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CHAPTER SEVEN

A different face of exemplary piety in the ranks of the military elite is presented by Sib† ibn al-Jawz. In his laudatory necrology of the atåbeg Shihåb al-Dn b. Tughril (d. 631/1233–4), a liberated maml¨k of al-Malik al-åhir, Shihåb al-Dn is described as an ascetic. He is said to have spent the rst third of his nights reading “stories of righteous men and their devotions and good deeds (ªikåyåt al-‚åliªn wa-aªwål al-nås wa-maªåsinihim).” After short sleep, he would rise again in order to pray and recite the Qurån for the rest of the night.8 The emir Al ibn al-Salår, who repeatedly served as amr al-ªajj, used to weep with all his heart at sermons. His piety is implicitly alluded to by the renowned ascetic Rab al-Mardn, who chose him, of all people, to wash and prepare his corpse for burial. Furthrmore, the dying shaykh used his wondrous powers to bring the emir to his side in the nick of time.9 In a narrative that is at once both touching and hard-to-stomach, Ab¨ Shåma portrays the venerable piety of another maml¨k, a young Turk, as revealed under the most extreme imaginable circumstances: the painful forty eight hours of his dying on the cross, on one of the thoroughfares of Damascus. Ab¨ Shåma, who claims that he was crucied for killing his master in self-defense, highlights the young man’s ne record as a ghter of jihåd, his rm religiosity, and his tranquility, courage, forbearance, and resignation to God’s decree.10 The pious scholar, namely, the ålim whose perfect way of life rather than the magnitude of his learning was exemplary,11 appears as a humble ascetic, immersed in prayer and other devotions, benecent (mufd) to his students and fellow men, compassionate and generous. The Óanbal and pro-Óanbal authors who raised Ab¨ Umar (the shaykh of the Íåliªiyya neighborhood during the last decades of the twelfth century)12 to the rank of saintliness, stress his care for the community and his scrupulous devotion to socio-religious obligations. They mention that he visited the sick, provided the poor with food and clothing, attended

8

Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:685. See, in contrast, the ridiculing of the extremely shortened prayer of “the Turks” in Jerusalem (p. 113 n. 20, above). See also al-Nawaw, al-Tibyån, 32–33, on the merits of nocturnal reading of the Qurån. 9 Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:579; Morray, Ayyubid Notable, 104. 10 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 180–181. 11 Such as the Óanbal Shaykh Imåd al-Dn, who “did not nd time for writing because of his devotion to study and good works—wa-lå-kåna yatafarraghu li-l-ta‚ånf min kuthrat ishtighålihi wa-ashghålihi” (Dhahab, Siyar, 22:48). 12 See p. 97, above.

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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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