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MOSQUES IN SOCIETY

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Still, the historical sources show that under special circumstances the public associated with a certain mosque would act in concert in order to protect or advance its particular interests. In Aleppo, a mutawall was obliged to open his account book and defend himself before the citys governor as a result of the pressure of a congregation that complained that he had squandered the endowments of their mosque on an unnecessary new water system. The mutawall claimed that the money spent was actually the present of an anonymous philanthropist, and not part of the regular endowments.109 In another case, during Ramaån of 528/1134, an angry crowd protested the discharge of the imåm Ismål b. Faåil al-Badls (d. 535/1141) from the congregational mosque of Damascus, after thirty years of service, because of his leaning towards tashbh (anthropomorphism).110 Unfortunately, there are no further details about the circumstances of al-Badlss discharge, nor about his enemies. But we hear of later Damascene congregations that demanded from their imåms that they hold the controversial prayer of al-raghåib contrary to the better judgment of scholars, and against explicit fatwås on this issue. According to Ab¨ Shåma—one of the scholars who moralized at length against the prayers—the pressure was so strong that some imåms felt threatened, and complied so as not to lose their jobs.111 1.3. Public and Charitable Functions of Mosques In an abortive attempt to avoid the entrance of ritually impure men and women, dhimms and madmen into the mosque, al-Shayzar writes against the use of the mosque as a qås court. He is also apprehensive lest the crowd watching the trial divides into two camps, quarrels and makes noise.112 In Damascus, however, qås did carry out their work in congregational mosques (as well as in dår al-adl—initially intended for sessions of al-naar f al-maålim (the review of complaints, by the ruler, or by his delegate)113 and probably also at home and on the precincts of madrasas). Al-Umar 109

Ibn Shaddåd, al-Alåq, 1:109. Ibn al-Adm, Bughya, 4:1745. 111 Ab¨ Shåma, al-Båith, 209, 224–225. See a detailed analysis of this conict, pp. 63–66, below. 112 Shayzar, Nihåyat al-Rutba, 113–114. 113 Eddé, Alep, 214–215. On this institution, see Nielsen, Secular Justice. 110

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