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CHAPTER ONE

congregation was not a matter of legal necessity, and prayer behind an imåm aliated with a madhhab other than ones own was perfectly valid. In the thirteeth century, the Friday congregational prayer in the great mosque of Damascus was led by a single imåm (referred to as imåm al-jåmi, or imåm al-miªråb), nominated by the head-qå. He was usually aliated with the school of law of the contemporaneous ruler.82 The daily prayers in the great mosque, in contrast with the Friday noon-prayer, were performed in several separate enclosures and oratories, and led by imåms of all four schools of law.83 This was not an unusual arrangement—by that time, many congregational mosques had a main miªråb in the qibla wall, usually assigned to the predominant rite or that favored by the ruler, and smaller prayer niches in the same wall or enclosures elsewhere—for the other rites.84 At one point—following the commotion that ensued when a popular Óanbal scholar, Abd al-Ghan al-Maqdis (d. 600/1203), was accused of heretical doctrines and condemned to exile from Damascus—the separate prayer of the Óanbals in the congregational mosque of Damascus was abolished by the ruling authorities.85 Seventeen years later, the Óanbals were again accorded the right of separate prayer in the great mosque. Moreover, they nally received a proper miªråb, instead of an area enclosed by bookcases, which they had earlier.86 In 635/1238, the Ayy¨bid ruler al-Malik al-Kåmil made another attempt to interfere with those arrangements. He ordered that the evening prayer (‚alåt al-maghrib) in the congregational mosque be performed in a single congregation, so as to avoid chaos and confusion (tashwsh). His regulations seem to have been disregarded shortly thereafter, however, and the multiplicity of imåms and praying congregations continued to characterize the congregational mosque of Damascus well into the Maml¨k period.87

82 Mouton, Damas, 362–365. The call to prayer was pronounced according to the custom of that same madhhab. 83 Ibn Shaddåd, al-Alåq—Dimashq, 81. For the exact location of the miªråb of each school in early fourteenth century, see al-Umar, Masålik, 1:195. 84 Jarrar, S¨q al-Marifa, 92. In late twelfth-century Mecca, according to Ibn Jubayr, members of each of the schools of law prayed in a dierent part of the mosque, in the following order: Shås, Måliks, Óanafs, and Óanbals (Ibn Jubayr, Riªla, 101–02). 85 See Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 46–47; Ibn Rajab, Dhayl, 2:22. 86 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 105–106. 87 Ab¨ Shåma, Taråjim, 166. See the description of the great mosque by al-Umar, in al-Munajjid, Madnat Dimashq, 238.

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