IMPIETY AND RELIGIOUS DISSENT
(he is said to have declared that the loss of both his eyes would be a trie price for him to pay for the achievement of that mission).17 But usually, chroniclers delight in exposing both the impiety of men who heed to the advice of astrologers, and the falsity of their expertise. Sib† ibn al-Jawz, for example, writes that a pair of astrologers governed alMalik al-Íåliª Ismål and directed his abominable actions, until God ruined the three of them. Likewise, the forecast of the Jewish astrologer of al-Amjad Bahramshåh of Balabakk that he would take hold of Damascus was cruelly refuted: Bahramshåh was assassinated on the very hour that was supposed to be propitious for him (såa sada).18 Ab¨ Shåma explains that only men of weak faith and little condence in God (man lå wuth¨q lahu bi-l-yaqn wa-lå-iªkåm lahu f al-dn) were frightened by a prophecy of astrologers from dierent countries, who claimed that in 581/1186, under a special astronomical constellation, the world will undergo a severe disaster. Other chroniclers treat the story more sarcastically, making fun of the poor wretches who made preparations and built refuges. They specišcally mention a Damascene who planned to hide with his family in a cave in Mt. Qåsy¨n, having thought that only cave dwellers will survive that day.19 Imåd al-Dn al-I‚fahån indulges in a description of the peaceful evening he spent in the company of the sultan on that supposedly fateful date.20 A similar proof of the folly of astrologers was articulated by the unidentied author of al-Bustån al-Jåmi. He tells of Sudanese and Berber soldiers in Cairo, who were tempted to believe in the prediction of the astrologer Ibn al-Sinba† that they would take hold of Cairo on a certain night in 588/1192. On the predicted date they took up arms, looted stores and freed Frankish prisoners of war (so that they would help them), while crying out Sh slogans. The rebels and the munajjim were put to death.21
17 Ab¨ Shåma, al-Rawatayn, 2:92, 94, 119–120; Sivan, The Sanctity, 293–294. Ibn al-Adm also tells of a successful prediction based on ilm al-nuj¨m, one regarding the volatile career of the bookbinder Khålid al-Makhz¨m (Ibn al-Adm, Bughya, 7:3096–3101). 18 Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:788, 667. 19 Ab¨ Shåma, al-Rawatayn, 2:131–133; Cahen, Chronique, 145–146. 20 al-Bundar, Sanå al-Barq al-Shåm, 283. For a thorough overview of the forecasts of western and eastern astronomers and astrologers regarding September 1186 see Weltecke, Die Konjunktion. For other strategies of the opponents of astrology, see Langerman, Maimonides, 141. 21 Cahen, Chronique, 150.