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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Holy Shrines - Conceptual

(1,580 words)

Author(s): Oren Kosansky
The basic notion behind holy shrines—that even given the divine omnipresence in the world there are places where this immanence is more palpable—has deep roots in the history of Judaism. The Tabernacle, the Temple, and the Torah are all recognized in the most formative of Jewish legal and mystical texts as physical markers of intensified sacred dwelling. The specific features connected with Jewish holy shrines in the Islamic world likewise find precedents in canonical Jewish sources. The associat…

Homosexuality in Jewish society

(1,771 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Human sexual activity is influenced by its surroundings, and whether it is labeled as “normative” or “deviant” depends upon the norms relative to the place and time, the social and cultural contexts, and the standing of the individual. The study of homosexuality among Jews in the Ottoman Empire and in the lands of Islam, and also of the attitude of Jewish society, amply demonstrates this. Like Judaism (Lev. 18:22 and 20:13), Islam strictly forbids sexual relations between males (Qur’an 7:81, 26:165, 27:55; and even more explicitly in the ḥadīth), but in actuality, the official stan…

Honaine (also Honein)

(512 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
The city of Honaine (Ar. Hunayn) is located on the coast of Algeria, near the Moroccan border and about 45 kilometers (28 miles) northwest of Tlemcen. It does not appear in descriptions of the region by tenth-century Muslim geographers, but is mentioned by the eleventh-century geographer Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī. He called it Ḥiṣn Hunayn (Hunayn Fortress) and notes that the townspeople were Kūmiyya Berbers. A century later, the geographer al-Idrīsī describes Honaine as an attractive and prosperous city surrounded by sturdy ramparts and thriving bazaars. There is no me…

Hong Kong

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
The island of  Hong Kong, at the mouth of the Pearl River on the southeastern coast of China, was ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Nanking (1842) following the First Opium War, and was expanded by the acquisition of Kowloon on the mainland (1862) and the adjacent area (1898), together known as the New Territories. Since 1997 the former British colony of Hong Kong has been a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. The colony grew steadily as a central distribution point for East-West trade, and came to have a substantial community of Baghdadi Jew…

Ḥoter b. Solomon

(14 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Dhamārī, Manṣūr Sulaymān (Ḥoter ben Solomon) Norman A. Stillman

Ḥovot Yehuda

(506 words)

Author(s): Dalia Yasharpour
Several Iranian Jewish writers and thinkers responded to the explication of the Thirteen Principles of the Jewish faith by Moses Maimonides in Pereq Ḥeleq of his Commentary on the Mishna by delineating what they believed to be the essential tenets of Judaism. Among them was the sixteenth-century poet Imrānī, who composed a Judeo-Persian versified commentary to the Principles entitled Vājibāt va arkān-i sīzdahgānih-yi īmān-i Israʾel (Thirteen Principles and Pillars of the Faith of Israel). Another was Elisha ben Samuel, who incorporated a brief listing of the…

Hubeş, Rozet

(320 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Rozet Hubeş, born in Istanbul in 1959, is a Turkish Jewish actress. After graduating from the Lycée Saint Benoît d’Istanbul, she studied French language and literature in the School of Literature of Istanbul University, and theater at the Municipal Conservatory of Istanbul. In addition to her performances onstage in public and private theater, Hubeş does voice-overs and performs in cinema, television, and documentaries. She is affiliated with City Theatres of Istanbul. In 2005, the Afife Tiyatro Ödülleri (Afife Theatre Awards) organized by Yapı Kredi Sigorta (Yapı…

Hubeş, Selim

(157 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Selim Hubeş, born in Istanbul in 1953, is a  Turkish Jewish musician and a member of the acclaimed Los Pasharos Sefaradis. Hubeş has been involved in theater and music since 1976. He attended the Academy of Commercial Sciences in Istanbul, graduating with a master’s degree in accounting, and since then has been a self-employed accountant. In 1978, he formed the Sephardic music group Los Pasharos Sefaradis along with Karen Gerşon Şarhon, İzzet Bana, and Yavuz Hubeş. He is the guitarist of the band and its main composer. The band has produced five albums. Hubeş won the second prize at the…


(512 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
The city of Huesca (Ar. Washqa), in northeastern Spain, lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees, 70 kilometers (40 miles) north of Saragossa, on the frontier of Islamic al-Andalus. During the caliphal period Huesca was occasionally the seat of an independent ruler, and it was also independent for a short time before being absorbed by the powerful taifa kingdom of Saragossa. It had another short period of independence under Lope (Lubb), a son of Sulaymān ibn Hūd, but it was later reunited with the kingdom of the Saragossa Ḥudids. Although there is little information about the Jewish co…


(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Culi (Hulli), Jacob Ben Meir Norman A. Stillman

Ḥuri, Ḥayyim (Houri, Haim)

(332 words)

Author(s): Alex Weingrod
Ḥayyim Ḥuri, who was later to gain renown as a addiq, or saintly holy man, was born in Jerba, Tunisia, in 1885. He was ordained at an early age, and in his mid-twenties was appointed chief rabbi of Gabes, the largest town in southern Tunisia. Industrious as well as popular, Rabbi Ḥuri was active as a teacher, represented the southern Tunisian Jewish communities to the Muslim government (then under the French Protectorate), supervised local charitable foundations, and published and distributed religious books. His efforts as repr…

Ḥusaynī, Ḥājj Amīn al-

(9 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
See Anti-Judaism/Antisemitism/Anti-Zionism Daniel Schroeter

Ḥushiel ben Elḥanan

(1,045 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
According to the well-known and compelling account by Abraham ibn Daʾūd in his Sefer ha-Qabbala (sec. 7, beg.), Ḥushiel ben Elḥanan was one of the “four great scholars” (Heb. ḥakhamim gedolim) taken captive by the Andalusi Umayyad commander Ibn Rumāḥiṣ (under ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III) while en route by sea from Bari in southern Italy to Sfax (per Gil, sec. 122; not “Sefastin”). The four (Ḥushiel, Moses ben Ḥanokh, Shemarya ben Elḥanan, and an unnamed companion) were eventually ransomed by Jewish communities in different Mediterran…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ḥuṣīn Family

(945 words)

Author(s): Zvi Zohar
The Ḥuṣīn family were a line of rabbinical scholars, beginning with Ṣadqa Ḥuṣīn, who were active in Baghdad in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries and in Jerusalem in the second quarter of the twentieth. Ṣadqa Ḥuṣīn (1699–1773) was born into an impoverished family in Aleppo, but was adopted by the community’s grandee. His intellectual potential was already recognized in his teens. In 1742, when a plague decimated Baghdad’s rabbinic scholars, Ṣadqa was sent from Aleppo in response to a request from Baghdad for someone to serve as chief rabbi. In this capacity he…

Ḥuṣīn, Ṣadqa

(421 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
Rabbi Ṣadqa Ḥuṣīn was born in Aleppo toward the beginning of the seventeenth century and was considered to be one of the community’s preeminent Torah scholars. In 1742 and 1743, a severe epidemic struck the city of Baghdad, and many prominent local scholars died. Moses Shandūkh, the nasi (head) of the Jewish community, urgently asked Samuel Laniado, the chief rabbi of Aleppo, to send a learned scholar to Baghdad to serve as judge (Heb. dayyan) and chief rabbi. Laniado chose Ṣadqa Ḥuṣīn. One can certainly say that Rabbi Ḥuṣīn revived Torah study in Baghdad, but in doing so he …

Ḥusnī, Dāʾūd

(420 words)

Author(s): Amnon Shiloah
Dāʾūd Ḥusnī (Heb. David Khaḍr Ḥayyim Halevi) was born in 1870 into a Karaite family in Cairo. Attracted from an early age by the art of singing and music, he dropped out of school to study music and the oud. His talent and artistic creativity were soon recognized by the great masters of the time, but his father opposed his son’s decision to pursue his vocation as a musician. Known as “the artist with golden ears,” Ḥusnī was a genuine innovator in classical Arabic music, introducing new artistic forms and ingeniously blending in stylistic elements and characteristics of Turkish and Persian maqām…