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Aḥmad Maḥmūd ʿAbd Al-Wahhāb Al-Miṣrī
مصادر دراسة الوثائق العربية الإسلامية.Maṣādir dirāsat al-waṯā’iq al-ʿarabiyya al-islāmiyya.
Four sources are the most important for the study of diplomatic documents in Arabic from the Islamic period.
1. The official documents :
The official documents are the most important source for the study of Islamic diplomacy. However, before using these sources a distinction should be made between the original and different forms of copied documents.
2. The Inscriptions :
Arabic inscriptions on Islamic monuments are very important sources for researching Islamic documents, because it is possible to prove that some of these inscriptions are typical copies from original documents.
3. Literary documents :
Literary documents are the text of documents in the historical books.
4. The translations :
Some Arabic documents have survived in the form of translation and are found in European archives.
- Aḥmad Maḥmūd ʿAbd Al-Wahhāb Al-Miṣrī
Ǧīhān Aḥmad ʿUmrān
ثيقة كشف على السواقى والمجرى السلطانى (دراسة وثائقية).Waṯīqat kašf ʿalā al-sawāqī wa-l-maǧrā al-sulṭānī (Dirāsa waṯā’iqiyya).
This research handles a documental study of a document copy registered in the second register of the High-Diwan Registers (al Dîwân al ‘Âlî) housed in the National Archives in Old Cairo (Fustât).
The document reveals the process of investigation and check-up carried out for the maintainance of the Sultan Water Wheels (sawâqî) of old Egypt and the Aquaduct during the Ottoman era in the 12th/18th century, specifically in 1181/1768 during the rule of Muḥamad Râqim Pasha (1181-1182 / 1767-1768).
The importance of this document is in the content of the legal actions of the check-up of each of the Water Wheels and the Aquaduct in order to re-build and clean-up the locations that required doing so, explaining the vital and crucial reasons that had led to this check-up : that is that the water supply ceased to reach the Citadel and it’s occupants as a result of the damage that occurred to sections of both the Aquaduct and the Water Wheels at various locations.
This document explains that this check-up was executed by the order and attendance of the Ottoman Pasha, as well as the attendance of the head judge and the high-ranking officers of the high-dîwân.
A group of high-ranking officers and engineers was specified by name in the document text designated as the checking committee ordered to detect the locations to be re-built, as well as measure and calculate the estimated costs required in Egyptian silver half fractions.
- Ǧīhān Aḥmad ʿUmrān
Isabelle Hairy, Oueded Sennoune
Géographie historique du canal d’Alexandrie.
From the end of the 4th century BCE, shortly after the foundation of Alexandria, to the dawn of the industrial era in the reign of Mohamed Ali, a canal served the town of Alexandria. Throughout 23 centuries, it allowed for the provision of drinking water as well as the development of the town’s agriculture and industries. Thus it was that Guiseppe Botti could exclaim “faire l’histoire de ce canal, c’est faire l’histoire d’Alexandrie”. To begin this history, the following study endeavours to establish an initial inventory of available sources that can unravel the major phases of the canal’s evolution. We have called it an “ historical geography ” of the canal since, on the ground, the ancient traces have disappeared. The texts of Roman historians and geographers, epigraphic documents, Arab chronicles on which we have depended are dated to between the 1st and 15th centuries of the common era. These documents tell of the work accomplished by the State. However, it is by diving into the body of travellers’ accounts, the largest documentary source, that we can enter into the life of the canal. We can follow the vagaries of its very name and watch its changing course over the centuries while, at the same time, discover the essential elements of which it was composed ; nilometers, quays, locks, bridges and iron grills. Thus, following the flow, we will attempt to present an account of its vitality throughout the eras by looking at the canal’s two principal functions : navigation and the provision of water to Alexandria.
De l’équité à l’arbitraire : état des prisons et des prisonniers sous les derniers Mamlouks (872-923/1468-1517).
Writing about prisons and prisoners during the time of the Mamluks is a little problematic. The first difficulty is lexicographic : what is the exact meaning of sijn and ḥabs ? The second is legal : nothing is written about prisons as a legal penalty in the Quran. However, Mamluk authors mention many incarcerations during the late period of the dynasty’s rule with numerous details about prisoners (gender, age, social activities, legal status, religion, nationalities and general reasons for imprisonment). Such descriptions create an image of the jails as a great melting-pot. All this information leads to the possible conclusion that everybody was vulnerable and could have been thrown in jail during this period. However, what circumstances might lead to incarceration? Reasons for imprisionment are various. Common examples were for actions punished by ḥudûd (burglary, murders, religious and sexual offences, etc.). Others are more “ subjective ” and are difficult to determine because they are in relation with the authorities, such as the incurring of disfavour without reason. Prison as penalty seems to have been corporal, coercive and used as precautionary measures. If the authors are prolix about the prisoners and their crimes, they are more secretive about the buildings, the imprisonment and the routines of the jail. This makes it difficult to get a real idea of prison life.
- Bernadette Martel-Thoumian ( : 031520014)
Le courant piétiste dans l’Égypte médiévale : une dimension universelle par-delà des particularités.
This paper examines the universal scope of a peculiar mystical trend, referred to as pietism, vividly seen in Egypt during the 13th-15th centuries and founded by Abraham Maïmonides, the son of the well-known medieval philosopher and physician. The aim of this analysis is to look into and beyond the specificities of this current, after briefly discussing its discovery thanks to the Judeo-Arabic literature left in the Cairo Genizah, its position within the history of Jewish mysticism and its emergence among the Jewish Cairene community at the time of the settlement of Sufi ṭarîqa-s. The specificity of Egyptian pietism is at the crossroads of two religions, Judaism and Islam, and of two languages, Hebrew and Arabic as well as its borrowing from philosophy, esoteric references, cosmology, and trends of thought at the time. The basis of pietism is in Jewish theology and Muslim mysticism, i.e., Sufism : on the one hand, the main Jewish precepts to which those believers remain faithful and on the other hand, Sufi concepts (retained in Arabic) and practices to which they turn to in order to proceed nearer to God. The intermingling of components, far from introducing any kind of antinomy, appears as a way of strengthening the quest for the Divine and as an opportunity to pull mysticism out of one religion and one language, to offer a path to the One for those eager to reach Him.
- Mireille Loubet ( : 071059466)
Al-Ġazālīā et la problématique du rapport entre les notions de ʿaql, de nafs, de rūḥ et de qalb.
Whether the terms : ‘aql, nafs, rûḥ and qalb are real synonyms designating the same entity while considering each one in a specific aspect or do they refer to distinct entities? Concerning this question, al-Ghazâlî shows in different works a variety of theories about the definition of Man : his organism’s structure, his spiritual dimension, as well as the contours of the connecting link between these four terms.
Indeed, according to Iḥyâ ‘ulûm al-dîn, they can be considered as synonyms that may have different meanings because of the various contexts they have been found in. Mîzân al-‘amal does not distinguish the Quranic rûḥ from the nafs (the neoplatonic soul), which among others encompasses the different capacities that qualify the ‘aql in Mi‘yâr al-‘ilm, that in the Aristotelian context means nothing but “intellect”.
As for Mi‘râj al-sâlikîn, it has a tripartite anthropological sense, referring only to the animal spirit, the soul and the body form of the human being. We have too, a dichotomic conception that either divides man into body and soul ; the same way like in Kîmiyâ’ al-sa‘âda, or just into body and heart, like in al-Munqidh min al-ḍalâl.
However, the coherence of al-Ġazālī’s anthropological conception can serve as an illustration when we take into account three elements : first of all, the synchronization between the evolution of al-Ghazâlî’s thinking and the succession of the events which marked the various stages of his intellectual life. For example, we can notice his switch to Sufism and his spiritual retirement which had paramount importance in his work. Hence, the interest to know the chronology of his bibliography ; secondly, the objective approach which allies didactic pedagogy and “contextualization”, of a thinker ; and finally, his integrative tendency which associates cultures with ideals from various sources.
- Ndiouga Kebe
Un traité politique du IIe / VIIIe siècle. L’Épītre de ʿUbayd Allāh b. al-Ḥasan al-ʿAnbarī au calife al-Mahdī.
The Al-Basra cadi ‘Ubayd Allâh b. al-Ḥasan al-‘Anbarî (d. 168/784-785) maintained relations with Al-Mahdî. His chronic disobedience, like his refusal to let the caliph intervene in the lawsuits of his district, find an echo in the letter that he addressed to him into 159/775. The following discussion proposes a possible translation. This epistle, the conceptual background of which confirms its seniority, diverts official Abbasid propaganda skillfully proposing another political model. By limiting the legal role of the sovereign, it rejects any absolutist vision of the caliphate and contributes to the emergence of an order where the ‘ulamâ’ seem the true heirs to prophecy.
- Mathieu Tillier ( : 073412910)
Quṣayr ʿAmra, la peinture du personnage trônant sur l’eau: aspects pratiques de la fabrication d’une image.
In an attempt to identify a prevailing theme in the umayyad’s wall painting from Quṣayr ‘Amra (a bath house built in Jordan during the 8th century) depicting a prince seated on his throne above a nilotic landscape, scholars have devised elaborate and overly inventive interpretations. In this paper, we asked whether a set of material circumstances of production could be pertinent to our understanding of this painting. To answer this question, we used a new “ processual and formal approach ” by making a number of inferences drawn from the more obvious circumstances that suround the painting : the architectural context (function and shape), the framing devices, the craftmen’s method of work and the availibility of subjects in artistic traditions of the late antique period. We found that the architectural context defined as the curve of the alcove vault and a throne room determined the choice of subjects and their arrangement. The formal circumstances appear as decisive factors in the creative process in umayyad iconography. Our account also helps to clarify the painter’s way of handling an inherited form. By comparing the umayyad picture with its forerunners from Byzantine, Coptic, Sassanian and pre-islamic Arabian craft traditions, we have demonstrated that the formula used is no prescriptive model to which the artist must conform. Rather, it is an established formal scheme, open to variations in its combination of motifs. We conclude that this umayyad painting must be seen not as a copy of an ancient model, but as the outcome of particular circumstances of production and as a deliberate re-creation. At this point, one might suggest a close similarity between the crafmen’s method of work and the “formulaic technique” used in umayyad poetry.
- Nadia Ali
Du rôle de la poésie dans les récits du Kitāb al-faraǧ baʿd al-šidda d’al-Tanūḫī.
This article deals with the situations in which verses of poetry occur and the functions that they fulfill within akhbâr texts in al-Tanûkhî’s (m. 384/994) Kitâb al-Faraj ba‘d al-shidda. In the first part, typical situations in which poetry is used are identified. As might be expected, poetic verses often occur when human interaction is taking place ; particularly when characters express their love and their anger. However, it not only occurs under such conditions but also when the writer seeks a pardon from the ruler. In some instances, poetry serves as solace and is even preferred to the Koran or to prayers in a mosque as the last refuge to which the protagonist resorts. Conversely, verses are rare in stories that have the Koran, the ḥadith, wild animals or illness as their main theme.
In the second part, this author identifies sixteen functions that poetry fulfills in Faraj (i.e. adab, inherent, personal, associative, structural, illustrative, analogical, summary, psychological, communicative, resumtive, poetic quiz function, explicative, nominative, corrective/ diversive and inter-/ intratextual). These sixteen functions comprise different levels of narrative/ literary analysis : surface level, plot level, intra- and intertextual level and generic level. A function may extend over several of these levels and a single poem may fulfill several functions at one time.
One of the most important functions for the Faraj in particular, is the structural function. It is divided into five subfunctions (on the plot level : conclusive or “de dénouement”, proleptic and analeptic ; on the surface level : initial and final). The conclusive subfunction is the most characteristic of the Faraj stories because the verses mark the point where the dramatic climax of the story is reached and the plot is brought to a conclusion.
The author holds that some of the functions identified in this work can be applied to a larger set of similar adab works. It has to be borne in mind, however, that al-Tanûkhî’s Faraj is a particular type of adab and that larger differences in the use of poems exist as far as other subgenres of adab are concerned.
- Hakan Özkan ( : 110533496)
ʿUmar b. al-Ḫaṭṭāb et la poésie.
Such ambivalence of Islam towards the status of poets and poetry engendered one of the themes continually treated within Arabic poetics during the medieval era, namely to show, on the basis of explicitly chosen traditions and anecdotes, that the Prophet and Islam were not hostile to poetry. To prove the legitimacy of this literary genre, the majority of authors selected ḥadîth-s which demonstrated that the Prophet was indeed, in favour of poetry, liked to listen it and rewarded poets who composed poetic verses in his glory.
Since the status of poetry has already been studied regarding these two main sources, the present article concentrates on one of the most emblematic personalities in Islam and its civilisation : the caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭâb.
- Mohammed Bakhouch ( : 230406254)