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Table of Contents
                            Table of Contents
Publications of Donald P. Little
Mamluk Era Documentary Studies: The State of the Art (Frederic Bauden)
The Conquest of Arsuf by Baybars: Political and Military Aspects (Reuven Amitai)
The Archaeological Evidence from the Mamluk Siege of Arsuf (Kate Raphael and Yotam Tepper)
Tales of a Medieval Cairene Harem: Domestic Life in al-Biqa'i's Autobiographical Chronicle (Li Guo)
The Construction of Gender Symbolism in Ibn Sirin's and Ibn Shahin's Medieval Arabic Dream Texts (Huda Lutfi)
Notes on the Contemporary Sources of the Year 793 (Sami G. Massoud)
The al-Nashw Episode: A Case Study of "Moral Economy" (Amalia Levanoni)
The Politics of the Mamluk Sultanate: A Review Essay (R. Stephen Humphreys)
Book Reviews
List of Recent Publications
Document Text Contents
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published by the middle east documentation center (medoc)

the university of chicago
E-ISSN 1947-2404 (ISSN for printed volumes: 1086-170X)

Mamlūk Studies Review is an annual, Open Access, refereed journal devoted to the study of the
Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria (648–922/1250–1517). The goals of Mamlūk Studies Review are
to take stock of scholarship devoted to the Mamluk era, nurture communication within the field,
and promote further research by encouraging the critical discussion of all aspects of this important
medieval Islamic polity. The journal includes both articles and reviews of recent books.

Submissions of original work on any aspect of the field are welcome, although the editorial board
will periodically issue volumes devoted to specific topics and themes. Mamlūk Studies Review also
solicits edited texts and translations of shorter Arabic source materials (waqf deeds, letters, fatawa
and the like), and encourages discussions of Mamluk era artifacts (pottery, coins, etc.) that place
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Al-Biqa≠‘|'s documentation of the Black Death presents a vivid firsthand personal
account of the events. In the Iz˝ha≠r, aside from many obituaries of the Cairene
notables who fell victim to the epidemic, we also find a long list of casualties in
the author's own household. Among them was Shah|dah, a female slave (fata≠h)
who died in Juma≠dá II 863;56 Gha≠liyah, her daughter, and Thurayya≠, the Indian
concubine, both died in the same month;57 Abu≠ al-Lut¸f Ah˝mad, H˛asbiya Alla≠h's
first son, died five months later, in Dhu≠ al-Qa‘dah.58 All told, in a few months, the
plague claimed a handful of lives in this household alone. The dead were all
buried in the family cemetery, next to the corpses of many sons, daughters, and
concubines who had died earlier.59

More births are reported in the remainder of the Iz˝ha≠r. For example, H˛ulwah,
the Ethiopian concubine, gave birth to another son named, again, Abu≠ al-Yusr
Muh˝ammad in 866/1461.60 All in all, infant mortality seems to have been a curse
hovering over al-Biqa≠‘|'s head. Even for those who managed to survive temporarily,
destiny was never in their favor. H˛asbiya Alla≠h's second son, Abu≠ al-Lut¸f Ah˝mad
II, for example, would later suffer from developmental problems; not only was he
slow in learning to walk and talk, but was also, worst of all, always sick, "with
gross sores on his face and body all the time."61 Eventually the boy died when he
was three years old.62 H˛ulwah's son Abu≠ al-Yusr Muh˝ammad III died when he,
too, was merely three years old.63 We don't know much about the fate of al-Biqa≠‘|'s
daughters.64 As far as the period covered by the Iz˝ha≠r is concerned, none of
al-Biqa≠‘|'s sons survived. All told, this is, in the end, a very sad story, indeed.

The various episodes presented above form the story of an eccentric Mamluk
alim's turbulent domestic life. In the category of dysfunctional families, our

55Iz̋ha≠r, 3:118.
56Ibid., 117.
57Ibid., 119, 120.
58Ibid., 127.
59Ibid., 111.
60Iz̋ha≠r, MS, 338.
61Iz̋ha≠r, 3:356.
62Iz̋ha≠r, MS, 462.
63Ibid., 486.
64One daughter, Umm Ha≠n| Fa≠t¸imah, was born to Thurayya≠, the Indian concubine, in 862/1457
(Iz˝ha≠r, 2:367); another daughter, Umm al-H˛asan Zaynab, was born to H˛ulwah, the Ethiopian
concubine, in 869/1464 (Iz̋ha≠r, MS, 486).

protagonist and narrator al-Biqa≠‘| was not alone, given the extremely high rate of

©2005 by the author.
This work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC-BY).

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Page 125


divorce in the Mamluk era.65 However, as Leo Tolstoy's adage about unhappy
families goes, everyone's story is unique. When it comes to the various factors
that caused a marriage to collapse and a family to dissipate in medieval Muslim
societies, little is known beyond the legal (and economic) parameters.66 This, of
course, has largely to do with the nature of our sources. While "family" occupies
substantial importance in Islamic legal discourse, historians, on the whole, usually
have little, if anything, to say on the subject. Even in autobiography, a presumably
"ideal" genre for such a pursuit, one is confronted with the predominance of
generic narratives over individual voices. In al-Biqa≠‘| and his Iz˝ha≠r, the subject of
the present study, we find a rather special voice.

The first remarkable thing about al-Biqa≠‘|'s Iz˝ha≠r is its blending of literary
genres. This is evidenced by the at-times-confusing narrative structure, constantly
switching back and forth between a chronicle and an autobiography. Very often
the awkwardness of the seemingly bungled narrative is obvious. For instance,
al-Biqa≠‘|'s wedding to Su‘a≠da≠t is narrated in a strictly third person tone, as part of
a larger narrative frame of the sultan's, not the author's—that is, the
groom's—activities. It begins with an account of: on such-and-such day, "he [i.e.,
the sultan] came to" the Na≠s¸ir|yah kha≠nqa≠h, "to marry off his secretary (li-tazw|j
ka≠tibihi) [i.e., al-Biqa≠‘|] to Su‘a≠da≠t. . . ." The author then abruptly switches to first
person narrative in the next paragraph when the groom, "he," becomes "I."67 Another
example of this oddity is seen in the obituary of al-Bu≠sh|, al-Biqa≠‘|'s late father-
in-law, who had died two years prior to al-Biqa≠‘|'s marriage to his daughter
Su‘a≠da≠t. This relationship, although posthumous, is never acknowledged.68 This
kind of inconsistency may reflect the raw condition of the unfinished autograph
manuscript, a work-in-progress musawwadah-draft; the author was perhaps writing
a chronicle on the basis of his own diary. However, the possibility that such a
narrative strategy was so designed cannot be ruled out. In the case of al-Bu≠sh|, the
silence on the relationship between the two may have to do with al-Biqa≠‘|'s
awareness of the accusations, by al-Sakha≠w| and the like, of his opportunistic
marriage schemes for career advancement. And in the case of his wedding, the

65Thirty percent of marriages in the Mamluk period ended in divorce; see Rapoport, "Marriage,"
268. A quick glimpse at vol. 12 of al-Sakha≠w|'s Al-D˛aw’, the most extensive Mamluk biographical
work covering women's lives and careers, will give the unmistakable impression of the frequency
of divorce.
66For the most up-to-date bibliography of the current scholarship on marriage and divorce in the
Islamic Near East, see Rapoport, "Marriage," 300–25. The literature on women and family in
Muslim societies in general is very extensive and need not be repeated here.
67Iz̋ha≠r, 2:20–21.
68Ibid., 1:193.

interpretive tension between a heavenly matrimony and its eventual ugly reality is

©2005 by the author.
This work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC-BY).

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Page 247

List of Recent Publications

IBN H˛AJAR AL-‘ASQALA≠N|, AH˝MAD IBN ‘AL|. Ith˝a≠f al-Maharah bi-al-Fawa≠’id al-
Mubtakarah min Aţra≠f al-‘Ashrah. Edited by Zuhayr ibn Na≠s̋ir al-Na≠s̋ir. Medina:
Wiza≠rat al-Shu’u≠n al-Isla≠m|yah wa-al-Awqa≠f wa-al-Daw‘ah wa-al-Irsha≠d bi-
al-Ta‘a≠wun ma‘a al-Ja≠mi‘ah al-Isla≠m|yah, 1994. 16 vols. in 17.

IBN H̨AJAR AL-‘ASQALA≠N|, AH̋MAD IBN ‘AL|. Vies des cadis de Misr, 237–851, 366–976:
Extrait du Raf‘ al-isr ‘an qudat Misr d'Ibn Hagar al-Asqalani. Edited and
translated by Mathieu Tillier. Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale,
2002. Pp. 212.

IBN TAYM|YAH, AH̋MAD IBN ‘ABD AL-H˛AL|M. Jawa≠b Ahl al-‘Ilm wa-al-¡ma≠n;bi-Tah˝q|q
Ma≠ Akhbara bi-hi Rasu≠l al-Rah˝ma≠n min anna (Qul huwa Alla≠hu Ah˝ad) Ta‘dil
Thulth al-Qur’a≠n. Edited by ‘Abd al-‘Az|z ibn Fath˝| ibn al-Sayyid Nada≠.
Riyadh: Da≠r al-Qa≠sim lil-Nashr, 1421. Pp. 256.

IBN TAYM|YAH, AH̋MAD IBN ‘ABD AL-H˛AL|M. Mustadrak ‘alá Majmu≠‘ Fata≠wá Shaykh
al-Isla≠m Ah˝mad Ibn Taym|yah. Edited by Muh˝ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rah˝ma≠n
ibn Muh˝ammad ibn Qa≠sim. Riyadh: Muh˝ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rah˝ma≠n ibn
Muh˝ammad ibn Qa≠sim, 1997. 5 vols.

‘ISHQ|, ANWAR MA≠JID. Khila≠fat Ab| Bakr al-S˛idd|q f| Fikr Ibn Taym|yah al-
Siya≠s|:Dira≠sah Tah˝l|l|yah. Riyadh: Maktabat al-Tawbah, 1998. Pp. 262.

MAQR|Z|, AH̋MAD IBN ‘AL|. Durar al-‘Uqu≠d al-Far|dah f| Tara≠jim al-A‘ya≠n al-
Muf|dah. Edited by Mah˝mu≠d al-Jal|l|. Beirut: Da≠r al-Gharb al-Isla≠m|, 2002. 4

QU≠NAW|, MUH̋AMMAD IBN ‘ABD ALLA≠H. Su≠f|yah al-Qalandar|yah, Ta≠r|khuha≠ wa-Fatwá
Shaykh al-Isla≠m ibn Taym|yah F|ha≠. Medina: Muh˝ammad ibn ‘Abd Alla≠h
Qu≠naw|, 2002. Pp. 319.

SUYU≠Ţ|, JALA≠L A L-D|N. Al-‘Arf al-Ward| f| Akhba≠r al-Ima≠m al-Mahd|. Edited by
Mus˝t¸afá S˝ubh˝| al-Khid˝r. Damascus: Da≠r al-Kawthar, 2001. Pp. 135.

SUYU≠Ţ|, JALA≠L AL-D|N. Al-Ashba≠h wa-al-Naz¸a≠’ir f| al-Nah˝w. Beirut: Da≠r al-Kutub
al-‘Ilm|yah, [1991?]. 4 vols. in 2.

SUYU≠Ţ|, JALA≠L AL-D|N. ‘Ilm al-Muna≠saba≠t f| al-Suwar wa-al-A±ya≠t, wa-Yal|hi Mara≠s̋id
al-Mat¸a≠li‘ f| Tana≠sub al-Maqa≠t¸i‘ wa-al-Mat¸a≠li‘. Edited by Muh˝ammad ibn
‘Umar ibn Sa≠lim Ba≠zmu≠l. Mecca: Al-Maktabah al-Makk|yah, 2002. Pp. 208.

©2005 by the author.
This work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC-BY).

See for more information about copyright and open access.
This issue can be downloaded at

Page 248

Arabic Transliteration System

Romanized Arabic in Mamlu≠k Studies Review follows the Library of Congress conventions, briefly
outlined below. A more thorough discussion may be found in American Library Association-Library
of Congress Romanization Tables (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1991).

¡ ’ Œ kh ‘ sh ⁄ gh  m

» b œ d ’ s˝ · f Ê n

  t – dh ÷ d˝ ‚ q Á h

À th — r ◊ t¸ „ k Ë w

à j “ z ÿ z˝ ‰ l Í y

Õ h˝ ” s Ÿ ‘

… h, t (in construct) ‰« al-

Ó‡‡ a Ô‡‡ u ‡‡ i

·‡ an χ‡ un ̇‡ in

¬ a≠ ËÔ u≠ Í |

«Ó a≠ ÒËÔ u≠w ‡ÒO‡ |y (medial), | (final)

È á ËÓ aw ÍÓ ay

ÒÍÓ ayy

Capitalization in romanized Arabic follows the conventions of American English; the definite
article is always lower case, except when it is the first word in an English sentence. The hamzah is
not represented when beginning a word, following a prefixed preposition or conjunction, or following
the definite article. Assimilation of the la≠m of the definite article before "sun" letters is disregarded.
Final inflections of verbs are retained, except in pausal form; final inflections of nouns and
adjectives are not represented, except preceding suffixes and except when verse is romanized.
Vocalic endings of pronouns, demonstratives, prepositions, and conjunctions are represented. The
hyphen is used with the definite article, conjunctions, inseparable prepositions, and other prefixes.
Note the exceptional treatment of the preposition li- followed by the article, as in lil-sult¸a≠n. Note
also the following exceptional spellings: Alla≠h, billa≠h, lilla≠h, bismilla≠h, mi’ah, ibn (for both initial
and medial forms). Words not requiring diacritical marks, though following the conventions outlined
above, include all Islamic dynasties, as well as the following terms: Quran, sultan, amir, imam,
shaykh, Sunni, Shi‘i, Sufi. Common place-names should take the common spelling in American
English. Names of archaeological sites should follow the convention of the excavator.

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