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personal heavenly recompense. At the same time, they sought after baraka (blessing) emanating from holy men and from anything they had touched—clothes, water, food, books, and graves. The Qurån, rst and foremost a text for study and for liturgical recitation, was also used as an amulet against evil by all Muslims. Certain Qurånic verses were known to the learned and to the illiterate alike to be particularly benecial in cases of danger, illness, or temptation, and were recited by men in need, or vocalized by their shaykh for them.23 Commoners frequented study circles—the names of ‘ordinary’ men and women regularly appear in samååt (lists documenting the names of those attendant at the reading of religious texts). We may presume that at least some of them came even if they could not follow the lecture, motivated not only by the high status of learning in Islamic culture, but also by the notion that occupation with the religious sciences (ul¨m al-dn) was pregnant with baraka. It was held to be available for all in attendance, including passive participants,24 and even the dead. Therefore, men who could afford it located their mausolea as close as possible to madrasas, and founders of madrasas made plans to be buried in the institutions of learning they had patronized, and brought their relatives to burial within them for the same reason.25 The performance of the ªajj (more so of multiple ªajjs), accompanying elderly parents (especially mothers) on the pilgrimage, and spending time in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina were positive signs of religiosity, and sources of pride.26 The ªajj was considered as such a great blessing, that those remaining behind would go out to receive the returning caravan and touch the pilgrims in hope of attaining something of the baraka that surrounded them.27 For men and women who could not afford pilgrimage to Mecca, and probably also for many who could, visits to local holy sites (on a regular basis, or on special occasions), their routine upkeep through the contribution of money, goods, or labor, and the partaking in the establishment of new sanctuaries—were appreciated in a similar manner. The visitation of


See Shaykh Ibn al-Qawåm al-Bålis, for example (Subk, abaqåt, 8:408). Ibn al-Íalåª, Muqaddima, 370; Chamberlain, Knowledge, 122. On the participation of the illiterate in a culture of literacy, see Chartier, “Appropriation,” 241. 25 Humphreys, “Women,” 38–49; Richards, Rare and Excellent, 3. 26 See Subk, abaqåt, 8:405; Ibn al-Adm, Bughya, 2:922; Morray, Ayyubid Notable, 28; Eddé, Alep, 420; pp. 113 and 164, above. 27 Ibn Jubayr, Riªla, 286. 24

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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