is sometimes stated that there were few people who invoked mercy upon him.28 In a ferocious attack against the practice of a method of divination and consultation by the manipulation of dots and points of the Qurånic text (al-naq† wa-l-shakl),29 the muft Imåd al-Dn Muªammad b. Y¨nus of Irbil asserts that the knowledgeable Muslim who believes in such things should be deprived of the prayer for the dead and of burial among Muslims.30 The talqn—reminding (or instructing) the deceased of the basics of religion, so that he will know how to answer when the angels of destruction interrogate him, was another essential component of the ceremonies connected to ones transition to the afterworld. Ulamå were not quite in agreement regarding the right timing of talqn. Izz al-Dn al-Sulam claims that talqn is intended for the dying rather than for the dead, and therefore should be performed at the deathbed. Ibn Qudåma, less explicit, states that he found no evidence to support the performance of talqn after burial, neither in the writings of Ibn Óanbal, nor in those of the other founders of the schools of law.31 In al-Nawaws opinion the talqn should be recited in the cemetery, immediately after burial. He recommends a long version, composed by Ab¨ al-Fatª al-Maqdis. Its words are most certainly intended for

25

Tritton, Funerary Customs, 657; Kohlberg, Views on Martyrdom, 28–29. Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 54–55. For other cases of suicide in thirteenth century Damascus, see Pouzet, Damas, 391. 27 Taylor, In the Vicinity, 116. See the many early examples of boycotts of funerals in Zaman, Death, 29–36. 28 See Diem, The Living, 2:105. 29 About symbolic interpretation of the dots and crowns over the letters of the Arabic alphabet, see Canteins, Hidden Sciences, 461. 30 Ibn al-Mustawf, Tarkh Irbil, 1:1120. 31 Al-Sulam, Fatåwå, 426; Ibn Qudåma, al-Mughn, 3:437. 26

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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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