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humble standing: the unlettered shaykhs of Mt. Nåblus, the imåms of village mosques, the lesser itinerant wuå. Those gures—in a paraphrase of Berkey’s eloquent assessment of the role of ‘popular ͨfs’ in Maml¨k society—were not held in considerable esteem as paradigms of resistance to dominant Islamic authorities, nor did they pose a challenge to the authority of the more institutional ulamå. On the contrary, as is demonstrated by the case of the Óanbal shaykh of Mt. Qåsy¨n in the early seventh/thirteenth century, Imåd al-Dn al-Maqdis. Ordinary people (al-nås) looked up to him precisely because he was taken as a role-model of a pious Muslim, living humbly according to the prescriptions of the shara; teaching Qurån, correcting their manner of prayer, admonishing them for their sins, and praying to God for their remission.8 By contrast, as Karamustafa has shown, the antinomian rough ͨfs of the Óarriyya or Qalandariyya, the ‘fools for God’ and the malåmat ‘blame-seekers’9 drew at least some of their followers from elite classes.10 Evidently, the heightened religious tension of the era of the Christian crusades and Islamic counter-crusade in the Middle East created not only social solidarity and conformity, but also quests for alternative, if not rebellious religious venues among the learned, and a need for a stronger sense of belonging among segments of society with little or no access to learning. Those currents were, however, successfully marginalized by the upholders of mainstream modes of religious life: those based on high-regard for the demands of the shara and the authority of Qurån and ªadth as interpreted by ulamå. Such mainstream modes accommodated ͨf-like asceticism and saint worship on the one hand, and Óanbal rigorism and activism on the other. The result was an outlook successfully disseminated in all echelons of society thanks to its highly inclusive character, and to the efcient activity of its agents in the central arenas of the mosque, the cemetery, the shrine, and the public assembly of exhortation.


Dhahab, Siyar, 22:48–50. The latter two categories are drawn from the typology of Geoffroy, as summarized in Homerin, “Study of Islam,” 19–20. 10 Berkey, “Popular Culture,” 143; Massignon, “Óarriyya.” 9

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Jsrc 007 talmon heller islamic piety in medieval syria mosques, cemeteries and sermons under the zan  

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