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Legal–Religious Elite, Temporal Authority, and the Caliphate in Mamluk Society: Conclusions Drawn from the Examination of a “Zahiri Revolt” in Damascus in 1386

  • Lutz Wiederhold (a1)

The following study is aimed at describing social, political, and religious aspects of Mamluk society in the context of a political disturbance in Damascus in 1386. It is mainly based on historiographical and prosopographical evidence. Readers who are familiar with medieval Islamic chronicles and biographical dictionaries will know that these sources do not provide satisfactory answers to all the questions concerning the socio-political structure of Islamic societies as raised by modern scholarship. Nevertheless, the information collected in the course of our examination will permit us to draw conclusions concerning three major issues of Mamluk and Islamic history, respectively:

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1 For the same observation, see Chamberlain Michael, Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus, 1190–1350 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 78, 49, 92, 153. Chamberlain adduces Hodgson M. G. S., The Venture of Islam. Conscience and History in a World Civilization, 2: 64, as an example of a strict dichotomization of Mamluk society in Western historiography.

2 See, for example, Petry Carl F., Protectors or Pretorians? The Last Mamlūk Sultan and Egypt's Warning as a Great Power (New York: New York University Press, 1994), 32. The two external powers threatening the Mamluk empire were the Mongols and Christians, while feuds of Mamluk rivals and attacks of bedouin tribes on towns and settlements can be described as internal threats to the political stability of the state.

3 Chamberlain , Knowledge and Social Practice, 6;Shoshan Boaz, “The ‘Politics of Notables’ in Medieval Islam,” Asian and African Studies 20 (1986): 180–81.

4 See the critique of Laoust's notion of Mamluk society in Stephen Humphreys R., Islamic History, A Framework of Inquiry, rev. ed. (London: I. B. Tauris, 1995), 196. Chamberlain holds the opinion that the strict focus on formal groups in writing the history of the Middle East is a consequence of applying methodologies of European history to this region (Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice, 21, 24). On “problem-oriented” versus “source-oriented” historical studies, see Tosh John, The Pursuit of History, 2nd ed. (London: Longman, 1991), 5455.

5 It has been pointed out that the notion of Mamluk society as divided into two separate spheres of military and religious elites may also be based on such models. Haarmann Ulrich, “Der Arabische Osten im spiiten Mittelalter 1250–1517,”in Geschichte der arabischen Welt, ed. Haarmann Ulrich, 2nd ed. (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1991), 253.

6 In this, the present examination builds on the results of previous studies that have demonstrated that the social domains of Mamluks and ulema intersected at various points. Some of them have shown that individual Mamluks took great pains to be accepted into the community of the pious and learned. See Haarmann Ulrich, “Arabic in Speech, Turkish in Lineage: Mamluks and their Sons in the Intellectual Life of Fourteenth-Century Egypt and Syria,” Journal of Semitic Studies 33 (1988): 81114;Berkey Jonathan, “‘Silver Threads among Coal‘–a Well-Educated Mamluk of the Ninth/Fifteenth Century,” Studia Islamica 73 (1991): 109–25;idem, The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo. A Social History of Islamic Education (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992), esp. 146–60; Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice, 49. Further, it has been suggested that the influence of outstanding ulema on matters of politics and temporal power was, at times, significant. See Humphreys , Islamic History, 150. Also, some studies have concluded that ulema and Mamluks cooperated for the sake of internal political stability. See Lapidus Ira M., Muslim Cities in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967), 107–15;Gilbert Joan E., “Institutionalization of Muslim Scholarship and Professionalization of the ʿUlamā in Medieval Damascus,”Studia Islamica 52 (1984): 105–34, esp. 127, 132; Humphreys, Islamic History, 202.

7 For a similar conclusion, see Chamberlain , Knowledge and Social Practice, 6.

8 Ibid., esp. 91–107; Berkey , The Transmission of Knowledge, 95127.

9 Brockelmann Carl, Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur [sic]. Zweite den Supplementbänden angepasste Auflage (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 19371949) (hereafter, GAL), 1:183; suppl. 1:312.

10 Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st ed. (hereafter EI 1), s.v. “Al–Zāhirīya”; Schacht Joseph, An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), 6365.

11 Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed. (EI 2), s.v. “Dāwūd”(on Dawud az-Zahiri [d. 884], who is regarded as the founder of the Zahiri madhhab), and “Ibn Hazm”; EI 1, s.v. “Zāhirīya.” On Ibn Hazm, see GAL 1:400; Suppl. 1:692. Studies dealing with Ibn Hazm's legal reasoning are, for example, Chejne Anwar G., Ibn Hazm (Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1982);Arnaldez Roger, Aspects de la pensée Musulmane (Paris: Vrin, 1987);Turki Ahmad M., Polémiques entre Ibn Hazm et Bagi sur les Principes de la Loi Musulmane. Essai sur la Litteralisme Zahirite et la Finalité Malikite (Algiers: Societe Nationale d'Edition et de Diffusion, 1973). Another study that must be mentioned here, although the present author so far has been unable to get hold of it, is de Bellefonds Y. Linant, “Ibn Hazm et la zāhirisme juridique,” Revue Algerienne (Revue de la Faculté de Droit d'Alger) 1 (1960). A recent Arabic study dealing, among other things, with Ibn Hazm's legal thought is Muhammad ʿAbdallāh Abū Suʿaylīk, al-Imām Ibn Hazm al-Zāhirī imām ahl al–Andalus (Damascus: Dar al-qalam, 1995).

12 GAL 2:89; Suppl. 2:105. Occasionally, in the biographical literature individuals with an inclination to Zahiri thought are mentioned. It is, however, difficult to reconstruct the nature of the Zahirism mentioned in short biographical notes. A common trait of most of the Zahiri scholars is their extraordinary interest in hadith. In addition to examples mentioned later, see, for example, the entry on Ahmad ibn Tahir ibn ʿIsa al-Shariqi (d. 1137 or 1145) in Farhūn Ibn, al-Dibāj al-mudhahhabfi maʿrifat aʿyān ʿulamāʿ almadhhab (Cairo: ʿAbbas ibn ʿAbd al-Salam Shaqrun, 1351 A.H.), 45.

13 GAL 2:335; Suppl. 2:464.

14 On al-Shaʿrani's attitude toward the various madhhabs, see Winter Michael, Society and Religion in Early Ottoman Egypt (New Brunswick, London: Transaction Books, 1982), 236–41.Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī, Tabaqāt al-shāfiʿyya al-kubrā (Cairo: al-Matbaʿa al-Husayniyya al-Misriyya, 1324 A.H.), 1: 43.

15 Here we have in mind Egyptian and Syrian works of the 14th and 15th centuries.

16 GAL, 2:41; Suppl. 2:39.

17 The first Mamluk Sultan of Circassian origin was, long before Barquq, Baybars al-Jashnkir (r. 130910). See Haarmann , “Der Arabische Osten,” 244.

18 GAL 1:441; Suppl. 1:790.

19 GAL 1:109; Suppl. 1:135.

20 Goldziher Ignac, Die Zāhiriten: ihr Lehrsystem und ihre Geschichte; ein Beilrag zur Geschichte der muhammedanischen Theologie (Leipzig: Otto Schulze, 1884), 189–93. See also Zysow Aron, The Economy of Certainty: An Introduction to the Typology of Islamic Legal Theory (unpublished Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 1984), 223. Ibn Taymiyya's refusal to accept any consensus (ijmaʿ) after the consensus of the Companions of the Prophet has been described as identical with the Zahiri concept of ijmāʿ. See Schacht Joseph, “The Schools of Law and Later Developments of Jurisprudence,”in Law in the Middle East, ed. Khadduri Majid, Liebesny Herbert (Washington, D.C.: The Middle East Institute, 1955), 5784, esp. 68; , An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudence, 64.idem

21 Goldziher , Die Zāhiriten, 196202. Goldziher also demonstrated that al-Maqrizi (GAL 2:38; Suppl. 2:36) must have been notorious for his Zahirism among his contemporaries. At least, his fellow historian Ibn Taghribirdi mentioned al-Maqrizi's inclinations to Zahirism in a derogatory manner (Goldziher, Die Zāhiriten, 194). As demonstrated by Chejne, certain Sunni scholars displayed sympathies for Ibn Hazm's ideas (Ibn Hazm, 7–10).

22 Even Taj al-Din al-Subki, the Shafiʿi who, in his Tabaqūt al-shāfiʿiyya, disapproved of Zahiri ideas as represented by Ibn Hazm, quotes this Zahiri in a fatwā dealing with the offense of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (sabb al-rasūl). However, it needs to be mentioned here that Ibn Hazm started his scholarly career as a Shafiʿi. See al-Subki, al-Fatāwā, 1:587; EI1, s.v. “Ibn Hazm.” A 13th-century Shafiʿi scholar in whose works an element of Zahirism has been identified is Abu Shama (665/1268). See Juynboll G. H. A., The Authenticity of the Tradition Literature (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1969), 91. Other examples for the impact of Ibn Hazm on scholars who were not denoted as Zahiris are provided by Chejne , Ibn Hazm, 1419. According to Coulson, in modern times, the Zahiri doctrine was used for the formulation of legal rules by way of exercising takhayyur. See Coulson Noel J., A History of Islamic Law (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1964), 194.

23 GAL 2:175; Suppl. 2:226.

24 Farhūn Ibn, Dibāj, 13. See also Goldziher , Die Zūhiriten, 39, where it is reported that Muhammad ibn ʿAbdarrahman al-Samarqandi al-Sinjari (d. 721/1321), in his ʿUmdat al-tālib li-maʿrifat al-madhāhib, also mentioned the legal tenets of the Zahiris as still significant in his days. It may be surmised that both Ibn Farhun and al-Sinjari, when stating the existence of Zahirism at their time, had in mind the circulation of Zahiri ideas rather than particular scholars or organizational structures such as legal schools.

25 Farhūn Ibn, Dibāj, 89. The treatise mentioned is Radd ʿalā Ibn Hazm fi iʿtirādihi ʿala Mālik…fi ahādith kharrajahā ft 'l-Muwattaʿ wa-lam yaqul bihā.

26 GAL 1:358; Suppl. 1:610.

27 al-Ṣalāḥ Ibn, Fatāwā wa-masāʿ il (Beirut: Dar al-Maʿrifa, 1986), 1: 204–5. Ibn al-Salah distinguishes between the two sorts of opinions that are of relevance for ijmaʿ: (1) opinions that confirm an ijmaʿ (wifāq), and (2) opinions that contradict an ijmāʿ (khilāf). In the passage mentioned, he states that some Shafiʿis held that opinions of Dawud al-Zahiri concerning usūl al-fiqh that contradict a consensus of other scholars (that is khilāf) are to be taken into consideration when formulating an ijmāʿ.

28 GAL 2:242; Suppl. 2:342.

29 Khaldūn Ibn, al-Muqaddima (Beirut: al-Matbaca al-adabiyya, 1900), 446–47. An English translation of the passage quoted can be found in Rosenthal Franz, The Muqaddima. An Introduction to History (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967), 3: 56. It needs to be pointed out that, in the passage cited earlier, Ibn al-Salah does not refer to any contemporary Zahiri scholar and that his remarks seem to add little to our knowledge concerning the relevance of Zahiri ideas to the legal-theological discourse in the 13th century. But at least the passage might be taken as a justification for quoting Zahiri scholars in legal argumentation at Ibn al-Salah's time.

30 Professorships and other paid positions in the sphere of religious learning were often confined by donors to members of a particular madhhab. We don't know, however, of any such position that was designed for a Zahiri scholar in Mamluk times.

31 Goldziher , Die Zāhiriten, 195. This revolt is also adduced as an example of later Zahirism by Strothmann (EI 1, s.v. “al-Zāhirīya”), and in Boubakeur Cheikh Si Hamza, Traite moderne de Theologie Islamique (Paris; Maisonneve & Larose, 1993), 383–84.

32 GAL 2:51; Suppl. 2:50.

33 To our knowledge, Emir Sharaf al-Din Musa al-Zanki is mentioned only once in the chronicle of Ibn Qadi Shuhba for the time under examination–namely, on the occasion of his death in October 1386 (Shawwal 788; see Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 210, where the nisba al-Turki is given instead of al-Zanki). He died two months after the fitna Zahiriyya. However, there is no information whatsoever that would suggest an involvement of Sharaf al-Din Musa in the fitna or any direct link to the persons involved in it. According to al-Maqrizi, a certain Sharaf al-Din Musa ibn al-Fafa was ustādār of Emir Aytamish. It is noteworthy that al-Maqrizi also denotes him as one of the heads of the Zahiriyya (al-Maqrīzī, al-Sulūk, 3, 2:558).

34 Goldziher , Die Zāhiriten, 194.

35 GAL 2:41;Suppl. 2:39.

36 Goldziher , Die Zāhiriten, 194.

37 al-ʿAsqālanī Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina fi aʿyā, n al-mʿa al-thāmina (Hayderabad, 1928), 2: 168.

38 Goldziher , Die Zāhiriten, 194.

39 A more detailed version of al-Burhan's biography in Ibn Hajar al-ʿAsqalānīs Inbāʾ al-ghumr offers deeper insight into the nature and motives of al-Burhan's Zahirism and will be discussed later.

40 Little Donald P., An Introduction to Mamluk Historiography (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1970);Haarmann Ulrich, Quellenstudien zur frühen Mamlukenzeit (Freiburg i.Br., 1969);Schäfer Barbara, Beiträge zur mamlukischen Historiographie nach dem Tode al-Malik an-Nāsirs. Mit einer Teiledition der Chronik Šams ad-Din aš-Šugāʿ īs (Freiburg i.Br., 1971);Chamberlain , Knowledge and Social Practice, 20. Hourani has pointed to this fact in general in “The Present State of Islamic and Middle Eastern Historiography,” in Hourani Albert, Europe and the Middle East (London: Macmillan, 1982), 161–96, esp. 165. At the same time, the studies mentioned point to the fact that the character of the chronicles mirrors the professional and local circumstances under which their authors lived and that the chronicles therefore differed in content.

41 Our study is mainly based on information from Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh; al-ʿAsqalānī Ibn Hajar, Inbaʾ al-ghumī bi-abnāʾ al-ʾumr, ed. Habashi Hasan (Cairo, 19691972);idem, al-Durar al-kāmina; al-Sakhāwi , al-Daw al-lāmiʿ; al-Maqrīzī, al-Sulūk; Ibn Iyās, Badaʾiʿ al-zuhūr, ed. Mustafa Muhammad (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1974), 1/2; Zayn ad-Dīn Tāhir ibn al-Husayn Ibn Habīb, Dhayl Durat al-aslāk fi dawlat al-atrāk, ms. Bodl. 1, 739 (cf. GAL 2:37; for the year 788/1386, see fol. 220r–28r); Ibn Khalīl al-Malatī, Nayl al-amal, ms. Bodl. 1, 803 (cf. GAL 2:54). Only few of the sources mentioned do give an original account of the fitna. However, due to the particular interests and the location of their authors, some of the chronicles do provide information that cannot be found in others.

42 GAL 1:50; Suppl. 1:50.

43 Sometimes mentioned in the sources as Ibn Abi 'l-ʿIzz, ʿAli ibn ʿAli ibn Muhammad al-Adhraʿi alDimashqi. See al-ʿAsqalānī Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina, 3: 87.

44Iʿtirādāt ʿilmiyyawa-atā bi-ashyā munkara,” Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 89.

45 This ʿAli ibn Aybak could not be identified in the biographical literature.

46 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 89.

47 Ibid. In all probability, the decree culminated in a similar attack on Shafiʿi, Maliki, and Hanbali followers of Ibn Taymiyya in the Syrian capital, but at this point Ibn Qādi Shuhba, unfortunately, cuts short the citation of the document. Instead, the case of Ibn al-ʿlzz is taken up again by him. This, however, is not of interest in the present context.

48 It seems noteworthy that we know of other cases in Islamic history where certain groups of ulema attempted to gain the support of temporal rulers against scholarly groups abiding by dissident theological opinions. See Humphreys, Islamic History, 159.

49 This can be ascribed to the fact that chronicles such as al-Maqrizi's Sulūk and Ibn Taghribirdi's alNujūm al-zāhira focus mainly on events in Egypt. The silence of some of the sources concerning the fitna is also discernible in an early Western historiography of the Mamluk era, namely, Weil's Geschichte der Chalifen. Weil mentions the dismissal of Baydamur as governor of Damascus–an important episode of the fitna–but does not elucidate the developments that led to his removal (Weil Gustav, Geschichte der Chalifen (Stuttgart, 18461862), 4/1:545).

50 Ibn Qādi Shuhba, Tārikh, 186. As mentioned earlier, Goldziher provides a biographical sketch of Ahmad al-Burhan al-Zahiri drawing on al-Manhal al-sāfī by Ibn Taghribirdi, but fails to point to the fact that this Ahmad (al-Burhan al-Zahiri) and the Ahmad (al-Zahiri) who played a prominent part in the Damascene fitna are one and the same person. The biographical material on Ahmad as provided in Ibn Qadi Shuhba's chronicle can be assumed to be more authentic than that presented in Manhal al-sāfī for reasons outlined earlier.

51 According to Ibn Qadi Shuhba (ibid.), he used to study Ibn Hazm's Muhallā, a fiqh manual that was composed when Ibn Hazm was still following the Shafiʿi doctrine (GAL 1:400; Suppl. 1:695). On Ibn Hazm's possible motives for changing madhhabs, see Chejne, Ibn Hazm, 43–46.

52 It remains unclear why Ahmad al-Burhan himself was not mentioned in Barquq's decree.

53 0n (Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Sanjar) Ibn al-Himsi's role in the fitna, see Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 304; Hajar Ibn, al-Durar al-kamina, 1: 514.

54 These events will be discussed later. On the installation of al-Mutawakkil, see Weil, Geschichte der Chalifen, 4/:509.

55 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 363–64.

56 Ibid., 226–27.

57 Ibid., 186–87.

58 Ibn Qādi Shuhba mentions three facts as having nourished the sultan's suspicion of Baydamur: (1) Baydamur's letter had arrived only after that of the hājib and the nāʾib al-qalʿa; (2) in his letter he had played down (hawwana) the events of the whole incident, whereas the two officers in their letter had suggested that he had treated the conspirators with respect (fakhkhama); (3) other unspecified circumstantial evidence (qarāʿin) supported the thesis of Baydamur's sympathy for the conspirators (Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 188).

59 Ibid., 409. It may be noted that, according to Ibn Qādī Shuhba, it was not Baydamur but his son Muhammad Shah who supported the Zahiris.

60 Ibid., 397.

61 In October (Shawwāl), the new governor, Ishiqtamir al-Maridani (d. 791/1389, see Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 306) was installed. According to al-Maqrizi (al-Sulūk, 3, 2:549), the order to imprison Baydamur was sent to Damascus on 26 September (1 Ramadān).

62 Of course, Ibn Qibjaq could likewise be viewed as fulfilling his duty of controlling the governor and limiting his political influence. On the hājib as the second in the Mamluk hierarchy after the governor in the provinces of the Mamluk empire, see EI 1, s.v. “Hadjib.”

63 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 188. Ibn Qadi Shuhba describes Amin al-Din al-Hanbali al-Baʿlabakki as a person who was often involved in political disturbances. In the conflict between Sultan al-Zahir Barquq and Emir Mintash, he took sides with the latter. When in 1391 the sultan regained control over Damascus and Syria, his adversaries were forced to withdraw and surrender. Also in Baalbek, Ibn al-Harami, an ally of Mintash, left the citadel in August (Ramadān 793) of this year, probably because he wanted to avoid confrontation with the sultan's army that was about to leave Damascus for Baalbek at that time. Even before Ibn al-Harami had left Baalbek, Amin al-Din Ibn al-Najib, who had supported him, was killed by a certain Ibn al-Mahbub Baʿlabakki (ibid., 382–83, 419–20).

64 Ibid., 187–88. On Mahmud, see ibid., 643–44. On the shādd ad-dawawīn as an official appointed to look after parts of the state treasury (amwāl al-diwāniyya), see Urbain Vermeulen, “Some Remarks on a Rescript of an-Nāsir Muhammad ibn Qalā ʿūn on the Abolition of Taxes and the Nusairis (Mamlaka of Tripoli, 717/131),” Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica 1 (1970): 195201, esp. 197, n. 7.

65 Ibid., 191.

67 Atlaqū lisānahum bi-mā lā yalīqu” ibid.

68 Other reports have it that the sultan ordered al-Zuʿayfarini's tongue to be cut (ibid.).

69 According to Ibn Qadi Shuhba, ibid., 227, Baydamur was venerated by the populace (al-nās) of Damascus. It seems noteworthy that he is said to have studied al-Bukhari's hadith collection.

70 This episode is not mentioned in Ibn Qadi Shuhba's chronicle–a fact that illustrates how various sources for the fitna do complement one another. al-Maqrizi does not mention his immediate authority for his account.

71 Naqd al-mamlaka wa-'l-duʿāʾ li-imām qurashī.”

72 A1-Maqrīzī , Kitāb Al-Sulūk, ed. ʿĀshūr Saʿid ʿAbd al-Fattāh (Cairo: Matbaʿat dar al-kutub, 1970), 3/2: 555.

73 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 226–27.

74 According to Ibn Qadi Shuhba, ibid., 308, this emir was known as a friend of the ulema.

75 Ibid., 268–69.

76 lbid., 364.

77 For a recent discussion of the evolution of the Abbasid caliphate under Mamluk rule, see Heidemann Stefan, Das Aleppiner Kalifat (A.D. 1261). Vom Ende des Kalifates in Bagdad iiber Aleppo zu den Restaurationen in Kairo (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992).

78 Jamal al-Din al-Afghani's and Muhammad Rashid Rida's ideas concerning the revival of the caliphate are an example for the political relevance of the notion of the caliphate in modern times. See Adams Charles C., Islam and Modernism in Egypt, 9, n. 5, 194, 264–66;EI 2, s.v. “Khalifa.”

79 Schäfer , Beiträge, 61, n. 5, 120–21.

80 However, in the “Bahri” period, political opposition was raised under the auspices of the caliph as, for example, in the rebellion of the sultan's mamluks against Qawsun (ibid., 155, 157).

81 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 382. For further examples of Barquq's awareness of the importance of the caliph's consent for the legitimacy of power, see ibid., 266, 273, 326. It can be noted here that Barquq's adversaries among the officers also referred back to the authority of the caliph to legitimize their claim to political power; see ibid., 294, 321; Hajar Ibn, Inbāʿ al-ghumr, 2: 344.

82 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 304.

83 Ibid., 110.

84 AI-Sakhāwī , al-Dawʾ al-lāmiʿ, 7: 168;Hajar Ibn, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 2: 343–45.

85 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 109; Weil , Ceschichte der Chalifen, 4/1: 543–54.

86 See Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 110, n. 3, n. 4, 201. Al-Wathiq is the correct name here; see al-Sakhāwī , al-Dawʾ al-lāmīʿ, 7: 168.

87 “Wa-qasadū bi-dhālika maslahatahu,” Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 110.

88 A1-Maqrīzī , al-Sulūk, 3, 2: 552; Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 190.

89 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 266.

90 Hajar Ibn, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 2: 344;al-Sakhāwī , al-Dauʾ al-lāmīʿ, 7: 168.

91 See Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 190, 201, 266, 274; al-Maqrīzī, Sulūk, 551. In contrast to Barquq, Yalbugha al-Nasiri is said to have treated the caliph with great respect. Lewis has described caliphal succession at the time under examination in EI 2, s.v. “ʿAbbāsids.” However, according to our sources, caliphal succession proceeded as follows: 1377–83, al-Mutawakkil ʿala '1-lah Muhammad; 1383–86, al-Wathiq bi-'l-lah Rukn al-Din cUmar ibn Ibrahim–son of the Caliph al-Muctasim (r. 1377); 1386–89, al-Mustaʿsim bi-'l-lah Muhyi al-Din Zakariyya ibn al-Muctasim bi-'l-lah–brother of the Caliph al-Wathiq bi-'l-lah ʿUmar (not al-Muʿtasim!); 1389–1405, al-Mutawakkil ʿala '1–lah Muhammad.

92 EI 1, s.v. “Kuraish.” For prophetic tradition mentioning the special right of the Quraysh to the caliphate, see Wensinck Jan A., Concordance de la Tradition Musulmane (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 19361988), 2: 70.

93 This was not the result of a religious-political movement but a consequence of a conflict between different factions of the Mamluks; Haarmann, “Der Arabische Osten,” 230.

94 As governor of the Buhayra and the Wajh al-Bahri provinces, Qurt frequently had military encounters with belligerent bedouins of Lower Egypt. Later, it is stated, he changed his attitude toward them and was in agreement (wātāʾa) with them; see Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 124. On the conspirators' contacts with bedouin tribes, see also Hajar Ibn, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 2: 344.

95 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 110, 186. Heidemann also mentions the involvement of bedouin tribes in the restoration of the caliphate after the fall of Bagdad; see Heidemann, Das Aleppiner Kalifat, 95.

96 In this context, it can be mentioned that the black color of the Abbasids had a symbolic value that became obvious in religious ceremonies also in Mamluk times; see Mayer L. A., Mamluk Costume (Geneva: Albert Kundig, 1952), 12. Al-Maqrizi reports that a khutba was usually read by a preacher wearing a black robe (al-Sulūk, 3, 2: 549). On black as a symbol of allegiance to the Abbasid dynasty in pre-Mamluk times, see ShGuthrie , Arab Social Life in the Middle Ages (London: Saqi Books, 1996), 74. In light of our conclusion, and keeping in mind the fact that a number of the Zahiris involved in the fitna belonged to the Shafiʿi school of law, general assumptions regarding the attitude of certain madhhabs toward the political authority of the caliphate of Cairo need to be re-investigated; cf. ShJackson A., “From Prophetic Actions to Constitutional Theory: A Novel Chapter in Medieval Muslim Jurisprudence,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 25 (1993): 7190, esp. 85–86.

97 Al-Maqrīzī, Sulūk, 550. On mukūs as a legal problem in Mamluk times, see Jokisch Benjamin, Islamisches Recht in Theorie und Praxis. Analyse einiger kaufrechtlicher Fatwas von Taqī ʾ d-Din Ahmad b. Taymiyya (Berlin: Schwarz, 1996), 6667. As mentioned elsewhere, the levy of mukus was an issue of dispute also in other places and periods of Islamic history; see Essid Yassine, A Critique of the Origins of Islamic Economic Thought (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995), 117, 164;Halm Heinz, “Die Fatimiden,” in Geschichte der Islamischen Welt, ed., Haarmann Ulrich, 177;Jennings C., “Kadi, Court and Legal Procedure in 17th C. Kayseri,” Studia Islamica 68 (1977): 133–71, esp. 160.

98 EI 1, s.v.“Maks.”

99 Vermeulen, “Some Remarks,” 201.

100 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 359–60; Hajar Ibn, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 1: 405–6;Hajar Ibn, al-Durar al kāmina, 3: 194;al-ʿImād Ibn, Shadharāt al-dhahabfī akhbār man dhahab (Cairo: Maktabat al-quds, 1351 A.H.), 6: 323–24.

101 This we can infer from Ibn Qādī Shuhba&s biographical sketch of the Shafiʿi scholar Sharaf al-Din al-Sharishi (d. 795/1393): “balaghanl ʿan al-Qurashl annahu qāla yaqbuhu ʿalaynā an nuftiya maʿa wujūd Ibn al-Sharīshi”; Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 497.

102 ʿAlaʾ al-Din ʿAli ibn Mujahid al-Majdali al-Shafiʿi (d. 794/1392) was one of those who received permission (idhn) to issue fatwās from him (ibid., 447).

103 The term ifāda can also describe the practice of giving testimony at court. For the meaning of ifāda in the context of education, see Berkey, Transmission of Knowledge, 40–41, and Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice, 111–12.

104 On this madrasa, see Sack Dorethee, Damaskus. Entwicklung und Struktur einer orientalisch- islamischen Stadt (Mainz: Zabern, 1989), 99.

105 Muhammad ibn Ibrahim; see Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārikh, 406. Fath al-Din had taken over this position from the chief judge Wali al-Din Ibn Abi &1-Baqaʾ (ibid., 11).

106 That is, Wali al-Din ʿAbdallah ibn Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Barr Ibn Abi &1-Baqaʾ al-Subki (d. 785/ 1383) (ibid., 122).

107 Ibid., 160–61. On maslaha as a legal principle, see El2, s.v. “maslaha.”

108 See the paragraph on the third scholar mentioned in the decree, Ibn al-Husbani.

109 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 391.

110 Ibid., 11. Interestingly, Goldziher sees in anthropomorphism the ultimate consequence of Zahirism, though it must be noted that Ibn Hazm had rejected anthropomorphist ideas. As is well known, the anthropomorphists took verses from the Qurʾan ascribing human attributes to God in their literal meaning. Ibn Hazm criticized their concepts as well as the Ashʿari and Muʿtazili metaphorical interpretations of the passages in question (Goldziher, Die Zāhiriten, 164).

111 ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārikh, 645–46.

112 Sack, Damaskus, 98.

113 Shihab al-Din al-Qurashi had established contact with Yalbugha during his sojourn in Cairo (Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 391).

114 Ibid., 335. In another place, Ibn Qādī Shuhba states that the trial took place in March 1390 (Rabiʿ II 792, ibid., 392).

115 Ibid., 360.

116 “Kana … kathir al-inkār ʿalā arbāb al-sunna”; ibid. The translation of arbāb al-sunna as “members of the religious establishment” has been chosen with regard to the context of al-Qurashi&s biography. One of the leading scholars of the time who were attacked by al-Qurashi was the faqih who had introduced him to the scholarly circles of Damascus, the famous Taj al-Din al-Subki. According to Ibn Hajar, this behavior accounts for the hostility with which Zayn al-Din al-Qurashi was met by some of his contemporaries (Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina, 3:194). Ibn Qādī Shuhba and Ibn Hijji do not mention this episode in their biographical notes on Zayn al-Din al-Qurashi.

117 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 360.

118 As mentioned, Ibn Hijji was an important source of Ibn Qādī Shuhba.

119 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 281.

120 The same applies to his son, Shihab al-Din, who also became a preacher and was very popular among the common people of Cairo (ibid., 391).

121 Ahmad ibn ʿUthman ibn ʿIsa al-Yasufi (ibid., 169, 709; Ibn Hajar, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 1:3O5; Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina, 1:200; Ibn al-ʿImād, Shadharāt al-dhahab, 6:296).

122Wa-lam yakun bi-baladihifi tāʿifatihi akram minhu (Ahmad b. Qādī Shuhba) wa-min al-shaykh Najm al-Din Ibn al-Jābi”; Ibn Qādi Shuhba, Tārīkh, 252. The meaning of “tāʿifa” remains unclear in this passage.

123 Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina, 1:200.

124 Meinecke Michael, Die mamlukische Ärchitektur in Agypten und Syrien (Glückstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1992), 1:77.

125 Ibn Qādi Shuhba, Tārīkh, 228–29.

126 At this point, it needs to be emphasized that Ibn al-Jabi and Sadr al-Din are two different personalities bearing the same nisba—al-Yasufi. Sadr al-Din is the fourth scholar mentioned in Barquq&s decree as a representative of Zahiri thought. Further, the governor of Damascus had installed him at the madrasa Zahiriyya Jawwaniyya (Sack, Damaskus, 29, 71, 102) replacing Fath al-Din ibn al-Shahid. (The sources remain silent about the year of the installation mentioned, so it remains obscure which governor provided Ibn al-Jabi with the position; Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 223.) He taught at the madrasa Damaghiyya (Sack, Damaskus, 97) and held another position as repetitor at the madrasa Umm Salih. (Perhaps this is the madrasa al-Salihiyya to which the turba of Umm Salih was attached; see Sack, Damaskus, 103.)

127 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 170. On dār al-ʿadl, see Sack, Damaskus, 107, and Rabbat Nasser O., “The Ideological Significance of the Dar al-cAdl in the Medieval Islamic Orient,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 27 (1994): 328.

128 Jābi awqafäl-shāmiyya al-barrāniyya"; Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 169.

129 ʿAbd al-Wahid ibn Ismaʿil ibn Yasin; see ibid., 145.

130 He got this position through the mediation of Awhad al-Din; see ibid., 133. On the Shamiyya, see Sack, Damaskus, 98.

131 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 170; see also Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina, 1:200.

132 Ibn Taghrībirdī, al-Manhal al-şāfi wa-&l-mustawfi baʿd al-wāfi, ed. Muhammad M. Amin (Cairo: al-HayDa al-Misriyya li-&l-kitab, 1985–90), 1:242–43; al-Sakhāwī, al-Dawʾ al-lāmiʿ, 1:237–39; Ibn al-ʿImād, Shadharāt al-dhahab, 7:108–9.

133 Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad, known as Ibn Khutlushah, was also a teacher of al-Yasufi; see Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 124.

134 Sack, Damaskus, 94.

135 Ibn Hajar, Inbaʾ al-ghumr, 2:522.

136 See Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 121. Ibn al-Husbani was forced to leave this position to Badr al-Din al-Zuraʿi in September 1379 (Jumādā II 781). But he took over the office again in February 1380 (Dhū &1-Qaʿda 781). In August 1380 (Jumada I 782), Ibn al-Husbani had to resign again, and Badr al-Din al-Zuraci was reinstalled, but in November 1381 (Ramadan 783) Ibn al-Husbani was restored to the position.

137 Ibid., 8, 11, 30, 64, 82–83. The position of the preacher of the Friday sermon (khatib) of the Tawba Mosque was the subject of another dispute between Ibn al-Husbani and one of his colleagues. Shortly after Ibn al-Husbani had taken over in June 1385 (Jumada I 787), Ibn al-Jazari (d. 833/1429) presented a document affirming his right to this position. For a purpose not specified by the chronicler, but certainly not a friendly one, Ibn al-Jazari, whose installation document had arrived before that of Ibn al-Husbani, had preferred to withhold it until Ibn al-Husbani had read his first khutba (Ibid., 159).

138 In the words of the judge of Damascus: “Ankara qawl al-qāʿil anna &l-āmr li-&l-lah min qabl wa-baʿd.” However, it must be noted that we know of several cases in which the charge of unbelief (kufr) or blasphemy (sabb) was brought against scholarly rivals and non-conformist personalities in different Muslim societies. See Lutz Wiederhold, “Blasphemy Against the Prophet Muhammad and His Companions (sabb al-rasūl, sabb al-sahāba): The Introduction of Theological Doctrine into Shāfiʿī Legal Literature and its Relationship to Legal Practice under Mamluk Rule,” Journal of Semitic Studies 62 (1997): 3971, esp. 68, n. 148.

139 Ibn Qadi Shuhba, Tarikh, 181.

140 There seems to be an inconsistency in Ibn Qādī Shuhba&s account when he reports that, on this occasion, the position of a supervisor of the Aminiyya was given to ʿAlaʾ al-Din Ibn Naqib al-Ashraf. According to the chronicler&s account, Ibn al-Husbani had to dispense with the responsibilities of a supervisor (nāzir) of the Aminiyya in favor of Badr al-Din al-Zuraʿi in May 1382 (Rabīʿ I 784). Perhaps he had regained them in the course of time and Ibn Qadi Shuhba failed to mention this (ibid., 82, 160).

141 On this mosque, see Sack, Damaskus, 63 ff., 67, 96.

142 Shihab al-Din Ibn Hijji, the chronicler, became teacher at the Aminiyya, assuming the position of Ibn al-Husbani after the latter&s imprisonment; Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 161–62, 163, 164.

143 ʿUmar ibn Raslan al-Bulqini; see Ibn al-ʿImād, Shadharāt al-dhahab, 7:51; Ibn Hajar, Inbaʿ alghumr, 2:245–47.

144 Ibn Qādi Shuhba, Tārīkh, 247. Al-Bulqini was a great admirer of Ibn al-Husbani and considered him the scholar with the strongest memory for prophetic tradition in Damascus at this time; see Ibn Hajar, lnbāʿ al-ghumr, 2:524.

145 The mosque referred to here is probably the Tawba Mosque, which, according to Sack, was situated in the ʿUqayba quarter (Sack, Damaskus, 28). If this is true, Ibn al-Husbani assumed the position that had been taken away from him three years before.

146 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 284, 287.

147 lbid., 331.

148 The trial took place only a few days before Mintash withdrew from Damascus (ibid., 336).

149 Ibid., 335. See the biographical account of Zayn al-Din al-Qurashi that appeared earlier.

150 Ibid., 48.

151 Ibid., 335. Elsewhere in his chronicle, Ibn Qādī Shuhba confirms Shihab al-Din al-Qurashi&s pederastic inclinations and states that he used to associate with indecent persons (ibid., 391).

152 “Asāʿa al-adab ʿalayhi"; ibid., 336.

153 Ibid., 331, 336, 376.

154 Ibid., 340.

155 Some of his contemporaries even held him to have been the secretary (kātib) of Mintash (ibid., 376).

156 Sack, Damaskus, 92.

157 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 376.

158 Ibid., 380. However, Ibn al-Husbani managed to obtain other positions in the sphere of teaching, such as one at the Fathiyya school (Sack, Damaskus, 112, mentions a madrasa al-Fathiyya [also al-Qaymariyya] as dated in 1156/1743–44), which he left to Sharaf al-Din al-Summaqi al-Husbani in January 1392 (Rablʿ I 794). In August 1392 (Shawwāl 794), he added another chapter to the story of his rivalry with Ibn al-Jazari when he ousted the latter&s son from the position of khatīb of the mosque of ʿUqayba. And, as in the earlier case of the father al-Jazari, this conflict also had to be settled by a governmental decree (tawqiʿ) dividing the position in question between al-Jazari and Ibn al-Husbani in order to put an end to the quarrels (ibid., 521, 552).

159 Sack, Damaskus, 97.

160 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 557.

161 Ibid., 585–86.

162 Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-ʿAkkari, known as Ibn al-ʿAlam (d. 808/1405), who was also a companion of Ahmad Ibn al-Jabi al-Yasufi (Ibn Hajar, lnbāʿ al-ghumr, 2:331).

163 Ibid., 2:524.

164 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārikh, 228–29; Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-kāmina, 2:166; idem, Inbāʿ al-ghumr, 1:340; Ibn al-ʿImad, Shadharāt al-dhahab 6:307–8; Ibn Taghrībirdī, al-Nujūm al-zāhira, 11:312.

165 Which of the Shamiyya schools (intra muros or extra muros) is meant here is not reported. On the schools, see Sack, Damaskus, 95, 98.

166 Ibn Qādi Shuhba, Tārīkh, 228.

167 Among them were some of al-Fakhr ibn al-Bukhari&s (d. 690/1291, see GAL 1:366; Suppl. 1:625) disciples.

168 Ibn Qādī Shuhba, Tārīkh, 228–29.

169 Interestingly enough, no Hanafl or Maliki scholars are mentioned as having participated in the fitna Zahiriyya. However, Goldziher mentions a Hanafi scholar with Zahiri inclinations living at the time under examination; see Goldziher, Die Zāhiriten, 196. The Zahiris did not form a coherent group abiding by the same doctrinal tenets. In one case, the sources suggest intellectual differences between two members of the “Zahiri” faction—Zayn al-Din al-Qurashi and Ahmad al-Zahiri. The fact that some of the Zahiris had studied with the same teachers seems to be of little importance in this context. Zayn al-Din al-Qurashi, Ibn al-Jabi, and Ibn al-Husbani were introduced into the science of hadith by ʿImad al-Din al-Husbani (d. 1376) the father of Ibn al-Husbani. On him, see ʿU Kahhāla, Muājam al-muāallifin (Beirut: Dar ihyaʾ al-turath al-ʿarabi, 1957), 2:269. The first two scholars had in common two other teachers: ʿAlaʾ al-Din Hijji and Bahaʾ al-Din al-Ikhmimi. Shams al-Din al-Mizzi was the teacher of Ibn al-Husbani and al-Yasufi. However, none of these teachers was known as a supporter of Zahiri ideas.

170 Hajar Ibn, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 2:331.

171 Apart from the question of the caliphate, this is reflected in the historiographical and prosopographical sources, with particular clarity in relation to the problem of non-shariʿa taxes.

172 Chamberlain , Knowledge and Social Practice, 92–100.

For examples of the Mamluks' influence on the distribution of salaried positions, see the biographical material presented earlier; Chamberlain , Knowledge and Social Practice, 9596, and Shoshan, “The ‘Politics of Notables,’” 188.

174 On “social capital” and “cultural capital” in Mamluk society, see Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice, 108–50.

175 Ibid., 165.

176 For a description of the cooperation between Mamluks and ulema as a “symbiosis,” see Shoshan, “The ‘Politics of Notables,‘” 187.

177 On religious scholars as “notables” with the capacity to provide political legitimacy, see Ibid., 186.

178 Barquq's decree of 1382 provides an example of the Mamluks' interference with doctrinal matters. However, it remains unclear whether the four ulema mentioned in the decree of 1382 had already been identified by Barquq as political adversaries at that point or whether they had been reported to the sultan as adherents of Zahiri ideas by other scholars. Be that as it may, there is little doubt that the sultan personally cared little about the doctrinal opinions of the Zahiri conspirators in 1386. The attempt to establish an independent caliph did concern him only insofar as he suspected influential officers of attempting to seize the opportunity to pursue their own aims by supporting religious troublemakers, thus threatening internal political stability. Barquq's questions during the interrogation of Ahmad al-Burhan and the severe measures taken against Baydamur illustrate this in sufficient clarity. Mamluk officials were not inclined to take the initiative in persecuting non-conformist ulema. For a discussion of the matter, see Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice, 167–74.

179 Marmon Shaun, Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries in Islamic Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 6.

180 EI2, s.v. “fitna.”

181 Chamberlain , Knowledge and Social Practice, 91107. Chamberlain's translation of fitna as “elite competition” is general enough to describe internal conflicts between members of the military elite as well as between particular ulema;Ibid., 168.

182 Shoshan has pointed to the fact that we don't have any proof for the ulema's leadership of popular revolts in Mamluk Egypt (Shoshan, “The ‘Politics of Notables,’” 197). However, the behavior of Mamluk officials during the fitna could be interpreted as suggesting that the Mamluks thought of certain ulema as potential leaders of political revolts.

Author's note: Parts of this article were written during my stay at the Oriental Institute in Oxford (1994–95), generously supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and at the Department of Oriental Studies, University of Kiel (1995), made possible by equally generous funding provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. I thank Professor W. Madelung and Professor U. Haarmann, whose kind invitation enabled me to work at these institutions for a period of time. Some sections of the text were presented in a paper at “The Mamluks in Bilad al-Sham: History and Archeology,” the eighth conference of the ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, held at the American University of Beirut, 1–4 April 1997. U. Haarmann, W. Madelung, and D. S. Richards read draft versions of the article and made a number of valuable comments. Also, I am indebted to R. S. Humphreys and the journal's anonymous readers for helpful suggestions concerning the contents and organization of the text. Needless to say, any remaining mistakes are mine.

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