Verschlagwortet: Ottoman Damascus

The Fijeh Water Project and the Cholera Epidemic in 1903 Damascus

By Benan Grams. On June 30th, 1903 Sultan Abdulhamid II approved a project to bring potable water to Damascus from the Ein el-Fijeh spring. The project was presented to the central government by Nazim Pasha, the governor of Syria, during a persistent cholera epidemic that afflicted Damascus throughout that year.

Aḥmad Ḥasībī-zādeh and Ibn Ṭūlūn MTMs

Last year, my article on different modes of transmission of Ibn Ṭūlūn manuscripts was published in the Journal of Islamic Manuscripts. One figure that was ostentatiously involved in the certification of the manuscripts Chester Beatty Library, MS Ar. 3101 and Staatsbibliothek, MS Landberg 704, I could not identify by that time. He inscribed himself on the title pages of both manuscripts as Aḥmad Efendī Ḥasībī-zādeh in the year 1265/1849. Today, we revisit the identity of this person. First, in both cases Ḥasībī-zādeh’s full note reads as … Continue reading Aḥmad Ḥasībī-zādeh and Ibn Ṭūlūn MTMs

An owner of Ibn Ṭūlūn manuscripts: ʿAbd al-Salām al-Shaṭṭī

As Ibn Ṭūlūn wrote several hundred works and did so almost five hundred years ago by now, it stands to reason that the corresponding manuscripts might have changed hands several times over since their creation. Moreover, later readers, owners, and book traders were instrumental in the survival and recognition of those manuscripts as Ibn Ṭūlūn’s. This post explores one of those people whose personal collections included such manuscripts. A small composite manuscript of four Ibn Ṭūlūn texts is now kept at the Egyptian National … Continue reading An owner of Ibn Ṭūlūn manuscripts: ʿAbd al-Salām al-Shaṭṭī

How important was Ibn Tulun’s uncle Yusuf?

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?

New Publication on the transmission of Ibn Tulun manuscripts

The Journal of Islamic Manuscripts has just published its newest iteration, a special issue on manuscript notes. The editor Boris Liebrenz is well-known as an authority on this “marginal” topic. My contribution looks in particular at four manuscripts today held at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and traces their historical trajectories from Ibn Ṭūlūn’s original book endowment until their acquisition by Chester Beatty. As has been mentioned before on this blog, Ibn Ṭūlūn’s multiple-text manuscripts share a particular feature, which is their title page which includes … Continue reading New Publication on the transmission of Ibn Tulun manuscripts

On the governor’s court in Late Mamluk Damascus

In the coming week, the German Historical Institute in Paris hosts a conference on new court history. Organized by Pascal Firges (DHIP) und Regine Maritz (Walter Benjamin Kolleg, Bern), “Towards a New Political History of the Court, c. 1200‒1800” will attempt, from comparative perspectives, to delineate “Practices of Power in Gender, Culture, and Sociability” (here is the direct link to the CfP). The conference will be structured around eight themes, moving from “Global Historical and Transcultural Perspectives” through “Gender”, two panels on “Bodies, Sexuality, and … Continue reading On the governor’s court in Late Mamluk Damascus

Let’s talk survival bias

How many manuscript copies were produced of any given texts? How many were circulating at any given time? When were they lost, discarded or destroyed?  How often are the works penned on their pages cited in other texts by the same or different authors? These questions lie at the very heart of our epistemology and are usually subsumed under the term ‘survival bias’. Works that survive longer obviously have a greater chance at being read, recited, reproduced, acknowledged. And it is today commonly assumed … Continue reading Let’s talk survival bias

An ijāza for Ibn Mufliḥ

Akmal al-Dīn, a scion of the prominent Ḥanbalī Ibn Mufliḥ family, was mentioned here several times before and was probably the most visible of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s students in terms of engagement with his writings. Ibn Mufliḥ copied them, annotated and rubricated them, and also added material to some of them. Among the evidence of their student-teacher relationship survives an ijāza Ibn Ṭūlūn penned for Ibn Mufliḥ after the latter’s discussion of some chains of transmission he had received from him (for the transcripts, see … Continue reading An ijāza for Ibn Mufliḥ

Ijāzas or Samāʿāt?

Almost a year ago, I first wrote about Ibn Ṭūlūn’s teaching certificates (ijāzāt) and made a somewhat loose promise: I could identify five teaching certificates (ijāza) in Ibn Ṭūlūn’s handwriting. The four I have seen are between two and five pages long and were all written between 922/1516 and 943/1536. I hope to present all of them here in the near future. In the meantime, one more item has received an entry and in March 2018 I finally got my hands on the final … Continue reading Ijāzas or Samāʿāt?

The history of MS Tarikh Taymur 631: vol. 1 of al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya

Still these Cairene manuscripts. Among others, they have one volume of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s biographical dictionary, al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya fī tarājim mutaʾakhkhirī al-ḥanafiyya. The British Library holds the second volume of the work. I have spoken about this work before here and here. Also, Guy Burak made use of an Istanbuli copy of it in his dissertation, The Abū Ḥanīfah of his time? Islamic Law, Jurisprudential Authority and Empire in the Ottoman Domains (16th-17th Centuries).As can be seen from the collections where they are held nowadays, the different volumes … Continue reading The history of MS Tarikh Taymur 631: vol. 1 of al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya

Biography of a Crustacian

Sometimes, I just wish I could follow all those leads that Ibn Ṭūlūn has dispersed amongst his many works… . Well, maybe in another project. I have pointed it out before that Early Modern Damascene biographers might secretly have been jokers or a little bit too fond of animal life. Wouldn’t it be enjoyable just to explore that in more detail? For those who plan to do so, definitely check out the Blog Colonizing Animals, and in particular its annotated Beastly Bibliography. Ibn Ṭūlūn’s latest biographical … Continue reading Biography of a Crustacian

Teaching ḥadīth: Ibn Ṭūlūn and the Thulāthiyyāt genre

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

“Speed reading” of hadith

I have recently been reading Garrett Davidson’s exciting PhD thesis “Carrying on the Tradition: An Intellectual and Social History of Post-Canonical Hadith Transmission“. It attempts – very successfully – a reassessment of the methods, purposes, and underlying logic of hadith transmission once the canon was fixed with the compilation of the canonical six books. It contains a plethora of points pertinent to Ibn Tulun’s oeuvre, and I will address some more in the future, such as how the devotional character of reciting hadith as … Continue reading “Speed reading” of hadith

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