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INTRODUCTION

norms of religious life were negotiated among various groups, and were constructed and disseminated in society. I have chosen to concentrate on the institutions that were open to all believers rather than on those designed primarily for ‘professionals’. As is well known, in formal settings such as mosques, funerals and assemblies of exhortation, expressions of piety may be highly formalized, even routinized, and dependent upon communal gathering. But the same formal settings may also be the site of lone individual acts of devotion, sometimes highly informal and unstructured.2 Needless to say, spontaneous outbursts of religious feeling, and expressions of love, praise (ªamd), and submission to God, can take place in other settings as well. No separate chapters are devoted to the madrasa or the ͨf khånqåh (though they appear many times in my work), despite the signicance of those institutions in the religious life of the medieval Middle East. In Syria, the popularization of the madrasa, so eloquently presented by Jonathan Berkey, in the last chapter of his Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo,3 seems to have occurred, if at all, after the Maml¨k take-over. As to ͨf lodges—ribå†s, zåwiyas and khånqåhs—there is little evidence of life within their walls, or of their inuence on society at large, although our sources portray many individual ͨfs and their interaction with other elements in society. The regrettable absence of chapters on religiosity at the marketplace and the private home is due to the dearth of relevant source material. The rst part of the book, following this introduction, concentrates on mosques in sixth/twelfth-seventh/thirteenth century Syria: the renowned pilgrimage centers of Jerusalem, the important congregational mosques and educational centers of Damascus and Aleppo, obscure neighborhood mosques, tiny oratories, and peripheral village mosques. It commences with a survey of mosques and their founders, an assessment of mosque attendance, and an analysis of the motivations of mosque builders and mosque goers. The makeup of congregations that assembled together in mosques, and the mechanisms by which these institutions were administered, are discussed at some length. The following sections deal with the manifold functions of mosques. Besides their obvious function as prayer-houses, mosques

2 3

Kinsley, “Devotion.” Berkey, Transmission, 191.

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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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