sultanic piety may be found in Ibn Asåkir’s catalog of N¨r al-Dn’s virtues: an aptitude for religious learning, adherence to the shara (he especially mentions prayer, almsgiving and fasting), modesty and restraint, courage and leadership in battle, justice and generosity.2 The generosity of the two sultans was expressed, in a typical manner, by the funding of religious and public institutions, the establishment of endowments for the benet of the poor and needy, mystics and foreigners; the ransom of slaves and prisoners of war, largesse towards scholars and Qurån reciters who were not necessarily in need; the support of the ªajj, and contribution towards the maintenance of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.3 The close relations maintained by both sultans with the scholarly class, and their receptiveness to the advice and guidance of ulamå are singled out. As Yaacov Lev rightly observes, many of those practices signied not only religious piety, but royal authority and power, and had a prominent political dimension, insofar as they were sources of legitimization of rule.4 The benecence of female members of the ruling houses and of emirs of lesser ranks, as studied in depth by Stephen Humphreys,5 may also have been motivated by the competition for prestige and power within the ranks of the elite. Yet, these practices were clearly regarded as an indication of piety by contemporaries. This must have been the understanding of the historian Ibn Wå‚il, writing about the ruler of Mosul, Izz al-Dn b. Mawd¨d b. Zang: “he was very religious; he built a mosque in his neighborhood, and he used to go and pray there (wa-kåna dayyinan khayyiran, ibtanå bi-jiwårihi masjidan fa-kåna yakhruju ilayhi, wa-yu‚all fhi).”6 Ab¨ Shåma presents in a similar manner the building projects of the emir Badr al-Dn al-Hakkår (d. 615/218–19): a madrasa in Jerusalem and a mosque in the vicinity of Hebron. He mentions those projects immediately after having praised the emir for his religiosity, long prayers, fear of God, and kindness towards the poor and needy.7
2 Lev, Saladin, 6–7. On justice as an accented and publicly demonstrated quality of Zangid and Ayy¨bid rulers, see Rabbat, “Ideaological Signicance,” 4. 3 See Lev, Charity, 28–35. For the function and scope of pious endowments in medieval Middle Eastern cities, see ibid., 68–74. 4 Lev, Charity, 45–52; idem, “Piety,” 309. 5 Humphreys, “Women,” 48–49. Many women, most of whom belonged to the ruling house and to families of emirs, endowed madrasas, mosques, Í¨f lodges and sanctuaries, and showed generosity to the poor (see also Chamberlain, Knowledge, 53; Berkey, Transmission, 144, 161–167; Lev, Charity, 31–32). 6 Ibn Wå‚il, Mufarrij, 3:21. 7 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 108.