The Cult of Saints among Muslims and Jews in Medieval Syria by Josef Meri

By Josef Meri

This available examine is the 1st severe research of the cult of saints between Muslims and Jews in medieval Syria and the close to East. via case experiences of saints and their devotees, dialogue of the structure of monuments, exam of devotional gadgets, and research of rules of "holiness", Meri depicts the practices of dwelling faith and explores the typical background of those faiths.

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This complex process included not only capturing in tradition and in monumental form Islamic civilization’s superiority or debt to the ancient religions and civilizations of the Near East and physically appropriating and transforming sacred space and its symbolic dimensions, but also creating a new outlook which refocused and relocated the space within the broader framework of Islamic history, created Islamic symbols, and spurred the performance within it of distinctly Islamic rituals which demarcated it.

Al-H . kemoni, ed. and trans. V. E. Reichert, 2 vols. (Jerusalem, 1973), 2. 208. Translations are Reichert’s with modifications. 43 In discerning the true nature of the light through rational means and his sense of sight, al-H . arizi observes: For when the flame of brimstone goes up, is it not hidden in its darkness? Because the smoke of blackness is about its light so that it has not a bright light and its illumination is not pure and bright. But this light (which we saw over the grave) is pure and clear.

3. 26 Sacred Topography contains a rock visible at the Jew’s Gate on the road to which votive offerings are made (yundharu lahu al-nudhu¯r) and upon which rosewater and sweet fragrances are sprinkled. Muslims, Jews, and Christians hold it in regard. It is said that beneath it is the tomb of one of the prophets . . or saints (awliya¯ ) . 61 Since this site at the Jew’s Gate was separated from the profane space around it by the sprinkling of rosewater and sweet fragrances, Muslims, Jews, and Christians knew that it was sacred.

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