The Princeton ijāzas

Over the last year, Ibn Ṭūlūn’s documentation of teaching has repeatedly been addressed here. According to my own plan, this will be the last post on this issue for the foreseeable future. Thus, I would like to use this post to talk about some more general characteristics of these documentary texts. Once before, the difference between ijāzas and samāʿāt in this corpus has been discussed. Now it is finally time to give the ijāzas a more structured treatment as the samāʿāt received back then.

The two ijāzas surviving as items 5 and 6 in Princeton, MS Garrett 4098Y lend themselves for such an analysis. Let’s just call them #5 (fols. 52b-54a) and #6 (fols. 56b-58b) for convenience’s sake. They were issued by Ibn Ṭūlūn two decades apart. #5 records the end of five years of sessions in the Umayyad Mosque which ended on 15 Ramaḍān 923 (and has been introduced in the second post on ijāzas). #6 likewise documents the last of a larger number of sessions (majālis mutaʿaddada) both in the Ottoman Salīmiyya Mosque and at a shrine for Moses close to the village Masjid al-Qadam. These ended on 28 Rabīʿ II 943 in the Salīmiyya.

Despite the time gap, there is a lot of similarities between both items, which might be one explanation as to why they are found back to back in MS Garrett 4098Y. Another hint can be found on fol. 15a where Ibn Ṭūlūn’s student Akmal al-Dīn Ibn Mufliḥ al-Ḥanbalī has left an ownership note. Did he own a compilation with several or all of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s ijāzas? We also find the handwriting of other people involved in the circulation of Ibn Ṭūlūn autographs such as al-Badr Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Ghazzī al-ʿĀmirī (d. 984/1577) (fol. 48a).

These similarities allow for more general statements to be made based on those two ijāzas. First, they are similar in how they are structured. As I stated before, these documents are introduced by both a basmalla and a hamdalla with panegyrics on the Prophet. This is followed in both cases by the reason for issuing the document: “fa-qad qaraʾa ʿalayyī” – he just recited before me.

There is a difference in that #5 now gives the name of the reciter whereas #6 gives the subject of recitation, the Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, followed by the chain of transmission through Ibn Ṭūlūn’s teacher Yūsuf Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī. Part of this chain was sustained by recitation of the Thulāthiyyāt. It might also be worth noting that within the chain women can be found:

  • Umm Muḥammad bt. al-Shams Luʾluʾ
  • Umm ʿAbd Allāh bt. ʿAbd al-Hādī (2)
  • Umm ʿAbd al-Razzāq Khadīja bt. ʿAbd Allāh al-Kurrī(?)
  • Sitt l-Wuzarāʾ al-Tanūkhiyya

They are exclusively mentioned on the first page and took part in the transmission of the entire work, specific parts, or the Thulāthiyyāt. But they were not included in the more specialized musalsals by law school (madhhab) Ibn Ṭūlūn gives afterwards. Furthermore, no woman is mentioned among the attendants of this reading.

Finally, both texts have in common that they conclude with the temporal and spatial anchoring of the act of transmission. Obviously, this documentation happened always in the ultimate session of a longer cycle of teaching or transmission. The placement of this kind of information they share with modern contracts.


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