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From Ethiopian Slave to Egyptian Sufi Master? Yāqūt al-Ḥabashī in Mamluk and Ottoman Sources

Abstract : Shaykh Yāqūt al-Ḥabashī (d. 732 ah/1332 ce) is a saintly figure from Mamluk times that is still highly revered in present-day Egypt. He is traditionally described as an Ethiopian slave who became a Ṣūfī master of the ṭarīqa Shādhiliyya in Alexandria. However, both his life and teachings are difficult to reconstruct, as he did not leave any written work and source information on him is fragmentary and inconsistent. This paper tries to shed light, if not on the shaykh’s biography, at least on the making of his hagiographic image, by means of comparative analysis of different biohagiographic traditions on him in Mamluk and Ottoman sources. This will hopefully help to better understand the formation of historical self-representations in the early Shādhiliyya, as well as to gain some fresh insights into social representations of slavery and phenotypic diversity in medieval Egypt
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Contributor : Giuseppe Cecere <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 11:15:35 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 30, 2020 - 12:04:04 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 4, 2020 - 5:44:09 PM

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Giuseppe Cecere. From Ethiopian Slave to Egyptian Sufi Master? Yāqūt al-Ḥabashī in Mamluk and Ottoman Sources. Northeast African Studies, Michigan State University Press, 2019, Ethiopia and Nubia in Islamic Egypt: Connected Histories of Northeastern Africa (2019), 19 (1), pp.85-137. ⟨10.14321/nortafristud.19.1.0085⟩. ⟨halshs-02945350⟩

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