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CONCLUSIONS In the preceding chapters, we have combined a textually mediated, ethnographically, oriented study of Syrian mosques of the mid-twelfth to mid-thirteenth centuries, and of the popular assemblies that convened in urban public spaces, in cemeteries, at funerals and pilgrimages, with a more theologically oriented examination of some of the texts produced at that time and place. The resulting observations on the beliefs and practices of medieval Muslims are summarized and presented in the following pages, with some general remarks at the end. First: there were hundreds of mosques and chapels in large cities, while smaller towns, and even villages, boasted of at least one congregational mosque. Zangid and Ayy¨bid rulers displayed their personal piety, their concern for the religious life of their subjects, and—under circumstances distinctive to the crusading period—their contribution to the re-Islamization of the Syrian landscape—through the construction of new mosques and the restoration and embellishment of older ones. Ordinary Muslims also donated money and time for such building projects. Mosque-going, so it seems, was a routine feature of life. Among the public that came to pray were artisans, villagers, soldiers, women and children, along with members of the religious, administrative and ruling elites. Scrupulous attendance at all daily prayers held in the mosque, regardless of health, old-age, weather or political situation; the performance of long supererogatory prayers and painstaking concern for the preservation of the sanctity (ªurma) of the mosque, were hallmarks of the especially pious. So was the custom of spending the day in the mosque, especially on Fridays. Pious men spent much of their time in the mosque every day. Even rural and small urban mosques provided sessions of Qurån and ªadth recitation, a place for contemplation, a favorable atmosphere for begging for alms, and a refuge for wandering ͨfs, ascetics and itinerant preachers. Congregational mosques in large cities, such as Damascus and Aleppo, offered libraries, and an array of occasions for edication and religious indoctrination. The Qurån was recited in those mosques before and after prayers, either by specialists (muqri¨n), or by ordinary members of the community. The participants in some sessions of

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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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