Page 266

CONCLUSIONS

249

hmuhu alå al-awåmm wa-l-mutafaqqihn).”4 In the same book, he advises the scholar who endeavors to admonish or teach ‘a group of men’ (obviously of the non-learned) to take good care not to make religious knowledge and exhortation hateful, boring and alienating.5 Many other authors who composed sophisticated scholarly tracts also wrote very accessible texts, obviously intended for lay audiences. Samååt (lists of attendants at the public reading of a text), which record the participation of women and of ‘ordinary’ men of lower social status in classes that were conducted in mosques and madrasas, in shops and in orchards, and at the homes of students and teachers, indicate that commoners were receptive to such materials. Ulamå, whether formally appointed to religious posts, or commanding informal spiritual authority, typically vied for popularity among wide echelons of society, rather than seeking the elevated detachment of the ivory tower. The patronage of sultans and the recognition of fellow scholars did not seem to sufce even for renowned learned men such as the Íanaf preacher and historian Sib† ibn al-Jawz, the Shå muft and kha†b Ibn Abd al-Salåm al-Sulam, and the Óanbal jurist Muwaffaq al-Dn ibn Qudåma. Strikingly, all three of them—to take just a few representative cases—missed no opportunity to reach out to wide and varied audiences. Biographers indulge in descriptions of the admiration and love that ordinary people bestowed on such ulamå. They do not fail to mention the attendance of the åmma (commoners), side by side with the khå‚‚a (elite) at their addresses, conveying the impression that the presence of men of plebeian classes was worthy of notice, and that their appreciation added to the prestige of an ålim. A nice example may be found in the following quotation of Ibn Daqq al-Ûd. Speaking about his master, Izz al-Dn al-Sulam, he says that when al-Sulam’s decision to leave Egypt became known, a mixed crowd of men, women and children, scholars, merchants and workers (muªtarif¨n) would not let him go—“as if he was a prophet leaving his believers”!6 Al-Sulam himself justies special attire for ulamå, notwithstanding its wastefulness and detrimental effect on their humility, by their need to be recognized by commoners. He adds a personal anecdote, recollecting how during the ªajj, when he was dressed in the clothes of the ritually pure

4 5 6

Al-Nawaw, al-Adhkår, 35–37. Al-Nawaw, al-Adhkår, 448–449. Al-Sulam, Óall al-Rum¨z, 91.

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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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