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was explicitly mentioned in traditions relating to the merits of the place, and quoted in geographical and other literature.37 Al-Muqaddas’s geographical treatise, Aªsan al-Taqåsm f Marifat al-Aqålm (The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions), which appeared in 375/986, for example, begins as follows: “Syria is the abode of the Prophets, the habitation of the righteous, the home of the successors of the Prophet . . . It contains the rst qibla, the scene of the day of the resurrection, and of the night journey of the Prophet.”38 Al-Muqaddas mentions specic sites in connection with some twenty prophets and ‚aªåba, and two relics of the Prophet.39 The rst anthologies of faåil al-shåm (the merits of Syria), a territory stretching from the Euphrates to the southern shore of the Mediterranean (“min al-Furåt ilå al-Arsh”),40 abound with sayings in praise of the land as an idealized entity, and in praise of its people. They say conspicuously little about specic sites, aside for Jerusalem, Hebron (al-Khall), Bethlehem and Damascus. This holds true for the works of al-Wåsi†, Al b. Muªammad al-Raba41 and Ibn al-Murajjå—(all written in the rst half of the eleventh century), which also mention other locales, but without specic detail. The authors of the Ayy¨bid period, a century or two later, supply considerably more information about the sanctity of specic Syrian sites; albeit information which they often question, or even reject as inauthentic. Kitåb al-Ishåråt f Marifat al-Ziyåråt by Ab¨ Bakr al-Haraw (d. 611/1215), and the geographical lexicon Mujam al-Buldån by Yåq¨t (d. 626/1228), demonstrate this phenomenon. A typical example is al-Haraw’s treatment of a tradition (undated, of course) that ‘sets’ the Arab prophet Íåliª within the precincts of a shrine near Qinnasrn (in northern Syria). He writes: “The truth is that Íåliª was in the land of Yemen, and that his tomb is in Shabwa.”42 Ibn al-Adm suggests that the mistaken tradition originates from the fact that the name of the 37

Kister, “Sanctity,” 42; Von Grunebaum, “Sacred Character.” Al-Muqaddas, Aªsan, 151, 184; trans. in Collins, Best Divisions, 128, 155. 39 Al-Muqaddas, Aªsan, 151, 156, 160, 167, 170, 172–73, 178; trans. in Collins, Best Divisions, 128, 133, 137, 141, 143, 144, 149. 40 Al-Raba, Faåil, 11. 41 Compare the chapter about the virtues of al-Shåm and its people (where no specic site is mentioned) with the chapter in praise of Damascus, which associates saintly gures—al-Khair, Yaªyå b. Zakariyyå, H¨d, M¨så, Maryam, Ûså, Ibråhm, etc.—with specic loci in and about the city (al-Raba, Faåil, 30–35, 50, 51, 56, 69). About this work, see Cobb, “Virtual Sacrality.” 42 Meri, Lonely Wayfarer, 16–17, 44–45. 38

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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