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CHAPTER SEVEN

According to Lev’s evaluation, and Rosenthal’s earlier insights on this matter, the socially involved ascetic was, in general, much more appreciated in Islamic society than the reclusive ascetic.39 Moreover, mild asceticism—the self-denial of pleasures, and the insistence on the simplicity of food and clothing (accompanied, especially in Óanbal circles, by austere abstinence from music and merry-making), humility and unassuming behavior—was considered compatible with life within society. According to the discourse of our sources, it could even go hand-in-hand with successful careers in the administrative or religious establishments.40 At the same time, however, our sources convey ambivalence, reecting also strong admiration towards recluses who imposed upon themselves severe hardships, either by retreating from society altogether, or by living on its margins, on the streets and in cemeteries of cities.41 7.3. Trends in Religious Life Both ͨf-like pietism and Óanbal rigorism and activism had a rm grip on Ayy¨bid society. As George Makdisi demonstrated years ago,42 afliation with both trends at the same time was possible and even common. Differences between them aside, the Óanbal school and moderate Susm had much in common. Both held careful observance of religious law in high regard, especially prayer, and valued pure intention (niyya). Both were hostile to kalåm (rationalistic theology), and had a positive attitude towards the outward expression of religious emotion, and towards asceticism. Óanbals and ͨfs preached introspection and repentance and the fear of God, and did not, at that stage in their history, refrain from contact with the religious and political establishment.43 The two trends underwent growth and empowerment during the Zangid and Ayy¨bid periods. A historical-topographical survey of

39 40 41 42 43

Lev, “Piety,” 310–311; Rosenthal, “I am You,” 53–57. See Hurvitz, “Biographies, 50–75”; Lev, “Piety,” 308. See below. Makdisi, “Susm and Óanbalism,” 115–126; idem, “Óanbalite Islam,” 247–250. See also Ephrat, “From Wayfaring,” 83.

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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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