no intimate to weep for him, no family to visit him, no brothers to go to him, no child to look for him, no wife to mourn him. May God compensate him for his loneliness and pity the strangers lot.77 In another excerpt he proclaims: I had walked through the deserts, been to countries, sailed the seas, saw many places, traveled to cities and villages and met people, but never have I seen a true friend, nor a faithful comrade. Whoever reads these lines is cautioned not be disappointed by anybody.78 The sorrow of the relatives of Sulaymån b. Ayn al-Dawla, who died in Damascus in 612/1216, was articulated by the phrase This is the tomb of the youngster who was prevented from CenjoyingD his youth (al-munaghghas bi-shabåbihi).79 Some epitaphs on the graves of children or young people contain short prayers for those who had died prematurely, asking God to treat then leniently,80 or to grant them compensation for the shortness of their lives. One such epitaph from early thirteenth century Damascus begs May God have mercy upon his youth. An epitaph from Óamåh (678/1279–80), in a more elaborate style, says May God . . . grant him His satisfaction and pardon in exchange for whatever pleasure he was deprived of, and may He make the shortness of his life in this world a reason for an eternal stay in His Garden, by Muªammad, his family and his descendants.81 The inscription on the grave of Kamål al-Dn Mawd¨d al-Shagh¨r al-Shå (d. 612/1215) expresses the grief (sincere, or conventionalized) of his relatives. It includes a laudatory poem written by his kin Shihåb al-Dn Fityån al-Shagh¨r, with the phrase: we are weeping for you and for ourselves (nabk alaika wa-annå). The poem aected Ab¨ Shåma and his teacher al-Sakhaw, who went out to the cemetery of Båb al-Íaghr to visit graves (li-ziyåråt al-
77 As quoted in Crone and Moreh, The Book of Strangers, 165 (see references there). 78 RCEA, 10:7–8 (my translation). See also Sourdel-Thomine, al-Haraw alMaw‚il. 79 RCEA, 10:108. On this expression, see Diem, The Living, 1:338–341. 80 Which He is indeed expected to do, according to Muslim scholars, who generally held the opinion that children will enter paradise without interrogation (Diem, The Living, 1:426–427). 81 Al-Qå al-Fåil (d. 596/1200) uses a similar formula in a letter of condolence to a man who had lost a son (Diem, The Living, 1:342–343). On parental love in Islamic medieval societies, and on the death of children as the severest aiction, see Giladi, The child was small; Diem, The Living, 1:432–444.