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CHAPTER ONE

The assistant (nåib) of the muªtasib of Aleppo, al-Kamål b. alAjam, took refuge in the citys congregational mosque in Shabån 629/1232. He feared an angry crowd, protesting a rise in the price of bread. The head of the local militia (muqaddim al-aªdåth) protected him in the mosque, while the mob pelted his house with stones and smashed his dakka (bench).126 Earlier, the Sh poet Aªmad b. Munr al-aråbuls (d. 548/1153), having heard that the ruler of Damascus Ismål b. B¨r was threatening him with execution on account of a poem he had written, hid in the congregational mosque, waiting for an occasion to leave the city in safety.127 Al-Malik al-Afal sought temporary refuge in Masjid Khåt¨n of Damascus in 592/1196 with his family, after being compelled to give up his position as ruler of the city to his uncle, al-Malik al-Ådil.128 The group of Óanbal emigrants, who had left Mt. Nåblus in the 1160s so as not to live under Frankish rule, spent their rst three years in Damascus in the mosque of Ab¨ Íåliª. Members of the local Óanbal community had oered them this asylum. The conditions of living in the crowded mosque must have been very poor: ¤iyå al-Dn al-Maqdis, the family historian of Ban¨ Qudåma, reports that forty of their people, mainly children, fell ill and died during one month.129 Wandering ascetics sought short-term refuge in mosques. They had to count on local hospitality, and were not always equally lucky. In an anecdote about the ras of one of the villages of Mt. Nåblus who went on an errand to Nåblus, the narrator tells of his meeting with three fuqarå (poor men, or ͨfs) in the Friday-mosque of the town. It occurred towards the end of the day, and since nobody came to bring them anything, he went to the market and spent there a dnår he had with him, to buy them bread and something to go with it. In return for the food, the ras asked the three to pray for him. He later found out from his village shaykh, that he had had the good fortune to feed the very people who uphold the earth.130

126

Ibn al-Adm, Zubda, 3:212; Sauvaget considers this event as unusual—Aleppo at that period was usually peaceful (Sauvaget, Alep, 136, n. 474). 127 Ibn al-Adm, Bughya, 3:1155. 128 Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Miråt, 8:442. On the historical circumstances, see Humphreys, From Saladin, 101–102. 129 Ibn ¨l¨n, al-Qalåid, 1:68. 130 See the full story in Talmon-Heller, Cited Tales, 22–23. Typically, the status of awliyå is hidden from the eyes of ordinary men (sometimes even from themselves), but recognized by their own kind. For Muwaaq al-Dn ibn Qudåmas

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

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

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