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Keys to the Sciences

Maqālīd al-ʿulūm. A Gift for the Muzaffarid Shāh Shujāʿ on the Definitions of Technical Terms

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Edited by Gholamreza Dadkhah and Reza Pourjavady

Maqālīd al-ʿulūm (Keys to the Sciences) is a significant source on definitions of Arabic scientific terms in the post-classical period. Composed by an anonymous author, it contains over eighteen hundred definitions in the realm of twenty-one religious, literary, and rational sciences. The work was dedicated to the Muzaffarid Shāh Shujāʿ, who ruled over Shiraz and its neighbouring regions from 759/1358 to 786/1384. The present volume contains a critical edition of Maqālīd al-ʿulūm based on its three extant manuscripts. In the introduction, the editors review previous scholarship on the text, present an overview of patronage at the court of Shāh Shujāʿ and identify some of the sources used by the author of the work. They suggest that the work in its structure mirrors Abū ʿAbdullāh Khwārazmī’s Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm, completed in 366/976.

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Edited by Mehrdad Fallahzadeh and Forogh Hashabeiky

Arabic Historical Literature from Ghadāmis and Mali

Documents from the 18th to 20th Century

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Harry T. Norris

In this work translations of four texts are provided from Ghadāmis and from Mali. The first is a biography of the Ghadāmisī scholar ʿAbdallāh b. Abī Bakr al-Ghadāmisī (1626–1719 AD), written by the eighteenth-century author Ibn Muhalhil al-Ghadāmisī. A second text is “The History of al-Sūq”, concerning al-Sūq, the historic town of Tādmakka and the original home of the Kel-Essouk Tuareg. The third text is “The Precious Jewel in the Saharan histories of the ‘People of the Veil’” by Muḥammad Tawjaw al-Sūqī al-Thānī, a contemporary Tuareg author. It pertains to the Kel-Essouk and their historical ties with the Maghreb and West Africa. The final text is a description of the Tuareg from the book “Ghadāmis, its features, its images and its sights” by Bashīr Qāsim Yūshaʿ, published in Arabic in 2001 AD.

Adab and Modernity

A civilising process ? (Sixteenth-Twenty-First Century)

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Edited by Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen

Adab is a concept situated at the heart of Arabic and Islamic civilisation. Adab is etiquette, ethics, and literature. It is also a creative synthesis, a relationship within a configuration. What became of it, towards modernity ? The question of the "civilising process" (Norbert Elias) helps us reflect on this story. During the modern period, maintaining one's identity while entering into what was termed "civilisation" ( al-tamaddun) soon became a leitmotiv. A debate on what was or what should be culture, ethics, and norms in Middle Eastern societies accompanied this evolution. The resilient notion of adab has been in competition with the Salafist focus on mores ( akhlāq). Still, humanism, poetry, and transgression are constants in the history of adab. Contributors: Francesca Bellino, Elisabetta Benigni, Michel Boivin, Olivier Bouquet, Francesco Chiabotti, Stéphane Dudoignon, Anne-Laure Dupont, Stephan Guth, Albrecht Hofheinz, Katharina Ivanyi, Felix Konrad, Corinne Lefevre, Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen, Astrid Meier, Nabil Mouline, Samuela Pagani, Luca Patrizi, Stefan Reichmuth, Iris Seri-Hersch, Chantal Verdeil, Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan.

Mohsen Goudarzi

Abstract

This essay argues that biblical genealogy serves as a fundamental organizing principle in the Qurʾān. In particular, the Qurʾān anchors the cultic and scriptural aspects of the Prophet’s mission squarely on his community’s descent from Abraham via Ishmael. The first part of the essay marshals qurʾānic evidence in support of this claim and critiques a number of recent studies that downplay or deny the significance of Abrahamic-Ishmaelite genealogy in the Qurʾān. The second part reinforces this significance by demonstrating that Ishmael’s qurʾānic characterization as an upright prophet sharply contrasts with his predominantly negative portrayals in pre-Islamic writings. The final part shows that modern scholars initially acknowledged Abraham and Ishmael’s key ancestral and cultic roles in the Qurʾān but came to see these roles as exclusively Medinan constructs. The essay challenge this view and offers a different explanation for the Qurʾān’s varying portrayals of Abraham and Ishmael.

Muhammad Fawwaz Bin Muhammad Yusoff

Abstract

In a recent volume of the Encyclopaedia of Arabic Literature, Ibn Ḥibbān is credited as the author of the Kitāb al-Ṯiqāt, and is described as “a widely travelled traditionist and prolific writer.” The Kitāb al-Ṯiqāt is one of the most valuable sources for the study of the biographies of the transmitters of the ḥadīṯs over the first three centuries and is a record of medieval Islamicate history, even including non-ḥadīṯ transmission. The subject of the Kitāb al-Ṯiqāt is the Prophet’s sīra, the history of caliphs and kings, biographies of Companions, ḥadīṯ transmitters, legal theorists, theologians, and many others. In this brief article, an attempt is made to describe Ibn Ḥibbān’s approach to the sīra of the Prophet, in order to arrive at some general considerations on the relationship between ḥadīṯ studies and historiography. The tarāǧim (chapter titles) and narrative arrangement of the Kitāb al-Ṯiqāt give insight into Ibn Ḥibbān’s expositions, and demonstrate that his interest goes beyond the science of ḥadīṯ transmission.

Carmen Berlinches Ramos

Abstract

The Levantine-Mesopotamian dialect continuum is the result of important linguistic contacts through the centuries, and the existence of an Aramaic substrate in both areas.

The linguistic situation in the Levant today is extremely heterogeneous. Among the different vernaculars spoken there, Damascus Arabic has established itself as the model urban Levantine variety. Therefore, it is commonly heard in the media and easily understandable for speakers of other varieties of Arabic, inside and outside Syria.

This paper examines fourteen linguistic features of Damascus Arabic related to phonology, morphology, and syntax. Moreover, it compares them with urban varieties of the Levant and Mesopotamia (qǝltu), thus providing further evidence for the Levantine-Mesopotamian dialectal continuum. It also confirms the close relationship between different Levantine varieties—particularly the urban ones. Finally, it shows the difficulty in setting linguistic hallmarks for both the entire Levant and the Syro-Lebanese region, to which Damascus Arabic belongs.

Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between the extraordinary poetic achievement of Sharīf al-Raḍī (d. 406/1016) in his highly lyrical and influential Dīwān, on the one hand, and the literary-religious accomplishment of his unrivalled compilation of the sermons, epistles, and sayings of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, Nahj al-balāghah, on the other. It examines the interplay among the contemporary Mutanabbī-dominated literary scene, the Imāmī Shīʿite dominated Baghdādī politico-religious scene, and, in Islamic scholarship generally, the increasingly balāghah- (rhetoric)-focused theological discourse on iʿjāz al-Qurʾān (the miraculous inimitability of the Qurʾān). Finally, the paper attempts to connect al-Raḍī’s sense of alienation and dispossession from his hereditary right to rule—one that he has found so strikingly expressed in the sermons of his forefather ʿAlī—and the extraordinary lyrical-elegiac strain in his own poetry.

Christian Junge

Abstract

This article discusses the performative function of enumeration in Arabic prose. Bringing together a great variety of word lists from classical to modern prose (including the 1001 Nights, al-Tawḥīdī, al-Suyūṭī, al-Shidyāq, and Darwīsh), it unveils their often neglected importance to literature by drawing from an emerging scholarship on enumeration. Focusing on “enumerative games” (Mainberger), the article does not ask what the enumerated elements mean, but how the act of enumerating produces meaning. In the first part, the article discusses elements central to the poetics of the enumerative (including items, length, arrangement, and frame). In the second part it deals with the politics of enumeration in the example of al-Shidyāq’s al-Sāq ʿalā al-sāq fī mā huwa al-Fāriyāq (1855). The article seeks to provide a basic approach to enumeration and argues that enumerative games in literature perform acts of cultural politics.

C. Ceyhun Arslan

Abstract

This article analyzes comparisons between Arabic and Turkish literatures in literary histories from the late Ottoman period, with a particular focus on works by Jurjī Zaydān (1861-1914). Drawing upon Alexander Beecroft’s concept of “literary biomes,” it argues that these comparisons overlooked intersections of Arabic and Turkish literatures in the “Ottoman literary biome” and depicted them as belonging to two separate “biomes.” I define the “Ottoman literary biome” as the transcultural space of the Ottoman Empire that allowed the circulation of a multilingual textual repertoire and cultivated a cultural elite. Through foregrounding the transcultural context of Ottoman literary biome, I demonstrate that modern Arabic and Turkish literatures morphed in a reciprocal entanglement. My work finally calls for the fields of Arabic literature and comparative literature to further flesh out the diversity of literary biomes in which Arabic texts circulated.

Jonathan Decter

Abstract

This article studies the use of adab and related terminology among medieval Jewish authors with particular attention to shifts in cultural and religious sensibilities, matters of group cohesion and self-definition, and the contours of adab discourse across religious boundaries. The article demonstrates that, although Jews in the Islamic East in the tenth century internalized adab as a cultural concept, it was in al-Andalus that Jews first self-consciously presented themselves as udabā. The article focuses on works of Judeo-Arabic biblical exegesis, grammar, and poetics as well as Hebrew poetry composed after the style of Arabic poetry.

Salah Natij

Abstract

The following remarks intend to re-examine the linguistic-epistemic relationship that Arabists have been accustomed to establishing between the terms adab and daʾb since Vollers and Nallino. I propose in this study to return to the hypothesis of Vollers and Nallino in order to examine the validity of the link of linguistic-epistemic descent between the words daʾb and adab. We believe that the establishment of this relationship of parentage and linguistic kinship between these two terms constitutes a real epistemological obstacle that prevents us from understanding and defining the concept of adab in a way that is both fair and complex. It is the purpose of this paper therefore to reconsider this question by proposing an analysis that attempts to show how and why the term daʾb and the concept adab refer to two different domains of experience and proceed from two different and separate thought systems.

Haifa S. Alfaisal

Abstract

The modernist epistemic disconnect from the “medieval Islamic republic of letters,” Muhsin al-Musawi argues, is attributable both to the incursion of Enlightenment-infused European discourse and a failure to read the import of the republic’s significant cultural capital. This article explores the effects of Eurocentric incursions on transformations in literary value in two of the earliest known works of comparative Arabic literary criticism: Rūḥī al-Khālidī’s Tārīkh ʿilm al-adab ʿind al-ifranj wa-l-ʿarab wa-fiktūr hūkū (The History of the Science of Literature of the Franks, the Arabs, and Victor Hugo, 1902) and Aḥmad Ḍayf’s Muqaddimah li-dirāsat balāghat al-ʿarab (Introduction to the Study of Arab balāghah, 1921). I employ the various theoretical formulations of the decolonial school of thought, primarily Walter Mignolo’s coloniality/modernity complex, in tracing these epistemological shifts in literary value and focus on the internalization of Eurocentric critiques of Arabic literary capital. I also discuss the politics involved in such processes, presenting a decolonial perspective on these modernists’ engagement with their Arabic critical heritage.

Intellectual Captivity

Literary Theory, World Literature, and the Ethics of Interpretation

Chen Bar-Itzhak

Abstract

This essay concerns the unequal distribution of epistemic capital in the academic field of World Literature and calls for an epistemic shift: a broadening of our theoretical canon and the epistemologies through which we read and interpret world literature. First, this epistemic inequality is discussed through a sociological examination of the “world republic of literary theory,” addressing the limits of circulation of literary epistemologies. The current situation, it is argued, creates an “intellectual captivity,” the ethical and political implications of which are demonstrated through a close reading of the acts of reading world literature performed by scholars at the center of the field. A few possible solutions are then suggested, drawing on recent developments in anthropology, allowing for a redistribution of epistemic capital within the discipline of World Literature: awareness of positionality, reflexivity as method, promotion of marginal scholarship, and a focus on “points of interaction.”

Sergio Carro Martín

Abstract

The particular style of the Granadan notaries (muwaṯṯiqūn) incorporates atypical letters, graphs and symbols that give their documents a formal and original character that is more befitting of the works of the secretaries (kuttāb). The presence of these features in documents within an official and administrative environment (dīwān al-inšāʾ) yields the question of whether the training of Granadan notaries, in their function as scribes, was the same as that of the kuttāb. The aim of this article is to analyze the graphical peculiarities of Granadan notarial documents and to see to what extent these features are present in the chancellery documents or works commonly attributed to the kuttāb. This includes a review of the paleographic features of the notarial documents in contrast to the Maghribi script standards.

Jaafar Benelhaj Soulami

Résumé

Écrire l’histoire d’une dynastie, d’une institution, d’un phénomène ou d’une personne exige en premier lieu une consultation minutieuse des archives et l’étude de l’histoire des institutions qui produisaient systématiquement ces archives. L’histoire des chancelleries musulmanes du Moyen Âge, et surtout celle de la chancellerie de l’empire almohade, reste encore à faire, à refaire ou à compléter, malgré les précieux travaux effectués par Évariste Lévi-Provençal, Pascal Buresi et d’autres chercheurs, vu les publications consécutives et récentes du patrimoine almohade. Ces études se donnent exclusivement comme but l’étude de cette chancellerie qui gérait l’empire des Almohades à partir de l’an 541/1146, c’est-à-dire à partir de l’installation de cette chancellerie à la capitale de l’empire. Or, la fondation de cette chancellerie est beaucoup plus ancienne que l’empire. En effet, elle date des premiers jours de la déclaration de l’imamat du Mahdī Ibn Tūmart et de l’éclat de la révolution almohade en l’an 515/1121. Notre propos est de tracer l’histoire de cette chancellerie durant l’époque de la révolution almohade, c’est-à-dire durant son étape embryonnaire, afin de permettre aux chercheurs de pouvoir refaire minutieusement l’histoire de cette institution impériale médiévale depuis ses premières origines.

Mehdi Ghouirgate

Résumé

Les lettres de chancellerie almohade qui nous ont été transmises l’ont été pour une partie à travers des chroniques rédigées entre la seconde moitié du VI e/XII e siècle et la fin du VIII e/XIV e siècle. Or la recherche contemporaine n’a probablement qu’insuffisamment mis l’accent sur le fait qu’il existait de grandes différences entre les lettres citées dans les chroniques rédigées par des obligés des Almohades et les chroniques d’époque mérinide. En effet, les premières sont le plus souvent complètes et servent à scander le récit en constituant des chapitres entiers quand les sources d’époque ultérieure les citent avec parcimonie, quand toutefois elles les citent. Leurs statuts respectifs diffèrent : pour les sources pro-almohades le but poursuivi était de donner l’image d’un pouvoir toujours vainqueur en faisant usage pour mieux marquer les esprits d’un lexique partisan qui employait notamment du saǧʿ ; à cette fin, le pouvoir almohade mettait à contribution les intellectuels organiques du système, les ṭalaba, afin de lire en chaire, voire de traduire pour rendre intelligible ces lettres au plus grand nombre. En revanche, elles ne jouent dans les chroniques d’époque mérinide et nasride qu’un rôle subsidiaire, celui de document d’un passé à jamais révolu qui vient en appoint de la narration. À ce titre, elles étaient le plus souvent tronquées et ne pouvaient constituer des chapitres entiers.

Bruna Soravia

Résumé

À travers l’analyse de l’Iqtiḍāb fī šarḥ adab al-kuttāb (L’abrégé : commentaire de L’éducation des secrétaires) d’Ibn al-Sīd al-Baṭalyawsī (m. 521/1127) et de l’Iḥkām ṣanʿat al-kalām (La maîtrise de l’art de la prose) d’Ibn ʿAbd al-Ġafūr al-Kalāʿī (m. après 542/1148), cet essai se propose de montrer que le discours andalou autour de l’adab al-kātib a cherché à rénover la tradition de ce genre, par la conscience des enjeux liés aux différentes usages de l’écrit dans le temps, ainsi que par la critique des conventions et des prescriptions héritées des auteurs orientaux transmis en al-Andalus aux V e/XI e-VI e/XII e siècles.

Wadād al-Qāḍī

Résumé

Cette étude examine les innombrables sources qui ont influencé le vocabulaire de ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Kātib (m. 132/750), le plus célèbre secrétaire de chancellerie des derniers califes omeyyades et « fondateur » de la littérature épistolaire arabe en prose. Nous y identifions certaines de ces sources, d’abord, d’une manière générale, à travers ce que nous connaissons de sa biographie, puis, plus précisément, grâce à une nouvelle interprétation du « programme » de formation qu’il établit pour les secrétaires de l’État islamique. Cette interprétation a conduit à l’identification de ces sources: I. la littérature arabe, c’est-à-dire la poésie arabe pré-islamique et, par extension, la poésie arabe des débuts de l’Islam; II. les traditions séculières du Proche-Orient préislamique, c’est-à-dire les traditions militaires et historiques grecques, persanes et arabes, dont certains documents étaient accessibles à ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd en traduction; et III. la tradition religieuse du Proche-Orient islamique, écrite dans l’ombre du Coran et avec un engagement de la part d’Abd al-Ḥamīd pour la cause des Omeyyades incluant les domaines de la théologie, du droit et de l’histoire. L’étude examine les différentes manières dont ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd utilisa chacune de ces sources tout en soulignant son ingéniosité, sa créativité et son indépendance.

Katrien Vanpee

Abstract

This article examines the understudied political dynamics of the televised nabaṭī poetry competition Shāʿir al-Milyūn (“Million’s Poet”) to offer a new understanding of the program. Media coverage has focused on the participation of a single female participant, while scholars have assessed Shāʿir al-Milyūn as primarily an experiment in the wedding of local tradition to modern technology, overlooking the central and complex negotiations of ruler-ruled relationships taking place on the show’s stage. Shāʿir al-Milyūn’s political aspect becomes particularly apparent in the regular performances of waṭaniyyah verse, i.e. poetry for the waṭan or homeland. Reading a waṭaniyyah poem performed during the fifth season of Shāʿir al-Milyūn by Emirati poet Aḥmad bin Hayyāy al-Manṣūrī, I argue that Shāʿir al-Milyūn, rather than merely celebrating local poetic tradition, operates as a political technology that provides both poetry contestants and the show’s princely patron with opportunities to articulate and enact expectations of proper citizenship.

Hassanaly Ladha

Abstract

This study examines the architectural lexicon (ṭalal, dār, rasm, bayt) of early Arabic poetry, interrogating the relation between built and linguistic form in the nasīb. I argue that the interpenetration of the aṭlāl and khayāl motifs and of other structural elements of the qaṣīdah allegorizes the fleeting and phantasmatic nature of all linguistic and material structures. In the early Arabic episteme, poetic forms materialize history, delineating realities even as they fall endlessly into ruin. The implied theories of language and knowledge may inflect our understanding of the entire tradition of Arabo-Islamic expression emerging from this literary milieu.

Samuel England

Abstract

This article moves the poetic ijāzah from the periphery, where modern scholars have generally placed it, to a central position in Arabic poetry and mass media. The ijāzah was well developed before its adoption in the western Mediterranean, but Cordoban, Sevillian, and expatriate Sicilian poets distinguished the competitive improvised poem from corollary works in the Middle East, where it had first been invented. I argue that it is precisely the Andalusi innovations to the ijāzah’s formal development that have allowed traditional criticism to minimize its importance, against a larger trend of popular audiences appreciating performed ijāzahs, on stage and in mass media. Modern Arabic theatre and television have found enthusiastic audiences for the Andalusi poetic dialogue, a phenomenon that frames my Classical research. Media outlets, including those working closely with government officials, stage the ijāzah in ways that maximize its ideological value. As they use it to promote secularism and putatively benevolent dictatorship, propelling Andalusi literature into current Middle Eastern politics, we critics should seek to understand the dialogic form in its contemporary, insistently political phase of development.

Hanan Hammad

Abstract

This article employs the fictional writings of the Egyptian author Iḥsān ‘Abd al-Quddūs (1919–1990) to analyze the textually tangled anxiety over women’s sexuality and rapid political and socioeconomic changes in postcolonial Egypt and the Arab-East. Arguably one of the most prolific writers in Arabic in the twentieth century, ‘Abd al-Quddūs has achieved wide readership, and producers have adapted his books to popular commercial films and TV shows. Breaking taboos on women’s sexual desires, ‘Abd al-Quddūs’s work has been influential in shaping the popular notion about lesbian love wherein frustration with the postcolonial realities—inscribed by the Arab-Israeli conflict, Oil Boom, and globalization—have become entangled with the fear of women’s mobility and liberation.

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Tahera Qutbuddin

In Arabic Oration: Art and Function, a narrative richly infused with illustrative texts and original translations, Tahera Qutbuddin presents a comprehensive theory of this preeminent genre in its foundational oral period, 7th-8th centuries AD. With speeches and sermons attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad, ʿAlī, other political and military leaders, and a number of prominent women, she assesses types of orations and themes, preservation and provenance, structure and style, orator-audience authority dynamics, and, with the shift from an oral to a highly literate culture, oration’s influence on the medieval chancery epistle. Probing the genre’s echoes in the contemporary Muslim world, she offers sensitive tools with which to decode speeches by mosque-imams and political leaders today.

Maria Elena Paniconi

Abstract

In his novel Ibrāhīm al-kātib (Ibrāhīm the Writer, 1931) the Egyptian poet, narrator, and humorist Ibrāhīm al-Māzinī borrowed several passages from his own translation—via English—of the Russian novel Sanin, by Mikhail Petrovich Artsybashev, which he had published in 1922 under the title Sanīn aw Ibn al-ṭabī‘ah (Sanīn, or The Son of Nature). In this article, I analyze several personal authorial accounts, including the introduction to the first edition of the novel Ibrāhīm al-kātib (1931), in which the author develops the idea of creative writing and translation as a mechanical process of filling in the gaps of a “lost original.” Alongside literary allegations raised by critics against al-Māzinī soon after the publication of Ibrāhīm al-kātib, I recontextualize this issue of self-borrowing in the light of two parallel processes: the changing politics of intertextual practices that took place in Egypt during the first quarter of the twentieth century; and the rise of concepts as “Egyptianness” and “aṣālah” (cultural authenticity), key ideas to a national canon. Both Sanīn aw Ibn al-ṭabī‘ah and the (partially) re-written Ibrāhīm al-kātib, are the outcome of a process of adaptation, in which translation, intertextuality, literary borrowing and manipulation of the text constitute a common working practice and are not isolated incidents in the author/translator’s career.

Rana Issa

Abstract

This article explores Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq’s treatment of Christian and Islamic dogma in his linguistic and literary works, al-Sāq ʿalā al-sāq fī mā huwa al-Fāryāq and Mumāḥakāt al-taʾwīl fī munāqaḍāt al-injīl, among others. A convert to Islam, al-Shidyāq is a notorious critic of Christian doctrine and scripture. I draw parallels with his Bible critique to show how he thwarts the Qurʾān’s stronghold on the Arabic language. Borrowing from Muʿtazilah doctrines, al-Shidyāq proposes that language is a human creation—and meaning a human relation—and blames Arabic philologists for conflating language with submission to the divine. Through the technique of iqtibās, al-Shidyāq perforates the scriptural authority of the Bible and the Qurʾān by treating them as literary texts. Al-Shidyāq underscores the scriptures as products of the human, and not the divine, mind. His parodic play with iqtibās underscores literary rigor against authoritative discourse. Al-Shidyāq provides us with exquisite examples of how radicalness may be diffused, asserted, curtailed and covered up through word choice as well as conditions of book production, to affect a critique of authority that would long outlast his time.

Sonja Mejcher-Atassi

Abstract

The private library of the Syrian playwright and public intellectual Saʿdallāh Wannūs (1941-1997) arrived at the American University of Beirut in 2015. This article sets out to read Wannūs through his library. After presenting a brief overview of the books in Wannūs’ library, their subject matter, and their provenance, it examines personal book inscriptions, which unravel a rich intellectual network and provide insight into Wannūs’ trajectory and recognition as a playwright and public intellectual. It then explores the conditions under which Wannūs’ library came into existence and flourished in a Syria marked by the Baʿth party and the al-Asad regime’s authoritarian control of the political and cultural fields, under which it migrated from Damascus to Beirut in the wake of the 2011 Syrian revolution-turned-war. Wannūs’ library, the article argues, opened an Arabic and world literary space, both physical and metaphorical, from which Wannūs emerged as a modern Arabic and world-renowned playwright.

Al-Maqrīzī’s al-Ḫabar ʿan al-bašar

Vol. V, Sections 1-2: The Arab Thieves

Series:

Edited by Peter Webb

In The Arab Thieves, Peter Webb critically explores the classic tales of pre-Islamic Arabian outlaws in Arabic Literature. A group of Arabian camel-rustlers became celebrated figures in Muslim memories of pre-Islam, and much poetry ascribed to them and stories about their escapades grew into an outlaw tradition cited across Arabic literature. The ninth/fifteenth-century Egyptian historian al-Maqrīzī arranged biographies of ten outlaws into a chapter on ‘Arab Thieves’ in his wide-ranging history of the world before Muhammad. This volume presents the first critical edition of al-Maqrīzī’s text with a fully annotated English translation, alongside a detailed study that interrogates the outlaw lore to uncover the ways in which Arabic writers constructed outlaw identities and how al-Maqrīzī used the tales to communicate his vision of pre-Islam. Via an exhaustive survey of early Arabic sources about the outlaws and comparative readings with outlaw traditions in other world literatures, The Arab Thieves reveals how Arabic literature crafted lurid narratives about criminality and employed them to tell ancient Arab history.

Ismail K. Poonawala

Abstract

ʿĀmir b. ʿĀmir al-Baṣrī, according to evidence in his tāʾiyya, composed this long didactic mystical poem either in 700/1300-1301 or 731/1330-1331, while he was exiled to Sīwās in Anatolia. The object of this paper is fourfold. First, to give a brief sketch of his life gleaned from the extant Sunnī sources and determine the date of al-tāʾiyya’s composition or completion. Second, to review critically all the three editions of his al-tāʾiyya. Third, to scrutinize the contents of his poem, generally known as al-tāʾiyya l-ṣuġrā in contradistinction to al-tāʾiyya l-kubrā of Ibn al-Fāriḍ (d. 632/1235). This Ode is crucial in establishing an unequivocal argument that the poet was an unorthodox Imāmī (Twelver) Šīʿī-Ṣūfī. Fourth, to refute the claims of ʿĀrif Tāmir, Muṣṭafā Ġālib and Yves Marquet that al-Baṣrī was an Ismāʿīlī. The first two scholars do not present any tangible evidence to support their contention except the fact that copies of his tāʾiyya are to be found among the Syrian Ismāʿīlī-Nizārī communities. Yves Marquet, on the other hand, argues and speculates on the basis of his [mis]reading of certain internal and external evidences that the author was a high ranking Ismāʿīlī missionary. Unable to support his contention Marquet as a final point of defense opines that al-Baṣrī was probably affiliated with the Nizārī branch; however, he says this without any substantial internal or external verification. Contrarily, al-Baṣrī is not known at all in the Ismāʿīlī sources, either those of the Mustaʿlī-Ṭayyibīs in the Yemeni era, or of the Nizārīs during the post-Alamūt period.

Oliver Kahl

Abstract

The transmission of Indian scientific and, notably, medical texts to the Arabs during the heyday of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad (ca 158/775-205/820) is still largely shrouded in myth; its investigation continues to be hampered not only by serious methodological problems but also by a lack of philological groundwork and a shortage of trained researchers. This article, which in essence is meant to serve as a rough guide into one prospective field of “Indo-Arabic” studies, focuses on a badly neglected though highly promising cluster of texts, namely those that relate to the translation and adaptation of certain Ayurvedic key works from Sanskrit into Arabic. A general assessment of the current state of research, of the factors that condition our knowledge and of the obstacles and limitations posed by the very nature of the subject, is followed by a bio-bibliographical survey of Ayurvedic texts which were subject to transmission; the article is rounded off by six Sanskrit-into-Arabic text samples, with English translations for both.

Jairo Guerrero Parrado

Abstract

The present paper discusses from a diachronic standpoint the realizations of Old Arabic */ǧ/ in the various Maghrebi dialects. It covers the following issues: reflexes of Old Arabic */ǧ/, phonetically conditioned shifts involving /ǧ/ and /ž/, discussion and conclusions. The remaining part of the study is devoted to a presentation and discussion of evidences suggesting that affricate /ǧ/ was formerly more widespread among first-layer dialects.

Helen Blatherwick

Abstract

The story of the Annunciation to Mary and the birth of Jesus in the Qurʾān and the Bible has been the subject of several recent literary studies that bring up the use of textual silences, and the significance of speech and speechlessness as themes in the text. This paper focuses on three recensions of the story available to us in printed editions of al-Kisāʾī’s Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ in similar vein, through intertextual comparison of these accounts with Mary stories as told in the Qurʾān, premodern qiṣaṣ collections, and Islamic historiographical sources. By comparing al-Kisāʾī’s accounts of the Annunciation with those told in the Qurʾān and the wider Islamic Mary corpus it is possible to gain insight into the author’s literary agenda, and also into the ways in which he draws on the wider narrative pool for his material, makes reference to the Qurʾān, and manipulates theme and characterisation.

Jean N. Druel and Almog Kasher

Abstract

This article discusses theories designed by medieval Arabic grammarians to explain one of the most puzzling topics in Arabic grammar, mamnūʿ min al-ṣarf (diptotes). The mainstream theory of mamnūʿ min al-ṣarf probably took on its definitive form in the early 4th/10th century; it differs from Sībawayhi’s (d. ca 180/796) theory, yet consists of a generalisation of features found in the latter. A later modification, which retained its basic elements, was presented to the mainstream theory probably during the 7th/13th century. A radically different theory was presented by al-Suhaylī (d. 581/1185), who harshly criticised the mainstream theory as inadequate and arbitrary.

Oliver Kahl

Abstract

This short notice suggests an explanation of mwrh and kmāšyr, two opaque terms which are occasionally referred to in Arabic pharmacognostic literature, but whose etymology and meaning have not yet been established.

Series:

Ayse Ozge Kocak Hemmat

The Turkish Novel and the Quest for Rationality is the first book to contextualize the Turkish novel with regard to the intellectual developments motivating the Turkish modernization project since the 18th century. The book provides a dialectical narrative for the emergence and development of the Turkish novel in order to highlight the genre’s critical role within the modernization project. In doing so, it also delineates the changing forms the novel assumes in the Turkish context from a platform for new literature to a manifestation of crisis in the face of totalizing rationality. Vis-a-vis modernization's engagement with rationality, The Turkish Novel and the Quest for Rationality reveals unexplored ways of conceptualizing the development of the genre in non-western contexts.

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George Dimitri Sawa

The present volume consists of translated anecdotes, on musicological and socio-cultural topics, from al-Iṣbahānī’s Kitāb al-Aghānī al-Kabīr ( The Grand Book of Songs) with annotations and commentaries. It deals with musical rhythmic and melodic modes, technical terms and treatises; music instruments; composition techniques and processes; education and oral/written transmissions; vocal and instrumental performances and their aesthetics; solo and ensemble music; change and its inevitability; musical and textual improvisations; ṭarab and the acute emotions of joy or grief; medieval dances; social status. Though extracts from The Grand Book of Songs have been translated in European languages since 1816, this work presents a much larger and more comprehensive scope that will benefit musicologists, medievalist and Middle Eastern scholars as well as the general reader.

Arab-Jewish Literature

The Birth and Demise of the Arabic Short Story

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Reuven Snir

In Arab-Jewish Literature: The Birth and Demise of the Arabic Short Story, Reuven Snir offers an account of the emergence of the art of the Arabic short story among the Arabized Jews during the 1920s, especially in Iraq and Egypt, its development in the next two decades, until the emigration to Israel after 1948, and the efforts to continue the literary writing in Israeli society, the shift to Hebrew, and its current demise. The stories discussed in the book reflect the various stages of the development of Arab-Jewish identity during the twentieth century and are studied in the relevant updated theoretical and literary contexts. An anthology of sixteen translated stories is also included as an appendix to the book.

Warrior Saints of the Silk Road

Legends of the Qarakhanids

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Jeff Eden

For generations, Central Asian Muslims have told legends of medieval rulers who waged war, died in battle, and achieved sainthood. Among the Uyghurs of East Turkistan (present-day Xinjiang, China), some of the most beloved legends tell of the warrior-saint Satuq Bughra Khan and his descendants, the rulers of the Qarakhanid dynasty. To this day, these tales are recited at the saints' shrines and retold on any occasion.
Warrior Saints of the Silk Road introduces this rich literary tradition, presenting the first complete English translation of the Qarakhanid narrative cycle along with an accessible commentary. At once mesmerizing, moving, and disturbing, these legends are essential texts in Central Asia's religious heritage as well as fine, enduring works of mystical literature.

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Carl Brockelmann

The present English translation reproduces the original German of Carl Brockelmann’s Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur (GAL) as accurately as possible. In the interest of user-friendliness the following emendations have been made in the translation: Personal names are written out in full, except b. for ibn; Brockelmann’s transliteration of Arabic has been adapted to comply with modern standards for English-language publications; modern English equivalents are given for place names, e.g. Damascus, Cairo, Jerusalem, etc.; several erroneous dates have been corrected, and the page references to the two German editions have been retained in the margin, except in the Supplement volumes, where new references to the first two English volumes have been inserted. Supplement volume SIII-ii offers the thee Indices (authors, titles, and Western editors/publishers).

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Edited by Vitaly Naumkin and Leonid Kogan

Four years after the publication of the Corpus of Soqotri Oral Literature, volume I (Brill, 2014), this volume present the second installment of the Corpus. Inspired by D.H. Müller’s pioneering studies of the 1900s, the authors publish a large body of folklore and ethnographic texts in Soqotri. The language is spoken by more than 100,000 people inhabiting the island Soqotra (Gulf of Aden, Yemen). Soqotri is among the most archaic Semitic languages spoken today, whereas the oral literature of the islanders is a mine of original motifs and plots. Texts appear in transcription, English and Arabic translations, and the Arabic-based native script. Philological annotations deal with grammatical, lexical and literary features, as well as realia. The Glossary accumulates all words attested in the volume. The Plates provide a glimpse into the fascinating landscapes of the island and the traditional lifestyle of its inhabitants.

Pasquale Macaluso

Abstract

Riḥlah bayna al-jibāl fi maʿāqil al-thāʾirīn was serialized in the Jaffa newspaper Al-Jāmiʿah al-Islāmiyyah towards the end of the 1936 Palestine revolt. Under the guise of a reportage by a Western journalist, the series successfully defied British censorship and published interviews with guerrilla commanders and rank-and-file rebels, and one of Fawzī al-Qāwuqjī’s communiqués. Following the main trend of literary reportage at that time, the author adopted a viewpoint focused on the rebels’ cause and emphasized the ability of the Arabs of Palestine to face the challenges of modernity. The narrator comments on the skills and virtues of rebel leaders and common people, rejecting the dehumanizing image that colonial officials and Western newspapers were making of them, and romantically depicting the nighttime Palestinian landscape. At the same time, the description of the insurgents’ organization projects the picture of an orderly society, equipped with the institutions and symbols that typically define modern states.

Kirsten Beck

Abstract

Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī’s (d. 971) Kitāb al-Aghānī chapter on Majnūn Laylā (“Akhbār Majnūn Banī ʿĀmir wa nasabuh”) confronts its audience with unresolving divergent knowledge about Majnūn. We are left not only wondering about his name, his origin, and his mental state, but also his being—does he even exist? This paper examines the potential impact of Iṣbahānī’s selection and presentation of akhbār in this Aghānī chapter, making a case for a literary approach to Iṣbahānī’s text fitting with the medieval concept of adab. It asserts that the line of questions we are compelled to ask about Majnūn implicates us in his madness and the madness of the text, which disrupts and complicates that which appears most essential to his story.

Rachel Friedman

Abstract

Islamic theology has normatively considered the Qurʾān to be the Islamic miracle par excellence. This article reads a formative treatise on the topic, Kitāb Iʿjāz al-Qurʾān by Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013), in light of literary debates over badīʿ poetry in the early Abbasid era. It argues that al-Bāqillānī’s theorizing of the Qurʾān’s literary-rhetorical excellence is best understood in this context, demonstrating that his articulation of aesthetic priorities was shaped by the controversy over badīʿ poetry. In particular, the influence of Abbasid literary discourse is evident in the manner in which al-Bāqillānī champions the clear communication of meaning over ornamentation in texts, showing how contemporaneous literary trends and debates shaped Abbasid iʿjāz al-Qurʾān discourse.

Jāmī in Regional Contexts

The Reception of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World, ca. 9th/15th-14th/20th Century

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Edited by Thibaut d'Hubert and Alexandre Papas

Jāmī in Regional Contexts: The Reception of ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World is the first attempt to present in a comprehensive manner how ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898/1492), a most influential figure in the Persian-speaking world, reshaped the canons of Islamic mysticism, literature and poetry and how, in turn, this new canon prompted the formation of regional traditions. As a result, a renewed geography of intellectual practices emerges as well as questions surrounding authorship and authority in the making of vernacular cultures. Specialists of Persian, Arabic, Chinese, Georgian, Malay, Pashto, Sanskrit, Urdu, Turkish, and Bengali thus provide a unique connected account of the conception and reception of Jāmī’s works throughout the Eurasian continent and maritime Southeast Asia.

Youshaa Patel

Abstract

This bibliographical essay documents for the first time the treatises written on the Sunni Islamic doctrine of tašabbuh—the reprehensible imitation of others, especially non-Muslims. Since the formative period of Islam, tašabbuh has played an important role in shaping both Islamic orthodoxy and Muslim inter-religious relations. But due to a focus on the doctrine’s historical origins, existing scholarship has yet to identify the Islamic literary genre that I call “the treatises against imitation,” which was a post-formative development. To fill this scholarly lacuna, this study traces the genre’s historical evolution by creating an archive of available treatises against imitation, pre-modern and modern. Chronologically arranged and periodized, the bibliographical entries include descriptive summaries of each treatise, with references to published and/or manuscript editions and existing scholarship on the text and its author.

Pavel Pavlovitch

Abstract

The Manda family was an important scholarly dynasty in Isfahan. From the beginning of the third century/ca 816 until the Mongol conquest of Isfahan in 632/1235-633/1236, its members were active in the fields of ḥadīṯ transmission and criticism, theology, and historiography. Despite its significance for the Ḥanbalī scholarly tradition, Āl Manda has remained marginal in the works of Western Islamicists during the last fifty years, whereas Muslim scholars have focused almost exclusively on the most prominent representative of the family, Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Manda (d. 395/1005), and, to a lesser extent, on his son, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (d. 470/1078). In this essay, I catalogue all members of the Manda family who are mentioned in Arabic bio-bibliographical sources. I study in detail the theological views of Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Manda and his son ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad, as well as Muḥammad b. Isḥāq’s contribution to the development of ḥadīṯ criticism.

Sébastien Garnier

Abstract

Our contribution tackles the ideological aspect of “legacy” developed in the pro-Hafsid legitimizing discourse. The court historiographers pretended that their patrons had deserved and inherited the throne of Ifrīqiya. We shall see how they sketched a genealogy of founding fathers—Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar (d. 571/1175-1176), Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wāḥid (d. 618/1221) and Abū Zakariyyāʾ Yaḥyā (d. 647/1249)—, considering that Muʾminids and Hafsids were the two pillars of the Almohad Empire, so it was natural that the latters took up the torch when the formers declined.

Mathieu Tillier and Naïm Vanthieghem

Résumé

Le présent article propose l’édition, la traduction et le commentaire d’un papyrus littéraire égyptien du III e/IX e siècle. Cette page de titre d’un ouvrage disparu du traditionniste irakien Wakīʿ b. al-Ǧarrāḥ (m. 197/812 ?), transmis par Yūsuf b. ʿAdī l-Kūfī (m. 232/846) à un étudiant égyptien mal connu, porte au verso deux traditions non canoniques rapportées d’après Ibn al-Mubārak. L’étude de ce folio permet de conclure qu’il s’agit du début d’un cahier de notes prises sous la dictée auprès du maître. Ce rare exemple d’hypomnēma est ainsi révélateur de la transmission d’œuvres irakiennes dans la Fusṭāṭ de la première moitié du III e/IX e siècle.