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Ijāra (protection)

(1,486 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Ijāra is an Arabic verbal noun (from the root j-w-r), that denotes the formal extension of temporary protection (jiwār) to the life and property of a specified person (the mustajīr) who is in physical proximity to the protector (the mujīr). The concept of ijāra also works in conjunction with such lexically related terms as istijāra (requesting protection) and jār (a protected person, neighbour, or, less often, protector). These terms were prominent in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods, whereafter conceptual analogues such as amān (a temporary pledge of security, usuall…
Date: 2020-06-10

 Shurūṭ ahl al-dhimma; Bayān mā yalzam ahl al-dhimma fiʿluhu; Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma

(700 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Conditions pertaining to the ahl al-dhimma [non-Muslims permanently resident in Muslim territory]; An explanation of what is incumbent upon ahl al-dhimma; Rulings concerning ahl al-dhimma Abū Yaʿlā ibn al-Farrāʾ Date: Mid-11th century Original Language: Arabic Description Since no manuscript of the Shurūṭ ahl al-dhimma itself has been studied, many details are unknown, among them its length, the range of its contents, its intended audience, and the reasons for its composition. It doubtless treated the legal framework of the compact ( dhimma) that, in the theory of the Musli…

Ibn al-Durayhim

(774 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Tāj al-Dīn Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Futūḥ al-Thaʿlabī (or al-Taghlibī) al-Shāfiʿī al-Mawṣilī, known as Ibn al-Durayhim Date of Birth: 1312 Place of Birth: Mosul Date of Death: Approximately 1360-61 Place of Death: Qūṣ, Egypt Biography Ibn al-Durayhim was a noted 14th-century Sunnī scholar, merchant, and official. The patronymic by which he is known refers to the sobriquet of his seventh-generation ancestor (Saʿīd). Born in Mosul in 1312, he was educated there in the qur’anic sciences, Hadith, Arabic grammar, Shāfiʿī fiqh, and the other normal discipli…

Al-qawl al-mukhtār fī l-manʿ ʿan takhyīr al-kuffār

(120 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Unknown author Date of Birth: Approximately 1250-1300 Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography The author is unknown. Thorough study of the work, which has not yet been undertaken, may provide clues or even a positive identification. Preliminary indications are that he was a learned jurist of the early or middle 14th century who, though a Ḥanbalī, was keen to cite authorities from across the madhhab spectrum. Primary Sources of Information The only hints about the author’s personal circumstances are likely to be found in the work itself. Secondary …

Abū Yaʿlā ibn al-Farrāʾ

(494 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Abū Yaʿlā Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Muḥammad ibn Khalaf ibn Aḥmad ibn al-Farrāʾ Date of Birth: 27 or 28 April 990 Place of Birth: Iraq? Date of Death: 14 August 1066 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography Abū Yaʿlā is one of the great historical authorities of the Ḥanbalī madhhab of Sunnī law, to whose adherents he has often been known simply as ‘the qadi’. Born into a scholarly family – his father had been a Ḥanafī jurist and notary – he was trained in Ḥanbalism by the renowned jurist Ibn Ḥāmid (d. 1012). As his reputation for intelligence and d…

 Manhaj al-ṣawāb fī qubḥ istiktāb ahl al-kitāb

(1,473 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Manhaj al-ṣawāb fī taḥqīq al-murīd wa-l-murād‘The right way, on the infamy of employing Jews and Christians as scribes’, ‘The right way, on the fulfilment of the seeker and the sought’ Ibn al-Durayhim Date: 1340-60 Original Language: Arabic Description Manhaj al-ṣawāb is the most extensive and original of the several pre-modern Arabic works that urge Muslim political elites not to employ non-Muslim officials, particularly Coptic Christians. It runs to 219 pages in the most accessible edition (Kisrawī), 227 in the critical edition (al-Sharnoubi). All eight sections ( abwāb) into w…

 Al-madhamma fī istiʿmāl ahl al-dhimma

(1,435 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
'Censure concerning the employment of dhimmīs' Ibn al-Naqqāsh Date: 1357-58 Original Language: Arabic Description The Madhamma has the form of a fatwa, requested by a petitioner who wants to know whether it is lawful ( yajūz) for non-Muslims to be employed by emirs in affairs of state such as tax collection. The negative answer that Ibn al-Naqqāsh gives is in fact not his own; most of the Madhamma corresponds verbatim to the section on state employment in the Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma of the Ḥanbalī jurist Ibn al-Qayyim (q.v.) (ed. Ṣ. Ṣāliḥ, i, pp. 208-44). Since Ibn al-Qayyim died in 1350 and the Mad…

 Al-qawl al-mukhtār fī l-manʿ ʿan takhyīr al-kuffār

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
‘The selected saying concerning the prohibition on preferring infidels’, ‘The selected saying’ Al-qawl al-mukhtār fī l-manʿ ʿan takhyīr al-kuffār Date: Uncertain; 14th century, possibly before 1341 Original Language: Arabic Description Al-qawl al-mukhtār has scarcely been studied in either the Islamic or Western scholarly traditions; this description and the details it contains are thus provisional. At 76 lithographed manuscript pages of approximately 27 lines per page, it is a substantial work. Its topical coverage extends t…

Ibn al-Naqqāsh

(1,062 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Abū Umāma Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-Wāḥid ibn Yaḥyā ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥīm al-Dukkālī/al-Maghribī l-Miṣrī l-Shāfiʿī, Ibn al-Naqqāsh Date of Birth: Approximately 1320 Place of Birth: Probably the Maghrib (the nisba al-Dukkālī, which originates in the name of a Berber tribal confederation, might refer to any of several locations in Morocco) Date of Death: 13 January 1362 Place of Death: Cairo Biography Ibn al-Naqqāsh was born of Berber stock, probably in 720/1320 (723 and 725 are also proposed). He seems to have come to Cairo at a young age. There he proved a…

 Taʿrīf al-tabdīl fī taḥrīf al-Injīl

(139 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
'Intimation about substitution concerning falsification of the Gospel' Ibn al-Durayhim Date: Between about 1330 and 1360 Original Language: Arabic Description All that is known of this work is its title. It was evidently written to assert the well-known doctrine of taḥrīf, the deliberate falsification of pre-qur’anic scripture, in this case of the Gospel by Christians. The term tabdīl suggests that it may have laid special emphasis on the notion that the Christians had substituted some words and phrases for others, though taḥrīf and tabdīl are often used interchangeably. Significan…


(683 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Abū ʿAmr ʿUthmān ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Khālid ibn Muḥammad ibn Muslim al-Qurashī l-Nābulusī Date of Birth: 26 or 27 December 1192 Place of Birth: Cairo Date of Death: 17 April 1262 Place of Death: Cairo Biography Abū ʿAmr ʿUthmān ibn Ibrāhīm al-Nābulusī  (a few authors suggest Fakhr al-Dīn and/or add al-Ṣafadī), as his name suggests, had family origins in Palestine, though he seems to have lived most of his life in Egypt. His father ʿAlam al-Dīn was a Shāfiʿī qāḍī, but his maternal grandfather was the Damascene Ḥanbalī jurisprudent and preacher Zayn al-Dīn ʿAlī ibn Ib…

 Tajrīd sayf al-himma li-istikhrāj mā fī dhimmat al-dhimma

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
‘Drawing the sword of ambition to extract what is owed by the dhimmīs’ Al-Nābulusī Date: Approximately 1240-41 Original Language: Arabic Description The Tajrīd sayf al-himma was written shortly after the Ayyubid sovereign al-Malik al-Ṣāliḥ had promulgated a decree re-imposing a number of social and legal disabilities on non-Muslims (c. 1239-40). Al-Nābulusī addressed his work to this ruler, whom he sought to persuade that the anti- dhimmī decree should be followed by an initiative to cleanse the bureaucracy of non-Muslim officials, particularly Copts. More sp…

 Taṣrīḥ al-Qurʾān bi-l-naṣr ʿalā man istaʿāna bi-kuffār al-ʿaṣr

(272 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
‘Qurʾanic assurance of victory over those who seek the support of present-day infidels’ Al-Nābulusī Date: Before 1241 Original Language: Arabic Description The Taṣrīḥ al-Qurʾān is known only from the author’s reference in his Tajrīd (MS Tunis Jāmiʿ Zaytūna – IV 74, fol. 6r, MS Istanbul, Damād Ibrāhīm – 273, fol. 4r). After quoting qur’anic passages that discourage amity with non-Muslims, al-Nābulusī explains that those who flout these directives risk becoming infidels themselves. He adds: ‘If the jurisprudent wishes to refer to…

Chapter 15. Muslim rulers, Christian subjects

(11,631 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
Introduction* Surveys of pre-modern Christian and other non-Muslim life under Muslim rulers have generally stressed two themes: the  dhimma system – recently and tendentiously labelled ‘dhimmitude’ – and, though to a lesser extent, demographic decline. [1] The term ‘ dhimma system’ refers to the body of legal theory that Muslim jurists devised in order to rationalise and regulate the permanent presence of non-Muslim populations in Muslim-ruled territories, and which Muslim rulers enforced to varying degrees. It was based upon a ‘pact’ ( dhimma) that non-Muslim communities…

Ibn al-Rāhib

(344 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
[Abū Shākir Nushūʾ al-Khilāfa ibn al-Sanāʾ Abū l-Karam Butrus ibn al-Muhadhdhab] ca 1210-95. Egypt. State official and Coptic deacon in Cairo. Author of an Arabic Kitāb al-tawārīkh (Book of Chronologies), finished in 1257. It begins with sections on astronomy and chronography (chapters 1-47), and continues with Eusebian parallel-column prose histories of the world from Adam to Heraclius (ch. 48), of Muslim rulers (ch. 49), and of the Coptic patriarchs (ch. 50), ending in an account of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Orient (ch. 51). The important 16th-century Geʿez translatio…
Date: 2016-10-17

History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria

(827 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
[Siyar al-bīʿa al-muqaddasa] 11th and 13th centuries. Egypt. Written in Arabic, but partially translated from Coptic, by Coptic churchmen and lay officials of the late 11th century, it was extended to the first quarter of the 13th century, and indeed later addenda continued to be made until the 20th century.The History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria is a multi-authored compilation of the biographies of the patriarchs of the Coptic church from St. Mark the Evangelist to the seventy-fourth patriarch, John VI (d. 1216). Long ascribed to the tenth-cent…
Date: 2016-10-17

Yūsāb al-Muḥabrak of Fūwah

(291 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
d. 1257/71. Egypt. Monk and bishop in the Nile delta. Putative author of an untitled Arabic history of the patriarchs of the Coptic church. Few details of his life are known; he was a monk at Wādī al-Naṭrūn before becoming bishop in the western Delta district of Fūwah ca. 1238. His sobriquet (evidently not, as sometimes implied, that of his father: see Moawad) was al-muḥabrak (the Misshapen).The work of history usually ascribed to him resembles the better-known History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria in miniature; in fact, the two works have a complex and incompletely underst…
Date: 2016-10-17

Gabriel ibn al-Qilāʿī

(325 words)

Author(s): Yarbrough, Luke
ca 1450-1516. Lebanon. A Maronite, Franciscan monk, and author of poetic and polemical works in Arabic containing material of historical value, most notably Madīḥa ʿalā jabal lubnān (An Encomium of Mount Lebanon). Jibrāʾīl ibn al-Qilāʿī al-Liḥfidī was among the first Maronites to train in Rome, where he joined the Franciscans. A champion of Catholic orthodoxy in Lebanon, he was concerned to demonstrate the perpetual orthodoxy of the Maronites against the claims of competing Christian sects, particularly the Miaphysite "Jacobites". Madīḥa is a long poem of the zajal form, addresse…
Date: 2016-10-17