(tziyyun naeh in Hebrew) on tombs in the middle ages, especially on tombs of saintly men.73 QurĂĽnic passages were inscribed on most Muslim funerary steles, usually preceded by the basmallĂĽh (In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful). Verses that mention death, the after-world and divine retribution were especially popular. Recurrent among those were the following verses: God! There is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; to Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth . . . (2:255); Every soul will taste of death; you shall surely be paid in full your wages on the Day of Resurrection . . . (3:185); Their God gives them good tidings of mercy from Him, and good pleasure; " " (9:21); All that dwells upon the earth is perishing, yet still abides the Face of thy Lord, majestic, splendid. O which of your Lords bounties will you deny? (55:26â€“27).74 Personal messages, in the grammatical rst person, were engraved as well. The emir MithqĂĽl al-JundĂĽr al-NĂĽâ€šir, for example, wished to be remembered for taking part in the battle of Ă“iâ€ â€ n (Saladins decisive victory over the army of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 583/1187), and in the reconquest of the coastal cities of Acre and Ascalon.75 A member of the religious elite of that very generation, AbÂ¨ al-MaĂĽl MuÂŞy al-Dn, chief qĂĽ of Damascus (d. 598/1202), made a similar request regarding his epitaph. He wished to be remembered for having delivered the rst Friday sermon in Jerusalem after its return to Muslim hands in Rajab 583/1187.76 In contrast, the polymath al-Haraw had made no attempt to exalt himself on his epitaph in Aleppo. His was a gloomy message to mankind, one he had formulated nine years prior to his death, in poetry and prose: This is the tomb of the lonely stranger Al ibn Ab Bakr al-Haraw. He lived as a stranger and died lonely with no friend to eulogize him,
73 Lichtenstein, Ritual Uncleanness, 154, 161. For a discussion of terminology, and of the development of commemorative architecture in the Muslim world (which is beyond the scope of this work), see Grabar, The Earliest; Taylor, Reevaluating; Raghib, Les prĂŠmiers. 74 See inscriptions from the cemetery of BĂĽb al-Ă?aghr (forty of which date to the Zangid and AyyÂ¨bid period), in Moaz and Ory, Inscription, 37â€“142. About the selection of verses, see ibid., 163. Halevi points out that some traditionists quote the Prophet prohibiting writing on tombstones (Halevi, Paradox, 139â€“145). 75 RCEA, 10:210. 76 RCEA, 9:237. See pp. 101â€“102, above.