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MOSQUES IN SOCIETY

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and had the means to nance oratories of its own—that could account for the impressive variety of houses of worship surveyed above. This is a conjecture that cannot be ascertained by our souces. In truth, the only hint to such a state of aairs I came across is al-Sulams short discussion of the legitimacy of the construction of a second congregational mosque in a town, while its existing congregational mosque is large enough to accommodate for the Friday noon prayer. Al-Sulam takes into consideration the motivation of the builder: if his intentions are pure (i.e. he aspires to come closer to God) and he does not intend to bring about schism between the devout (tafrq bayna al-muminn), then there is no fault in his action.79 1.2. Communal Ties and the Administration of Mosques Michael Chamberlain describes Damascene society of the later Ayy¨bid and early Maml¨k periods as one with hardly any group solidarities beyond those determined by familial ties and marriage alliances.80 He may be right, yet I mean to question this assertion by searching for the common denominator uniting those who assembled for prayer in a particular neighborhood mosque. It could have been their sectarian or madhhab aliation, or perhaps their native tongue, particular dialect, or descent from a certain village or clan. Otherwise, it may have been a shared admiration for a certain shaykh, a liking for an imåm, or simply geographical proximity. The particularly high number of oratories and mosques in Aleppan quarters known to have accommodated people of several ethnic groups, such as al-Óåir (populated by Turks, Kurds, Bedouin, Iranians, and Iraqis), or al-Råbiya and Jawrat al-Jaål (populated by Kurds, Hawranis, Iranians, and Iraqis)—81 and 175, respectively81—seems to suggest that emigrants from dierent localities formed separate congregations. Let us concentrate rst on madhhab aliation: collect whatever evidence there is on the ramications of this aliation in the arena of the mosque, and try to assess its signicance for congregational organization. It is important to note, that prayer in a one-madhhab

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Al-Sulam, Fatåwå, 397. Chamberlain, Knowledge, 58, 92–93. 81 Eddé, Alep, 436; idem, Origines, 40; idem 1998, 202, see also Gaube and Wirth, Aleppo, 98–103 (with a map, and slightly dierent gures). 80

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