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works, and by initiating the translation of relics. N¨r al-Dn, for example, was involved in a variety of construction projects, including a mausoleum in honor of the companion Ab¨ Sulaymån al-Dåran in Dårayyå, the mausoleum of the Sh imåm Yaªyå in Mosul,92 and the renovation of the Seljuq Maqåm Ibråhm south of Aleppo. Ibn Shaddåd reports that this last site, to which also al-åhir Ghåz later contributed, attracted pilgrims of all countries. Since many people wished to be buried in its vicinity, a large cemetery—Maqbarat al-Íåliªn—grew up around it.93 Earlier in his career, in 541/1147, N¨r al-Dn completed the renovation of Mashhad al-Muªassin b. Óusayn on the outskirts of Aleppo. The Sh historian Ibn Ab ayyi concedes that the grave of this obscure “last grandson of Al” was unknown even to the Shs of Aleppo, until discovered by Sayf al-Dawla b. Óamdån (the most important Sh ruler in the history of Aleppo) in 351/926. Since then, it has been repeatedly renovated by Sunn rulers and commoners.94 The question as to whether those Sunn rulers had primarily intended to assert Sunn ‘rights’ to ahl al-bayt, or rather co-opt local Shs and promote peaceful co-existence in Aleppo, needs further study. In the meantime, it merits at least the following short digression. Jean-Michel Mouton asserts that under the earlier B¨rids the cult of relics of the Prophet in Damascus was promoted in a way that was conducive to rapprochement between Sunns and Shs. He also notes that Mashhad Al and Mashhad al-Ras, the most important shrines for Shs in Damascus, which supposedly contained the relics of the martyrs of the massacre at Karbalå (61/680),95 were located within the complex of the great mosque and in the cemetery of Båb al-Íaghr,96

92

Sauvaget, Alep, 124–125; Elisséeff, “Les monuments.” Ibn Shaddåd, al-Alåq, 1:143. On Abraham as the patron saint of Aleppo, see Eddé, Alep, 430; Tabbaa, Constructions, 106–108. Abraham was also venerated in Damascus at “the spot where he saw the star” (s¨ra 6:76), which was considered to be a favorable place for prayer and supplications (Ibn Asåkir, Tarkh, 2:238). On the widespread cult of Abraham throughout Syria and Mesopotamia, see Meri, The Cult, 195–199. 94 See Eddé, Alep, 448–452; RCEA, 9:125 (on the contribution of one Ab¨ Ghanm al-Bazzåz al-Óalab). See translation of the passage quoted from Ibn Ab ayyi, in Meri, The Cult, 159. 95 In Sh collective memory, Damascus was the place of captivity and suffering of the women and children survivors of Karbalå, and the burial place of some of the mutilated bodies of the martyrs (Jalål, Mazåråt, 223–228). 96 Mouton, “Reliques,” 250; Pouzet, Damas, 245–246, Sourdel et Sourdel-Thomine, “Dossiers,” 168–69. On the elusive character of the Sh milieu of twelfth-thirteenth century Damascus, see Mouton, Damas, 341–345. 93

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