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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(477 words)

Author(s): Omer Turan
Manisa (Ott. Turk. Maghnisa; ancient Magnesia) is a city in western Anatolia situated south of the Gediz River on the northeastern slopes of the Manisa Dağı, which separates it from Izmir. The Ottoman Turks conquered it in 1313. Under Ottoman rule, the city became an important political and economic center where Ottoman princes gained experience in governance. After the expulsion from Spain in 1492, small groups of Sephardi Jews began to arrive in Manisa via the Balkans. The Ottoman census of 1531 registered approximately five hundred Jews in Manisa, and in 157…

Mani, Sulayman Menahem

(272 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
Sulayman Menahem Mani (1850–1924), the eldest son of Elijah Mani, was born in Baghdad but was brought to Palestine when his father settled there in 1856. He was a student of Rabbi Solomon Eliezrov, the son-in-law of Rabbi Moses Pereira, and he married Pereira’s daughter, Rina. In 1901, he published his father’s book Siaḥ Yiṣḥaq. Upon his father’s death in 1899, he became head of the rabbinical court in Hebron, while Ḥayyim Hezekiah Medini, the author of the Sede Ḥemed, succeeded his father as chief rabbi of Hebron. After Medini’s death, Sulayman in turn became chief rabbi …

Mann, Elijah Salim

(214 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
Elijah Salim Mann was born in Beirut around 1872, and passed away there in 1969. As a young man he taught Arabic in the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and wrote two textbooks for students of Arabic: Bākūra al-Manhaj al-Qawīm (1899) and Kitāb al-Manhaj al-Qawīm (1900). In 1902, he founded the first press in Beirut and printed the first official regulations of the local Jewish community. For a short time in 1911, he published a newspaper named Al-Riwāyāt al-ʿAṣriyya (The New Stories). In 1921, Mann began publishing Al-ʿĀlam al-Isrāʾīlī (The Jewish World), a Zionist-oriented w…

Manuscripts and manuscript collections

(4,967 words)

Author(s): Benjamin Richler
No Hebrew manuscripts have survived from the period between the first century B.C.E., when the latest of the scrolls found at Qumran (the Dead Sea Scrolls) were written, and the ninth century C.E. A few fragments of scrolls as well as a small number of documents and letters written on leather, parchment, or papyrus during the first centuries of the common era have been discovered in the Holy Land and in Egypt, but no complete scrolls or substantial parts of manuscripts. Hebrew books during this p…


(210 words)

Author(s): Eveline Kamstra
1. Al-Andalus 2. Morocco 3. Algeria 4. Tunisia 5. Egypt 6. Egypt in the Medieval Period 7. Turkey 8. Arabian Peninsula 9. Iran 10. Yemen 11. Exodus of Jews from the Islamic world 12. Afghanistan 13. Alliance Israélite Universelle Network A B 14. Long Distance Trade 15. Uzbekistan 16. The Ottoman Empire Eveline Kamstra

Maqāma (- āt) (poetic form)

(17 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Music, al-Ḥarīzī, Judah ben Solomon (c. 1166-1225) Norman A. Stillman

Maqām (musical genre)

(882 words)

Author(s): Mark Kligman
A maqām is a mode or scale in Arabic music. Sephardi/Mizraḥi communities from the Mediterranean, particularly the Levant, make systematic creative use of various forms of the maqām in their liturgical and paraliturgical music. The term maqām (pl. maqāmāt) can refer to either a simple or a very complex set of phenomena. In its simplest form, it may refer to a specific scale. Defined in greater depth, maqām may refer to a specific scale with a tonic (keynote), alternative directional notes, accidentals, a specific ambitus (range of notes), a specific tetrachordal…

Marciano, Eliahou Raphael

(543 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
Eliahou Raphael ben Meʾir Mordechai Marciano, (born in Debdou, Morocco, in 1944), is a rabbi and scholar, an Israel Defense Forces army chaplain, and an educator at the Torah ve-Ṣiyyon Society, established by Rabbi Paul Roitman (1920–2007) to promote educational and social activities among Israelis of North African and Middle Eastern heritage. As a scholar, Marciano is best known for his Bene Melakhim (The Sons of Kings; 1989), a bibliographical history of Hebrew book printing between 1516 and 1889 in Morocco’s nine largest Jewish communities, including Tangier and …

Marcus, David

(444 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Dr. David Marcus was an influential Ashkenazi leader in Istanbul. Born in Novgorod, Russia, in 1870, he began his religious studies at the yeshiva in Lomza, Poland. After finishing high school, Marcus attended the University of Bonn in Germany, where he studied psychology, pedagogy, and philosophy, and obtained his doctorate in 1901. His impressive research and studies at the University of Bonn quickly drew the attention of the Jewish community in Germany. In 1900, the Ashkenazi community in Istanbul offered Marcus the position of headmaster of the Jewish Goldschmit Lycée in Galat…


(384 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The town of Mardin in southeastern Anatolia, situated on the heights overlooking the northern Syrian plain, was conquered by the Safavids in 1507 and then by the Ottomans in 1517. It was designated as a sanjak in the province of Diyarbakır in 1534. At that time, there were more Christians and Jews in Mardin than Muslims. The Christian population included Armenians, Nestorians, Chaldeans, Syrian Catholics, and Jacobites. The historic monastery of Dayr al-Zafarān (Tūr ‘Abdin) in Mardin, built in 493, served as the seat of the Jacobite patriarchate from …

Marnia (Maghnia)

(386 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Marnia (Maghnia) is a city in northwestern Algeria located 13 kilometers (8 miles) east of the Moroccan border, at an altitude of 365 meters (1,198 feet), in a vast plain irrigated by the diverted canals of the Tafna River. There seem to have been Jews there in Roman times (when the city was called Numerus Syrorum, Syrorum, or Syr). The  modern Jewish community began after the town of Lalla Maghnia (named for an eighteenth-century Muslim female saint) grew up around a redoubt built by French troops in 1844. The community fell within the jurisdiction of the Oran Consistory, but oral traditi…


(2,315 words)

Author(s): Emily Gottreich
The city of Marrakesh(Ar. Marrākush) is located in the Hawz plains in south central Morocco at the foot of the snow-capped Atlas Mountain range north of the pre-Saharan oases. The etymology of the word “Marrakesh” is likely Berber, and provides the basis of the name of the country as a whole in many European languages (Morocco, Maroc, Marruecos). The city is also known as “the red” for the mud brick of its buildings and impressive ramparts, the latter extending approximately seven miles in length a…


(6,923 words)

Author(s): Esther Juhasz | Judith Olszowy-Schlanger | Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah | Leah R. Baer | Melanie Lewey | Et al.
1. Medieval Period The institution of marriage in the Jewish communities of the medieval Islamic world followed the basic rules and customs prescribed in the Talmud. These were often blended with local customs and conditions, depending on place and time. The main sources on Jewish marriage in medieval Middle Eastern and North African communities, in addition to the rabbinic literature, are the actual marriage and betrothal contracts preserved in the Cairo Geniza.       Marriage involves a change in the personal status of a man and a woman from bachelorhood to matrimony tha…


(7 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see France Norman A. Stillman


(708 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun | Valérie Assan
Mascara (Ar. Muʿaskar) is a town located in northwestern Algeria about 96 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Oran on the southern slope of the Beni Chougran range of the Atlas Mountains. According to oral tradition, the Jewish community of Mascara was founded by fugitives from Spain and Portugal in 1492, but the growth of the Jewish population probably dates from the eighteenth century, when the city was the capital of the Western beylik under Turkish rule until Spain retook Oran in 1792. Jacob Hayyim Ben Na'im, from Fez, became rabbi and dayyan in Mascara in 1760. In 1832 the Algeria…


(561 words)

Author(s): Haideh Sahim
Mashhad is the capital of the province of Khurasan and the second-largest city in Iran. Its full original name was Mashhad-i Riḍā (the Place of Riḍā’s Martyrdom), indicating that it is the locality where the eighth Shīʿī imam, 'Alī b. Mūsā al-Riḍā, was supposedly poisoned in 818 by al-Ma'mūn (r. 813–833), the Abbasid caliph. 'Alī’s shrine is the most important center of pilgrimage in Iran, and Khurasan is one of the country’s wealthiest provinces. Mashhad gained in importance after the Mongol destruction of Ṭūs and many other major cities in 1220. Gohars…

Mashiaḥ ben ha-Mullah Rafa’el

(294 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Mashiaḥ ben ha-Mullah Rafa’el was the author of the twelfth chapter of the Judeo-Persian chronicle Kitāb-i Sar-Guzasht-i Kāshān dar Bāb-i ʿIbrī va Goyimi-yi Sānī (The Book of Events in Kashan Concerning the Jews; Their Second Conversion) by Bābāī ben Farhād. The chronicle recounts a number of events between 1721 and 1731 during which time the Jews of Iran, along with the rest of the population, suffered greatly from the downfall of the Ṣafavid dynasty and the Afghan and Russian invasions. It details in particular the forced conversion of the Jews of Kashan to Shīʿī Islam for a …

Maṣliaḥ ben Solomon ha-Kohen

(299 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
Maṣliaḥ ben Solomon ha-Kohen was a scion of a family of priestly geonim that controlled the yeshiva of Palestine over the course of several turbulent generations. His grandfather Elijah ben Solomon ha-Kohen was the head of the yeshiva from 1062 to 1083, a period during which it moved from Jerusalem to Tyre, possibly in connection with the Seljuk conquest of Palestine in the 1070s. Some three decades later, Maṣliaḥ’s father held the post of gaon as well, the yeshiva at that point having relocated to Damascus. By 1127, Maṣliaḥ, living in Fustat, had assumed the title of gaon along with that of raʾ…

Masliah (Mazliyah, Matzliyah), Nissim

(484 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Nissim Masliah (Mazliyah) was born in 1877 in Manisa, Turkey. After graduating from the Alliance Israélite Universelle school there, he studied law and practiced as an attorney in Salonica. He was also a member of the Commercial Tribunal of Salonica and professor of administrative law and capitulations at the Salonica police academy, and, in addition, an informal legal adviser to Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, the inspector general of Macedonia. Reputedly a member and secretary of the Committee of Union a…


(7 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Sous Norman A. Stillman
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