Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries in Islamic Society (Studies in by Shaun Marmon

By Shaun Marmon

During this thought-provoking interdisciplinary paintings, Shaun Marmon describes how eunuchs, as a class of people that embodied ambiguity, either outlined and mediated severe thresholds of ethical and actual area within the loved ones, within the palace and within the tomb of pre-modern Islamic society. The author's principal concentration is at the sacred society of eunuchs who guarded the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina for over six centuries and whose final representatives nonetheless practice lots of their time commemorated rituals to today. via Marmon's account, the "sacred" eunuchs of Medina develop into historic publications into uncharted dimensions of Islamic ritual, political symbolism, social order, gender and time.

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Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries in Islamic Society (Studies in Middle Eastern History)

During this thought-provoking interdisciplinary paintings, Shaun Marmon describes how eunuchs, as a class of people that embodied ambiguity, either outlined and mediated serious thresholds of ethical and actual area within the family, within the palace and within the tomb of pre-modern Islamic society. The author's critical concentration is at the sacred society of eunuchs who guarded the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina for over six centuries and whose final representatives nonetheless practice lots of their time venerated rituals to today.

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Outside the Mamluk Empire the eunuch guardians of at least one sacred Shi'i tomb attracted the attention of the traveler Ibn Battuta. After journeying from Cairo to the Hijaz (where he noted the wealth and prestige of the eunuchs of Madina), Ibn Battuta went on to Najaf to visit the Mashhad 'Ali, the tomb of the Prophet's Cairo: Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries 27 martyred son-in-law, the fourth caliph of Islam, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, revered by Sunni and Shi'i alike, but under Shi'i control and, for obvious reasons, of particular significance to the Shi'i community.

69 Shahin also set aside the usual funds for candles for the tomb and for the implements necessary for water distribution. Everything (kull al-asnaf) was to be handed over to the eunuch. 70 Eunuchs, guardians of boundaries, were symbols of social order. Placing eunuchs in these supervisory positions, which carried with them an authority that sometimes extended to the entire tomb complex, clearly introduced yet another level in the associations their presence was meant to evoke. In the context of the cult of the dead, the control of disorder took on added significance.

The sultan orders that a deep protective trench be dug around the tomb. He then has the ditch filled with molten lead. 90 The attempted kidnapping of the Prophet's body, and often of the bodies of the first two rightly guided caliphs, Abu Bakr and 'Umar, is a frequent topos in Sunni literature on the history of the Prophet's tomb. The would-be body snatchers, however, are usually Shi'i agents, not Christians. In a late Mamluk version of the Nur al-Din story, the two Madina: Sultan and Prophet 37 Christians are collapsed into a single Shi'i.

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