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The Secret of the House of Ma'n

  • Kamal S. Salibi (a1)

In the early 1590s an obscure chieftain of the Druze district of the Shûf, in the mountain hinterland of Sidon, was appointed multazim (tax farmer) of the whole Druze mountain (the Shûf along with the Gharb, Jurd and Matn, in the hinterland of Beirut) by the Ottoman beylerbeyi (provincial governor) of Damascus. The name of this chieftain was Fakhr al-Dîn ibn Qurqumâs (Turkish Korkmaz), and he belonged to the family of the Ma'ns, who had been hereditary chieftains of the Shûf at least since the fifteenth century1. In time, Fakhr al-Dîn made use of favourable circumstances to extend his dominion over the whole of Mount Lebanon, and also over other parts of the Syrian countryside. In 1633, however, the Ottomans turned against him and crushed him, and a mysterious figure called ‘Alî ‘Alam al-Dîn was appointed to replace him in the paramount chieftainship of the Druze mountain. For over three decades this man, and his sons after him, maintained themselves in power as paramount chieftains of the Druzes, while the Ma‘ns were reduced to their original size as traditional chieftains of the Shûf. Finally, in 1667, Emir Ahmad Ma‘n, a grandnephew of Fakhr al-Dîn’s, was appointed multazim of the Druze districts of the Shûf, Gharb, Jurd and Matn, and of the Maronite district of the Kisrawân, and the Ma‘nid hegemony over the southern Lebanon was thus re-established. When Ahmad Ma‘n died without male progeny in 1697 he was succeeded in his iltizâm, and hence in the hegemony of the southern Lebanon, by the Shihâbs–Sunnite chieftains of Wâdî al-Taym, on the western slopes of Mount Hermon, who were descended from the Druze Ma‘ns in the female line (see Table I). In 1710-11 the ‘Alam al-Dîns, in eclipse since 1667, re-emerged on the political scene to challenge the Shihâb succession; their revolt, however, failed and they were massacred to extermination. The Shihâbs subsequently became the unchallenged masters of the southern Lebanon, and remained so until their downfall in 1841.2

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page 272 note 1 According to al-Shihâbî, Haydar (Târîkh al-Amîr Haydar Ahmad al-Shihâbî, Cairo, 1900, vol. 1, p. 324) and al-Shidyâq, Tannus (Akhbâr al-A'yân fî Jabal Lubnân, Beirut, 1859, p. 247), who wrote in the nineteenth century (see below), the Ma'ns were established in the chieftainship of the Shûf as early as the twelfth century. The Druze historian Sâlih ibn Yahyâ (Târîkh Bayrût…, ed. Hours, F. and Salibi, K. S., Beirut, 1969, passim), writing in the first half of the fifteenth century about events since the twelfth, makes no mention of them whatsoever. His continuator, Ibn Sibât (d. 1520), however, mentioned the Ma'ns as chieftains of the Shûf in his own time. See references below.

page 272 note 2 See Salibi, K. S., ‘The Lebanese emirate, 1667–1841’, in al-Abhath, vol. 20 (1967), English section, pp. 116; The Modern History of Lebanon (London, 1965), pp. 3–52.

page 273 note 1 Shidyâq (op. cit. p. 114) traced the origin of the ‘Alam al-Dîns to the family of the Tanûkhs, or Buhturs. His attempt to explain the connections between the two families, however, is entirely unsuccessful. See below, p. 286, n. 2.

page 273 note 2 Al-ghurar al-hisân… is actually the first volume of a three-volume chronicle published in Cairo, 1900, by Na'ûm Mughabghab under the title Târîkh al-Amîr Haydar Ahmad a1-Shihâbîbi. Only this edition includes the first volume. The second and third volumes of the chronicle were later published in a critical edition by Asad Rustum and Fu'âd Afrâm al-Bustânî in Beirut 1933, under the title Lubnân fî ‘ahd al-umarâ’ al-Shihabiyyîn. Haydar al-Shihâbî, it must be noted, was a grandson of Haydar Shihâb, the grandson of Ahmad Ma'n and second Shihâbî ruler of the southern Lebanon. Shidyâq's Akhbâr al-a'yân… was first published in Beirut, 1859, during its author's lifetime. Reference in this article will be made to this original edition.

page 274 note 1 Janbirdî al-Ghazâlî was still viceroy of Hamâ when the battle of Marj Dâbiq was fought, and only became viceroy of Damascus after the battle. Shihâbî's account of the circumstances of the battle is incorrect in more than one point. Cf. Holt, P. M., Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, 1517–1922 (London, 1966), pp. 3345.

page 274 note 2 The name al-Shûf denotes the whole Druze section of the southern Lebanon, with the possible exception of the district of the Matn to the north of the Beirut–Damascus road.

page 274 note 3 This Jamâl al-Dîn, called al-Yamanî because he was a leader of the Yaman faction among the Druzes (see below), was the emir of Shwayfât, in the lower Gharb, where his successors were later known as the Arslans. The history of these emîrs of Shwayfât has not yet been studied. It is possible that they were by origin a branch of the Tanûkhid (alias Buhturid) family (see below, p. 282, n. 4). In Ottoman times, Jamâl al-Dîn and his descendants led the Yaman Druzes in the Gharb, while the Tanûkhs, until their extinction in 1633, led the Druzes of the opposing Qays faction.

page 274 note 4 'Assâf was the Turkoman chieftain of the Kisrawân and eponymous ancestor of the 'Assâf emirs of the region. See Salibi, K. S., ‘Northern Lebanon under the dominance of Ghazîr (1517–1591)’, in Arabica, vol. 15 (1967), pp. 144–66.

page 274 note 5 The Tanûkhs (see note 3, above) were emirs of the Gharb whose ancestors, in Mamlûk times, were better known as the Buhturs. See Salibi, K. S., ‘The Buhturids of the Gharb, mediaeval lords of Beirut and of southern Lebanon’, in Arabica, vol. 8 (1961), pp. 7497. The Buhturids were so-called after a twelfth-century ancestor, Nâhid al-Dîn Buhtur, but they traced their origin further back to the Arab tribe of Tanûkh, hence the name by which they later came to be known.

page 274 note 6 Meaning the Circassian, or Burjî, Mamlûks who were the rulers of Egypt and Syria after 1382. The earlier Mamlûks were the Turkish, or Bahrî, Mamlûks (1250–1382).

page 275 note 1 Moslem jurisprudence distinguishes between what is fard (canonically prescribed) and what is sunna (following the example of the Prophet).

page 275 note 2 The technical term for Moslem law.

page 275 note 3 The term umma here denotes the community of the Moslem faithful.

page 275 note 4 A title of the Moslem sovereign as caliph, or successor to the Prophet, signifying his religious leadership of the Moslem community.

page 275 note 5 This title was actually bestowed on Fakhr al-Dîn ibn Qurqumâs in 1624. See Holt, P. M., op. cit. p. 118.

page 255 note 6 Shihâbî, op. cit. pp. 559–61.

page 275 note 7 Probably meaning here the Bedouin tribes.

page 275 note 8 Ibid p. 612.

page 275 note 9 See above, p. 274, n. 4.

page 275 note 10 Shihâbî, op. cit. p. 616.

page 276 note 1 Shidyâq, Akhbâr al-a'yân…, p. 251.

page 276 note 2 Wüstenfeld, F., Fachr ed-din der Drusenfürst und seine Zeitgenossen… (Göttigen, 1886), pp. 77–8.

page 276 note 3 de Zambaur, E., Manuel de généalogie et de chronologie pour l'histoire de l'Islam (Hanover, 1927), p. 109.

page 276 note 4 Lammens, Henri, La Syrie; précis historique (Beirut, 1921), vol. 2, p. 57.

page 276 note 5 Hitti, Philip K., Lebanon in History (London, 1957), pp. 357–8, 371, 374.

page 276 note 6 Holt, P. M., op. cit. pp. 113, 311.

page 276 note 7 Ibid p. 113.

page 277 note 1 Sibât, Ibn, Târîkh (American University of Beirut MS 956.9: 113), p. 421. The reference gives the above-mentioned date of the emîr's death.

page 277 note 2 The text of this inscription was first brought to my attention by Captain Joseph Nimeh, and I have since personally verified it.

page 277 note 3 For the life and teaching of 'Abdallâh al-Tanûkhî see Sibât, Ibn, op. cit. pp. 385–406.

page 277 note 4 ‘[The title] al-maqarr… is the preserve of leading officers (kibâr al-umarâ'), notable wazîrs, secretaries of state, and their like… It is used to address leading military and civil officials…’ Qalqashandî, al, Subh al-a'shâ (Cairo, 1913), vol. 5, pp. 494–5. Other Druze chieftains, like the Buhturs of the Gharb, did hold commissions in the Mamlûk army at the time. See my article ‘The Buhturids of the Garb…’, passim. It must be noted here that honorific titles applied to high dignitaries in the leading centres of Mamlûk government were applied with much less discrimination in the countryside.

page 278 note 1 al-Duwayhî, Istifân, Târîkh al-azmina, 1095–1669, edited by Taoutel, Ferdinand (Beirut, 1951), p. 236.

page 278 note 2 Sibât, Ibn, op. cit. p. 373.

page 278 note 3 Ibid p. 423.

page 278 note 4 Duwayhî, op. cit. p. 247.

page 278 note 5 Bûrînî, , Tarâjim al-a'yân min abnâ' al-zamân, vol. 1 (Damascus 1959), p. 324;Duwayhî, op. cit. p. 284, related the death of Qurqumâs, the father of Fakhr al-Dîn II, under the year 1584.

page 278 note 6 See previous footnote.

page 279 note 1 Contrast with the genealogical table on p. 276, above, as suggested by Shihâbî and Shidyâq, and accepted by de Zambaur, E. (op. cit. p. 109) and others.

page 279 note 2 See Wüstenfeld, F., op. cit. p. 87.

page 279 note 3 The ‘two Biqâ's’ are the southern Biqâ', which is the valley of the Lîtânî (al-Biqâ' al-'Azîzî), and the northern Biqâ', better called the Baalbek region, which is the valley of the upper Orontes (al-Biqâ' al-Ba'albakî).For Ibn al-Hanash and his revolt against Selim I see Hours, Francis and Salibi, Kamal, ‘Muhammad Ibn al-Hanâš, muqaddam de la Biqâ', 1499–1518; un épisode peu connu de l'histoire libanaise’, in Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph, vol. 63 (1968), pp. 323.

page 280 note 1 See below. Sharaf al-Dîn Yahyâ was the leading Tanûkhid emir in the Gharb at the time.

page 280 note 2 The Tanûkhid emir Zayn al-Dîn Sâlih was a son of Sharaf al-Dîn Yahyâ. See Ibn Sibât, op. cit. p. 375.

page 280 note 3 Awlâd Ma'n, meaning here of the family of Ma'n, not the sons of a man called Ma'n.

page 280 note 4 Ibn al-Hanash was killed in battle near Baalbek in late March or early April 1518. See Hours, F. and Salibi, K., op. cit. p. 21.

page 280 note 5 Sibât, Ibn, op. cit. pp. 373–4.

page 280 note 6 A manshûr (pl. manâshîr), in the usage of the Mamlûk period, was the official document defining the tenure of an iqtâ', or feudal land grant.

page 280 note 7 Sibât, Ibn, op. cit. pp. 373.

page 280 note 8 For explicit references see Duwayhî, op. cit. pp. 52, 59, 148, 184, 225, 240.

page 281 note 1 Duwayhî began writing his chronicle Târîkh al-azmina… in 1688 (ibid p. 363) and recorded in it events down to the year 1699.

page 281 note 2 The Tanûkhids were massacred to extermination in 1633. See below.

page 281 note 3 For an indication of the close relations between Duwayhî and Ahmad Ma'n, see Duwayhî, op. cit. p. 375.

page 282 note 1 Ibid. p. 284.

page 282 note 2 Ibid. p. 327

page 282 note 3 While the ‘Shûf’ normally denotes the mountain hinterland of Sidon, ‘Jabal al-Shûf’ denotes, more broadly, the whole of the southern Lebanon south of the Beirut–Damascus road, or even of the Beirut River valley which traditionally separated the Druze mountain from the Kisrawân. See above, p. 274, n. 2.

page 282 note 4 The division of the Druzes into Yaman (South Arab) and Qays (North Arab) factions appears to have become politically important only after the Ottoman conquest. Salih ibn Yahyâ (op. cit., passim) and Ibn Sibât (op. cit., passim) do not speak of it. I have already suggested that the emirs of Shwayfat were a branch of the Tanûkhid family who headed the Yaman Druzes in opposition to the main branch of the Tanûkhid family who, at least in Ottoman times, headed the Qays Druzes (see above, p. 274, n. 3). In their time, 'Alî 'Alam al-Dîn and Fakhr al-Dîn Ma'n appear to have stood on opposite sides, politically, as the heads of the Yaman and Qays factions respectively. It must be noted here that the Yaman—Qays division was not peculiar to the Druze mountain, but was common throughout the Syrian countryside. Changes of allegiance were not unknown, and the allegiance appears to have been unrelated to actual claims of descent from South Arab or North Arab tribes.

page 282 note 5 The term 'âqil, in Druze religious usage, distinguishes the initiate from the jâhil, or non-initiate.

page 282 note 6 Duwayhî, op. cit. p. 328.

page 283 note 1 Ibid. pp. 328, 329.

page 283 note 2 Ibid. p. 334.

page 283 note 3 Ibid. p. 347.

page 283 note 4 Ibid. p. 355.

page 283 note 5 Ibid. p. 357.

page 283 note 6 At least so according to Shihâbî, op. cit. p. 731, and op. cit. pp. 114, 116.

page 283 note 7 Duwayhî, op. cit. p. 360.

page 283 note 8 Ibid. p. 363.

page 283 note 9 Ibid. pp. 380–1.

page 283 note 10 Ibid. p. 384; Shidyâq, op. cit. pp. 117–18.

page 283 note 11 Shihâbî, , Lubnân fî 'ahd al-umarâ' al-Shihâbiyyîn (Beirut, 1933), vol. 1, pp. 1214.

page 284 note 1 Khâlidî, , Târîkh al-amîr Fakhr al-Dîn al-Ma'nî, published as Lubnân fî 'ahd al-Amîr Fakhr al-Dîn al-Ma'ni al-th (Beirut, 1936), passim.

page 285 note 1 Duwayhî, op. cit. p. 347, relates that the Sayfâs of 'Akkâr, in the province of Tripoli, fled to the village of Bârûk, where they were given refuge by Qurqumâs.

page 285 note 2 Qurqumâs was accused of having given refuge to bandits who had robbed an Ottoman caravan carrying the Egyptian tribute to Istanbul in the previous year. The robbery had taken place at Jûn 'Akkâr, north of Tripoli. See ibid. p. 284.

page 285 note 3 Ibid. pp. 284–5. Italics mine.

page 286 note 1 Maundrell, Henry, A Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1697, offset reprint from the edition of 1810 (Beirut, 1963), pp. 57–8.

page 286 note 2 Writing in the mid-nineteenth century, Shidyâq (op. cit. p. 114), at a loss how to explain the origin of the ‘Alam al-Dîn, thought they were descended of a Tanûkhid chieftain of the fourteenth century, ‘Alam al-Dîn Sulaymân ibn Ghallab of Ramtûn, in the Gharb (cf. Yahyâ, Sâlih ibn, op. cit. pp. 167–171).His explanation, though confused and entirely unconvincing, was nevertheless accepted by Lammens, Henri (op. cit. II, p. 67) and Hitti, Philip K. (op. cit. p. 386). In the case of the ‘Alam al-Dîns, as in the case of several other Lebanese feudal families, the genealogical suggestions of Shidyâq are pure fancy.

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