Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies
Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online (EJIW) is the first cohesive and discreet reference work which covers the Jews of Muslim lands particularly in the late medieval, early modern and modern periods. The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online is updated with newly commissioned articles, illustrations, multimedia, and primary source material. 

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Harari-Raful, Nissim ben Isaiah

(268 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
Nissim ben Isaiah Harari-Raful (d. 1870) was one of the giants of the Aleppo rabbinate. He was a noted  talmudist but also was distinguished in the field of Kabbala, particularly in respect to the kavvanot (Heb. prayer “intentions”) instituted by Shalom Sharʿabi and his acolytes in the Bet El community of the Old City of Jerusalem. Harari’s study partner in Aleppo was Elijah Mishʿan. When the two of them visited Jerusalem, they made a strong impression on the reigning kabbalist of the time, Moses Ibn Sasson, who contended that their exposition of Kabbala was beyond his underst…

Harari, Sir Victor Pasha and Ralph

(384 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
Sir Victor Harari Pasha (1858–1945), the son of immigrants from Lebanon, was born in Cairo. After receiving a modern elementary education, he pursued studies for eight years in France and England. In 1876 he entered the Egyptian Ministry of Finance. He advanced rapidly to the high post of inspector of the budgets division of the accounting department and then of the Treasury itself. He was also involved in a reform of the public waqf supervision system. After his retirement from the Ministry of Finance, he served on the boards of the Light Railways and, later, the State Railway…

Ḥara Ṣeghira

(541 words)

Author(s): Jacques Taïeb
Hara Seghira (Ar. ḥāra ṣa ghīra, the small quarter) is the smaller of the two Jewish villages on the island of Jerba, Tunisia, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Houmt Souk, the island’s principal town, and 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) from Ḥara Kebira, the other Jewish village—both located farther north of Houmt Souk. A 1587 map in Italian shows a tiny village called Giudei (Jews[town]). It is probably Hara Seghira, although it was located southeast of Ḥara Kebira and not in the south, as shown on the ma…

Hardoon, Silas Aaron (Ṣāliḥ Hārūn)

(494 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
Silas Aaron (Ṣāliḥ Hārūn) Hardoon was born in Baghdad around 1851 and emigrated with his father to Bombay in 1865. He worked for David Sassoon & Company (see Sassoon Family) in Hong Kong from 1870 to 1874, then moved on to the International Settlement of Shanghai, where he at first held a lowly job. Although he had no formal education, his exceptional business acumen enabled him to become a partner and manager of E. D. Sassoon and Company (1890–1911). He branched out, dealing mainly in property. When he died his estate, which included most…

Harel-Dagan, Anda

(420 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Anda Harel-Dagan (née Andrée Wahba) was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1934, and immigrated to Israel with her family in 1949. She lived on a kibbutz and studied at the teachers’ college of the kibbutz movement (Seminar ha-Kibbutzim), Tel Aviv University, and the Sorbonne. Harel-Dagan writes lyrical poetry. The themes of her first two volumes, Yamim Rabbim (Many Days - Tel Aviv: Sifriyyat Poʿalim, 1972) and  Avraham Hayah (Abraham Was - Tel Aviv: Ṭraklin, 1974)and the fourth, Minshar  (Sexpoems - Tel Aviv: Alef, 1986) include reflections about family, her father, nature, love…

Ḥarīzī, Judah ben Solomon al-

(1,633 words)

Author(s): Jonathan P. Decter
Judah al-Ḥarīzī (ca. 1166–1225) was a central author of medieval Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, and classical Arabic literature as well as an important translator of Arabic and Judeo-Arabic literary, legal, and philosophical texts into Hebrew. Born in Toledo, then still a highly Arabized city in the Christian kingdom of Castile, al-Ḥarizi left around 1208 to travel to Provence and the Islamic East, going as far as Baghdad and ultimately settling in Ayyubid Aleppo, where he died. Information concerning al…

Harrus, Elias

(433 words)

Author(s): Sarah Frances Levin
A prominent leader of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) educational network in Morocco, Elias Harrus was born September 19, 1919, in Beni Mellal, Morocco. He was formally trained in pedagogy and agriculture in France and Algeria. After serving as director of the AIU school in Demnat from 1940 to 1945, he became director of the AIU’s École Professionelle Agricole in Marrakesh in 1946. He continued in this post until 1958, but at the same time was also responsible for founding and supervising AIU  schools throughout the Atlas Mountains and the Saharan oases. His photographs of the Ber…

Ḥasan ben Mar Ḥasan

(160 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Hasan ben Mar Hasan, also known as ʿAlī ibn Mar Hasan was born somewhere in al-Andalus in the tenth century. He was dayyan (judge) of Cordova in the late tenth century. He wrote three books on the calendar and intercalation that are no longer extant, but which are referred to in the writings of Isaac Israeli ( Yesod ʿ Olam), Abraham bar Ḥiyya ( Sefer ha-ʿIbbur), and Abraham ibn Ezra ( Sefer ha-ʿIbbur). The date he used in his astronomical calculations (972), in which he followed the system of the Arab astronomer al-Battānī (d. 929), is the only certain reference we have to date his lifetime. Josefin…

Ḥasan (Ḥusayn) ben Mashiaḥ

(371 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
Ḥasan (Ḥusayn, Ḥassūn) ben Mashiaḥ was a tenth-century Karaite scholar who probably lived in Baghdad. According to Ibn al-Hītī, he disputed with the Christian scholar-physician Abū ʿAlī ʿIsā ibn Zurʿa (d. 1009), the author of a polemical work against the Jews entitled Epistle to Ibn Shuʿayb. He also wrote refutations of Saʿadya Gaon. Although it is unlikely from a chronological standpoint, Ibn al-Hītī states in his chronicle that Ḥasan ben Mashiaḥ was a contemporary of Salmon ben Jeroham and Saʿadya Gaon, and Sahl ben Maṣliaḥ even asserts …

Ḥasday ibn Shaprūṭ

(1,340 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
Ḥasday ben Isaac ibn Shaprūṭ (ca. 905–ca. 975) was a scholar, physician, and trusted adviser at the court of the Umayyad caliphs ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III and al-Ḥakam II in Cordova. As patron of the first Jewish intellectuals and poets in al-Andalus, he played a decisive role in fostering a brilliant Jewish cultural effloresence that assimilated many elements of Arabic high culture. 1. Courtier Ḥasday was a scion of a rich and influential family. His father, Isaac, had moved the family from its home in Jaen to Cordova, the caliphal capital, and there founded a synagogue. As secretary Isaac hired Me…


(397 words)

Author(s): Tudor Parfitt
Throughout the 1930s and during the first years of the Second World War, a trickle of Jews arrived in the British Crown Colony of Aden from the Yemen. They were housed in a variety of insalubrious quarters mainly outside Aden city. In 1944, however, the Aden government agreed to lease an abandoned army camp to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at a nominal rent for the use of Jewish refugees. The camp, known as Hashid, was about 10 kilometers (6 miles) inland from Aden’s wharf area of Maala, not far from the main road and slightly more than 1.6 kilom…

Hāṣid (Baghdad), al-

(395 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Al-Ḥāṣid (The Reaper), one of Iraq’s finest literary and cultural journals, was edited by the Jewish intellectual and lawyer Anwār Sha’ūl (1904–1984). The first issue appeared in February 1929, and it continued until April 1938. Al-Ḥāṣid symbolizes, perhaps more than any other cultural and literary artifact of the period, the Jewish community’s desire to be integrated into Iraqi society, and the openness of the Iraqi cultural field to the participation of Arab Jews in the creation of a new national culture. Al-Ḥāṣid published the works of Iraq’s leading intellectuals, including…

Haskala Movement

(2,859 words)

Author(s): Yossef Chetrit | Lital Levy
1. Maghreb European colonialism, which led to the French conquest of Algeria in 1830 as well as the expansion of the protégé system through the foreign consulates in the Maghreb, exposed Jewish communities in the area to the influence of European culture and lifestyles. In Algeria, young Jews were attending French schools as early as 1846; in Morocco, the first school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) opened in Tetouan in 1862, with many more following in other communities. In Tunisia, the first AIU school opened in 1879, and in Tripoli (Libya) in 1890.       Concurrent with th…


(1,048 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
From the sixteenth century on, the fundamental rules guiding the life of the Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire were based upon legal decrees known as haskamot (sing. haskama,also askama) or taqqanot (sing. taqqana). Both terms were used in medieval Iberia and were carried over into the Sephardi diaspora following the expulsion. Taqqanot (Heb. ordinances) formulated to cope with new needs and changing realities organized and ensured the management and proper functioning of the community for the benefit of its members. The most important taqqanot determined the unchallengeab…


(444 words)

Author(s): Cengiz Sisman
The town of Hasköy is located at the upper part of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, facing the Balat quarter. Its history dates back to the early Byzantine period. Over the centuries, a number of  Jewish communities are known to have resided there. Karaites seem to have been the first Jewish settlers, and their old underground synagogue still functions as the  only Karaite synagogue in Istanbul. The town’s Jewish presence grew significantly in the Ottoman period with the arrival of Sephardi expellees after 1492. By the seventeenth century, Hasköy had the larg…

Hassoun, Jacques

(365 words)

Author(s): Aimée Israel-Pelletier
Jacques Hassoun was born in Alexandria in 1936 and died in Paris in 1999. He was a psychoanalyst and a political activist with Marxist leanings. Born into an observant family, he was knowledgeable in Jewish law and remained attached to Judaism and to Egypt throughout his life. He spoke Arabic and French fluently. A militant from the age of fifteen, Hassoun was member first of Dror, a Marxist Zionist group and later of Hadeto, the clandestine movement for the liberation of Egypt led by Henri Curiel. His Communist activities led to his arrest at eighteen, a six-month jail sentenc…

Hatchuel, Sol (Lalla Solika)

(430 words)

Author(s): Sharon Vance
The execution of Sol Ḥatchuel, a young Jewish girl from Tangier, shocked Jewish communities throughout Morocco. It was the subject of at least one French painting (Alfred Dehodencq, Exécution de la Juive, 1852) and was written about in both Jewish and European languages. Sol, or Solika as she was also known, lived with her family in Tangier on a street shared by Muslims and Jews. According to European sources, she was given sole responsibility for housework and her mother was a strict disciplinarian whose wrath she often escaped by taking refuge with…

Hatef (Hātif)

(179 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Hatef (Hātif; Pers. The Crier), a Jewish women’s organization in Iran, was active in the 1960s and 1970s. It was led by Dr. Azīza Barāl and functioned in cooperation with Sāzmān-i Bānovān-i Yahudī-yi Irānī (Pers. The Jewish Women’s Organization of Iran). Hatef concentrated its efforts on women in Tehran’s Jewish neighborhood and engaged in social, family, cultural, health, and economic activities. It had branch offices in other cities, among them Isfahan, Shiraz, and Ārak. The organization taught women to read and write as w…

Hatt-ı Humayun (Islahat Fermani), 1856

(798 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The Hatt-ı Hümâyûn (imperial decree) was promulgated on February 18, 1856, to reaffirm the stipulations of the Hatt-ı Sherif of Gülhane (1839), which had introduced sweeping changes in Ottoman law and administration, and ushered in a new era of reforms known as the Tanzimat. After the deposition of Grand Vizier Mustafa Reşid Pasha, the chief architect of the Tanzimat, in 1852, domestic reaction against the reforms from both Muslim and non-Muslim clerics brought the process of change to a standstill. It was only because of the abysmal state in w…

Hatt-ı Sherif of Gülhane (Tanzimat Fermanı)

(668 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The Hatt-ı Sherif of Gülhâne (Imperial Decree of the Rose Chamber) was an edict ( ferman) signed by Sultan Abdülmecid I (r. 1839–1861) on November 3, 1839, and read aloud by Grand Vizier Mustafa Reşid Pasha to an assemblage of bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries, and the heads of the empire’s non-Muslim communities, including Chief Rabbi Moses Fresco (r. 1839–1841), in the Imperial Garden of Gülhâne, outside the walls of the Topkapi Palace. The proclamation came at a time when the Ottoman Empire was severely threatened by the advancing forces of Ibrāhīm Pasha, the son of Mehmet Ali (Mu…
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