MOSQUES IN SOCIETY
stained with his blood. It was moved to Damascus from Tiberias in 500/1107 (or from Maarrat al-Numån in 492/1098, according to another version), in order to keep it safe from the Franks, and was placed in an appropriate special case. Its baraka was reconrmed in 543/1148, during the siege the armies of the Second Crusade set on Damascus, when it was brought in a procession to the mosques courtyard to enhance the ecacy of a special mass prayer that was held there. Men, women and children gathered around it bareheaded, and raised their supplications to God.145 In 680/1282, under the threat of a second Mongol attack, the Uthmån codex and some other copies of the Qurån were taken out on processions in Damascus and Balabakk. The holy books were held above the peoples heads, surrounded by preachers, Qurån reciters and muezzins. In ordinary times, the Uthmån codex was taken out of its case daily, and people within the mosque crowded around it, to touch it and kiss it.146 Two other Quråns known to be blessed with special baraka were held in small localities in northern Syria. Óisn Muthaqqab was home to a Qurån allegedely copied by the hand of the righteous Umayyad Caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Azz, who had established the fortress; the coastal town of Antartus (al-ar†¨s) took pride in another personal Qurån of the caliph Uthmån.147
145 Meri, The Cult, 115; Mouton, Reliques, 247–50, idem, Damas, 84. On the veneration of ancient scrolls of the Torah, see Kraemer, Jewish Cult, 592. 146 Meri, Lonely Wayfarer, 32–33; Ibn Jubayr, Riªla, 268: al-Y¨nn, Dhayl, 4:92–93; Meri, The Cult, 116. Sib† ibn al-Jawz mentions the belief in attaining blessing through the sight of the codex—al-tabarruk bi-naar al-mu‚ªaf (Miråt, 8:4); Mouton, Reliques, 251, n.25; Ibn al-Qalånis, Dhayl, 298). A few unusually large pages of another Uthmån codex, also thought to carry bloodstains of the murdered caliph, were kept in Cordova (until the middle of the twelfth century) in a cabinet at the qibla wall, and routinely taken out and read from the miªråb (Soucek, Material Culture, 302). 147 Wheatly, The Places, 119–120.