We can see many variations in Isma'ili thought since the 10th century. Some scholars say that the intrinsic qualities of Isma'ilism lie in Neoplatonic philosophy. Others think that there was a transformation from gnostic myth into Neoplatonic philosophy in the history of Isma'ili thought in the 10-11th century. It is a question difficult to answer what is the universal core of Isma'ili thought. The main objective of my present research is to examine the universal essence in Isma'ilism in the 10-12th century. I think we will discover common characters if we consider Neoplatonic Isma'ilism as a variant of Isma'ili mythology and pay attention to a peculiar element seen in the whole of it. I think the existent fallen from the heaven plays an important role in it. From this point of view I will divide it into 4 types: Abu'Isa's myth, the Neoplatonic doctrine of Universal Soul, the myth of the fall of Adam, and the myth of Adam Ruhani. In these myths the existent fallen from the heaven explains the origin and the end of this world, the meaning of Isma'ili da'wah and its religious doctrines in the cosmos, and the ultimate aim of human history and Isma'ili adherents who live in it. The mythology where the fallen existent takes a leading part gives purpose in living to Isma'ilis as a minority and drives them to participate in Isma'ili da'wah. I conclude that the essence of Isma'ilism lies in such a mythology.
Memphis was located at the most important place along the Nile channel, and flourished as a central city in the Dynastic period. In the Memphite area, people lived on low hilltops in cultivated land, and a necropolis was formed at the edge of the desert lead from the waterfront funeral-port. Men or commodities were prevalent on the Nile, when a building project or a religious ceremonies for local deities were held. In addition, Memphis was a city where temples, palace and military camp were placed. The eastern quarries provided them fine blocks as an architectural materials. And a lot of artifacts composed of ceramic, wooden, glazed or metal objects had been produced, transported or consumed in both Memphis and its necropolis. This is an aspect of a local economy at the Memphite area in antiquity, and it formed a great tradition. Then, the Imperial system made a new circulation. The Roman wares found at Karanis in Fayum, and at Hermopolis in Middle Egypt, show a trace of the trade network that ranged from the Mediterranean commercial center to the local market in Egypt. The Nile and canals also connected the Memphite area with the Western Delta region, where the Eastern Mediterranean market affected the distribution of the area. Thus both of the local tradition could have been succeeded in the Early Islamic period as a final aspect in late antiquity.
The aim of this paper is to re-examine the novels of Najib Mahfuz (1911-) in the light of urban space. Most of the novels and short stories of Mahfuz have their settings exclusively in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt where he himself was born and brought up. Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard, indeed, rightly assert that "the aesthetic of the city" is the subject of Mahfuz's work. When we examine the existing studies of Mahfuz's novels, however, we find that the main focus is on socio-political and religious interpretations of Mahfuz's work and "the aesthetic of the city" is only partially touched on. In fact, most of them tend to be contented with repeating rather worn-out cliches that Mahfuz is a chronicler of the 20th century Cairo etc. In this paper, therefore, I will concentrate my attention on what could be identified as urban aspects in Mahfuz's novels and try to grasp Mahfuz's city from as broad viewpoints as possible. Contrary to the common perception, I believe, Mahfuz's novels do not contain so many descriptions of the landscapes of the city; rather he uses the real place names of Cairo as symbolical signifiers which have acquired various meanings through history. We can say, in this sense, that Mahfuz depends heavily on the real Cairo as a historical product and that his main interest is almost always in the historical aspects of the city. The city loaded with its many histories and complicated relations between city dwellers of various origins and vocations often shows itself as an oppressive space in Mahfuz's novels. This we can see in his overwhelming use of 'eyes' in his novels. While we encounter these eyes everywhere in Mahfuz's city, the places where the characters can be liberated from them are limited to the peripheries of the city or the roofs of the buildings. In Mahfuz's novels, the dichotomy between Nature and Civilization is not represented by 'the country/the city' but by 'the desert/the city'. The eastern desert of Cairo at the foot of the Muqattam hill is often called al-khala' or 'the emptiness' in Mahfuz's novels. Al-khala' is an open space as against the closed space which is the city. Moreover, it functions as a timeless place against the historical city. The graveyard lies symbolically between the desert and the city as a border between Nothingness and History.
Commercial relations between the Ottoman Empire and European countries were regulated by the capitulations. Under the capitulatory regime European merchants were granted the status of muste'men, enjoying commercial privileges and protection in the world of. Islam. As trade began to expand in the mid-eighteenth century, muste'men merchants began to participate in trade within the Ottoman Empire, a situation which had been rather limited when the capitulations had first been granted. This commercial activity of muste'men merchants coincided with a period of financial crisis in the Ottoman Empire caused by incessant wars with neighboring countries. The Ottoman government were trying to raise its revenue in whatever way it could. One of the government's main targets was the custom revenues from trade. When this attempt extended to the imposition of internal duties on muste'men merchants, European consulates protested, and the situation finally ended up in the signing of free trade treaties between the Ottoman Empire and European countries. This paper analyzes this process by examining 1) the significance of miri duty (resm-i miri), one of the main internal duties imposed on muste'men merchants, and 2) the European opposition to miri duty in Izmir, a city which connected Ottoman internal and external trade networks.
In the long history of Arabic rhetoric, the thirteenth century is often regarded as the most important turning point. We no longer find the creativity of al-Sakkaki (d. 1226) whose Miftah al-'Ulum served as a model for many stereotyped commentaries. It goes without saying that the thirteenth century Arabic poetics is the outcome of the formative stage, particularly that of various developmental periods in the ninth and tenth centuries. Ibn al-Mu'tazz (d. 908)'s Kitab al-Badi' edited by the efforts of I. Kratchkovsky and his enthusiastic studies concerning the author's work, motivated many scholars to investigate this formative period of Arabic poetics. Although all of these scholars mention al-Jahiz (d. 868) as the first important figure in this early period of Arabic rhetoric, the instability of technical terms and the ambiguousness of their meanings employed by al-Jahiz, have caused scholars to generally avoid thorough investigation of his rhetoric. The purpose of this paper is to analyze al-Jahiz's rhetorical ideas and to reexamine his importance in Arabic poetics. First, al-Jahiz's description of "al-badi'" (the novel new generational style of the early 'Abbasid age) and "al-fasaha" (eloquence) is studied to reveal his rhetorical emphasis. Then, in order to consider al-Jahiz's importance to Arabic rhetoric, this paper follows the two antithetical images of al-Jahiz held by post-Jahizian rhetoricians, as well as that of the reputation of his masterpiece al-Bayan wa al-Tabyin whose theme is mainly concerned with rhetoric.
In his essay titled "Economic Theories and Middle Eastern Studies in Japan" in AJAMES (No.12, 1997), Professor Tadashi Okanouchi criticized my book in Japanese, Islam as a Civilization (University of Tokyo Press, 1995), from the theoretical point of view. This small essay is my response to this criticism. Professor Okanouchi called the economic theory, which I adopted in my book for analyzing the characteristics of Islamic economies, as a mercantile theory, and criticized that I anachronistically used this theory regardless of historical context, and overlooking the theoretical heritage of Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Max Weber, who tried to make a linkage between economy and Human Rights. Against Professor Okanouchi's criticism, I insist that the purpose of my book was to present an ideal image or vision of Islamic economies, whose prosperity were structurally based on commerce, being compared with the modern capitalistic economy, that is the object of analysis for Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Max Weber, whose prosperity was structurally based on industry, and defend the utility of the economic theory on market in John R. Hicks's book titled A Theory of Economic History (Oxford University Press, 1969), in which Hicks analyzes the formation and development of market as the process of the birth of the class of merchants and the expansion of their activities, for the purpose of my book.