Volume 17 (2017)

Edited by Lutz Edzard and Stephan Guth


Haggai Mazuz, Post-Biblical Jewish Sources in al-Maqrīzī’s Historiography—Whence His Knowledge? (pdf 853 kB, pp. 1-13)


In his Kitāb al-Mawāʿiẓ wa’l-Iʿtibār fī Ḏikr al-Ḫiṭaṭ wa’l-Āṯār, Taqī al-Dīn Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-Maqrīzī (1364–1442 CE) includes several chapters that draw on post-Biblical Jewish texts, inter alia. The academic literature has very little to say about the presentation that al-Maqrīzī thus creates. To correct this lacuna, this article illuminates al-Maqrīzī’s exposure to and use of Rabbinic and Midrashic sources by offering examples of remarks in his writings that appear to have come from such sources—directly, through the mediation of Muslim scholarship, or in an in-between manner. Several conjectures about the origins of his knowledge are offered.


Ismail LalaAn Analysis of Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Tahānawī’s Approach in Kashshāf iṣṭilāḥāt al-funūn – The entry of huwiyya (pdf 642 kB, pp. 14-34)


The erudite Indo-Ḥanafī lexicologist, Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn al-Qāḍī Muḥammad Ḥāmid ibn Muḥammad ibn Ṣābir al-Fārūqī al-Tahānawī (d. 1158/ 1745?), has hitherto been largely overlooked in Western scholarship. This, despite his lexical magnum opus, Kashshāf iṣṭilāḥāt al-funūn wa’l-ʿulūm al-islāmiyya, being widely used by scholars in fields from philosophy to astronomy, and from metaphysics to mathe­matics. The present study inspects the modus operandi of this enigmatic lexicologist by taking a detailed entry, that of huwiyya, as a case study to excavate the approach and techniques used by the author to compile his work: What were his objectives? And how does he achieve them? Who were his audience? And how does he cater for them? These, and other, questions will be considered through the window of this entry.


Patrizia ZanelliSubversive Writing: Mona Prince’s ‘Laughing Revolution’ from pre- to post-2011 Egypt (pdf 550 kB, pp. 35-52)


Although it may seem absurd, it is no exaggeration to say that humour is a very serious matter in Egypt, where dozens of intellectuals have analysed this phenomenon, often linking it to their national identity. This article presents various opinions on Egyptian satire to introduce a 2015 novel by Mona Prince, one of the Egyptian writers of the 1990s generation. In 2012, the author published a memoir of the January 25 Revolution. This study tries to explain the relationship between her political activism and her literary career; the role of humour in her œuvre; and how she deals with gender and religious issues in her 2015 work, which is also autobiographic. Moreover, since the novelist wrote the text between 2008 and 2014, this article offers some notes on satiric literature in pre- and post-2011 Egypt.


Daniele MascitelliSome Verses by Ḥassān b. Ṯābit al-Anṣārī not Included in His Dīwān (pdf 977 kB, pp. 53-63)


Many poems and fragmentary verses have been ascribed to Ḥassān b. Ṯabit al-Anṣārī (d. ca. 40/659 ca.). In some sources of Southern-Arabian cultural or political orientation—as al-Hamdānī’s Kitāb al-Iklīl, the commentary to Našwān al-Ḥimyarī’s Qaṣīda al-ḥimyariyya, and particularly the anonymous Waṣāyā al-mulūk (occasionally ascribed to al-Aṣmaʿī or to al-Ḫuzāʿī)—about fifty lines by Ḥassān are found which are not recorded in his “official” dīwān. Here a brief investigation is conducted in order to reconstruct the poems which could be ascribed either to Ḥassān b. Ṯābit or one of his forgers. A collation of those same verses is then presented together with an English translation.


Themed section: Arab-Sicilian and Andalusian Grammarians, ed. by Mirella Cassarino and Antonella Ghersetti (pdf 3,5 MB, pp. 65-135)

Introduction: Mirella Cassarino and Antonella Ghersetti, Which differences? Notes for a project on Sicilian and Andalusian grammarians (pdf 255 kB, pp. 67-78)

Oriana Capezio, Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ et la métrique arabe en Sicile entre le XIe et le XIIe siècle (pdf 13,3 MB, pp. 79-96)

Abstract: Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ (d. 515/1121), well known for his anthology of the Sicilian poets, Kitāb al-Durra al-ḫaṭīra, spent his life between Sicily, Andalus and Egypt. In his Kitāb al-Bāriʿ he analysed the fifteen meters codified by al-Ḫalīl. The manuscripts of this work were widely disseminated and today are kept in libraries between Yemen and Andalus, thus showing its large diffusion. Kitāb al-Bāriʿ was conceived as a continuation of the oriental tradition and contributed to the formation of a scientific corpus in the Western part of the Muslim empire. Despite the absence of a Sicilian metrical school, his work fits into a larger tradition of that era’s metrical works. There are, however, some noteworthy differences that appear in the verses used as šawāhid, in the kitāba ʿarūḍiyya and in the graphic representation of the circles. Following my previous paper on Kitāb al-Bāriʿ, I would like to present in this contribution a case study on the ṭawīl metre.

Francesco Grande, Originality of the Semantic Approach in Arabic Linguistic Thought, with Particular Reference to Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ’s Work (pdf 333 kB, pp. 97-113)

Abstract: In this study we investigate some aspects of the linguistic thought of Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ (d. 515/1121) with the intent of contributing to a better knowledge of this eminent personality of Arab Muslim Sicily. To this aim, we offer a description of the milieu of linguistic thought to which al-Qaṭṭāʿ belonged, with particular reference to some members of that milieu, who are known to modern scholars for efforts distinguished by theoretical and methodological originality. We also clarify some semantically-oriented original traits of Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ’s morphological analysis, as emerging from his treatise Kitāb ʾabniyat al-ʾasmāʾ waʼl-ʾafʿāl waʼl-maṣādir, as precisely such traits make it possible to number him among the infrequent bearers of semantic originality in the context of medieval Arabic linguistic thought.

Cristina La Rosa, The Maǧmūʿa min šiʿr al-Mutanabbī wa-ġawāmiḍihi by Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ al-Ṣiqillī: A Morphological and Lexical Analysis (pdf 333 kB, pp. 114-135)

Abstract: The Maǧmūʿa min šiʿr al-Mutanabbī wa-ġawāmiḍihi, the ‘Collection of some verses of al-Mutanabbī and its unclear points’, composed by the renowned Sicilian grammarian ʿAlī b. Ǧaʿfar Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ (d. 515/1121 A. D.) was edited for the first time by Umberto Rizzitano in 1955 and then by Muḥsin Ġayyāḍ in 1977, but it has never been studied from a morphological and lexical point of view. This paper sets out to assess the contribution of Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ to grammatical and philological studies in the Siculo-Andalusi context. In particular, this study focuses on some morphological issues presented by the Sicilian Grammarian, such as ilḥāq (Baalbaki 2002, 2008), taḫfīf (Baalbaki 2008), the structures of the demonstrative pronouns and the ismu l-fāʿil. Moreover, some verses of which Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ gives a lexical/semantic commentary will be analyzed. -- To highlight Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ’s contribution to grammatical theory, the excerpts proposed will be compared to Ibn Ǧinnī and al-Iflīlī’s commentaries on al-Mutanabbī’s poems.

Dossier spécial: Islamic Law and Minorities, ed. by Carlo De Angelo and Serena Tolino (pdf 2,7 MB, pp. 137-309)  

Obituary: In memory of Prof. Agostino Cilardo (Carlo De Angelo, Serena Tolino) (pdf 72 kB, pp. 141-142) 

Introduction: Carlo De Angelo, Serena Tolino, Minorities as Subjects and Minorities as Producers of Islamic Law: Past and Present (pdf 278 kB, pp. 143-155)

Paola Pizzo, Non-Muslim Minorities in a Wasaṭī Perspective (pdf 336 kB, pp. 156-170)

Abstract: Given the classical framework regulating the position of non-Muslims in Islamic States, this paper focuses on the evolution of the interpretations of those norms, following the thought of wasaṭiyya scholars. In contemporary Islamic thought, a balanced and moderate attitude is proposed by several authors as an attempt to oppose the extremist movements that claim to represent the true Islam. One of the areas in which the wasaṭī approach has found a way to express itself more effectively is in the status of minorities. – These thinkers consider that the birth of modern states has produced consequences in the application of the rules governing the relations between citizens of different religions. They have adopted a renewal in terminology that may prefigure a different application of classical Islamic rules.

Nijmi Edres, Fiqh al-aqalliyyāt in Israel: Wasaṭiyya and the Use of the Past by Muslim Judges (pdf 353 kB, pp. 171-186)

Abstract: The context of the Muslim Palestinian minority in Israel poses important puzzles as for the application of the doctrine of fiqh al-aqalliyyāt. Despite this, the development of fiqh al-aqalliyyāt in the Israeli context provides important insights into the changes facing the Palestinian minority as well as into changing relations between Palestinians in Israel and the State of Israel as a whole. The first part of the article discusses the limitations of applying fiqh al-aqalliyyāt in the context of the Muslim community in Israel. The second part considers multiple references made by sharia court judges to fiqh al-aqalliyyāt and to the principles of wasaṭiyya as useful to find ʻbalancingʼ solutions to address the needs of the contemporary Muslim public and reject accusations of modernisation of Muslim law understood as ʻIsraelisationʼ of sharia and Muslim identity.

Uriya Shavit, Embattled Minority in-between Minorities: An Analysis of British and German Salafi Anti-Jihadi Campaigns (pdf 361 kB, pp. 187-203)

Abstract: Based on an analysis of 150 documents collected between 2012 and 2015 from bookstores, websites and YouTube channels operated by Salafi mosques and organisations in Britain and Germany, this article discusses the different strategies adopted in European Salafi discourse in an effort to disassociate salafiyya from al-Qaeda, ISIS and other Jihadi-Salafi movements. The article suggests that the target audience of these rebuttals are Western governments and publics, who suspect salafiyya to be a breeding-ground for terror, as well as mosque attendees, who are exposed to jihadi-salafi denunciations of Salafi anti-politics and anti-violence agendas. It introduces the diverse set of arguments invoked by Salafis to defend their opposition to violent attacks on Western soil, including the religious duties to abide by contracts, respect Islamic rules of warfare and the regulations on initiating jihad, avoid harming the interests of Muslims and of Islam in Europe, and oppose modern-day Khawarij of whom the Prophet Muḥammad warned.

Carlo De Angelo, Muslim Emigration to the West: The Jurisprudence of the Saudi Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Fatwas (pdf 383 kB, pp. 204-222)

Abstract: Currently there are about 43 million Muslims in Europe, 20 million of whom are in the Western part of the continent. The birth of these pockets of Muslim groups is mainly due to migration, motivated essentially by economic reasons. For this reason, some Muslims turn to jurists (fuqahāʼ) to learn if the migration they intend to undertake or have already undertaken to Western countries can be considered licit (ḥalāl) or not, under the Islamic law. For an answer to this question, some Muslims consulted the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Fatwas, whose members belong to the Pietist current of the Salafi movement. The objective of this article is to analyze all the fatwas passed by such a Committee in response to questions posed. My analysis has evidenced the fact that, according to this Committee, a Muslim is obliged to reside exclusively in an Islamic territory (dār al-islām), and forbidden to migrate to the West, due to the fact that it is considered land of the disbelievers (dār al-kufr). However, the Committee has accepted some exceptions to this rule: for example, a Muslim is allowed to migrate to non-Islamic territories to spread the word of God (daʻwa), to study or to work.

Serena Tolino, Transgenderism, Transsexuality and Sex-Reassignment Surgery in Contemporary Sunni Fatwas (pdf 462 kB, pp. 223-246)

Abstract: This paper analyses the contemporary Sunni discourse on transgenderism, transsexuality and sex-reassignment surgery (SRS), looking at contemporary fatwas by traditionalist jurists. After a terminological introduction to the semantic field of transsexuality and transgenderism in the international discourse and in the Arab world, the paper analyses the verses in the Quran and the relevant hadiths that are mentioned in the contemporary discussion, before examining what jurists say on the topic. The paper shows that sex-reassignment surgery is mostly regarded by Muslim jurists as permitted in cases of intersexuality, as it is considered a treatment to determine the sex of the person, but is usually considered forbidden in cases of transgenderism, as it is considered a change in God’s creation. The paper finally argues that the discussion on SRS by Muslim traditionalist scholars is driven by an essentialised perception of the sex/gender binary and the roles assigned to men and women that is not only shared by those scholars who refuse SRS, but also by those who allow it.

Bettina Dennerlein, Sexual Rights and their Discontents: Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī on Homosexuality and the ‘Islamic Family’ (pdf 424 kB, pp. 247-267)

Abstract: Taking Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī as an example, this article suggests looking at neo-conservative Islamic discourse on homosexuality in connection with the enduring vehemence with which this discourse upholds religiously framed notions of marriage and the family while continuously making adaptations on questions of women’s rights in order to accommodate political and societal change. In his writings, al-Qaraḍāwī systematically treats the topic of homosexuality in connection with the central theme of his programme of wasaṭiyya gravitating around the legitimate ‘Islamic’ family which actually proves to be a hybrid of national state sanctioned familism and a decontextualised ideal of sexual difference as an eternal ‘cosmic’ principle. While contributing itself to their politicisation, Islamic discourse constructs both family and sexuality as lying beyond the reach of (secular) politics. Naturalised and sacralised notions of marriage and sexuality thereby warrant a realm for religious authority to rise to legitimately speak in public. So far, research on homosexuality and Islam has largely focused on religious and juridical qualifications as well as on questions of categorisation. The main argument presented here is that the ideological zeal in Islamic discourse on the topic is always also more basically directed against any attempt at transferring the language of (secular) rights to issues of gender and sexuality.

Antonella Straface, Ritual Ablution and Cultic Purity in Ismaili Context: The Siǧistānian View (pdf 306 kB, pp. 268-279)

Abstract: The paper, which is a continuation of my previous research on the Siǧistānian view of the pillars of Islam, aims at analysing the interpretation of ritual ablution (wuḍūʾ) and cultic purity (ṭahāra) according to the tenth-century Ismaili ʿī Abū Yaʿqūb al-Siǧistānī. In the last of his works, the Kitāb al-iftiḫār (The Book of the Boast), this outstanding Ismaili missionary also devoted attention to the Islamic ritual prescriptions. These obligatory duties, whose performance al-Siǧistānī fully recognised, conceal an inner meaning that can be unveiled through the tradition of the taʾwīl, the esoteric interpretation that, according to the Ismaili doctrine, allows the muʾmin to achieve his salvation.

Edmund Hayes, Alms and the Man: Fiscal Sectarianism in the Legal Statements of the Shiʿi Imams (pdf 396 kB, pp. 280-298)

Abstract: The sociological dimensions of the development of a sectarian orientation in early Imami Shiʿism have remained sparsely explored since Marshall Hodgson posed the question ‘How did the early Shia become sectarian?’ in 1955. This article explores Imamic hadith statements on the canonical ritual payment of zakāt/ṣadaqa as a way of tracking the crystallisation of communitarian boundaries. It argues that the Shiʿi Imams, especially Imam Bāqir, fit into a common Muslim discourse regarding the payment of zakāt, for example in the case of an unjust Imam. However, the hadiths of the Imam Ṣādiq show a pivot towards the more clearly differentiated Shiʿi juristic positions of the Occultation period. Imamic statements on zakāt, therefore, must be seen as neither identical to Sunni positions, nor to classical Twelver Shiʿi formulations, but rather as dynamic responses to developing circumstances. In using Imamic hadiths to track early Shiʿi doctrine, this article also suggests directions for the development of a methodology for using hadiths to track historical developments, a venture which has barely begun. In dealing with the Shiʿi Hadith corpus, the author calls for an epistemological scepticism, coupled with a methodological positivism, assuming that while Imamic hadiths may merely act as mouthpieces for later doctrinal positions, it is also very possible that they do originate in the circles of the Imams to whom they are ascribed, and should be analysed as such in order to track chronological developments in the Hadith corpus.

Agostino Cilardo, A Dispute Between Ḥanafis and Twelvers About Mutʿa (First Half of 2nd c. AH) (pdf 286 kB, pp. 299-309)

Abstract: Disputes between scholars of different backgrounds were usual in the first two centuries AH, which was the formative period of the Islamic system of law. At that time each geographical centre, mainly Mecca, Medina, Kūfa, Baṣra, and within each centre, each scholar, was proposing his own legal solution and was justifying it based on his own interpretation of the Quran and the Prophetic tradition. The iḫtilāf literature is rooted in that period. One of the controversial subjects concerns the lawfulness of the temporary marriage (nikāḥ al-mutʿa), which was a matter of sharp divergences between a group of the Shia, the Twelvers, and the remaining law schools. The subject matter of this paper does not concern the legal polemics about mutʿa, rather it exclusively aims to highlight the interpersonal relationships between the scholars involved. At my knowledge, I quote all sources regarding these personal relations. Only the Imami jurist al-Kulaynī reports three hadiths including disputes between the most preeminent representatives of the Twelvers, namely Abū ʿAbd Allāh Ǧaʿfar al-Ṣādiq and Abū Ǧaʿfar, and their Ḥanafi opponents, namely Abū Ḥanīfa and his disciple Zufar. The first controversy was between Abū ʿAbd Allāh and Abū Ḥanīfa; the second involved Abū Ǧaʿfar and Abū Ḥanīfa; the third one concerned Abū Ǧaʿfar and Zufar. The presentation of al-Kulaynī obviously sheds a good light on his school and its representatives and takes for granted the Imami legal justification of the doctrines he describes.

7 - Dossier spécial: Approaches to the Etymology of Arabic, ed. by Stephan Guth (pdf 3,25 MB, pp. 311-453)

Front matter and Table of Contents (pdf 1,06 MB, pp. 311-312)

Stephan Guth, Introduction (pdf 226 kB, pp. 313-321)

Zeus Wellnhofer, On Some Arabic Roots and Their Etymological Relevance (pdf 244 kB, pp. 322-331)

Abstract: One of the features of Arabic is the distinction between the pharyngeals ʕ / and the velar/uvular fricatives ġ / . The present article will focus on a number of Arabic roots containing one of these four consonants. Such a comparison may contribute to further investigations concerning the following two objectives: First of all, to consider the possibility of loanwords in early Arabic, or Semitic, that might explain the existence of two different roots with similar meaning. And, secondly, to take into account the possibility of semantic interference between different roots. Moreover, the question of semantic interference and inner-Semitic loans deserves some attention due to its relevance for etymological considerations.

Simona Olivieri, The ism in the Arabic Grammatical Tradition: Reflections on Its Origin and Meanings (pdf 298 kB, pp. 332-344)

Abstract: This article aims to present an overall reconstruction of the debate on the definition and etymology of Arabic ism (‘noun’, ‘substantive’), by discussing and comparing texts from the Arabic linguistic tradition. The first part deals with the definition of the grammatical element and its functions, while the second is fully dedicated to the examination of the etymological issues, focusing on the two assumed roots of derivation for ism (namely s-m-w and w-s-m). The arguments are presented through the collation of the opinions of the relevant Arabic grammarians, examining both the wider debate between the early grammatical schools of Baṣra and Kūfa (2nd/8th–3rd/9th centuries), and the reports of the arguments as described by later scholars.

Stephan Guth, Biradicalist Mimophonic Triradicalism: Sounds, root nuclei and root complements in M. Ḥ. Ḥ. Gabal’s ‘etymological’ dictionary of Arabic (2012) (pdf 680 kB, pp. 345-376)

Abstract: This article presents and discusses the monumental ‘etymological dictionary’, or ‘lexicon’, al-Muʕǧam al-ištiqāqī al-muʔaṣṣal, by the late Egyptian professor of Arabic language at al-Azhar University, Muḥam­mad Ḥasan Ḥasan Gabal (d. 2015), and tries to situate it on the map of positions taken in Arabic and Semitic Studies in the West regarding the question whether or not the triradical roots of the Arabic and Semitic lexicon may have developed, via extension, from earlier biradical ones.

Jean-Claude Rolland, Éclats de roche : Une étude d’étymologie sur les noms de la pierre en latin, grec et arabe (pdf 589 kB, pp. 377-406)

Abstract: Starting from the Latin cases of semantic parallelism, rūpēs || rumpō and saxum || secō, this study goes through a number of Arabic denominations of the stone to demonstrate that in Arabic too there is a strong relationship between those denominations and many roots that basically express an act of breaking or cutting something. The conclusions are the following: • the Greek equivalents of “stone”, the etymology of which is obscure, might have the same relationship with some Greek or Latin words expressing the act of breaking; • Greek πέτρᾱ [pétrā] might be of Semitic origin.

Lutz Edzard, Notes on the Emergence of New Semitic Roots in the Light of Compounding (pdf 201 kB, pp. 407-414)

Abstract: Independently of the question as to whether bi- or triradical roots have historical preponderance in Semitic, there are clear cases of Semitic verbal and nominal roots that have emerged through a process of compounding or integration of additional elements (verbal or nominal affixes and even prepositions). In this paper, an attempt will be made to establish a hierarchical typology of such processes of morpho-phonological re-analysis, in both historical and modern times.

Francesco Grande, The Arabic Lexicographer Ibn Sīdah and the Notion of Semantic Field (pdf 381 kB, pp. 415-433)

Abstract: Etymological investigation may resort to the semantic field in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the cultural aspects that underlie the origin and historical development of a given word. Modern scholars tend to regard the semantic field as a notion developed in Western linguistic thought around the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century. However, Arabists tend to assume that this notion was already known in the Arabic lexicographical tradition. The present paper empirically grounds this idea in three conceptual steps. First, it clarifies the modern Western notion of semantic field by investigating the theoretical contexts in which such a notion evolved, morphing into different manifestations. Second, it focuses on the dictionaries al-Muḥkam and al-Mukhaṣṣaṣ authored by the Andalusian lexicographer Ibn Sīdah (d. 458/1066) and offers a close reading of some of the passages in which Ibn Sīdah reflects on the notion of bāb. Finally, it draws a narrow parallel between bāb and a mid-nineteenth-century manifestation of the Western notion of semantic field.

Gizem Işık, Etymology and Polysemy: A Non-Objectivist Approach to the Domain of Vision in Semitic Languages (pdf 482 kB, pp. 434-453), incl. "all-in-one" view of Table 2 (pdf 646 kB) 

Abstract: This article is an exemplary study of semantic change of polysemous words in Arabic and Semitic languages. Since words do not change their meanings by mere coincidence or acquire new ones randomly, the study of the historical evidence of groupings according to related senses can show how multiple functions of a word are related to each other and which role cognitive structuring plays in the acquisition of new senses. To show that mental categories can explain the relations of the different usages of a single word I am adopting a cognitive approach. Metaphorical change within polysemous words in the domain of vision will serve as a case in point. Following Sweetser (1990), I will look into the historical evidence of vision-related verbs in Arabic and their equivalents in the Semitic languages.

8 - Dossier spécial: Arrays of Egyptian and Tunisian Everyday Worlds: An Update on the project In 2016How it felt to live in the Arab World five years after the "Arab Spring", ed. by S. Guth, E. Chiti, and A. Hofheinz (pdf, pp. 455-508) 

Front matter and TOC  ♦  S. Guth & A. Hofheinz, Introduction: From "issues" to "arrays"  ♦  ʿĀmmiyya (E. M. Håland)  ♦   Baby Milk (A. Hofheinz)  ♦  Clash (E. Chiti)  ♦  Conversions (M. Lindbekk)  ♦  Crowdfunding (T. Pepe)  ♦  Dérja (M. Achour Kallel / M. Guellouz)  ♦  Dual Identities / Masking (S. Guth)  ♦  Father figures (M. Yordanova)  ♦  Psychiatrists (M. B. Aardal)  ♦  Satire (on YouTube channels) (M. Mohamed)

Publisert 14. jan. 2017 13:54 - Sist endret 31. jan. 2018 16:44