Tag Archives: Biographies

Teaching and transmission in 16th-century Damascus

The importance of any scholar can be justified with either of three arguments: They wrote many and important works, furthering one or even several disciplines; they taught many students who went on to become themselves important scholars; or people more generally benefited from their dispensation of helpful information. Ideally, a scholar would combine all of the above, which should reflect in them being appointed to influential positions in educational institutions. However, as today, so in the 16th century politics played a role in appointment processes, and often enough the person skillful in those could overcome someone more knowledgeable in the discipline to be taught.

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Introducing: Khadija al-Qurashiyya al-Bakriyya

Returning to a recurrent segment but with a little twist this post’s subject is Khadija bt. Jamal al-Din Abd Allah al-Qurashiyya al-Bakriyya—and we could add here—al-Misriyya. She did not receive her own biography in Ibn Tulun’s biographical dictionary al-Dhakhaʾir but nonetheless has her voice heard in that same work.

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Into Ibn Tulun’s library

My project is mostly concerned with Ibn Tulun’s own body of work, his own corpus. This focus has partially emerged due to my fascination with his organization of knowledge and partly due to constraints exerted by the current state of cataloguing. It is rather easy to find the author of any given manuscript but much more time-consuming to identify former owners of a manuscript. Today, however, let us take a look at which other books Ibn Tulun called his own.

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Introducing: ʿAʾisha al-Salihiyya

This week we return to the final biography in the chapter on women in Ibn Tulun’s work al-Ghuraf (fol. 359a). The subject of the following short biography sheds light on some intriguing aspects of such transmission. It also poses somewhat of a riddle with regard to her own role within transmission.

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Introducing: Sitt al-Wuzaraʾ

The second biography of a woman in Ibn Ṭūlūn’s work al-Ghuraf is longer than the first. It is also concerned with a woman whose very name (as given in the text) already implies reverence towards her: Sitt al-Wuzarāʾ al-Māridāniyya al-Ḥanafiyya. In fact, it almost appears as if this biography was meant to be the center piece of Ibn Tulun’s short chapter on women.

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