One day, the inhabitants of a small town in south Morocco found a man early morning sitting near one of their main mosques. The mosque itself is separated from the sanctuary of the patron saint of Tiznit by a small river. For nearly half a century, the man never left his place. The first tent that was later offered to him has been successively renewed until it was replaced by a wooden shed. Still no one knows much about the man. Not even his name or what language he speaks, Berber or Arabic. The space near the Id-Zekri quarter mosque which the man has been watching for days, months, years and decades in an almost immobile posture with the same light smile had been becoming more and more crowded with social changes the small town had been subject to after 1975 and the Sahara question. Few years before he passed away, we started to get interested in him and particularly in what people think about his case. We succeeded in collecting some stories and miracles attributed to the enigmatic person.
Until his death in 1998, nobody could pretend to have had a conversion with him. Even with the very few persons he allowed to feed him and take care of his affairs, he often used to answer their questions with a “yes” or a “no” and sometimes with a gesture or a simple smile. Moreover, Local Authorities for a long time never dared to disturb his peace... Can simple silence and immobile position be the real assets that allowed him to ascend from the status of a privileged beggar to that of being a respected and feared holy man and finally attributed to him a Prophetic genealogy?
Until recently, many scholars have presupposed inseparable unity between Sufism and saint veneration. It is true that most of the Muslim saints are so-called Sufi saints, although some anthropologists showed cases of non-Sufi Muslim saints. However, the forms of Sufism and saint veneration vary, and the manner in which they are combined is even more diverse. Therefore, we should treat Sufism and saint veneration as distinct phenomena and should ask ourselves what conditions determine the form of combination. In this paper, three different hagiographic traditions of a Muslim saint in the Western Desert of Egypt are introduced. It is shown that Bedouins, settled Bedouins, and non-Bedouins each have their own tales about this saint. Further, it can be seen that each tradition has a particular form of combination of Sufism and saint veneration, corresponding to the social position of its narrators. At the end of this paper, the case of the Sanusi order is examined to suggest that the above notion can be applied to the historical events in which the organization of the Sufi order and that of the tribal people were combined to give birth to the embryonic nationalism in Libya.
Ibrāhīm b. Adham al-Balkhī al-‘Ijlī (d. 161/777-8) was an ascetic and mystic belonging to the earliest period in the history of Islamic mysticism. Very little is known about him. He fled to escape Abū Muslim, the leader of the revolutionary Abbasid forces, and after having roamed the mountains and plains of Syria, he is said to have died during a raid (ghazwa) on Byzantian territory. Two or three centuries after his death there had evolved a legend (ḥikāya) which identified him as a pious and virtuous wandering saint (walī). Thus, by the eleventh to twelfth centuries there had been created, chiefly in Iran, Iraq and Syria, various legends about Ibrāhīm b. Adham in both Arabic and Persian, and these have been gathered together in collections. Moreover, with the wide circulation of these legends about Ibrāhīm throughout the Islamic world, many of the faithful began to visit his tomb in Jabala. We may ascertain that the legends of Ibrāhīm have diffused not only to the Middle East, but also to the regions of North India, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.
During the Qing period, most of the Muslims living in Eastern China did not belong to any of the Sufi orders. However, they were deeply acquainted with Sufi doctrines. They considered the supreme state of Sufism, the unification with God, or the experiential recognition of the oneness of God as the ultimate mode of the true faith.
According to the general principle of Sufism, one must be under the guidance of a proper shaykh to attain such a state. Najm al-Dīn Dāya Rāzī’s Mirṣād al-‘Ibād, one of the most popular Sufi classics among Muslims in Eastern China, also emphasizes this point. It defined the shaykh as the person who obtains a license (ijāza) from his master-who is also qualified as a shaykh―to guide others. This appears to convey that one of the reasons why the Sufis created the silsila or the genealogy of master-disciple transmission―starting from the prophet Muhammad―was that they needed to prove themselves to be proper shaykhs who were guided by other proper shaykhs; this, in tum, gave them proof that they had attained true perfection as Sufis.
However, Jingxuexichuanpu (Genealogy of the Succession and Transmission o f Classical Learning), a genealogy o f master-disciple transmission among Muslim scholars in Eastern China, written by Zhao Can under the supervision of his master She Qiling, is cause for some amount of embarrassment. Taking some factors into consideration, it would be reasonable to assume that She Qiling edited this genealogy to prove that he was a legitimate Sufi or shaykh who was connected to the line of genealogy of proper shaykhs. However, it traced the genealogy of Chinese Muslim scholars including She Qiling only up to a man named Hu Dengzhou; the genealogy ends here and does not mention the prophet Muhammad as being their intellectual ancestor. This book makes one want to deny the orthodoxy of Chinese Muslim scholars, including She, listed in the genealogy.
The following matter also appears to prevent Jingxuexichuanpu from showing the legitimacy of She Qiling as a Sufi or shaykh. This work does not aim to provide information on the genealogical ties between Sufi masters and disciples, both of whom were trained by ritual practices to attain perfection. As the title indicates, this book merely shows that all those who were listed in the genealogy were heirs to legitimate learning through a legitimate line of succession.
Why did She and Zhao make such an imperfect genealogy? We can indicated two points as the factors explaining the manner in which the “Genealogy of Succession and Transmittance of Learning,” originating from Hu Dengzhou, could become a silsila to prove the legitimacy of She Qiling as a Sufi or shaykh, at least for She himself.
The first point was that Muslim intellectuals in Eastern China recognized the acquisition of knowledge as indispensable for perfection as a Sufi. In this context, the legitimacy of learning proved one's legitimacy as a Sufi or shaykh.
The other point was that the intellectuals considered that one could inherit legitimate teachings even without transmission from generation to generation. Therefore, for them, Hu Dengzhou was an appropriate founder o f the genealogy or a legitimate shaykh because he secured the legitimacy of learning without the help of any legitimate shaykh who was connected to the silsila descending from Muhammad.
In South Asia, many mosques and shrines carefully preserve Islamic holy relics. A large proportion of them are articles which are believed to have belonged to the Prophet Muhammad and the rest are deemed to have belonged to his family, his companions or later renowned Muslim saints. Here I consider the cult of Islamic holy relics from an anthropological perspective, based on the theme of the “succession of holiness.” Most of the holy relics open to the public are accompanied with a storied history in which dynastic rulers and renowned saints make an appearance. In this sense, the succession of holy relics is intimately connected with politics. However, the holy relics are also tangible objects that strongly arouse feelings of respect and affection for the Prophet, as well as act as a reminder of his life and times. It is likely that those who view the relics perceive umma or all Muslims, rather than a specific individual or group, as the successor to the relics. Herein lies an imaginative world, or poetics, concerning the succession of holy relics. Meanwhile, relatively inexpensive charms and amulets based on the motifs of certain holy relics are being circulated as souvenirs from holy places. This phenomenon, whereby holy relics in the form of charms and amulets are brought into an individual's private domain and venerated, means that they are also being passed down among the general populace. I would like to call this the pop aspect of the succession of holy relics. This paper considers from the above perspectives the aspects of politics, poetics and pop in thesuccession of holy relics based on my fieldwork in South Asia, in particular in North India and Pakistan.
Among known festivals celebrated in ancient Thebes, many Egyptologists agree that the Festivals of the Valley and of Opet are the most important. This is verified by many historical documents, which juxtapose the two festivals in texts and pictorial depictions on a great scale.
Thus, it is significant to compare the two festivals to obtain better insight into their detailed religious context and new perspectives for further research, which has not been pursued, particularly for the Valley Festival, since the 1950's. This article intends to shed light on the Valley Festival, focusing on the socio-religious function by an analogy with the Opet Festival, research of which has gained modest but not negligible progress in the last two decades.
The most distinct feature of the Valley Festival was that it supplied not only a formal setting for the renewal of kingship and royal ancestral cult, but also a private setting for the common people to hold a banquet in their family tombs. These two dimensions were closely linked through the figure of Amen, who distributed offerings to convey his godly power in both spheres. According to records from the private tombs, the people received various offerings from the temples where the procession of Amen made a stop during the Valley Festival. Yet the distribution of temple offerings is not attributed only to the Valley Festival, but also to many other festivals.
What distinguishes the Valley Festival then? By focusing on the differences in ideologies between the Valley and the Opet Festivals, this paper will explore how the god (or king) and the people were interrelated during the festivals in different manners.
In this paper, theatricality of Maqāmāt of al-Ḥarīrī is investigated. For a long time, Arabic culture had unreasonably been considered to be devoid of drama in the European sense clarified by Badawi, namely, the imitation on a stage by human actors of a story or situation through action and dialogue in prose or verse. But Moreh definitely refuted the claim, providing ample evidence o f live theatre. The validity o f another presumption concerning Arabic culture, however, remains to be verified. Maqāmāt of ai-Hamadhānī and al-Ḥarīrī have been referred to as something close to drama by prestigious scholars such as Th. Chenery, R. A. Nicholson, H.A.R. Gibb, Ḍayf, and Shak‘a. None of them make any definition of the term, drama, therefore their opinions are no more than impressionistic criticism, not academic one. What is required is to define the key terms, drama, play, theatre. They are blanket terms with a double meaning signifying totally different but closely combined elements of theatre: written text on a page and performance on a stage. Drama is mainly used in this paper to designate a text written by a playwright. In view of the fact that the Maqāmāt is a written text, the first step to examine its theatricality is to analyze it utilizing literary theories like Aristotle’s. We are to consider the Maqāmāt something similar to a closet drama, or Lesedrama: a play intended to be read but not acted. The maqāmas of al-Ḥarīrī containing judicial scene wilt be interpreted in terms o f form, structure, characterization and other kinds o f art o f composition related to dramatic elements: deixis and kinesics. Our working hypothesis will be verified by the dramatic theory of Aristotle's Poetics.
In the beginning of the eighteenth century, the position of continuous official historiographer (vekâyi‘nüvîs) was institutionalized in the Ottoman Empire. These men continued to record Ottoman history, and were consecutively appointed, until the end of the Ottoman Empire. This policy was exceptional, yet no one has speculated as to why they were institutionalized and in what way they chose to write history. The purpose of this paper is to reconsider the formation process and their ideas by examining the careers of the supposed first four official historiographers: Na‘îmâ, Șefîk, Râșid, and Küçükçelebizâde. The questions asked are: (I) Was the position of official historiographer really instituted in 1714 (a date accepted by modem scholars)? Why was this institution of offical historiographer created? (2) How and why did the early official historiographers want to write their histories?
In conclusion: (I) The official historiographers might be said to have been institutionalized around the year 1717, because their continual historical writing started at that time. The Ottomans’ vision that consecutive historical writing is useful might have motivated the institutionalization. (2) Their main purpose could be regarded as praising their patron. That is why their histories were generally described as boring and uninteresting for modem scholars. We should note, however, that these characters were intentionally chosen by them.
Documents and registers classfied as “the Secretariat of the Official Historiographer” in the Ottoman Archives of the Prime Ministry were examined for the appendix. They were found to be composed of various materials in no particular order, and none of them bear a direct connection to the chronicles. It follows that these documents and registers were probably not the ones given systematically to official historiographers, and this fact leads us to question even the existence ofthis secretariat.