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Cyprus art and architecture

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Ruggles, D. Fairchild
The complex history of the art and architecture of Cyprus rests largely on its position in the eastern Mediterranean, where the island was a launching point for the waves of Crusaders seeking to conquer the Islamic cities of the Levant and Egypt in the sixth/twelfth and seventh/thirteenth centuries. Cyprus itself had an eclectic array of architectural styles, while serving also as an intermediary for the exchange of architectural elements amongst Muslim, Catholic, and Byzantine patrons. Cyprus’s major city was the southeastern port of Famagusta, with grand Gothic cathe…
Date: 2021-07-19

Cemeteries and funerary architecture

(4,668 words)

Author(s): Ruggles, D. Fairchild
Cemeteries vary widely across the Islamic world, from simple open-air burial areas to large imperial funerary complexes containing graves marked with simple headstones and free-standing domed tombs. Although Prophetic ḥadīths strongly discouraged the building of tombs and the visiting of graves, the practice was not expressly forbidden, and thus, from the earliest centuries of Islam, cemeteries and commemorative monuments proliferated amongst both Sunnī and Shīʿī Muslims. Early cemeteries were typically located outside the…
Date: 2021-07-19

Badr al-Dīn Luʾluʾ

(765 words)

Author(s): Hirschler, Konrad | Ruggles, D. Fairchild
Al-Malik al-Raḥīm Badr al-Dīn Abū l-Faḍāʾil Luʾluʾ (d. 657/1259) was a military slave (mamlūk) and freedman (mawlā) of the last Zangids of Mosul; he ruled this principality towards the end of his career. Similar to the Begtigīnids in Ḥarrān and Irbil, Luʾluʾ took advantage of the disintegration of the Zangid realms in al-Jazīra to found a short-lived dynasty. He was most likely of Armenian origin. (Previous authors have assumed, most likely on the basis of his name Luʾluʾ (“pearl”), that he was of sub-Saharan origin; e.g., Cahen.) Luʾluʾ’s rise to power followed the pattern typica…
Date: 2021-07-19

Nafīsa, al-Sayyida

(1,044 words)

Author(s): Ruggles, D. Fairchild
Al-Sayyida Nafīsa (d. Ramaḍān 208/January 824) was a pious and learned woman who became venerated in Cairo as one of its most celebrated saints. She was the daughter of al-Ḥasan b. Zayd b. al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. ʿAbī Ṭālib (d. 167/783), the governor of Medina and a ḥadīth transmitter, and thus directly descended from the prophet Muḥammad. That she lived in prominent Shīʿī circles is evident from her marriage to Abū Muḥammad Isḥāq al-Muʾtamin, son of the famed Shīʿī Imām and ḥadīth transmitter Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765), and a ḥadīth transmitter himself. Moving from Medina to al-Fusṭā…
Date: 2021-07-19


(596 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C. Edmund | updated by, ¨ | Ruggles, D. Fairchild
Nāʾīn (Nāyin) is a small town (lat. N 32°52′ long. E 53°05′, elev. 1,408 metres) on the southwestern edge of the Great Desert of central Iran, on the road connecting Yazd with Isfahan and Qum. The town, known for its large citadel and its congregational mosque, seems to have had a pre-Islamic history, but nothing is known of it. The mediaeval Islamic geographers place it in the sardsīr (cooler upland regions) and describe it as located administratively within Fārs but as dependent on either Yazd or Isfahan. According to Mustawfī (69, trans. 77), its citadel, wh…
Date: 2021-07-19


(5,985 words)

Author(s): Ruggles, D. Fairchild
Gardens took many forms in Islamic lands, from the quadripartite chahār bāgh to the stepped terrace garden, the simple courtyard with central water basin, and many other plans. In addition to simply offering respite from the hot arid conditions of the surrounding landscape, the garden could express important ideas about sovereignty, territory, stewardship, wealth, and religion. While domestic and palace gardens were often sites of entertainment, they could also be stages for political display. In cemeterie…
Date: 2021-07-19