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Annales islamologiques 46
2013 IFAO
18 p.
gratuit - free of charge
Une waqfiyya sultanienne du Yémen. L’acte de fondation de la madrasa al-Ašrafiyya de Taʿizz (803/1400)

While the study of the waqf acts was one of the major ways of renewing the historical study of the Mamlūk Empire or the Ottoman Empire in the last thirty years, not enough attention has been paid to the Yemeni waqf, although their traces were abundantly preserved .

This article aims at presenting the waqfiyya of the madrasa al-ašrafiyya al-kubrā of Taʿizz, whose construction was ordered by the Rasūlid Sulṭān al-Ašraf Ismāʿīl.

The text on which we based our work is a manuscript copied in 1940 from an older one.

This copy is part of a collection of waqf acts, untitled al-Waqfiyya al-Ġassāniyya which is preserved today in the Administrative Bureau of Taʿizz waqf-s.

This collection of 174 folios written on ordinary paper, includes twenty baṣīra-s (waqfiyya), mainly acts of pious foundations, like madrasa-s, ribāṭ-s, sabīl-s (public fountain) and Mosques. The most ancient of these waqf-s goes back to the era of al-Malik Al Muẓẓafar Yūsuf, the second rasūlid sovereign and the newest to the year 1003/1595.

The Waqfiyya al-Ašrafiyya, occupies in itself the first twenty folios of the collection. It stipulates that the buildings depicted are a mosque, a madrasa and a ḫānqāh. The document provides us with a list of the revenues of these institutions, which are agricultural lands, shops, destined to assure the maintenance, the administration, the scholarship and the wages of both the teachers and the workers.

The fact that the Waqfiyya comes from a ruling sovereign, makes it an official act more than a charitable one. The primary goal of this waqf is, with no doubt, to establish an instrument of power. This latest point will be the main topic of our work:

– The Sultan’s whishes to bring close the ṣūfī šayḫ and šāfiʿī scholars, who constitute the great majority of Lower Yemen scholars, by attributing high wages to the teachers and their assistants but also to the ṣūfī šayḫ-s.

– The support attributed to the diffusion of their school of law (šāfiʿī maḏhab) and Sufism in competing with Zaydī maḏhab that dominate Upper Yemen.

– Planning to create an elite capable of holding religious and administrative position.

Keywords: baṣīra – ḫānqāh – madrasa – Rasūlid – Taʿizz – al-Waqfiyya al-Ġassāniyya –waqf – Yemen.