Pilgrims And Travelers To The Holy Land 1881871150, 9781881871156

The papers in this collection focus on Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i and Mormon pilgrims and travellers to the

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Pilgrims And Travelers To The Holy Land
 1881871150, 9781881871156

Table of contents :
Editors’ Introduction
List of Contributors
Holy and Haram: The Limits of Sacred Real Estate
Sacred Space and Profane Power: Victor Turner and the Perspective of Holy Land Pilgrimage
Pilgrims and Pilgrimage to Hebron (al-Khalll) During the Early Muslim Period (638?-1099)
Muslim Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Mamluk Period
The Nebi Musa Pilgrimage and the Origins of Palestinian Nationalism
Jerusalem in Late Medieval Itineraria
Mandeville’s Jews among Others
The Vision Becomes Reality: Medieval Women Pilgrims to the Holy Land
Pilgrimage, Ritual, and Power Strategies: Felix Fabri’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1483
Representation and Ideals: The Construction of Women in Travel Literature to the Holy Land
Clorinda Minor, from Pilgrim to Pioneer
Ambiguous Pilgrims: American Protestant Travelers to Ottoman Palestine, 1867-1914
Nineteenth-Century Mormon Pilgrimages to the Holy Land
Staying Home for the Sights: Surrogate Destinations in America for Holy Land Travel
Baha’i Pilgrimage to Israel

Citation preview


TRAVELERS TO THE HOLY LAND Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Symposium of the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization October 2 & 3, 1994

Studies in Jewish Civilization—7


TRAVELERS TO THE HOLY LAND Bryan F. Le Beau Menachem M or Editors ••••

Center for the Study of Religion and Society

The Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization

Creighton University Press

© 1996 by Creighton University Press All rights reserved N o part o f this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without perm ission in writing from the Publisher, except in the case o f brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

ISBN: 1-881871-15-0 ISSN : 1070-8510 Library o f Congress Catalog Card Num ber: 95-070897

Editorial: Creighton University Press 2500 California Plaza Omaha, Nebraska 68178

Marketing and Distribution: Fordham University Press University Box L Bronx, New Y ork 10458

For Menachem M or H older o f the Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization 1987-1994 in recognition o f his past leadership and continued support o f the study o f Jewish Civilization at Creighton University Bryan F. Le Beau, D irector Center for the Study o f Religion and Society Creighton University

Contents Acknowledgments


Editors* Introduction


L ist o f Contributors


H oly and Haram: The Lim its o f Sacred Real E s t a te ......................... 1 Francis E. Peters Sacred Space and Profane Power: V ictor Turner and the Perspective o f H oly Land P ilgrim age.......... 9 Thomas A. Idinopulos Pilgrim s and Pilgrimage to Hebron (al-Khalil) D uring the Early Muslim Period (638P-1099)................................... 21 Am ikam E lad M uslim Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Mamluk Period ..................63 Yehoshua Frenkel The Pilgrimage to N ebi Musa and the Origins o f Palestinian Nationalism ............................................. 89 Roger Friedland and Richard D . Hecht Jerusalem in Late Medieval Itineraria ............................................. Thomas Renna


M andeville’s Jew s among O th e r s....................................................... Benjam in Braude


T he Vision Becomes Reality: Medieval Women Pilgrims to the H oly L a n d ................................. 159 K ristine T. Utterback

v iii


Pilgrimage, Ritual, and Power Strategies: Felix Fabrics Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1483 ................................. 169 Dorothea R. French Representation and Ideals: The Construction o f Women in Travel Literature to the H oly L a n d ....................... 181 Cathy Gutierrez Clorinda M inor, from Pilgrim to P io n e e r...................................... 195 Barbara Kreiger Am biguous Pilgrims: American Protestant Travelers to Ottom an Palestine, 1867*1914 ................................... 209 Edw ard L. Queen, II Nineteenth-Century M ormon Pilgrimages to the H oly Land . . . 229 Andrew C Skinner Staying Hom e for the Sights: Surrogate Destinations in America for H oly Land T r a v e l.......... 251 Lester I. Vogel Baha'i Pilgrimage to Israel Gandihimohan Viswanathan


Acknowledgments T h e papers in this collection were delivered at the Seventh Annual Sym posium o f the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Chair in Jewish C ivilization at Creighton University on October 2 and 3, 1994. We would like to thank the many people involved in the preparation o f the symposium. Special thanks to Gloriann Levy, D irector o f the Jew ish Cultural A rts Council, who was so instrumental in making the Sunday events a success; to the College o f Jew ish Learning, a group with a deep commitment to Jewish education under th e leadership o f Steve Riekes; to Caryn Rifkin, on her seventh annual “to u r o f duty” with the Symposium; and to Forest Knitter. We particularly wish to acknowledge Maryellen Read for coordinating the event and for her careful preparation o f the entire collection o f papers. We wish to thank the following for the financial contributions w hich funded this symposium: Creighton College o f A rts and Sciences The Jewish Cultural A rts Council The Henry Monsky Lodge o f B'nai B*rith Menachem M or, Chairman Department o f Jewish H istory University o f H aifa Haifa, Israel M ay, 1995

B ry an F . Le Beau, D irector C en ter for the Study of R eligion and Society C reighton University O m aha, Nebraska


Editors’ Introduction A s the title suggests, the papers in this collection focus on pilgrim s and travelers to the H oly Land. They were delivered on October 2-3,1994, at the Seventh Annual Klutznick Symposium that was co-hosted by Creighton University’s Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Chair in Jew ish C ivilization and its Center for the Study o f Religion and Society. In his discussion o f the w ork o f Victor Turner, Thomas Idinopulos reminds us that pilgrimages—in the larger sense o f their being journeys o f exalted purpose to sacred places beyond the lim its o f one's religious routine—have been “lim inal" phenomena. They have existed on the edge o f religious life rather than at the center o f its day-to-day ritual. A t the same time, however, because they have been among the m ost dram atic responses to that basic human religious impulse which drives us to escape the mundane and to encounter the spiritual, they are phenomena o f consequence, as well, thereby attracting the considerable scholarly attention they have received. The papers in this collection make a contribution to that scholarly literature. In his keynote address, “H oly and H aram ," Francis Peters provides a useful introduction to the multifaceted study o f pilgrim s and travelers to the H oly Land by exploring the lim its o f the sacred and the profane. Peters deals specifically with Jerusalem, which he describes as “a cascading series o f circles o f holiness” extending outward from the innerm ost zone, the H oly o f H olies in the Temple proper, to the city o f Jerusalem and, even, to the entirety o f the Land o f Israel. H e makes tw o points concerning those circles o f holiness: first, that the original source o f Jerusalem 's holiness is its temple; and, second, that beyond the confines o f the temple the extension o f holiness is prescriptive rather than defensive. If access to the outer circles o f holiness has been lim ited at times, Peters argues, “it is chiefly a matter o f privilege—and payment—rather than taboo." Thom as A . Idinopulos’s paper, “Sacred Space and Profane Power,” compliments Peters’ address. Idinopulos finds little evidence in the literature o f pilgrimage to the H oly Land o f a neat set o f dichotomies




called "sacred” and "secular.” In H oly Land pilgrimages, ancient and modern, he finds, the pilgrim not only drew close to the "spiritual center,” but he was also confirmed in political, ethno-national, and cultural identity. The implication o f this evidence is im portant. It means that either the dichotomies o f "sacred” and "profane” are too narrowly conceived or that some other concept must be found to clarify the mixture o f ideal and material, religious and political-cultural, motives that entered into the pilgrimage to the "sacred space” o f the H oly Land. A mileam Elad takes us back in time and from the theoretical to the specific, in this case to some o f the earliest Muslim pilgrimages to the H oly Land. "Traditions in Praise o f H ebron,” which were circulated during the end o f the seventh to the beginning o f the eighth centuries, encouraged Muslims to make pilgrimage to and settle in Hebron. In "Pilgrim s and Pilgrimage to Hebron (al-Khalîl)” Elad describes how those pilgrimages were connected both to H ebron's physical development and its religious status in Islam during the early Islamic period (c638-1099). The influx o f visitors, he suggests, warranted the building o f accommodations and other hospitality arrangements, as well as the creation o f detailed guides to holy sites, the first o f which can be found in a treatise dating to the first half o f the eleventh century. Yehoshua Frenkel, Roger Friedland, and Richard D . Hecht continue the discussion o f Muslim pilgrimage in later periods and to different sites. The purpose o f Frenkel’s article, "M uslim Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Mamluk Period,” is twofold. First, based on passages from religious literature, it describes traditions concerning "the merits o f Jerusalem ,” the virtues o f visiting the city, and the advantages o f worship at holy shrines within it. Second, with reference to urban history during the Middle Ages, it investigates those social institutions that were established specifically to accommodate Muslim pilgrim s. In "The Pilgrimage to N ebi Musa and the Origins o f Palestinian Nationalism ,” Roger Friedland and Richard D . Hecht examine the unique Islamic pilgrimage of the 1920s and 1930s and how it was used by Hajj Amin al-Husayni in the foundation o f Palestinian nationalism, in the initial clashes with the British and the Zionists, and how it has been used by both the Jordanians and the Muslim activists since the beginning o f the Palestinian revolt in December 1987. They argue against the Turner analysis o f pilgrimage which has focused, despite the language o f communitas, on the individual experience o f the pilgrim , to say nothing about Victor Turner's typology which cannot explain the social functions of pilgrimage outside of Western European Christianity.



Thom as Renna’s "Jerusalem in Late Medieval Itineraria,” is the first o f four papers on Christian pilgrims and travelers o f the Middle Ages, the heyday o f such activity, not only to the H oly Land but to various sites throughout Europe! From his study o f itineraria written after 1291, Renna argues that graphic descriptions o f holy places in late medieval Itineraria were intended to be a kind o f devotional handbook evoking a specific response from the worshippers, including those who m ight never actually visit Jerusalem. Both the Itineraria‘s emphasis on m inute description and the extremely physical nature o f the mystical w riters' accounts o f the inner Jerusalem, he adds, are illustrations o f late medieval piety. Benjamin Braude discusses the m ost widely-read book o f travels com posed in the Middle Ages. Purportedly, Mandeville’s Travels is an account o f a pilgrimage to Palestine composed in the mid-fourteenth century. Unlike the Saracens, the Brahmins o f India, the M ongols o f China, and just about every other exotic people o f Asia, Braude points ou t, Mandeville singles out the Jew s o f Palestine for the full range o f typical medieval opprobrium . Nevertheless, students o f Jewish history have hardly paid the work any thought. In "M andeville’s Jew s among O thers,” Braude lists the reasons for that neglect, the reasons for Mandeville’s particularly virulent approach to Jew s, and the significance o f what he wrote. Kristine T . Utterback's article, "The Vision Becomes Reality,” describes women pilgrim s to the H oly Land in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Em ploying in particular the accounts o f St. Birgitta o f Sweden and Margery Kempe o f England, Utterback examines their m otives for travel and the experiences they described on the way to, and in, the H oly Land. Unlike many o f their male counterparts who were seeking absolution for their sins, Utterback writes, women claimed to have been told by Christ himself to make the journey to participate in his passion. Once there, they described their visits to the holy shrines and their encounters with other pilgrims and officials. From their writings we can compare their spiritual experiences of, with their physical adventures in, the H oly Land. D orothea R . French, in “Pilgrimage, Ritual, and Power Strategies,” analyzes the ritual activities which help us to gain a clearer understanding o f the power strategies among Catholics, other Christian sects and M uslims in the H oly Land at the end o f the fifteenth century. W orking from accounts provided by Felix Fabri, a German Dominican from U lm , during his second pilgrimage to the H oly Land in 1483, French examines how ritualization empowered those who more or less



controlled the rite; how their power was also limited and constrained; how ritualization dominated those involved as participants; and how that domination involved a negotiated participation and resistance that also empowered them. Cathy Gutierrez, Barbara Krieger, Edward L. Queen II, and Andrew C . Skinner offer insights into pilgrims and travelers to the H oly Land from nineteenth and early twentieth century America. Gutierrez’s “Representation and Ideals: The Construction o f Women in Travel Literature to the H oly Land,” focuses on the writings o f M ark Twain, the Reverend W.M. Thomson, and Edwin Sherman Wallace as they portrayed the women o f the H oly Land. She draws an analogy between the discourse o f the travel literature and the discourse o f American society. In the latter, Gutierrez notes, working-class women threatened the construction o f the female as fragile, leading to the portrayal o f impoverished women as both m orally and physically impure. In writing about the women o f the H oly Land, she explains, the authors were forced to confront the problem that poverty overrides Christianity in producing, or failing to produce, ideal womanhood. Krieger takes up the story o f one American woman in particular, and the pilgrimage to Palestine in 1849 that changed the conventional life o f that forty-year-old Philadelphia matron, Clorinda M inor. Krieger’s “Clorinda M inor, from Pilgrim to Pioneer” explores M inor’s pilgrimage experiences and her return to the H oly Land as a settler and to teach the Jew s agriculture, thereby hastening the Second Com ing and the final redemption. H er Mt. H ope Colony thrived for only a short time and failed, but Kreiger examines the nature and implications o f the agricultural enterprise and opines that the settlement might have flourished and expanded with significant consequences for both the Jew ish and Arab populations o f the area. The Protestant Reformation was not kind to the Christian pilgrimage tradition. Many, perhaps m ost, reformers branded it superstitious—typical o f Roman excesses and accretions over the centuries. Protestant travelers, if not pilgrim s, to the H oly Land nevertheless remained quite common. In “Am biguous Pilgrim s,” Edward Queen analyzes how three Protestant American travelers to Ottoman Palestine from 1867 to 1914—Philip Schaff, a professor at Union Theological Seminary; Thomas DeW itt Talmage, a Presbyterian minister from Brooklyn, New Y ork; and Henry Van Dyke, a Princeton professor o f English literature —negotiated the conflicts between what they anticipated and what they saw in their H oly Land pilgrimages. H e explores how their encounters with other pilgrim s and



their contestations over the land affected their understandings, and how they expressed their experiences in their post-pilgrimage published w orks. In a concluding endnote (#46), Edward Queen quotes Philip Shaff as suggesting that M ormons “would do a good service both to America and to Turkey if they were to emigrate to the Sinaitic Peninsula and the shores o f the Dead Sea, and teach their Ishmaelite cousins a lesson o f American industry and thrift.” A s Andrew Skinner points out, the M orm on pilgrimage to the H oly Land had, in fact, already begun but fo r different reasons. In “Nineteenth-Century M ormon Pilgrimages to the H oly Land,” Skinner discusses the doctrines and tenets that drew M orm ons to Palestine. H e presents an overview o f the first M ormon pilgrimage, that o f O rson Hyde in 1841, as well as brief accounts of those that followed to the end o f the century. A ll were charged—Hyde directly by M ormon prophet and founder Joseph Smith, Jr., himself—to dedicate “the land o f Palestine for the building up o f Jerusalem and the gathering o f Abraham’s posterity,” among whom the M ormons counted themselves. That gathering, that restoration o f the earthly Jerusalem , Smith taught, would herald the descent o f a heavenly Jerusalem , the Second Com ing and his millennial reign on earth. Lester I. Vogel and Gandihimohan Viswanathan conclude the collection with tw o rather unusual pieces on pilgrim s and travelers to the H oly Land. The first describes surrogate destinations in America fo r H oly Land travel. The second outlines the elements o f the Baha'i pilgrim age to the land it deems holy, as well. In “Staying Hom e for the Sights,” Vogel pictures attempts to duplicate the H oly Land travel experience at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. A t the Exposition, full scale reproductions o f portions o f the city o f Jerusalem peopled with imported Jerusalemites and containing such landmark sites as the Dom e o f the Rock, the Church o f the H oly Sepulchre, the W estern Wall, Jaffa Gate, and numerous winding streets, was viewed as one o f the St. Louis W orld’s Fair most redeeming and enlightening experiences, if not its most popular attraction. Viswanathan explains the history, purpose, schedule, and common practices associated with the Baha’i pilgrimage. He describes the historical significance and the aesthetics o f Baha’i H oly Places, m ost notably the shrine and burial site o f its founder Baha’u ’llayh at Bahji. H e emphasizes the experience’s subjective religious character, and he show s why pilgrimage to the H oly Land is one o f the m ost holy Baha’i observances.

List of Contributors Benjam in Braude

Department o f H istory Boston College Chestnut H ill, M A 02167

A mi kam Elad

Institute o f Asian and African Studies The Hebrew University o f Jerusalem Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905

D orothea R. French

Department o f H istory Santa Clara Univ. Santa Clara C A 95053

Yehoshua Frenkel

Department o f Eretz Studies University o f H aifa Haifa, Israel 31999

R oger Friedland

Department o f Sociology University o f California Santa Barbara, CA 93106

C athy Gutierrez

Department o f Religion Syracuse University Syracuse, N Y 13210

R ichard Hecht

Department o f Religious Studies University o f California Santa Barbara, C A 93106



D igitized by


O riginal from




Thomas Idinopulos

Department o f Religion Miami University O xford, O H 45056

Barbara Kreiger

Department o f English Dartmouth College Hanover, N H 03755-3533

Bryan F. Le Beau

Center for the Study o f Religion and Society Creighton University Omaha, N E 68178

Menachem M or

Department o f Jewish H istory University o f Haifa Haifa, Israel 31999

Francis E. Peters

N ear East Center New Y ork University 50 Washington Sq. Park South New Y ork, N Y 10003

E dvard L. Queen, II

Center on Philanthropy Indiana University 550 West N orth St, Suite 301 Indianapolis, IN 46202-3162

Thomas Renna

Department o f H istory Saginaw Valley State University University Center, MI 48710

Andrew Skinner

Department o f Ancient Scripture Brigham Young University Joseph Smith Bldg. Provo, U T 84602

Kristine T . Utterback

Department o f H istory University o f W yoming Laramie, WY 82071


Gandihim ohan Viswanathan

Department o f Physics Boston University 590 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02215

L ester I. Vogel

Library o f Congress Washington, D C 20540


Holy and Haram: The Limits of Sacred Real Estate Francis E. Peters

It is a rather strange juxtaposition o f terms, the very secular notion o f a city, an agglomerate o f people in a circumscribed area, which is then characterized as holy—the city, not the people; the reputation o f people w ho live in holy cities has never been particularly savory. So we have a holy city, and "holy” is a term that lies at the heart o f our notion of religion. But I think I shall decline to define “holy.” Rather, like Thom as à Kem pis, who said he would rather feel compunction than be able to define it, I shall attempt to feel it. Perhaps I shall not really define holy city either—not in the classical sense o f rendering an account o f both its genus and specific difference—but, as in the classic definitions o f both obscenity and art, I do think I know it when I see it. In an earlier w ork on Jerusalem and Mecca I proposed a functional definition: a holy city is one whose municipal functions have been enlarged, like the muscles o f an athlete, to a remarkable extent; thus, where a city’s economy, or architecture or urban layout has been notably influenced by the presence o f a shrine or shrines within it.1 1 still regard that as an adequate descriptive definition, but I here offer another distinguishing note o f a holy city: a holy city is one that has undergone a degree o f haram izatiort. M ost religious associations take some pains to draw a line o f demarcation between the sacred and the profane, whether it be a question o f persons—as in the case o f the Jewish and Christian priesthoods—or, what more closely concerns us here, with regard to places. The very word ‘‘profane” sets the issue: persons who are themselves unclean or unholy must remain pro fano, outside the shrine, 1





the holy place. In the Greek and Roman usage the "profane”—the uninitiated or impure—were verbally dismissed from the sacred environment, much as in the later Roman mass the catechumens were dismissed from the premises before the beginning o f the m ost sacred part o f the ritual. But the Greeks and Romans, as well as the Christians, did not rely upon words alone to keep the profane at a safe distance: the sacred area was marked, if not sealed off, from the profane area surrounding it. This taboo area was helpfully described as temenos, something cut off, and reflects the process that corresponds in the Semitic languages to the state described by the root h-r-m, the taboo or the forbidden. Before we turn to Jerusalem, it might be useful to regard how the term haram is used with respect to another holy place, Mecca. A t the heart o f the city was the m asjid al-haram, the sacred—or taboo—shrine, a phrase used to describe the open area surrounding the Ka'ba; in short, its temenos. Encompassing this was a larger area also described as haram> the city territory o f Mecca, which enjoyed some o f the privileges associated with taboo territory, the prohibition against violence, for example. Eventually these city boundaries—they were signaled in pre-Islamic days by stone markers (ansâh) which, like the Greeks' Hermes, had a religious as well as a defining function—were expanded to embrace another even more juridical concept, that o f the points (rnawâqif) at which the pilgrim intending to make the hajj had to assume the taboo state o f ihram. These latter boundaries are considerably larger than the original haram territory o f Mecca city and reflect other considerations, either the Prophet’s own custom, as Muslim tradition insists, or else the incorporation o f older suburban pre-Islamic shrine centers into Meccan territory under Islam. Finally, there have been attempts, perhaps dating back to the Caliphate of Um ar a decade after Muhammad’s death, to render the whole o f the Arabian peninsula haram by declaring it off lim its not only to pagans—as Muhammad had already done with the H ajj—but even to Jew s and Christians, the "Peoples o f the Book” who were normally exempted from strictures against pagans. It is the first two haramizations that concern us with regard to Jerusalem. Jerusalem certainly had its own temple temenos. We are all aware o f the prohibited zones that surrounded the temple there, at least under H erod, from the Court o f the Gentiles to the most taboo H oly o f H olies, each zone defined by an unmistakable barrier and even, in the case o f the Gentile zone, by a sign advising the curious goyyim o f the serious consequences o f trespass. The innermost zone, the H oly o f



H olies in the temple building proper, was the m ost taboo o f all, where entry was limited to the High Priest, and that on only one occasion during the year. But as the Mishna tells us,2 the H oly o f H olies o f the Jerusalem temple is itself merely the innermost in a cascading series o f circles o f holiness extending from the temple to the city o f Jerusalem and thence to the entirety o f Eretz Israel. And it is explicitly stated that “within the wall [of Jerusalem] is more holy than they,” that is, than the other walled cities o f Israel.2 The only reason offered by the Mishna for Jerusalem 's special status is that “they eat there the lesser holy things and the second tithe,” actions which were not performed elsewhere. This is to describe but not to explain, but it seems dear that even on this type o f evidence, tw o things may be said o f the holiness o f Jerusalem: first, that its holiness is due to the presence o f the temple, just as the holiness o f the Israelite encampment was due to the Tent o f the Presence in its midst; and second, that this temple-derived holiness was prescriptive rather than defensive, in the manner o f an ancient Arabian haram or hawta. Jerusalem was not o f limited access as the inner courts o f the temple were, or as the environs o f Mecca and Medina are to this day. But, curiously, not the Ka'ba, the primitive building standing in the midst o f the Meccan Haram. Praying inside the Kacba is no different from praying outside it, and if access has been somewhat limited at times, it is chiefly a matter o f privilege—and payment—rather than taboo.4 By contrast, nothing particular was forbidden to the inhabitant o f Jerusalem as such, nor is anyone banned from the city as such, as non-Muslims are from Mecca or Medina. But a number o f things had to be done—could only be done—within its juridically defined lim its. T he Mishna mentions tw o, but we may make our own additions. In tem ple times the high holy days, the Bible’s own prescribed hag, could be celebrated only in Jerusalem .5Jesus might lodge for the Passover in nearby Bethany, but to celebrate the feast, it was necessary for his follow ers to go into the city and find a room within Jerusalem (Mk. 14:3, 13). For this principle to operate Jerusalem had obviously to be defined, perhaps sim ply by its walls,6 just as Eretz Israel was juridically defined for purposes o f the full observance o f the law / But if we can identify the holy, whether in places or even in persons, by its separation from the profane, there are other, more m odern signs o f the presence of holiness. It is not the old numinous holiness, the type that Jacob experienced at Bethel,8 or caused M oses’ face to glow in the dark when he left the Tent o f the Presence,9 or struck dead the poor soul who touched the A rk o f the Covenant by



accident.10 We have as well the ju ridical holy place, a phenomenon well established in Jerusalem in two form s, or rather, since it is Jerusalem , in the form o f two problem s, waqfs and landmarks. A juridical holy place is one that has been designated as a holy site, or perhaps better, as a religious landmark, by a juridically constituted body, like the League o f N ations or U N ESC O . In this instance we look not for some form o f architectural enshrinement, as we might do in the case o f a traditional holy place, but for the telltale decal: this is the property o f the H oly See; o f the Armenian Church; or under the jurisdiction o f M inistry o f Awqaf, or o f Israel M inistry o f Religious Affairs. This is not exactly a new state o f affairs: if the anachronism be permitted, the temple, for all its inherent holiness, was under the jurisdiction o f the High Priesthood and not o f some minister in the cabinets o f Nehemiah or Herod. A further stage along the path to juridical holy places was reached in the rather innocuous year o f 1063 when the Byzantine emperor Constantine X agreed to underwrite the cost o f rebuilding part o f the walls o f Jerusalem, but on the condition that only Christians should henceforth be permitted to live in that quarter—in effect the northwest quadrant o f Jerusalem—and that their affairs should be under the jurisdiction o f the Patriarch.11 it was quite a dangerous precedent. It meant that all the Christian holy places there were granted a kind o f extra-territorial status,12 and quite different from that accorded by Muslim law which granted the Peoples o f the Book freedom to own churches and synagogues and worship in them, but not much besides. Another im portant stage in the development o f the juridical holy place is the Muslim institution o f waqft a pious endowment that transfers the ownership o f a property to G od and its income to the construction and maintenance o f some pious facility, like a law school (jmadrasa) or Sufi convent (khanaqa). Both these latter institutions proliferated in Jerusalem in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when the western and norther sides o f the Haram, and the streets leading into them, were lined with these elegant buildings and filled with lawyers and Sufis. The properties supporting such, which might by anywhere in the Islamic w orld,13 were sacralized and so inalienable, but so too were Jerusalem 's new m adrasas and khanaqas which became holy places not because o f either their site or their function, but because they were rendered sanctified—and inalienable—by an act o f the donor’s w ill. The Muslim governments could not lay a hand on them; the Israeli government today cannot lay a hand on them.14



What juridical holiness grants is not haramization but the more secular notion o f protection. The Islamic law has built into it the notion o f protected religious minorities, protected, that is, against their own sovereigns, which the Ottomans and their Muslim predecessors generally observed. But a holy place is not a protected m inority; if it som eone else’s, it is a likely source o f income, or nuisance, or both. T he Ottom an attitude toward the holy places o f others—the M uslim holy places were hardly an issue for a Muslim regime—was to keep the Jew s as tightly confined as possible in their m ost mischievous holy place, the small cleared area by the western face o f H erod's temple platform , surrounded by Muslims and Muslim holy places;15 and as for the Christians, the Ottomans attempted to extort from them as much gold as they could by selling m ost favored millet status to the highest bidder among the warring Christian sects who often resorted to fisticuffs and worse within the H oly Sepulcher. The fisticuffs pretty m uch came to an end in 1852 with an Ottom an decree describing in rather minute detail everyone's proper place in the church and a warning to stay in it.16 The decree was thereafter called, not inaccurately, the status quo. Jerusalem was, for more than 1300 hundred years, under M uslim sovereignty. T o put it bluntly, the Muslims were in a position to do whatever they chose with the city. A s I have said, M uslim law protected those communities, the Jew s and the Christians, from their ow n M uslim rulers with whom they had a shared sacred history. But there was no protection for holy places, and it was precisely that shared past that drew the Muslims to certain o f the holy places o f the “Peoples o f the Book." They had no interest in the Church o f the H oly Sepulcher or Resurrection since they did not believe Jesus had died on the cross, much less that he had risen. N o r did Bethlehem much concern them, again by reason o f their Christology. But the Abrahamic and Davidic resonances o f the temple were theirs too, and the graves o f the patriarchs at Hebron the subject o f their veneration. They sim ply to o k these places over, as eventually they did David’s supposed tom b o n M ount Sion. And there were, o f course, few Jew s about to contest them . That was a long time ago. Since the Ottoman surrender in 1918 Jerusalem and its holy places have been under British, Jordimian, and Israeli sovereignty, and the protection o f the holy places is now more secular than religious, more secure than it was in the past because o f an international consensus about freedom o f worship and access, and more insecure than ever because two o f the rivals for those places are now



capable o f doing grievous and immediate harm to each other. By now access to the holy places appears no longer to be an issue in Jerusalem . What does remain an issue, however, is who owns them, particularly shared or contested holy places—not now inside the Church o f the H oly Sepulcher, where the Christians still stand frozen in their 1852 posture o f status quo—but sites like the graves o f the patriarchs at Hebron, or, dare one even contemplate it, the top o f the temple mount, the Haram al-Sharif, the place o f the first and second temple and currently the site o f the Dome o f the Rock and the Aqsa mosque. By a rapid and almost unilateral act, Moshe Dayan, then Israel Minister o f Defense, handed the Haram over to the M uslim authorities—whoever they might be—on June 17, 1967. The Israel government and the Israeli people eventually affirmed his decision, and history has so far shown that it was a wise one. The chief rabbinate o f Israel has, for its own halakhic reasons, made the area taboo for Jew s, just as the M uslims once made it haram for Jew s and Christians. But we have assuredly not heard the last o f the Haram al-Sharif, the m ost precious piece o f Jerusalem real estate for Jew s and M uslims, nor the other holy places o f that triply holy city.

NOTES 1. F.E. Peters, Jerusalem and Mecca. The Typology of the Holy City in the Near East (New York: New York University Press, 1987), 3, 60. 2. Kelim 1:6-9. 3. Ibid. 1: 8. 4. See G.R. Hawting, "'We were not ordered with entering it but only with circumambulating it.' Hadith and fiqh on entering the Kacba,” Bulletin o f the School o f Oriental and African Studies 47 (1984): 228-242; and on the later opening of the Kacba to the public, F.E. Peters, The Hajj (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 238-240. 5. Deut. 16:16. 6. m. Pesahim 7:9, 12 suggest that it was the walls of Jerusalem that constituted the legal boundary. The walls of the city underwent, however, a number of major modifications between the Hasmoneans and the destruction of the temple. 7. So, in addition to the other tannaitic evidence (S. Klein, “Das tannaitische Grenzverzichnis Palästinas," Hebrew Union College Annual 5 (1928): 174-259): 11.13-18 of the Hebrew inscription in the synagogue at Rehob; see J. Sussman in Lee I. Levine, ed., Ancient Synagogues Revealed (Jerusalem: The Israel Exploration Society, 1981), 149,152-153. On the full observance of



the Law only in Eretz Israel, see W.D. Davies, The Territorial Dimension o f Judaism, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 39. Davies points out (ibid., 36) that fully one-third of the Mishna is devoted to legislation regarding Eretz Israel. Jerome (ca. 340-420 CE), who lived in Palestine may have had his fill of rabbinic boasting about the Holy Land, their Holy Land, has some sarcastic remarks (fetter 129:4) about the geographical reality. 8. Genesis 28: 10-18. 9. Exodus 34: 29-35. 10. 2 Sam. 6: 6-8. 11. William of Tyre, A History o f Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, trans. E.A. Babcock and A.C. Krey, 2 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942), 1:405-406. 12. That arrangement, at least with respect to the holy places like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, did not survive the Crusades since we know that Christian pilgrims during the Mamluk and Ottoman era had to pay to get entry to them; Peters, Jerusalem, 437-440. 13. But in one notable instance was in Jerusalem itself, the dwellings of the so-called "Moroccan quarter” running up to the southwest corner of Herod’s platform; Peters, Jerusalem, 357-359, 394-396. 14. These waqf properties along the western and northern edges of the Haram, most of them decrepit—the endowments have long since collapsed—and none fulfilling the purpose of their foundation, have been and are administered by a special Ministry of Awqaf in Amman. 15. The area was bulldozed clear of the debris and Muslim dwellings almost immediately after the taking of Jerusalem; Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem. The Tom City 0erusalem: Isratypset, 1976), 306-307. 16. Text in Walter Zander, Israel and the Holy Places o f Christendom (London: Wiedenfeld and Nicolson, 1971), 178-180.

Sacred Space and Profane Power: Victor Turner and the Perspective of Holy Land Pilgrimage Thomas A. Idinopulos

In the monotheistic cultures o f Judaism , Christianity, and Islam, the H o ly Land and Jerusalem are “sacred space.” N o places in the H oly Land are m ore sacred than the Abrahamic Rock o f Sacrifice and the traditional site o f Jesus' tom b. Over these sites were constructed Solom on's Temple, the Dome o f the Rock shrine, and the Church o f the H oly Sepulchre. Pilgrimage to and worship in and around the shrines provide insight into the meaning o f “sacred space.” The specific focus o f my own critical reflection is the concept o f “sacred space” in the writings o f Victor Turner.1 The goal o f m y paper is to reverse the customary way o f thinking about “sacred space” as a purely religious event: the enactment o f a religious impulse to reunite w ith sacred space or the “spiritual center” (Turner's expression), and in so doing to separate oneself from the ordinary, mundane, or profane w orld. In response to this view I will argue that pilgrimage to the sacred space o f the H oly Land and Jerusalem provides little evidence of a neat set o f dichotomies called “sacred” and “secular.” For in H oly Lan d pilgrimage, ancient and modern, the pilgrim not only drew close to the “spiritual center,” the pilgrim was also confirmed in political, ethno-national, and cultural identity.2 The implication o f this evidence is im portant in our thinking about “sacred space.” It means that either th e dichotomies o f “sacred” and “profane” are too narrowly conceived o r that some other concept must be found to clarify the mixture o f ideal and material, religious and political- cultural motives that entered in to pilgrimage to the “sacred space” o f the H oly Land.




If we examine carefully the actual patterns o f travel to pilgrimage sites on the part o f Jew s, Christians, and Muslims through the 3,000 years o f H oly Land history, we will find such a mixture o f piety and power, o f the spiritual and the political, the religious and the secular that the dichotomies sim ply break down and we find ourselves at a loss to identify the purely religious phenomenon or category o f pilgrimage. For in the H oly Land, ancient and modern, there was no pilgrimage without political, national, imperial, and even revolutionary significance.3 Before presenting my arguments, let me summarize Victor Turner's view on pilgrimage contained in his valuable and interesting essay, “The Center O ut There: Pilgrim ’s G oal."4 Turner makes several general points about pilgrimage which certainly apply to H oly Land pilgrimage. Pilgrimages are "lim inal” phenomena; they are the edge o f religious life, not "mainline” religious practice, representing a break in the continuity o f the day-to-day ritual life o f the community. Pilgrimages exhibit in their social relations the quality o f communitas, which is a warm feeling o f solidarity and brotherhood evidenced by one pilgrim for another. Turner illustrates communitas by citing the words o f the American Black Muslim leader, the late Malcolm X , who had gone on pilgrimage to Mecca: You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen and experienced has forced me to re-arrange much o f my thought-patterns previously held and to toss some o f m y previous conclusions.. . . During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)—while praying to the same G od—with fellow M uslims, whose eyes were the bluest o f blue, whose hair was the blondest o f blond, and whose skin was the whitest o f white. And in the worlds and in the actions and in the deeds o f the “white” Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I had felt among the black African Muslims o f Nigeria, Sudan, and Ghana. We were truly all the same (brothers)—because their belief in one G od had removed the “white” from their minds, the "white” from their behavior, and the "white” from their attitude. I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness o f God, then, perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness o f man—and cease



to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms o f their “differences” in color.5 While the pilgrimages o f individuals o f small groups are an annual phenomena, mass pilgrimages occur in periods o f “destruction and rapid social change,” as in the last period o f the Roman Em pire, and in the waning o f the Middle Ages.6 Pilgrimage may be voluntary or obligatory as in classical Judaism and Islam. The aim o f the pilgrimage is to make contact with the place made sacred by a saint or holy man, or to make contact with the historical or sym bolic center o f the faith. Further, the motive o f the pilgrimage m ay often be penitential, as in Christianity, to atone for sin. The harder the journey the surer G od’s forgiveness o f sins. A s Bede Jarett writes, "The hardships o f the journey, the penitential garb worn, the mendacity (the beggardom) it entailed, made a pilgrimage a real and efficient penance.” The expectation o f every pilgrim o f whatever religion is to receive the special blessing which is believed to attach to pilgrimage. There is also the expectation o f healing. M iraculous cures are expected at Lourdes and Guadaloupe or one makes a pilgrimage in order to pray for the recovery o f a loved one sick in bed back home. A nd there is the all-im portant matter o f the curing o f the sick soul. M ost Greek laymen who travel to M ont Athos go there to find peace-of-m ind from a troubled life, or the courage to face life or make an im portant decision or find some sort o f answer to a personal problem . In this regard I recall the confession o f a well-educated and sophisticated French Jewish woman who had traveled from Paris to Jerusalem deliberately to place a note to G od in the cracks o f the Western Wall. The note beseeched the Almighty for help in allowing her daughter to pass the French University matriculation exams. I asked this woman if in coming to Jerusalem and to the sacred wall o f Judaism she saw herself as a pilgrim . She thought for a moment and replied, “Yes, I am a pilgrim in the best Roman Catholic tradition.” Turner also stresses that a pilgrimage shows characteristics o f a rite-of-passage, an initiatory ritual process.7 There the peripherality o f pilgrim age shrines and the temporal structure o f the pilgrimage process: beginning in a Fam iliar Place, going to a Far Place, and returning ideally “changed” to a Fam iliar Place. Pilgrimage is a rite-of-passagej a movement in religious maturation, fulfillment, realization, m pilgrim age one stands better with the divine, and certainly after pilgrimage one sits better with one’s neighbors. Proudly the M uslim



paints the Ka’ba shrine on the facade o f his house. In short, pilgrimage bestows social prestige. Commercial aspects o f pilgrimages are very important to pilgrim s, to the sponsors o f pilgrimages and to the vendors whose livelihood often depends on pilgrims. In Jerusalem, for example, the economy o f the O ld C ity Arab market is sustained by pilgrim s. This inevitable commercial aspect o f pilgrimage is often scorned by religious leaders, who cannot help but feel that the commercial cheapens the spiritual values o f ritual. It is not surprising that Saint Paul’s spiritualized gospel provided the basis for the condemnation o f pilgrimages that we find in Gregory o f N yssa, Saint Jerom e, Saint Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. Theologians and other intellectuals o f the church do not go on pilgrimage, for pilgrimage is a kind o f pietisdc adventure preferred by the champions o f simple, direct or literal faith. N ot surprisingly pilgrimage is also associated with a goodly amount o f superstition and other crude expressions o f piety. If not the bodies o f Saints, then relics o f the Saints, a bone, a tooth, a hank o f hair create a holy place, a shrine, and then a pilgrimage center. The site o f Jesus' Crucifixion was alive in the minds o f pilgrim s who could travel to Jerusalem and actually see, kiss, even swallow a piece o f the True Cross. One day the True C ross disappeared, eaten away by the faithful, a cross which appeared miraculously in a thousand splinters o f w ood in the great churches o f Europe. The last point Turner makes is crucial for the understanding o f the religious structure o f the phenomenon o f pilgrimage. Pilgrimage, albeit earthbound and time bound, is in essence a transcendence o f both space and time. O r to put the point in my words—the pilgrim experiences on his journey a transfiguration o f space and tim e.' A s he moves to the sacred place, he progressively loses the sense o f world and time and begins to acquire actualities o f the "other w orld.” For this reason that pilgrimage site is most powerful which is m ost removed from the center o f things. Mount Athos is the model where the sheer silence o f the peninsula is awesome, frightening, and transfiguring.9 What kind o f transfigured time? Turner responds: the pilgrim kinetically reenacts the temporal sequences made sacred and permanent by the succession o f events in the lives o f incarnate gods, saints, gurus, prophets, and m artyrs.10 In other words a rebirth takes place. Turner speaks o f Anamnesis, the Recollection o f previous existence, or being part o f an eternal whole to



w hich the pilgrim feds rejoined while on the sacred journey. T o summarize Turner’s points: 1. Pilgrimages are “lim inal," on the edge o f religious life. 2. Pilgrim s exhibit communitas towards each other or a warm feeling o f brotherhood. 3. Pilgrimages occur in periods o f destruction and rapid social change. 4. Pilgrimages are voluntary and obligatory acts o f reuniting w ith the sym bolic center o f one’s faith, in which one seeks a special blessing, forgiveness o f sins, solving personal problem s, o r in the m ajority o f cases a quickening o f one’s personal faith. 5. Pilgrimages are rites-of-passage in which the pilgrim passes from familiar place to foreign place and bade to familiar place, w ith the feeling that his life has been changed. 6. Pilgrimages have their commercial aspects, a mixture o f the pious and the commercial as in the acquisition o f venerable relics. 7. Pilgrim s experience a transcendence o f space and time in their journey o f the sacred center o f their faith. The critical task is at hand. We can begin by saying that Turner’s descriptive account o f pilgrimages is accurate but far from complete. Som ething o f importance is missing. The reason perhaps is that P rofessor Turner tended to slide over or dismiss out o f hand the one element which has always made H oly Land pilgrimage unpredictable, dram atic, dangerous, and often destructive. I am speaking o f the element o f power. Turner is certainly aware o f this element. H e seems to deplore the expression o f power as a corruption o f pilgrim com m unitas or brotherhood. For he writes: Communitas itself in time becomes structure bound and comes to be regarded as a sym bol or remote possibility rather than as the concrete realization o f universal relatedness. Thus pilgrimages have generated the kind o f fanaticism which, in the M iddle ages, led to their Christian reformation as Crusades and confirmed the Muslim belief in the spiritual necessity o f a Jih ad o r holy war, fought for the custody o f the pilgrimage shrines o f the H oly Land. When communitas becomes force rather than “grace," it becomes totalism , the subordination o f the part o f the whole instead o f the free creation o f the whole by the



mutual recognition o f its parts. Yet when communitas operates within relatively wide structural lim its it becomes, for the groups and individuals within structured systems, a means of binding diversities together and overcoming cleavages.11 When I sift through the number o f abstract expressions used in this statement, I tend to see the slipping in o f a normative judgment on the part o f our author—those pilgrimages above are spiritually creative, filled with grace and not force, not Crusades nor jihad, when they extend beyond the cultural or racial or national identities o f the pilgrim s. In other words, pilgrimages are best when they are multinational, transcultural, as in the annual H ajj to Mecca. When that happens, communitas becomes a “means o f binding diversities together and overcoming cleavages.” It would be well and good if the sort o f communitas that Turner would like to see in pilgrimage really did take place. But m y study o f the H oly Land pilgrimage suggests that it rarely if ever took place.12 I am not doubting that the pilgrims felt communitas or brotherhood for each other, but that is not all they felt. When Christian met Jew met Muslim the experience o f force mixed with that o f grace, and pilgrimage, however spiritual, also became a vehicle for the extension o f perpetuation o f national or imperial power and violence. Turner also asserts that pilgrimages occur in “periods o f destruction or rapid social change” as in the last decades o f the declining Roman Em pire or in the waning Middle Ages. There may be some truth to this. We know that pilgrim bands formed in times o f widespread anxiety about the security o f one’s society and the authority o f one’s rulers. But there is more evidence to support just the opposite thesis about H oly Land pilgrimages: that pilgrimages proliferated and increased in mass at times o f wealth, confidence, and power. We can give many examples. The height o f Christian pilgrimage occurred at times o f heightened royal and ecclesiastical power. The identification o f holy places, the building o f churches and monasteries, and the proliferation o f Christian pilgrim s to the H oly Land occurred in the two-hundred-year period, from Constantine to Justinian, that represented the golden years o f Byzantine power. The First Latin Crusade o f 1094, which was in essence a vast m ilitarily organized pilgrimage to liberate Christ’s tom b from the Muslim infidel, was funded and manned by a group o f wealthy and powerful Northern European feudal lords, all heeding the call o f Pope Urban II, one o f the m ost powerful popes in history. The resumption o f m ajor Christian



pilgrim age to the H oly Land in the nineteenth century occurred as a direct result o f European imperial penetration o f the Middle East generally, and Palestine in particular. A t the forefront o f this penetration were Great Britain, France, and Tsarist Russia. Russia organized huge mass pilgrimages to the H oly Land, seeing each pilgrim as an agent o f Russian imperial and ecclesiastical expansion.13 The sam e com bination o f pilgrimage and power can be seen in the tw o great epochs o f Muslim expansion into Palestine or Southern Syria, as it was then called. Under the Umayyad caliph Abd al-M alik, the Dom e o f the Rock was constructed with the express purpose o f outshining Constantine’s Resurrection Church built over Jesus' tom b.14 U pperm ost in Muslim minds was the Dome as a center o f pilgrimage, n ot necessarily to compete with Mecca, but as a regional shrine which strengthened Umayad power and pride in all Syria. The second period o f M uslim expansion and pilgrimage occurred under the Egyptian M amlukes who went to great effort architecturally and artistically to m ake Jerusalem an important pilgrimage center. The decline o f power also demonstrates the internal connection between pilgrim and power. Really it was only under the imperial rule o f the Um ayyads, who saw Jerusalem and Palestine as part o f their regional empire, that Muslim pilgrimage to Jerusalem flourished. After that, what few pilgrim s travelled to Jerusalem came from the environs, rarely from the great capital cities o f the N ear East. The connection between pilgrimage and power so dear in Christian and M uslim history is dramatically obvious in Jewish history. Starting from the present and working back, we can say that the central Jewish pilgrim age site in Israel today is the Western Wall remnant o f Solom on's Temple. The Western Wall is both a holy place and a national sym bol. That the one is inextricable from the other is made vividly dear on those evenings at the wall when the Israd Defense Force conducts a kind o f ritual in which newly made young paratroopers, weapons strapped to shoulders, are inducted into the corps by the reciting o f prayers and the presentation to each o f a copy o f the Hebrew Bible. Once could call this army ceremony an expression o f Israd 's civil religion. One might speak of the secularization o f andent Jewish ritual practice. One might be disposed to accuse the government o f profaning the andent Hebraic covenant faith. But in so speaking one has obscured the point about pilgrimage and power in Jewish history. The fact o f the m atter is that until Jews had politicd power in the twentieth century, they lacked political power and so they lacked the means to fund and



organize mass pilgrimages to the H oly Land. One has only to think o f the well-funded missions organized by Dutch Jewish organizations at the turn o f this century.15 The connection between pilgrimage and power goes far back in Jew ish history, all the way back to King David, whose decision to move the A rk o f the Covenant to Jerusalem not only established a new central pilgrimage shrine for the nation, but also connected Hebrew ritual practice to political state power as never before.16 If Victor Turner bemoans the loss o f communitas in pilgrimages that cannot rise above national or cultural sectarianism, he should blame King David. It was King David who made pilgrimage to Jerusalem a patriotic act to be engaged in by all who obeyed the king and supported the monarchy. It was King David who first saw in pagan temple ritual a means to centralize Hebrew worship and thus to consolidate political control over a contentious set o f Israeli tribes. And what David first saw, Byzantine Em perors and Umayyyad Caliphs themselves also saw. Pilgrim s, pilgrimage sites, and the pilgrimages themselves are means to express, deepen, and extend power. So not surprisingly, the strongest evidence we have o f revolution within ancient Israel during and after the United Monarchy was the fact o f pilgrimages to rival sacred sites like the Shrines at Bethel and Shechem north o f Jerusalem. It matters little whether we call H oly Land pilgrimage a sacralization o f political power or a politicization o f the sacred journey. The important point is that piety and power, religion and politics are com fortably in bed together in Jewish, Christian, and M uslim pilgrimage. H ow could it be otherwise? Priests always accompanied warriors to the land o f Abraham and consecrated the rocks over which war’s blood first spilled. The rocks were made into shrines. The pilgrim s retraced the steps over which warriors and priests first walked to those very shrines, believing with every step that they were actually following the journeys once made by saints and messiahs. If there is no purely religious or purely political way to view pilgrimage sites, we should not be surprised that an appreciation o f both politics and religion are necessary to understand the tragic fate which has befallen the Western W all-Temple M ount pilgrimage sites o f Jerusalem. For the wall in Islamic tradition is al-Buraq, the site o f the tethering o f Muhammad’s horse prior to his Heavenly Ascent, and the Temple M ount is the H aram esb-Sbarif, the “N obel Enclosure,” containing the Dome o f the Rock shrine and the Mosque o f A1 Aksa. That these sites have become symbols o f nationalistic self-expression for both Muslims and Jew s is obvious. They have



become so not merely as proud symbols o f superior power, but also because o f past humiliations. There was the recent tragedy o f 1990: follow ing the stoning o f Jewish worshippers praying at the Wall during the pilgrim age festival o f Succot, at least nineteen Arabs were shot by Israeli police in the H aram . Arab feelings were inflamed by rum ors that a Jew ish group—Faithful o f the Temple Mount—had planned to take over the H aram , and destroy the mosques in order to dear the area for the building o f the Third Temple. This recent conflict has roots which reach all the way through this century and earlier. N o r was conflict limited to Muslim and Jews. In the early part o f this century Muslim leaders organized mass pilgrimages to N ebi Musa, a few kilometers east o f Jerusalem. These pilgrimages were simultaneously religio-nationalistic expressions o f pride in Islamic Palestine and resentful reactions to the large numbers o f Christian pilgrim s appearing in Jerusalem at Eastertime. In condusion we should say that while communitas or the feeling of brotherhood is undoubtedly experienced by pilgrim s in their spiritual journeys, the fact o f communitas should not be so construed (by norm ative, romantic, or idealized presuppositions) as to obscure the equally compelling facts o f power, division, and violence that appear under any dose study o f pilgrimage. NOTES 1. Victor Turner's initial study of pilgrimage was published as “The Center Out There: Pilgrim’s Goal,” History of Religions 12, no. 3 (1973): 191-230. This essay was expanded into a book (co-authored with Edith Turner), Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978). Also of relevance on pilgrimage are Turner's other writings: The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969); Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974): 305-327; “Death and the Dead in the Pilgrimage Process,* Religious Encounters with Death, ed. F.E. Reynolds and E. Waugh (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976), 24-39. 2. The literature on Holy Land pilgrimage is vast. For my own research I have turned repeatedly to medieval pilgrim reports and accounts collected in that indispensable repository, the publications of The Palestine Pilgrims' Test Society, 10 vols. (London: 1894-1899). I have also consulted John Wilkinson's useful books: Jerusalem's Pilgrims Before the Crusades (Jerusalem: Ariel Publishing House, 1977); and Egeria’s Travels in the Holy Land (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981). Also of use is Thomas Wright, ed., Early Travels in Palestine (New York: Ktay Pub., 1968).



3. This becomes vividly clear in reading Joshua Prawer’s magnificent study of the First Crusade, The Latin Kingdom o fJerusalem (London: Widenfield and Nicholson, 1972). The mixture of religious and ethno-national factors is evidenced in Russian mass pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the late nineteenth century. See Derek Hopwood, The Russian Presence in Syria and Palestine, 1843-1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969). 4. See note 1 above. 5. Turner, The Center, 193. Malcolm X ’s words are quoted by Turner from Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Ballentine Books, 1966), 325. 6. Turner, The Center, 196. 7. Turner, The Center, 213. 8. Turner, The Center,, 221. 9. The accounts of the spiritual practices of the monks at Mount Athos are collected in The Philokalia, ed. G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware, 3 vols. (London; Boston: Faber and Faber, 1979,1981, 1984). 10. Turner, The Center, 221. 11. Turner, The Center, 220. 12. Recently a number of academic anthropologists have criticized Turner’s concept of communitas as normative and idealistic, holding it to be a concept which obscures the negative data of factionalism and division which come to light in any thorough empirical study of pilgrimage. For the specific criticisms made of Turner’s methodology see Contesting the Sacred, ed. John Eade and Michael Sallinow (London: Routledge, 1991). I should also mention here the probing criticism of Tinner’s notion of communitas made by the psychological anthropologist, Yoram Bilu. Bilu musters considerable evidence to demonstrate that while the elements of brotherhood and solidarity are much in evidence amongst pilgrims in the annual Jewish pilgrimages to the grave of the revered Holy Man, Rabbi Shim’on Bar Yohai (Rashby) in Meiron, Israel, experiences of jealousy and resentment are also dramatically evident in the dream reports of pilgrims. Further, the annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rashby is made by two groups of Jews, Sephardim or Oriental Jews, deriving from Morocco and Ashkenazi Hassidic Jews, originally from Central Europe. Whatever feelings of communitas are present within each group, the facts adduced by Bilu show marked disdain, if not outright hostility of one group for another. The question that rises from Bilu’s study is this: Is the notion of communitas sufficient and adequate to understand the event of pilgrimage when, according to empirical study, pilgrimage seems to admit of considerable tension and division? Yoram Bilu, “The Inner Limits of Communitas: A Covert Dimension of Pilgrimage Experience,” Ethos 16, no. 3 (1988): 302-325. 13. See Hopwood, The Russian Presence, the important study of late nineteenth century Russian imperial support of pilgrimage.



14. S.D. Goitein, "Jerusalem in the Arab Period, 638-1099," Jerusalem Cathedra 2, ed. Lee L Levine (Detroit, 1982): 342-367; "The Historical Background of the Erection of the Dome of the Rock,” Journal o f the American Oriental Society 70 (1950): 401-442. 15. Itzhak Ben-Zvi, "Eretz Ysrael Under Ottoman Rule,” TheJews: Their History; Culture and Religion, ed. L. Finkelstein (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1960), 602-688. 16. On David's policy of merging politics and religion as a way of reinforcing national unity in the monarchy see John Bright, A History o fIsrael (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1959). For an interesting treatment of the necessary and constructive character of this policy consult the writings of the biblical scholar Shemeryahu Talmon, as well as my book, Jerusalem Blessed, Jerusalem Cursed: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy City From David’s Time to Our Own (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Pub., 1991).

P ilgrim s and Pilgrim age to H eb ro n (al-Khalll) D u rin g the E arly M uslim P eriod (638?-1099)1

Amikam Elad HEBRON IN LATE BYZANTINE TIMES (A SKETCH) It is com m only accepted to identify the location o f biblical H ebron as having been on Jabal Rumeyda, which today rises above the city o f H ebron and to the south o f it. In excavations carried out at different tim es and in separate places on the hill, findings were made from the Rom an, Byzantine and even the early Arab periods. A t a certain stage, the settlement began expanding across the valley at the foot o f the hill. This may perhaps have already happened after the Persian period (third or fourth centuries B.C .E.),2 or during the Herodian period (37 B.C.E.-70 A .D .).3 In the tenth century, the Cave o f Machpelah was described as being inside the settlement o f Hebron,4 and in the eleventh century, actually in its center.5 This was the end o f the transition process and the expansion o f the settlement. The beginning o f this process is not dear and it may be seen that the sources present us with a number o f problems. From Christian pilgrim s’ reports o f the beginning o f the seventh century to the last quarter o f the eighth century, a dear im pression emerged that during this period, the Cave o f Machpelah was to be found some distance from the settled area. Thus Theodosius (not much later than 518 A .D .)6 describes Terebinth, called the “O ak o f Mature” and later on, the “Cave o f Machpelah,” found four miles from Mature. From the Cave o f Machpelah the author goes on to Hebron, two miles from the cave/ The Piacenza Pilgrim 's account [ca.570 (567?)] calls for spedal attention since in his description o f the O ak o f Mamre he indicates that 21



the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs are to be found there. There is a basilica with four porticoes at this location. N o roof covers the main yard over the central enclosure. A screen runs through the middle o f the enclosure. The Christians and Jews come separately to the other side o f the screen and feast at the site.' The church described by the Piacenza Pilgrim was built late in the fourth century.9 O f the early pilgrim s’ descriptions» Adomnan’s (679-688), as narrated by Arculf, is the m ost detailed. It was written at the beginning o f the Um ayyad period during the reigns o f Mu‘äwiya b. Abi Sufyän and ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwän. Hebron, which was also called “Mature,” was depicted without walls, and desolate buildings could be seen in the town. A number o f run-down cottages and farms on the plain can also be seal, some o f them within and several on the outside o f the remains o f the destroyed walls. Many people dwell in the farms and cottages. A t a distance o f one stade from the destroyed wall o f ancient H ebron and to its east, is the field o f the Cave o f Machpelah, opposite Mamre in the valley. The Tom bs o f the Patriarchs surrounded by a low wall are located there. Adam, the first man, is buried at the edge o f the rectangle and to the north o f the Tom bs o f the three Patriarchs. The bodies are laid out so that their legs point south, and their heads north; something which, according to Arculf, is unacceptable in the rest o f the w orld, where the legs o f the dead are turned towards the east. Over the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs and the Tom b o f Adam stand small buildings in the form o f basilican churches which were constructed from stone. The three Tom bs o f the Patriarchs are grouped together. Adams* Tom b also has a superstructure, but it is built in a less ornate manner and from a darker-colored stone. The tom bs o f the wives o f the Patriarchs are smaller and not as splendid as their husbands’. A mile to the east o f the tom bs is the H ill o f Mamre. T o its northern side stands a large stone church and between the two walls o f the church is the O ak o f M amre.10 The village settlement, which is half-destroyed, is described by A rculf as being located to the west o f the Cave o f Machpelah, and it is believed that it is separate from the village. It is worth noting that the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs are to be found within the boundaries o f a low rectangular wall, and that they “are grouped together.” In fact, the sanctuary walls o f Hebron, usually considered to be from the Herodian period, are very high. It is impossible to regard them as low. The description o f the direction in which the heads and legs o f the Patriarchs are turned is in the opposite direction to that customary to Muslim practice. I shall deal with this later on.



A mix-up occurred between Mamre and Hebron in the Piacenza traveler's description, in which he apparently seems to be depicting H ebron. Nevertheless, it may here be remarked that Muslim traditions attributed to the eighth century indicate a com petition between these tw o holy sites.

MAMRE (AL-RÀMA) The O ak o f Mamre, which is located at a distance o f about 3.5 km. north o f Hebron is considered holy—sanctified as the place o f Abraham ’s settlement where he built an altar. H e went out to war with Kedorla'om er from there.11 During Roman times the site had a fam ous market, called “Botna* (in Aramaic) or “Terebinthus” (in Greek), where Hadrian sold prisoners from the War o f Bar Kochba as slaves. There was also a fortress there.12 A church was built in Mamre in the twenties and thirties o f the fourth century; it was one o f the first four churches constructed in Palestine, with the financial backing and encouragement o f the Em peror Constantine.13 These churches were built largely due to the intecession o f the Em peror's mother, Helena, who came on pilgrimage to the H oly Land in 326. The churches were put up as remarkable m em orials, and their plans also indicate this scheme, excluding the church o f Mamre, whose reconstruction is not dear, making it difficult to discuss its plan.14 There are remains at the site today o f walls built from very large stones which in M ader's opinion date to the Herodian period.15 The market at Mamre continued to function during the Byzantine era. The magnificent basilica which was built in the fourth century was built at the site o f the pagan temple, undoubtedly within the fram ework o f the struggle against paganism. It is described by Christian pilgrim s and appears in the Madaba m ap.16

HEBRON • MAMRE D uring the Roman-Byzantine period, the town o f Hebron was in no sm all way influenced by the establishment o f the religious-commercial center near Mamre. The setting up o f such a large market and religious center led to so much competition, that as far as can be deduced, they lim ited H ebron's urban development, and therefore caused it to become



a small, wretched town lacking any official status during the Byzantine period.17 The contest between Mamre and Hebron did not stop during the early Muslim period. The result o f the competition may be found in early traditions which relate how King Solom on, after completing the building o f the Temple, ordered the construction o f a building {bina) or sacred enclosure (hayr) on the Tom b o f Abraham, the Friend o f G od (al-Khalil), so that the people would know the place (li-yu'raf). A t the beginning, Solom on constructs the building in a place called “al-Räma,” however, later on G od stops him because o f his error and by means of a light shows him the valley called “H abra”: there was to be found the real tom b, and there Solom on constructs the building.1' The contest ended in a victory for the H ebron center. Mamre (al-Räma, subsequently known as “R im ât al-Khalil”), remained but one o f the stations along the way for the Muslim pilgrim on the road to Hebron.

THE EARLY MUSLIM PERIOD For the first 350 years after the Islamic Conquests, the name o f the village o f H ebron was “H abrä” or “H ibrä.” The early traditions o f the end o f the 1/7 century (Le., the first century o f the Muslim calender/ the seventh century A.D .) and the beginning o f the 2/8 century, which deal with the iq tä' o f Tamim al-Däri, support this.19 The village was also called “H abrä,” in the “Traditions o f Praise,” although it was sometimes in addition also referred to as “H abrün.”20 The Muslim geographers o f the ninth century called the place the “M osque o f Abraham” (Masjid Ibrâhîm). It can be assumed from this name, (not H abrä), that in the middle o f the ninth century there was still a separation between the village o f H abrä and the site o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs, on which the Muslims erected a mosque. This name continued to be in currency in the middle o f the tenth century.21 The two names were both used in the second half o f the tenth century by al-Muqaddasi (b. 946), a native o f Jerusalem, and we shall see that the village o f H abrä and the Mosque o f Abraham can be identified as one place.22 A t the end o f the eleventh century, Ibn al-'Arabf was calling it (Le., Hebron), the “village o f H abrün” (Qaryat Habrün).25 The name “Ibrahim al-Khalil,” that is, Abraham the Friend (of



G od), was well known throughout the entire early Muslim period, and it appears in all the early, as well as in the later traditions. However, only in the thirteenth century does “al-Khalil” emerge as the actual name o f the city.24 H ebron was a small town o f little importance towards the end o f the Byzantine period.25 A rcu lf s description o f Hebron at the end o f the seventh century as a half-destroyed village confirms this.26 The settlement is not mentioned in the literature o f the Islamic conquests.27 It is also not referred to in the historical literature o f the Um ayyad period and the beginning o f ‘Abbasid rule (1/7-3/9 centuries). The Arab conquest o f Hebron is noted in a testimony o f later Christian origin, in the treatise, “O n the Discovery o f the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” which describes the finding o f the Tom bs of the Patriarchs in 1119. However, there is a section in the introduction, its subject being the Islamic conquest o f Hebron. On their arrival, the Muslims were surprised at the sight o f the strong and fine construction o f the walls, and found no entrance they could take through it. Jew s who lived in its vicinity during the Byzantine period came and pledged to find the place for the Muslims and break through an opening, which indeed they did (in exchange for a prom ise from them that they permit them to found a synagogue near the cave).2* A rcu lf s description o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs being located at a distance from the village o f Hebron is strengthened by some o f the M uslim traditions, discussing the iq tä' (the endowment o f an estate) which the Prophet Muhammad gave to Tamim al-Däri. According to the M uslim tradition, Tamim al-Däri (who was from the tribe o f Lakhm), resided in Palestine and went to see the Prophet in Mecca, and afterwards continued on to al-Madina where he became Islamized, and asked that he be given estates in Palestine when it was conquered. The Prophet granted Tam im ’s request. The fact that the Prophet granted estates which he did not have at all and that it was only after years that the conquest o f Palestine took place, did not trouble Islamic scholars o f the Middle Ages. But, Western scholars were disturbed by this, and they treat the story as an invention o f a later period than the Prophet.29 It is im possible in this context to enter into a lengthy and exhaustive debate, which is so necessary, on Tam im al-Däri. Despite this, it may be determined that the traditions dealing with the iq tä' o f Tamim al-Däri are very early ones. They were in circulation in the first half o f the eighth century, and reflect a prevailing condition o f this period, if not an earlier one. Part o f the traditions mention two places which were granted to



Tamim: H abrä (or Bayt Habrä) and Bayt ‘Aynün (sometimes called ‘Ayn).30 However, another set o f traditions, no more recent than the first ones, number more than two places that were given to Tamim al-Dârï. In one tradition, H abrä, Bayt 'Aynün and M asjid Ibrahim are mentioned.31 The transmitter, Muhammad b. al-Sä’ib al-Kalbi (d. 146/763), describes how the Umayyad Caliph, Sulaymän b. 'A bd al-Malik, “each time he passed by Tam im 's estate, did not go up to it (or: did not deviate from his path in order to enter it), saying, T fear lest I be hurt by the Prophet's curse.’* 32 Even if we accept the hypothesis that the story o f the iqtd' is anachronistic, it is dear from the tradition debated here that Sulaymän b. 'A bd al-Malik already knew o f it when he ruled as Caliph (715-717), possibly even before then, when he was the governor o f the D istrict (jund) o f Palestine (Filastin) on behalf o f his father, 'A bd al-Malik (reigned 685-705),33 as well as for his brother, al-Walîd b. A bd al-Malik (reigned 705-715).34 A second im portant point arises from the tradition, that at the beginning o f the eighth century, H abrä and M asjid Ibrâhîm were detached from each other, the latter being the place where, as far as can be understood, the Tom bs of the Patriarchs were located. In another set o f traditions, whose transmitters were members o f Tamim al-Däri’s family, mention is made o f four sites which were granted to Tamim: Bayt 'Aynün (or 'Aynün), Habrün, al-Martûm, and Bayt Ibrahim.35 Tw o more traditions lend strength to dating the separation o f Hebron from the site o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs to the eighth century. One o f them, also transmitted by members o f Tam im al-Däri’s family, states that the family members ask for "the villages in which we produce our mats, together with the remains [of the old monuments] o f Abraham, peace be upon him * (al-qurä allati nasna'u fthä husuranä m a'a mà fih ä min äthär Ibrahim ‘alayhi al-saläm .) According to this tradition, the Prophet granted them Bayt ‘Aynün, Habrün, al-Martüm and Bayt Ibrahim (which at this stage had probably not yet become M asjid Ibrâhîm).36 According to the second tradition, (mid-eighth century?), Tam im asks for 'Aynün, M .l.a.m.h. [?], and the place where the Tom bs o f Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are.37 Al-Maqrizi relates that the Caliphs, 'A bd al-Malik and Sulaymän, wanted to seize Tam im ’s land, however, they backed down from their initial intention when presented with a letter from the Prophet which was displayed before them. Ibn Lahi'a, the renowned Egyptian scholar (b. ca. 96 or 97/714- 716, d. 174/790) and one o f the transmitters o f this tradition, adds at the end o f it that



during his lifetime, these villages still belonged to the members of Tam îm al-Dârï’s family.31 In the course o f time, more governors schemed for the estates o f Tam îm al-D âri's descendants, apparently, without success.39 Ibn al-‘A rabf points out that the Prophet’s letter was in the hands o f Tam îm al-Dârï’s descendants, in Hebron in Damascusf!?] and the people saw his letter until the Crusaders (al-Rüm[\§ entered in the year 49[4] [-1 1 0 2 (?!)].40 Al-M aqrizi also deals with this matter, saying that the two villages (ùe., Bayt ‘Aynün and Habrâ) remained in the hands o f the al-D äri family since their conquest in the period o f ‘Um ar b. al-Khattäb, until the time Franks ruled over Jerusalem, H ebron and Palestine. Al-M aqrîzî did not know the fate o f these villages after they returned to Muslim hands about a hundred [?!] years later, and whether the D âriyyùn succeeded in receiving their heritage.41

TRADITIONS IN PRAISE OF HEBRON {FADÀ’IL ALKHAÜL) Traditions in Praise o f Hebron do not differ in the nature o f their structure and meaning from the Traditions in Praise o f Jerusalem , and, it m ay be said with certainty that the m ajority o f them were spread tow ards the end o f the l/7 th century and beginning o f the 2/8th century. The considerations I had before me in determining the dating o f the In Praise o f Jerusalem literature were also identical to those for the Traditions in Praise o f Hebron.42 These traditions mainly deal with Traditions on the Praises o f the Tom b o f Abraham, but also with Praises o f the rest o f the Patriarchs and their wives, and with the Praise o f H ebron itself. The sanctity o f Jerusalem in Islam was shaped under an Um ayyad government in al-Shäm in light o f the struggle between the Umayyads and 'Abdallah b. al-Zubayr. This reality also influenced the sanctity of H ebron, and, from what can be seen, reflects on traditions according to which at a time o f distress, a visit to Hebron was equivalent to a pilgrim age to Mecca. Wahb b. Munabbih (d. 110/728)43 said: "A t the End o f D ays, it will not be possible for people to go on hajj. And the one who has not gone on hajj and was witness to this situation (in which people were prevented from going on hajj) will indeed be obliged to go to the Tom b o f Abraham, peace be upon him, because the visit to it equals a pilgrimage to Mecca [hijjd].”44 The pilgrimage to Mecca, as is known, was combined with a visit to the Prophet’s Tom b.4S The hadiths on the advantages and virtues



o f a visit to the Tom b o f the Prophet are many. In the same way as an early hadith points out the virtues there are in combining a visit to Mecca with one to Jerusalem ,46 so the Muslims asked to combine a visit to the Tom b o f the Prophet with one to the Tom b o f Abraham in Hebron. A ll who visit both tom bs in a single year are assured Paradise.47 There is great virtue in combining the visit to Jerusalem with one to Hebron. A ll those who visit Jerusalem and afterwards go to the Tom b o f Abraham in Hebron, will there recite five prayers, their requests from G od will be granted, and all their sins will be forgiven.4* Another tradition (Wahb b. Munabbih < Ka‘b al-Ahbär) urges the M uslims to increase the number o f visits to the Tom b o f the Prophet, and to pray to him and his Tw o Companions, Abu Bakr and ‘Um ar, and to do so before they are prevented from doing so, as a result o f the civil wars and for fear o f the roads (bi-’l-fitan wa-fasad al-subul). The one who himself cannot or is prevented from visiting the Tom b o f the Prophet, must visit the Tom b o f Abraham, pray, and recite invocations. The prayers at his tom b will be answered and certainly through the intercession o f Abraham, will the requests be answered.49 A visit to the Tom b o f Abraham indeed becomes identical to a visit to the Tom b o f the Prophet in time o f distress and when there are road closures on the route o f the hajj.x However, a visit to the Tom b o f Abraham in H ebron has special merits not only in time o f distress. In a tradition transmitted by a prominent fam ily, residents o f Syria, (in which the last (earlier) transmitter is the Jewish convert, 'Abdallah b. Salàm (d. 43/663)), it is said that: T h e ziyâra to Abraham's Tom b, peace be upon him, and prayer at [his tom b], are the hajj o f the poor and a step upwards (towards Paradise) for the rich.51 Goldziher brings examples from the Muslim world in which local popular belief compared a pilgrimage and visit to a local holy place to a pilgrimage to Mecca. Goldhizer’s examples52 are from the 4/10th century and after, and come within the context o f popular belief. The tradition about Hebron being discussed here, differs then in that it is an early one (from no later than the beginning o f the 2/8th century), and came within the framework o f hadith literature. In a family tradition the last (earlier) transmitter being Wahb (b. Munabbih), it is said that: a one and only visit to the Tom b o f Abraham will free the Muslim on the D ay o f Resurrection o f the Dead from punishment after death in the grave, and will unite him with



Abraham in Paradise.51 The family members mentioned above transm itted another o f Wahb’s traditions, that those who visit the Tom b o f Abraham will have all their sins wiped off from the face o f the earth.54 In traditions, the location o f the Tom b o f Abraham is to be found in a valley called H abrâ. The traditions sanctify the valley as the blessing and blessed house o f G od, in it being the source o f H is knowledge and mercy, and blessings are upon it. G od will gather H is slaves in this valley from amongst the descendants o f Abraham. The one who prays in it will be safe and secured from the punishment o f the grave and will dwell in Paradise.55 The M uslim 's request through the mediation o f Abraham, will be granted to him and even m ultiplied.56 The m ajority o f the Traditions in Praise o f H ebron make mention o f and deal only with the Tom b o f Abraham. However, there are traditions that speak o f a Praise on a V isit to the Tom bs o f the three Patriarchs and their wives. A visit to the Tom bs grants one eternal glory, abundant means in this world and a standing will be o f the status o f the pious and the righteous (al-abrâr), and before the person's death, he w ill see Abraham who will bring him the good news that G od forgave him all his sins.57 The holiness o f Mt. Hebron (Jabal al-Khalil) was established in the tradition according to which, at the End o f Days, the mountain, together with another three hills will go to Jerusalem .51 A system to sanctify places accepted in Islam is through the hadith o f al-isrä’ (the N ight Journey o f the Prophet to Jerusalem). According to one version o f this tradition, the Prophet goes down and prays over the Tom b o f Abraham .59 This tradition was considered by the scholars o f hadith as a forgery due to one o f the links in the chain o f transmitters who was regarded as unreliable and a forger o f traditions.60 H ebron is only mentioned by a Muslim geographer in the ninth century.61 Ibn al-Faqih (903) refers to Masjid Ibrâhîm whose Imam was the keeper o f the sandle o f the Prophet.62 Al-Istakhri (957?) and Ibn Hawqal (ca. 980) briefly describe a small town, sim ilar in size to a village, which was known as “Masjid Ibrâhîm.’' In the mosque, which is used as a mosque for Friday prayers, stand the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs all in a line, and parallel to them, are the tom bs o f their wives. The town is in a very fertile area, with many orchards o f fruit trees, and al-Istakhri mentions olive, fig, and sycamore trees, as well as grapevines.61 A broader and relatively more comprehensive description is given



is based on personal knowledge, apparently as a result o f a visit to the place. For the first time he describes a well-built fortress o f large skillfully-cut stones, and the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs. He gives an account o f how the Mosque and the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs were transformed into a center around which buildings were constructed for pilgrim s; the hospitality institution for the pilgrim s to Hebron; water supplies; and writes o f the fruits, especially apples and grapes, grown in the town and its environs.64 These geographers' descriptions, especially the one by al-Muqaddasf, open up a new era for all that touches on our knowledge o f Palestine during the early Muslim period in general and on H ebron in particular. The few sources on the history o f Palestine in the earlier periods bring up the question o f whether the phenomenon o f their being limited and small number illustrates how insignificant the province was to the central government and what little interest the authorities showed it, especially since the establishment o f ' Abbasid rule, when the political, military,and economic power was transferred to Iraq. An unequivocal positive answer to the question would be only partially true. Nevertheless, it will be seen that as concerns Hebron, our lack o f inform ation on it is not coincidental. It will be shown that H ebron started developing about the tenth century. This is also evidenced by the pilgrim s' testimonies during this and the following century (also see below). O ur knowledge o f Hebron increases in the eleventh century, thanks to the descriptions by Näsir-i Khusraw (1047),65 Ibn al-'Arabi (1094-95),66 and documents from the Cairo Genizab, which throw light on the Jewish settlement on the site, and furnish im portant data on other aspects o f the town.67

THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH IN THE EARLY MUSLIM PERIOD The earliest hints about the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs in Hebron after the biblical period reached us via a number o f Apochrypha books,6* which scholars tend to date to the second half o f the second century B .C .E ., the third century B .C .E., or a little later.69 Talmudic and M idrashic literature also speak o f bringing the bones o f the sons o f Jacob to the Land o f Israel, whereas mention o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs is woven into the Midreshey Aggadah and the Aggadah. But, as in the books o f the Apocrypha, which are referred to, no essential dear hints are given in these sources about the Cave, the arrangement



d ear hints are given in these sources about the Cave, the arrangement o f the markings on the Tom bs in it, and o f course not above it.70 The early Muslim tradition describes the opening o f an entrance during the Byzantine period, apparently made in the rectangular structure constructed from large stones. Indeed, the Herodian walls had no openings “until late in the fourth century, when Christians built a church within the predncts.w71 An early Muslim tradition recounts that the members o f Jacob's family, Esau and his brothers, meant to bury their dead in the Cave o f Machpelah, however, following an argument which broke out between them, Esau was killed and buried (w ithout a head) there. The cave was dosed and a wall was erected on to p o f it. Inside the wall [?], they put up grave-signs o f the Patriarchs and their wives. They left and shut its gate. A ll those who arrived there circled the wall and did not enter inside. That was the situation at the site until the Byzantines came, made an opening in the surrounding w all, entered inside the wall’s boundaries, and built a church there.72 The tradition reflects a reality existing at the beginning o f M uslim rule in Palestine. Despite this, mention has already been made o f the later Christian tradition dating to the year 1119, which describes how the wall was only opened at the time o f the Muslim Conquest. Ibn Fadlalläh al-‘Um aris' words o f the fourteenth century reflect this story. W hile visiting H ebron, he comments: "There was no gate to this [sacred] enclosure \hayr], and when the M uslims conquered the town, they opened a gate for it.”73 F or other Muslim authors there was alternative information which described the breaching o f an opening in other, different periods. N äsir-i Khusraw, who visited Hebron in 1047, noted that: "It is said that in early times the sanctuary had no door in it and hence that no one could come nearer [to the tom bs] than the outer porch, when from [the] outside they performed their visitation. When, however, the [Fätim id Khalif] Mahdi came to the throne o f Egypt [in A .D . 918], he gave orders that a door should be opened [into the Sanctuary] and he provided utensils . . . .”74 Le Strange and Schefer believe that what is meant by “al-Mahdi," is the founder o f the Fätim id state, ‘Ubaydalläh, who, according to them , ruled over Egypt for a short period in the year 306/918, and not the ‘Abbäsid Caliph, Muhammad b. ‘Abdallah al-Mansûr (reigned 158/775-168/785). While their observation in connection with the ‘A bbäsid Caliph seems to be correct, it is not known from the sources that ‘Ubaydalläh al-Mahdi ruled over Egypt. Indeed, three times he sent an arm y from N orth Africa to conquer Egypt (in the years



301-2/914-15; 307/919; and 323/935). However, on all three occasions, after partial conquests they failed in their objective, and the army finally retreated after a routing defeat when they tried to conquer al-Fustât, the capital o f Egypt.75 H ow was it possible to order building activity in Hebron, when Egypt, and certainly not Syria, were not being ruled b , ‘Ubaydalläh al-Mahdi? During this period, Syria was governed by the ‘Abbäsid Caliph, al-Muqtadir (reigned 908-932), and indeed, during his rule, some building activities were carried out in the Sanctuary o f Hebron (see below). Ibn Taym iyya, the renowned Hanabalite theologian (d. 1324), had another opinion concerning the wall and the opening in it. H e asserts that only when the Crusaders had control over the Cave o f Machpelah, did they open a gate and turn the place into a church, and that before then, the Tom b o f Abraham was tightly closed and no one prayed there.76 Ibn al-Hâjj al-'Abdan (active during the second half o f the fourteenth century), expresses this opinion, apparently following Ibn Taym iyya.77 Näsir-i Khusraw, and certainly Ibn Taym iyya, were wrong about this matter. For fundamental theological reasons, Ibn Taym iyya vigorously opposed tom b worship. I do not know where he obtained his inform ation regarding the time when the walls were breached, but, it is certainly a mistake. It is likely that, in some confused manner, the tradition in the Crusader chronicles reached him—that at the time o f the Arab conquest o f Hebron (638?) there was no opening in the walls, and Jew s showed them where to breach it—and Ibn Taym iyya made an error and changed the time in this description to the Crusader period, the time in which really revolves the main story on “the finding” o f the Tom b o f the Fathers in 1119. The testimonies from the end o f the Byzantine and early Muslim periods, which describe the tom bstones o f the Patriarchs in Hebron, refute this daim . From the seventh to the tenth century, there began a change in the pattern o f the layout o f the tombstones, and also, perhaps, in their locations. A rculf (679-688) described the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs as being grouped together, when above and around them was a small basilica-style construction. The tom bs o f the wives were less adorned than those o f the Patriarchs. The descriptions given by tenth century Muslim geographers do not match this depiction because they describe the tombstones as being in one line when opposite them were the graves o f their wives, a pattern which is identical to that found today.76 The condition o f the tom bs and their layout in the tenth century



is identical to descriptions from the eleventh century.79 Näsir-i Khusraw and Ibn al-'Arabi do not mention a structure on top o f the T om bs o f the Patriarchs resembling a basilica.10 Näsir-i Khusraw points out that the direction o f the heads o f the buried is towards the sou th ,'1 while A rculf notes that their heads are turned towards the north. A t some unknown date, after A rculf had visited Hebron, fundamental changes were made to the complex o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs. It can be assumed that these changes were the outcome o f a state initiative and not a local one. The only testimony which we have bearing witness to building activities in Hebron is from the period o f the rule o f the 'Abbäsid Caliph, al-Muqtadir (reigned 908-932), which included an excavation and “the discovery” o f the Tom b o f Joseph, and the building o f a structure with a dome on top o f it. This project was carried out at the instigation o f al-Muqtadir's slave-girl. The dome was built to the west, outside the wall surrounding the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs. This information is recorded in Ibn 'A säkir’s book (here, he is m ost probably Bahä’ al-Din, Ibn ‘Asäkir [d. 1203)). H is book, ed-Jàm i' al-M ustaqsä bi-Fadà’il al-M asjid al-Aqsâ, is still in manuscript form .12 The story was copied by several later writers. It is related by Ibrâhîm b. Ahm ad al-Khälanji, who lived at the beginning o f the tenth century. According to this tradition, Ibrâhîm is ordered by al-Muqtadir’s slave-girl (Jariyat al-Muqtadir) who lives in Jerusalem and is called al-‘A jüz (Le., “the O ld Woman”), to dig in this grave, in the place where Joseph was buried. A dome was built on this site, which the transm itter adds “is still there, until this day.” This tradition is fragmentary. It appears to have been composed from at least tw o traditions merged into one. From another part o f the tradition, we learn that the “discovery” o f Joseph's grave happened after the Tmàm o f the mosque o f Hebron had a dream. The Imam was a descendant o f Tam im al-Däri. A s a result o f his dream, he (or is it Ibrâhîm b. Ahmad, mentioned in the first part o f the tradition?), addressed himself to al-Muqtadir’s slave-girl, who then wrote to her m aster on this matter. Indeed, a Caliphal decree did arrive, ordering that the site be excavated and then built on. 13 Another (third) tradition on this subject is recorded by Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Muqaddasi, the famous geographer (946 — ca.1000), in his well-known book, Ahsan al-Taqâsïm fî-M a'rifat al-Aqältm. It is also copied almost verbatim by two later authors, who, although they mention the geographer by name, give another title to his book: K itäb al-BadC f i Tafdil M amlakat al-hläm . This title is not referred to by



tradition from his paternal unde, Abu ’l-Hasan (Husayn?), from the son o f al-Muqaddasf’s grandfather, Abu Bakr al-Bannä'. The authorities (al-Sultân) [of Jund Filastin? Baghdad?], told A bu Bakr to go out and supervise the excavation o f Joseph's tom b. H e was accompanied by his son, Abu 'l-Hasan, who related the event to his nephew, the geographer, al-Muqaddasf. According to the latter, the whole episode started as the outcome o f a dream a man from Khurâsân had. In his dream, the man saw Joseph’s tom b and its location in Hebron. So, he went to Jerusalem and told people there about his dream. This prom pted the ruler to order al-M uqaddasf s grandfather to go to Hebron.*4 A bu Bakr al-Bannä’, al-M uqaddasfs grandfather, was famous for being the architect and engineer o f the project to widen and fortify the harbor o f Acre during the reign o f Ahmad b. Tülùn (d.884).*s Abu Bakr would have been quite elderly at the beginning o f al-Muqtadir’s reign. It is highly probable that this story o f the discovery o f the Tom b o f Joseph and A bù Bakr’s involvement in the find, described by his grandson, did occur during al-Muqtadir's reign, since we have clear evidence for this in the tradition about al-Muqtadir’s slave-girl instigating the project in Hebron.*6 A number o f reports reached us from the tenth century, on the desire to check the authenticity o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs in Hebron: the tombstones within the Herodian walls on the one hand, and on the other, the plan o f the Cave o f Machpelah below the Sacred Enclosure. We do not in fact have sources from before the tenth century which contain a request to investigate the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs. The question again arises, is the matter o f the investigation incidental? The différait kinds o f accumulated testimonies o f the sources precisely in the tenth century (and afterwards) are apparently not incidental.

THE TOMBS IN THE SACRED ENCLOSURE One o f the people mentioned more than once in Hebron and the Cave o f Machpelah in the tenth century is Abu Bakr, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. ‘Am rü (’Umar?) b. Jäbir (?), a scholar who lived in Ramie.*7 When questioned about the Tom b o f Abraham and its authenticity, he replied that all the scholars he knew, without exception, determined that those were the real tom bs o f the three Patriarchs and their wives. N o one argued against this, except people who were blameworthy innovators



argued against this, except people who were blameworthy innovators {Ahl al-Bida ) and opponents o f the Sunna. This was a tradition passed on from generation to generation, about which there is no doubt.11 A t the time o f A bu Bakr al-Ramlî, Abu ‘Amrû, ‘Uthmän b. Ja'far [Muhammad?] b. Shädhän was the qädi o f Ramie. A bu ‘Amrü served as q äd i there from 320/932, when the ‘Abbäsid Caliph, al-Râdî was reigning. A bu ‘Am rü too went with another person to Hebron, where they stayed for three days. O n the fourth day, the qäd i came across an inscription inside the mosque, facing the Tom b o f Rebecca, and ordered that it be washed and copied precisely on paper. When the qädi and the person with whom he visited Hebron returned to Ramie, they found no one who could decipher the inscription, which all agreed was written in Ancient Greek. The qäd i was compelled to invite a sheik from Halab to Ramie who deciphered the inscription, o f which its contents were the identification o f the Tom bs: the Tom b o f Rebecca, and, opposite it, the Tom b o f Isaac; facing the Tom b o f Isaac is the Tom b o f Abraham, and facing it to the east, the Tom b o f Sarah. After the latter, the tombstone at the furthest extreme was Jacob’s, and opposite it to the east, was the Tom b o f Leah. The signatory to the inscription was Esau.*9 D uring the tenth century, Muslim scholars, residents o f Palestine and Syria, were troubled by the problem o f the location o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs in Hebron. Apparently this was the reason for A bu Zur*a (d. 893), the Damascan q äd fs going to Hebron. A bü Zur*a clarified the location o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs and verified the m atter o f their being in a mosque in Hebron. H e asked a sheik (Le., an old and distinguished man), a young man and a youth to identify the Tom bs. When they all did so without mistake, he said that he did not doubt that it was the truth, built on the tradition passed on from generation to generation, based on a tradition M àlik b. Anas had said on the subject.90 A lso, according to Ibn al-Murajjâ (who lived in the middle o f the eleventh century), the Jerusalem scholar and author o f a book in Praise o f Jerusalem , the best proof o f the authenticity o f the location o f the Tom bs is that no one denied that there were such tom bs, and their location (in Hebron), neither in written literature nor in an actual visit to the place.91 The tombstones were put up on top o f the Cave, where it is said the real Tom bs o f the Patriarchs were. There are testimonies from the tenth century o f Muslims who went down to the Cave and “saw” the



Tom bs o f the Patriarchs. One particularly interesting “testimony” is that o f Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Ahmad b. M älik, Abü Bakr al-Iskäfi (d. end 964), who describes how he stayed in H ebron, and, after spending a large sum o f money on the mosque and its attendants (sadana), asked to be led to the Cave opening in order that he could go down and see the real tom bs. The attendants requested that he wait for the winter; and then, the transmitter o f the tradition relates in first person, in the month o f Kânün al-Thânï (January), he again asked the attendants, and they then requested that he wait until the snow falls, when there are no visitors at all. In the end he went with a pious man called Su'lük, down seventy-two steps into the Cave, through an opening which was found between the tom bs o f Abraham and Isaac. They managed to see the bodies o f the three Patriarchs, but, when they wanted to turn towards the women’s side, it was not possible for them to do so as a voice issuing from underneath the Haram called out to them to move away.” The aforementioned Abü Bakr, Muhammad b. Ahmad from Ramie, also recounts how (most probably at the beginning o f the tenth century) he led a group o f people to the Mosque o f Abraham. The Imam o f the mosque, A bu Hämid, related to him that on the night o f the middle o f the month o f Sha'bân, a man appeared in a dreamlike manner, who went down to the Cave with him, through an opening hidden in the floor, near the tombstone o f Jacob. Together they saw the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs arranged (exactly as with the tombstones described above) in lines o f the men, and opposite them their wives.91 A dream is a known and tested means o f conveying views and ideas in the cultural history o f man, and it is also developed in Islam. Through the intermediary o f a dream, it was possible for ‘Abdallah b. Muhammad al-Najjär (or al-Najjäri) to reach the Mosque o f Abraham, see Abraham and embrace him and fold him to his heart.94 Such stories, even if they are filled with legendary motives and fantasies certainly tend to show the efforts made during the tenth century and in later periods to find the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs which were concealed in the Cave underneath the tom bstones.95 Ibn Fadlalläh al-‘Um ari (1348), after recording al-Harawi’s description,96 tells how he himself went down alone through the southern opening, by way o f many stairs, to a narrow and low underground corridor which led in a leftward direction to a space, and in it were three tombstones embedded in the wall. It is said (so al-'Um ari informs us) that those were the Tom bs o f Abraham, his wife and Isaac. They did not know where the passage there led.



H aram where the dead were found to be be arranged like the tom bs above. Al-‘U m ari describes the three tombstones in an area the size o f fou r cubits by four (approximately 2m. x 2m.).97

EARLY TREATISES AND AUTHORS FROM THE EARLY MUSLIM PERIOD CONCERNING THE TOMBS OF THE PATRIARCHS The only known printed treatise on H ebron is that o f al-Tadmurf, Täj al-D în, Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm (d. 1429), M uthir al-Gharäm f i Fadl Ziyärat al-Khalü ‘alayhi al-Salâm ("The Book to Excite the Desire to Realize the M erits o f the V isit to Abraham the Friend [of Allah], May Peace be on H im ”).9* This treatise does not pretend to be a historical one. Al-Tadm uri draws his traditions from earlier treatises, one being that o f A bu ’l-Hasan, ‘A ll b. Ja'far b. Muhammad [b. ‘Abdallah?], al-Râzï. H e lived in Ramie, in the district o f Palestine,99 (but it seems that he also lived in Jerusalem). He was called Wakü al-M asjid al-Aqsd (’T h e O ne in Charge [?] o f al-Masjid al-Aqsä"),100 at the beginning to the m iddle o f the tenth century.101 In the earliest o f Fadä’il Bayt al-Maqdis (the merits o f Jerusalem) books which reached us, that is, the book o f A bu Bakr al-Wäsiti, who lived at the beginning o f the eleventh century. O f 116 traditions, thirtyone were transmitted through ‘A li b. Ja'far al-Râzî; while Ibn al-M urajjä, who lived at a slightly later time, quoted about 140 of al-Räzi’s traditions, among them being over ninety Traditions in Praise o f Jerusalem .102 It may be assumed with a high degree o f certainty that ‘A li b. Ja ‘far had a collection o f Traditions in Praise o f Jerusalem ,103 and perhaps a special treatise also, as is known today about al-Walfd b. Hammäd al-Ramlf (second half o f the ninth century).104 One particular treatise105 is al-M usfir li-'l-Qulüb \'an Sihhat Q abr Ibrâhîm wa-Isbäq wa-Ya'qüb (”[A Book] that Sheds Light on the Hearts through which the Authenticity o f the Tom bs o f Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can be Understood”). This treatise was copied by Spanish author Abü ‘Abdallah, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. al-Mufarrij, al-Andalusf (315/927-380/990),106 in the tenth century, from whom Muhammad b . Muhammad al-‘A bdari copied six traditions to his book, al-Rihla al-Maghribiyya.107 There are a great many traditions in Ibn al-Murajjä’s manuscript in which ‘A li b. Ja'far appears as a link in an isnâd. These traditions are included in the part o f his book dedicated to the Praises o f Jerusalem



and Syria. However, the last section o f Ibn al-M urajjâ's manuscript is dedicated to Praises of Hebron, to which the author dedicates forty-six traditions.101 In thirty-three o f the forty-six, ‘A ll b. Ja'far appears as a third transmitter in the isnàd before Ibn al-Murajjä. In all o f the cases he transmitted the traditions to ‘îsâ b. ‘Ubaydallâh b. ‘Abdallah al-Mawsili.109 It is dear that the section we have before us is a [large ?] part o f 'A li b. Ja'far al-R izi’s book which was lost. This was a special treatise, which dealt with the authenticity o f the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs in Hebron. It seems that a distinction must be made between this treatise and its traditions, and the collection o f traditions which were in his possession (perhaps an independent treatise?), on Praises o f Jerusalem. Another author who wrote a treatise on The Merits o f Visiting Abraham 's Tom b was M akkf b. ‘Abd al-Salâm b. al-Husayn b. al-Qäsim, A bu TQ äsim al-Ansàri, al-Maqdisî (Ibn ?) al-Rumaylï (b. tenth o f Muharram 432/20th September, 1040, d. 12 Sha'bän, 492/4th Ju ly, 1099, when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem). He was a Shäfi'ite scholar who resided in Jerusalem but often travelled between the important learning centers o f Islam.110 In biographies on him, it is rdated that he began putting together a treatise on the history o f Jerusalem and its Praises, collecting little material for it.111 M akkf b. 'A bd al-Saläm composed (at least) one other w ork about the "M erits o f the Visit to the Tom b o f Abraham, the Friend o f Allah, prayer and peace be on him.”112 Subki adds113 that M akkf mentioned traditions (âthâr) in this w ork regarding the visit (ziyârà) to the Tom b o f Abraham. Among the traditions was also that on the Prophet’s isra’ and his visit to the Tom b o f Abraham in Hebron. A number o f traditions concerning the visit in Hebron, which were apparently in his book, appear in later treatise.114

PILGRIMAGES TO HEBRON AND ITS VICINITY The traditions discussed above ask that Muslims be encouraged to go on pilgrimage to Hebron and settle there. We do not have testimonies on pilgrimages and visits to Hebron before the end o f the ninth and beginning o f the tenth centuries. This is in contrast to Jerusalem which M uslims visited and went on pilgrimage to since the l/7 th century, and about which we do have testimonies.115 Apparently, a number o f the M uslims who visited Jerusalem also visited Hebron. Muslims who combined a pilgrimage to Mecca with a visit to Jerusalem, probably



combined a pilgrimage to Mecca with a visit to Jerusalem, probably passed by and also visited the Tom b o f Abraham in Hebron; however, as has already been said, there are no testimonies to this. Beginning in the tenth century, there are a number o f testimonies o f visits to H ebron. A ll are to be found in ‘A li b. Ja'far al-Râzï’s book, and were copied by later authors, the main one to be mentioned being Ibn al-Murajjä (see the discussion on page 16). A t the beginning o f the tenth century, we hear o f a group o f Palestinian M uslim scholars led by Abu Bakr, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. ‘Um ar b. Jäbir [? Ismä‘Il]), al-Ramlï, who lived and was active during the early tenth century.116 Abu Bakr related to 'A li b. Ja'far al-Räzi how one year he, Ibn al-Murajjä [unidentified] and a group o f pious and knowledgeable men w ait out to the Mosque o f Abraham which was controlled by Abu Zunbür (? The reading o f Abù Zunbùr is uncertain). A bu Zunbùr may be identified as al-Husayn b. Ahmad b. Ibrâhîm from the well-known Mädharä’i family. H e held, along with other members o f his fam ily, central administrative posts under the Tülùnids and 'A bbäsids, as too under the Ikhsidids. H e was the Finance Master o f Syria in the last years o f the Tülùnids, as well as between 913 and 916 fo r the ‘Abbäsids.117 M uslims during this period also arrived from places farther away in Syria, from Damascus,11' Ba'albek,119 Tarsüs, the well-known border city on the north-western frontier o f al-Shäm and Iraq (Iskäf/Baghdäd). O ne o f them describes how, when in a half-awaken state, he stayed at one o f the fortified posts in Tarsüs (mahàris), he saw two people who were coming towards him, walking on the water [!], who urged him to organize a ziydra to the Tom b o f Abraham .120 A t the end o f the eleventh century, Ibn al-'Arabi notes that there was an attendant from T arsüs at the Tom b o f Joseph.121 During this period, Tarsüs was not in Muslim hands. It was conquered by the Byzantines in the year 354/965 and m ost o f its M uslim citizens deserted it.122 The Muslim from Tarsüs certainly made his visit before 965. He left Tarsüs after his being in a state o f half-sleep and seeing two people walking on water. There were scholars who were contented with the actual dream, like the Muslim learned man o f law in the tenth century who, in his dream arrived at the mosque in Hebron (Masjid al-Khalil), and there saw Abraham who embraced him and enfolded him to his heart, saying to the visitor: "D o not be surprised at this [that I embrace you], because for G od there are pious and devout men (aw liya),X2i who visit me and I receive them on the w ay."124



al-Räzi, who apparently included them in his book on Hebron. It was thus that H ebron, or to be more precise, the Tom b o f Abraham, gained through this dream a tradition o f Praise in the tenth century, and the transmitter himself gained eternity as one o f the aw liyä‘ who won the embrace o f Abraham.

HOSPITALITY INSTITUTIONS These pieces o f information are very rare indeed and are testimonies on the tendency to visit and make a pilgrimage to Hebron at the beginning to middle o f the tenth century. The flow o f visitors was sufficiently large to warrant the need to build accommodation for the visitors, which were constructed around the mosque. This we learn from the description by the renowned gepgrapher, al-Muqaddasf, a native of Jerusalem . Al-Muqaddasf’s book was written in about 985, but his descriptions apparently reflect what he saw before he left Palestine in the year 966.m Al-Muqaddasf was the first to also describe the hospitality complex in Hebron, which at a later period was called al-Sim ât al-Ibrâhîm ï. H e depicts an established institution, o f which included in it was a cook, a baker, and many attendants to serve the food (that also comprised lentils with olive oil) to the pilgrim s. The attendants gave food to all the poor, and to the rich if they want. The funding for the preparation o f the food comes from the w aqfo f Tamfm al-Däri and others besides him .126 This hospice institution is also described by authors and travellers in later centuries. Näsir-i Khusraw (1047), too, depicted in great detail how visitors and pilgrim s received bread and olives, and lentils with olive oil, as well as raisins. Special slave-girls bake the bread throughout the length o f the day.127 Because o f these pilgrim s, cells were built on the roof o f the m aqsüra which is within the Haram .12* There are more detailed descriptions from the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries which point out the large number o f visitors and pilgrim s who lodged in H ebron.129 The hospitality complex and food supply to the pilgrims were a response to the rise in the number o f pilgrim s to Hebron. In 1047, Näsir-i Khusraw was able to report that there were days when 500 pilgrim s arrived in H ebron.130 Ibn al-'Arabf from Seville, who resided in Jerusalem during the 1090s, describes how a group o f scholars and students from Khurasan arrived in Jerusalem when their aim was to visit H ebron.131 These



scholars, it becomes dear from what Ibn al-Arabi him self says, were from amongst the distinguished in their field. One o f them, al-Zawzani, was one o f the m ost prominent scholars o f the School o f A bù Hanïfa, and he arrived in Jerusalem in the year 487/1094.1)2 Ibn al-Arabi himself visited Hebron many times. O n his way he to o k the route o f the Tom b o f the Prophet Jonah in H alhül, where he even slept and studied.133 In the very same years al-Ghazäli (d. 1111) also stayed in Jerusalem. When he left the d ty with the objective o f going on the hajj to Mecca, he arranged a ziyâra to Hebron and from there continued on to the H ijäz. Apparently, and this seems to be correct, during this period at least, residents o f Syria and Palestine took a route so as to pass by Hebron on their way to Mecca.134 The increased tendency for a rise in the number o f pilgrim s also occurred amongst the Christians and Jew s.

THE ITINERARY OF THE MUSLIM PILGRIMS IN HEBRON A) Christian and Jew ish Pilgrims to the H oly Land There is a long and developed tradition o f Christian worshippers visiting the H oly Land from the forth century and even earlier. Its roots were still deeply embedded in the early period o f the Christian Church.135 But, the real impetus was in the days o f Constantine, follow ing the pilgrimage o f his mother, Helena, to the H oly Land.136 The pilgrim s set out for the H oly Land with pilgrim guides which were widely circulated in the Christian world. One o f the first guides already heard o f at the beginning o f the fourth century was the Onomastikon o f Eusebius, "The Guide to the Land o f the Bible.”137 There were short complete guides written for the Christian pilgrim at the beginning o f the sixth century. These were prepared for the pilgrim to carry about with him during his visit to the holy places and were already distributed to him at his place o f origin in the W est.13* There were a number o f descriptions in the early Muslim period of Christian pilgrim s in the H oly Land, o f whom it is possible to follow their path, going according to the pilgrim 's itinerary.139 Some o f them mention H ebron and the Tom b o f the Patriarchs. There are many testimonies on pilgrimages by Jew s to the H oly Land, especially from Syria, but also from places farther away in the M uslim world. We have almost no information about Jewish pilgrim s from European countries during this period. The pilgrimage was carried



from European countries during this period. The pilgrimage was carried out in a continuous manner, whenever external circumstances made it possible.140 It is noteworthy that the first guide for the Jewish pilgrim to Jerusalem (and Palestine ?) was most probably the one published by J. Braslavi,141 from the eleventh century. The guides for Jew ish pilgrim s to the H oly Land are from later periods (twelfth century and on).142

B) Muslim Pilgrimage to the H oly Land The hospitality complex in Hebron, described in detail by al-Muqaddasi in the middle o f the tenth century, allows us to assume that visitors were already then arranging for the ziydra to be incorporated into the fixed itinerary, that also included holy sites in the dose proxim ities o f Hebron (which will be mentioned further on). But there are no testimonies during this period o f the existence o f a guide for M uslim pilgrim s to the H oly Land, and certainly not to Hebron. The earliest known book concerning the visits to the known Muslim holy sites (in the Islamic Caliphate), dates to the ninth century. Three more treatise on this subject, dating to the end o f the tenth century, are known of. However, none o f them survived. Their authors were ShTites (apparently not by coincidence), and it is dear that they discussed, first and forem ost, visiting the sites holy to the ShTites.143 A detailed itinerary for Muslim pilgrims to holy Muslim sites in H ebron may be found in the treatise o f al-Musharraf b. al-Murajjä o f the first half o f the eleventh century.144 Later authors copied it in in parts or in full.145 Contrary to the description o f the detailed itinerary for Muslim pilgrims in Jerusalem by the above-mentioned author,146 which begins with a new paragraph that lets it be understood that this is a depiction and the words o f Ibn al-Murajjä him sdf, put in without an isnàd, the description o f the itinerary for pilgrim s in Hebron starts without any break or title which indicates the subject being dealt with. In continuation to ’Abdallah b. Saläm’s tradition, Ibn al-Murajjä writes on the merits o f the visit in Hebron (see note below), thus, that it is apparently possible to link the tradition o f ‘Abdallah b. Saläm to a direct continuation o f the beginning o f the pilgrim ’s itinerary. But this daim must be rejected for the following reasons:1 1. Al-Suyûtï and Tadmuri also separately brought the short hadith already mentioned, without the addition o f the long



section which describes the itinerary o f the visit. 2. It is difficult to assume that ‘Abdallah b. Saläm (d. 43/663) is already describing an itinerary for a visit. For this, the place needed to gain Muslim recognition, which crystallized later on. 3. Even for Jerusalem no itinerary o f visits had been put together at such an early period. 4. It must be remembered that the itinerary for the visit to Jerusalem is the fruit o f Ibn al-Murajjä’s treatise, put forward without an isnäd, the same being for the short guide to H ebron (excluding the invocations [d tf'ij). The ritual o f the visit in the Cave o f Machpelah obligates the M uslim to prepare himself spiritually. Before entering the Haram, the M uslim had to: declare his pure intentions out loud, ask help from God, prostrate him self twice, ask G od that he be protected from im proper acts, present him self at the Haram in silence whilst reciting penitential prayers. The M uslim must enter the Haram with the right foot, ask forgiveness and pardon from G od, prostrate twice in the mosque and from there go on to the Tom b o f Abraham. The Muslim may approach the tom b from any direction he wishes. H e must bid Abraham peace, pray for him while standing before the tom b.147 It is im proper for the M uslim to rest a hand on the tom b or embrace it. The Muslim is encouraged to recite more invocations and through them ask to reach G od. One o f the favored invocations at the Tom b is that o f "Jo y and Relief.” ( D u 'ïal-Faraj).1* From there the Muslim continues on to the Tom b o f Isaac,149 where he must repeat all he did at the Tom b o f Abraham, especially the recital for the peace and blessing on the Prophet Muhammad, as well as the prayer on the Prophet and o f the invocations already mentioned. U pon completing the prayer, the Muslim goes on to the Tom b o f Jacob where he repeats all the rituals and prayers. He is also expected to endeavor in his recitation o f the invocation (d u 'ä). Here Ibn al-Murajjä adds another two invocations. One o f them is with an isnäd. This prayer is a specific tradition about Jacob in which the Prophet turns towards him and blesses him with peace, and, afterwards, Jacob recites the Prayer o f Supplication and Request for Forgiveness from G od. From there the Muslim turns towards the tom bs o f the wives o f the Patriarchs which have been mentioned. The first o f them is the



Tom b o f Sarah:150 The Muslim must bless her with peace, recite an invocation, pray for the Prophet. From there he turns towards the Tom b o f Rebecca and then to the Tom b o f Leah and repeats the ritual and prayers. Ibn al-Murajjä adds that it is preferable to begin the ziyära at the men's tom bs before the women's. After that the Muslim turns towards the Tom b o f Joseph. According to Ibn al-Murajjä, this is to be found outside the Cave, at the bottom o f the valley. The Muslim blesses him with peace. H e then prays for the Prophet, prays the Prayer o f Deliverance, which was previously mentioned. It is very desirable to recite an invocation at the Tom bs o f Jacob and Joseph. This prayer was included by Ibn al-Murajjä with an isnâd and is directly connected to Jacob, however, without having any link to a specific place. Several o f the later authors o f the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries copied (either partially or in total), Ibn al-Murajjä. Shams al-Din al-Suyùtï (end o f the fifteenth century), who did not copy Ibn al-Murajjä, describes the visit to the Haram in the minutest detail, however, he points out that the m ost complete and correct ziyära is to visit the tom bs by pairs: o f a man and his wife—Abraham 's Tom b and then Sarah's; Isaac's then Rebecca’s; and so on. After visiting the Tom b o f Joseph, the Muslim must turn and go past the grilled window (shubbâk) which is at the Tom b o f Abraham, stand dose by it and pray. H e completes the ziyära by anointing his face.151 In the sixteenth century, the author o f al-Mustaqsä copied a large part o f Ibn al-Murajjä’s description o f the itinerary,152 with certain additions, a product o f the changes which began taking place since the eleventh century. But, nevertheless, according to him, a visit was conducted first to the Tom bs o f the Patriarchs, and then to those o f their wives, as Ibn al-Murajjä recommended be done.155 After the visit to the Tom b o f Jacob, the author o f al-Mustaqsä adds another visit to the inscribed floor tile (al-Baläta al-Maktüba [?]), on which it is written that Adam’s head is buried underneath it, and his legs in front o f the Rock o f Jerusalem. Thus the visit ended to the Haram itself. The author o f al-Mustaqsä added to the itinerary of the holy sites in Hebron, places in the vicinity o f Hebron, outside o f the city, and even locations farther away. One o f them was the Tom b o f Lot and o f his two daughters who are buried in the village o f Burayk. In the western cave underneath the ancient mosque, the author says, seventy prophets are buried. The Tom b o f Lot is located in a building with a dome, to the west o f the cave mentioned above. Pilgrimage to the Tom b o f Lot, the author



t o the tom b, according to a tradition passed on from generation to generation amongst the inhabitants o f the region.154 The second site added was o f M asjid al-Yaqfn, which is found a little to the south o f the Tom b o f Lot. After visiting the mosque, the M uslim goes on to visit the Tom b o f Moses in the vicinity o f Jericho. O n leaving Jerusalem, pilgrim s and visitors to the holy sites visited Bethlehem, the place o f the birth o f Jesus, then the Tom b o f Jonah the Prophet in H alhül, and afterwards al-Räma, Hebron, the Tom b o f Lot in the village o f Burayk, and the Mosque o f al-Yaqfn and cave that are adjacent to it. A number o f the locations mentioned are ancient (w ithout a doubt Bethlehem). The site o f the Tom b o f Lot certainly dates to before the eleventh century.155 The mosque o f al-Yaqfn was already mentioned by al-Muqaddasf (in the second half o f the tenth century).156 Al-Räma was referred to by Ibn al-‘A rabf as Bayt Räma, the place o f worship o f Abraham (M uta'abbid Ibrâhîm ).*57 The first exp iât testimony about an itinerary o f all these holy places dates to the twelfth century and was described by al-Harawf (1173), whose itinerary included Rachel Tom b - Bethlehem • H alhül Räm a - Kafr Burayk - al-Yaqfn - H ebron.15* This was the accepted route taken by visitors in the centuries after that.159

NOTES 1 .1 would like to thank Dr. O. Limor for reading a draft of this article and for her valuable comments and observations. 2. A. Ofer, "Hebron,” The New Encyclopedia o f Archeological Excavations in the Holy Land 2 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1992): 478. 3. Y. Karmon, Hebron: Portrait o fa City Located in a Mountainous Region (Tel Aviv: Gome, 1970)(Henceforth Karmon)(Hebrew), 58; see also M. Sharon, “Al-KhalU,” £ / (Henceforth Sharon), 955. Since no excavations were carried out in the city of Hebron, it is impossible to determine when settlement first began in it. 4. Muhammad b. Ahmad, al-Muqaddasî, Absan al-Taqâsïm ft M a'rifat al-Aqâlim, ed. M.J. De Goeje (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1866)(Henceforth Al-Muqaddasi), 172. 5. Muhammad b. 'Abdallah, Abu Bakr known as Ibn al-'Arabl, Ahkarn al-Qur’ân1 (Cairo: Dâr Ihyâ’ al-Kutub al-'Arabiyya, 1958) (Henceforth Ibn al-'Arabi, Ahkâm al-Qur’ân) 3:1091 [ - Joseph Drory, Ibn El-Arabi o f Seville: Journey to Palestine (1092-1095) (Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University, 1993) (Henceforth Drory) (Hebrew), 109, no.30] [The equal sign in square brackets designates that this reference is quoted and translated by Drory].



6. J. Wilkinson, Jerusalem Pilgrim s Before the Crusades 0erusalem: Ariel Publishing House, 1977) (Henceforth Wilkinson), 5. 7. Wilkinson, 65. 8. Wilkinson, 85. His description certainly refers to Hebron; regarding the date of the visit of the Piacenza pilgrim, since he describes a Jewish celebration on December 26, Libermann concluded that the ceremony was that of the Tenth of Tevet, thus placing the visit in 586 or 597, see S. Libermann, Shkiitu A Few Words on Some Jewish Legends, Customs and Literary Sources Found in Karaite and Christian Works (Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1970), 10; but cf. O. Limor, "The Origins of a Tradition: King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion”, Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought and Religion 44 (1988): 456, who argues that "586 and 597 do not correspond to the generally accepted date of Antoninus’ journey, ca. 570”, and suggests that the Jewish celebration, described by the pilgrim took place on the Ninth of Tevet thus placing the visit in 567, when the ninth of Tevet coincided with December 26. 9. Joan £. Taylor, Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth o f Jewish-Christian Origins (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) (Henceforth Tailor), 324, note 76, following Wilkinson. 10. Wilkinson, 105; James Rose Macpherson (editor and translator), "The Pilgrimage of Arculfus in the Holy Land”, Palestine Pilgrim s Text Society, 3 (1895): 32-34. 11. Genesis 14:13-15. 12. M. Avi Yonah, Geographical History o f Eretz Israelfrom the Return to Zion Until the Beginning o f the Arab Conquest Qerusalem: The Bialik Foundation, 1949), (Hebrew), 158. 13. Y. Tsafrir,£ntfz Israel from the Destruction o f the Second Temple to the Muslim Conquest, 2 Archaeology and A rt (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1984) (Hebrew) (Henceforth Tsafrir, Archaeology and Arty, 224; Wilkinson, 173-174. 14. Tsafrir, 235. 15. E. Mader, Mambre, die Ergebnisse der ausgrabungm im heiligen bezirk Ram at al-H alil in Süedpalastina, 1926-1928 (Freiburg im Breisgau: E. Wewe, 1957), 67-81. 16. Karmon, 62; Wilkinson, 173: "The Madaba map, despite its two captions (82 "[TJerebinthus* and 83 "The Oa[k] of Mambre”) is probably speaking of a single place.” 17. Karmon, 62; and see Arculfs description, below, 1-2; Y. Tsafrir, "The Provinces of Eretz Israel: Names, Borders and Administrative Boundaries”, Eretz Israel from the Destruction o f the Second Temple to the Muslim Conquest, ed. Z. Baras, S. Safrai and alt. 1 0erusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1982): 350-386 (Hebrew) (Henceforth Tsafrir, "The Provinces"), 370. 18. Abù ’1-Ma‘âlï Al-Musharraf b. al-Murajjâ, Fadâ’il Bayt al-Maqdis wa-'l-Shâm wa-’l-Khalïl (Ms. Tübingen, VI, 27)(Henceforth Ibn al-Murajjâ), fols. 115b-116a [-556] [The numbers in square brackets [-...] are from the final edition of the text in the dissertation of Dr. Livne, O. Livne, The Sanctity o f



Jerusalem in Islam (Ph.D. diss., The Hebrew University, 1985), (Hebrew)(Henceforth Livne, The Sanctity o fJerusalem)]; ‘Abd al-Rahmän b. ‘Ali b. al-Jawzi, Ta’rHeh Bayt al-Maqdis, ed. Muhammad Zaynahum Muammad 'Azab (Cairof?]: Maktabat al-Thaqafa al-Diniyya, 1989[?])(Henceforth Ibn al-Jawzi, Ta'rtkh), 77; C. Matthews, “The K. Bä'iyt-n-Nufus of Ibnu-1-Firkäh," The Journal o f the Palestine Oriental Society 15 (1935) (the Arabic text, Henceforth Ibn al-Firkäh): 83; Muhammad b. Khidr, Nàsir al-Din, al-Rûmi al-Jalâli, al-Hanafï, Al-Mustaqsä f i Fadl al-Ziyärät bi-'l-Masjid al-Aqsä (Ms. Escorial, 1767, 3) (Henceforth al-Mustaqsa), fols. 92a-92b. For a slightly different tradition, see Ibn al-Murajjâ, fol. 116a [-557]; Yâqùt b. ‘Abdallah, Abu ‘Abdallah, Shihäb al-Din al-Rümï, Mu'jam al-Buldän (Leipzig: In Commission Bei F.A. Brockhaus, 1866-1873)(Henceforth Yâqùt,Mu 'jam) 2:195; Ibn Fadlalläh al-‘Umari, Masälik al-AbsärßM amälik al-Amsär, ed. Ahmad Zaki Päshä (Cairo: Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyya, 1924)(Henceforth Masälik al-A bsär), 168-169; C. Matthews, “The Mu£ir al-Gharäm of Abü-1-Fidâ* of Hebron,* The Journal o f the Palestine Oriental Society 17 (1937)(Henceforth Tadmuri): 186. 19. C. Matthews, “Maqrizi’s Treatise ‘Dau* as-Säri’ On the Tamimi Waqf in Hebron,* The Journal o f Ae Palenine Oriental Society 19 (1939-1940)(Henceforth Al-Maqrizi): 158-159, two chains of transmitters, a) Muhammad b. Sa‘d in [his book] al-Tabaqät < Muhammad b. ‘Umar, that is al-Wâqidi < Muhammad b. ‘Abdallah < al-Zuhri [d. 124/743] < ‘Ubaydalläh b. ‘Abdallah b. ‘Ùtba [d. 98/ 716-17] < Hishäm b. Muhammad al-Kalbi [d. 204/819] < ‘Ubaydalläh b. Yazid b. Rawh b. Zinbä* al-Judhämi < his father [Yazid, active at the beginning of the 2/8 century]. Ahmad b. Yahyä al-Balädhuri, Futüh al-Buldän, ed. M.J. De Goeje (Leiden: E.J. BrÜl, 1866)(Henceforth Al-Balädhuri, Futüh), 78: al-‘Abbäs < Hishäm b. Muhammad < his father [d. 146/762] [ - Hishäm b. Muhammad al-Kalbi, Nasab Ma‘add wa-’l-Yaman al-Kahir, ed. Näji Hasan (Beirut: Maktabat al-Nahda al-‘Arabiyya, 1988)(Henceforth Ibn al-Kalbi, Nasab Ma'add) 1:207]; al-Maqrizi, 163-164: Yùnus [b. Yazid al-Ayli, d.159/775-76] < al-Zuhri and Thawr b. Yazid [d. 153/770] < Räshid b. Sa‘d [d. 113/731-732]. The sign < designates the transmission of a tradition (hadith) from one transmitter to the other. 20. Sharon, 955-956; Ibn ‘Asäkir, Ta’rikh Taräjim al-Nisä’, ed. Sukayna al-Shihäbi (Damascus: D ir al-Fikr, 1981[?J), 128-129: al-‘Abbäs b. Hishäm b. Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib < his father [d. 204/819]: Abraham comes to Palestine from Harrän, stays at al-Lajjùn, then (crosses) to (Jtmd) Filastin (this shows evidence that in ca. 800 A.D. al-Lajjùn was a border between Jund al-Urdunn and Jund Filastin), then to al-Sab‘, which was part of the sub-district of Bayt Jibrin, then to Habra...; Tadmuri, 194; Ibn al-Firkäh, 81, 82, 83. 21. Ibrahim b. Muhammad, Abù Ishäq al-Istakhri, Masälik al-Mamälik (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1927)(Henceforth Al-Istakhri), 57, 66; Muhammad b. Hawqal, Abù ’l-Qâsim, Sürat al-Ard, ed. J.H . Kramers (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1938)(Henceforth Ibn Hawqal), 186. 22. Al-Muqaddasi, 172 (Habrä), 192 (Masjid Ibrâhîm).



23. Ibn al-‘Arabï, Ahkâm al-Qur'àn 3:1091 [-D rory, 109, no. 30]: instead of “Jayrùn” read "Habriin.” 24. Sharon, 956; Yâqùt, Mu'jam 2:468: "The place is called al-Khalil, but the original name is Habriin, and it was pronounced "Habra”; also see Yâqùt, Mu'jam 2:194-195. 25. Tsafrir, "The Provinces”, 370. It was not of course a city because it was not mentioned in the administrative lists which described all the Byzantine provinces and their cities in the sixth century (those of Hierodes Synecdemus, 717-723, ed. Burckhardt (Leipzig: Teubner, 1893), 41-43; and that of Georgius Cyprius, Descriptio Orbis Romani, 997-1093, ed. H. Gelzer (Leipzig: Teubner, 1890), 51-55. Tsafrir, "The Provinces,” 372-380 does not mention Hebron among the villages referred to in the work of Georgius of Cyprus. 26. See Arculf*s description below, 2. 27. Sharon, 956; M. Gil, A History o f Palestine, 634-1099, trans. Ethel Broido (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)(Henceforth Gil), 205, no. 314. 28. The text Canonici Hebronenis Tractatus de inventione sanctarum patriarcharum Abraham, Ysaac et Jacob, in Recueil