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as if personifying the radical ͨf maxim die ˜become dead to this world· prior to your death (m¨t¨ qabla an tam¨t¨). While for some of the people of Damascus he was recognized as a saint who had reached the ultimate ͨf goals of absolute poverty ( faqr) and self-annulment ( fanå), for others he was a mindless wretch.70 Al al-Kurd provoked similarly ambivalent reactions. Some found in his lthy clothes proof of his neglect of ablutions and prayer, while others saw them as an indication of his pious renunciation of this world. The latter believed that al-Kurd possessed wondrous powers. The Egyptian ͨf Íaf al-Dn b. Ab al-Man‚¨r, who met him in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus when he was a child of ten, was struck by his unusual appearance and wild behavior. At the time, Al al-muwallah frightened the child by throwing apples at him, but years later Íaf al-Dn gave this bizarre episode a predictive meaning, as if the strange man had initiated him into the world of Susm, to which he was to remain deeply committed until the end of his life.71 Shaykh Y¨suf al-Qamn (or al-Iqmn), homeless, bare headed and lthy, his overlong robe sweeping the streets, appears in the biographical dictionaries of scholars as a madman who was constantly in the state of ritual impurity (najåsa), neither prayed nor fasted. Property-less men of his kind were exempt from almsgiving. His biographers admit that some people, commoners and others, believed in his extraordinary power to perceive things hidden from the regular eye, and treated him as if he were a saint.72 Improper and provocative clothing was undoubtedly understood as an expression of revolt against established norms and authorities, and perceived as threatening to social identities and boundaries.73 Those concepts seem to be inherent in al-Nawaws assertion that un-Islamic attire impairs ones prayer, and in al-Sulams objection to arranging the marriage of a girl to a Muslim who does not pray regularly, or wears 70

See Karamustafa, Gods Unruly Friends, 21. Ibn Ab al-Man‚¨r, al-Risåla, 14–15, 34–36, 87; Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:638. Compare to the eccentric behavior of Symeon of Emesa, a typical representative of the Byzantine fool for Christs sake, who threw nuts at people praying in church, and kissed school boys, thus marking those who would die of plague (Syrkin, The Behavior, 153). 72 Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:638; Dhahab, Siyar, 23:302–303; Pouzet, Damas, 224; Ibn al-Kathr, al-Bidåya, 1988, 13:216–17. For a more sympathetic biography see al-Y¨nn, Dhayl, 1:348. 73 See Karamustafa, Gods Unruly Friends, 18–19, on the coiure, apparel and paraphernalia of antinomian derwishes. 71

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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