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CHAPTER ONE

Al-Íåliª also contributed to the erection of a mosque in the village of Buzåa in 567/1171, coming to the aid of local residents (bimusåadat ahl al-balad) who, most likely, were unable to shoulder all the costs on their own. He could still aord the construction of a congregational mosque in Tall Båshir, northeast of Aleppo.36 After establishing his rule in Damascus, Saladin renovated three of its mosques. More importantly, perhaps, he converted or restored churches into mosques in cities that had been conquered from the Franks. Under his orders, a minbar (preachers pulpit) and miªrab (prayer niche) were abruptly designed for the Cathedral of the Sacred Cross in Acre in July 583/1187, in preparation for the rst Fridaynoon prayer performed in the coastal plain since the day of defeat (awwal juma uqmat f al-Såªil bada yawm al-kasra).37 Shortly afterwards, Saladins emir Óusåm al-Dn b. Laj¨n uncovered the miªråb of Mashhad Zakariyyå, a sanctuary in the vicinity of Nåblus that had been used by the Franks as a church. The Frankish churches of Ramla, Hebron, Gaza and Tars¨s were also converted into mosques, as were the Frankish Cathedral of Tripoli and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Beirut,38 and the smaller churches of the villages of Óarastå and al-Mizza in the Gh¨†a of Damascus.39 In all probability, such conversions entailed no more than the removal of the most disturbing Christian symbols and the addition of a miªråb and minbar.40 During 543/1148–9, at a time of heightened tension between Sunns and Shs in Aleppo, one of those renewed mosques went through yet another conversion. N¨r al-Dn, in a series of steps taken in order to weaken the Shs of Aleppo, removed the building from the hands of the local Sh community, and turned it into a Óanaf 36

Ibn Shaddåd, Description, 65. Ibn Wå‚il, Mufarrij, 2:201. The mosque (or mashhad) of Ayn al-Baqar, east of Acre, did not undergo such conversions—according to Al al-Haraw, the Franks refrained from turning it into a church thanks to Al ibn Ab ålib, who threatened the Frankish guard placed there with destrucion (Meri, Lonely Wayfarer, 44–45). Ibn Jubayr, who visited the mosque, reports that worshippers of all three religions prayed there (Ibn Jubayr, Riªla, 303). 38 Hillenbrand, The Crusades, 374–375. 39 These were turned into mosques by the vizier of al-Malik al-Ådil, Ibn Shukr (d. 607/1210). Earlier, the Sh qå Ab¨ al-Óasan Muªammad ibn al-Khashshåb (d. 519/1165) turned four of the six Aleppan churches into mosques in retaliation for a particularly cruel (but abortive) Frankish siege on the city, that took place in 518/1124–5 (Ibn al-Adm, Bughya, 1:62; Ibn Shaddåd, al-Alåq 1:126, 140; Sauvaget, Aleppo, 127). 40 Tabbaa, Monuments, 225. 37

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

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