When I began this blog, one of my main ideas was to share some fruits of my readings of medieval and early modern Arabic biographical literature. With this post I will begin a series of shorter posts that returns to this idea. I could think of no bette…
Markiert: Mamluk Damascus
Ibn Tulun’s chronicle Mufākahat al-Khillān contains a curious anecdote, in which a man from “the lands of Ḥasan Bāk” comes to Damascus and just takes over the Kujujāniyya Khānqāh, which was in the hands of one of the most powerful men in town, the Shāfiʿī chief judge Shihāb al-Dīn Ibn al-Farfūr. [Rajab 892] In this month, a man came from the lands of Ḥasan Bāk and presents confirmed documents from the highest ranks of the family (dhurriya) of the endower of the Kujujāniyya Khānqāh; he wanted to … Continue reading Comes a man from the East
In my article “Between Beirut, Cairo, and Damascus: Al-amr bi-al-maʿrūf and the Sufi/Scholar Dichotomy in the Late Mamluk Period (1480s–1510s)” I proposed that several groups named in the sources as Sufis could have resembled paramilitary groups. They were viewed as cohesive bodies of men exactly because they would act as such in military conflicts, being called upon or pledging allegiance to one faction or other. In fact, their twofold impact on military efforts, both by preaching and waging jihād, must have made them appear … Continue reading Sufis in war: an update
The funding period of the research cluster Dyntran: Dynamics of Transmission draws to a close very soon. The exchanges in this cluster have proven influential on my research since its inception in 2015. The focus on the social and especially familial contexts of writing has become a core element of several recent publications. As I am currently working on the chapter for the final edited volume in which I try to develop these ideas further, I have revisited Ibn Tulun’s own familial network. It … Continue reading How important was Ibn Tulun’s uncle Yusuf?
Finally, Mamluk Studies 15: “Mamluk Historiography Revisited – Narratological Perspectives” is out. The edited volume brings together twelve articles on perspectives on specific works or larger clusters of works. My own contribution, “The Changing Legacy of a Sufi Shaykh: Narrative Constructions in Diaries, Chronicles, and Biographies (15th–17th Centuries)”, investigates the development of how knowledge on one specific person was shaped and adapted with growing temporal distance. The person in question was introduced here in several posts during February 2018: Mubārak al-Qābūnī al-Ḥabashī. The article adds … Continue reading New Publication on Narratology in Arabic Historiography
Reading two articles on Medium, one about rat kings and another about an early car named by its creator Horsey Horseless and which featured “a life-size replica of a horse head, down to the shoulders, and attaching it to the front of a carriage“, I got into thinking. I have to add here that I am no specialist in this field. More specifically, together these articles made me wonder what did Medieval Damascenes do with their garbage and how did they avoid to have recurrent garbage … Continue reading Medieval Damascus: Was there no garbage problem ever?
This week I return to Garret Davidson’s dissertation on post-canonical ḥadīth transmission. Davidson offers a wonderful overview of the genres involved in establishing elevated, i.e. short, chains of transmission and the status that these brought for people who had access to them. While these genres could amount to very different scopes and sizes, it is safe to say that in this context small-scale hadith collections occupied a central position. These often would include the most elevated and thus sought-after chains a well-aged transmitter had … Continue reading Teaching ḥadīth: Ibn Ṭūlūn and the Thulāthiyyāt genre