IMPIETY AND RELIGIOUS DISSENT
Ibn al-Adms version is somewhat dierent: he does not mention Maghrib origins, and he locates the rebellion in the mountainous area between Aleppo and Antioch. He accuses the man of claiming to be Cal-mahdD al-muntaar—the awaited savior (Sh undertones are very probable here), promising to subdue his enemies by miraculous means, while leading them to their bitter end.25 This is the little we get to know about rebellious movements that drew men of the lower classes, especially villagers, with some religious message that was most likely combined with social and economic promises. Needless to say, the members of such groups did not record their activities. Contemporaneous chroniclers were probably ill-informed about them, or else preferred to belittle their doings, or perhaps to conceal them altogether. Al-Jawbar tells of the remnants of the disciples of another self-proclaimed prophet of the lower social strata—Isªåq al-Óåris, a keeper in a madrasa, who interpreted the Qurån in his own eccentric way, and assigned religious ritual and law according to his whims. Al-Jawbar adds a curse upon the heads of those men, who, so he says, still compose a sha (faction) in Ammån.26 Ab¨ Shåma mentions an ajam (foreigner, non-Arab), who claimed to be Ûså b. Maryam and corrupted a party of commoners (afsada jaman min al-awåmm) in Damascus. He was crucied by its governor, Sårim al-Dn Burghush, who acted upon a fatwå that found the man deserving death.27 Another man who announced that he was Ûså thirty years later, and acquired some recognition and following from amongst the Damascenes and the inhabitants of nearby villages, seems to have faired better. He retreated in time to one of the villages in the Gh¨†a of Damascus, and was probably left alone. Prior to his dramatic announcement he was known as a shaykh who performed wonders and could make trees bear fruit out of season.28 While the performance of wonders was thought absolutely feasible and valid by medieval Muslim scholars, let alone by commoners, the
mentions the eclipse, but says nothing of these unusual events (Ibn al-Athr, al-Kåmil, 11:433). 25 The soldiers who came to repress the revolt killed the men, captured the women, and set re in the caves that served as hiding places for the remainder of the group (Ibn al-Adm, Zubda, 3:25–26). 26 Al-Jawbar, Kashf, 5–6. For a few other cases of feigned prophets see ibid., 7–11. 27 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 16. 28 Al-Jawbar, Kashf, 15, told in Bosworth, Majn¨n, 113.