понедельник, 28 января 2013 г.

1. Turbas in Jerusalem

The Arabic word “turba” means “tomb, tombstone.” This term applies only to Muslim shrines located in Jerusalem. Outside Jerusalem such burial structures are called in Arabic “maqam” (“place, stop, stand”), if a sheikh, imam or someone very important is buried there; or more generally – “kabr” (“grave”). Note also that the word “turba”, when used with a proper name of a person or a place, is used in the form of “turbat”.

Turbat al-Kubakiya
ضريح الكبكي
תורבת כובכייה

This exemplary tomb is located in the heart of Jerusalem, on the territory of Muslim cemetery Mamilla Cemetery, opposite the former hotel “Palas”. Built in the Mamluk era, it is well maintained and still preserves its primordial appearance. In this turba is buried emir ‘Ala ad-Din Aydughdi ibn ‘Abdallah al-Kubaki (hence the name), the ruler of Safad and Aleppo in the times of Mamluk sultan Baybars. He died in Jerusalem in 1289 and was buried with great honors.

This is how Muslim historian of 15th century, Mujir ad-Din, described the tomb: “The Zawiyeh al-Kebekiyeh. In the cemetery of Mamilla there is a well-built kubbeh known by the name of al-Kebekiyeh, after that of the Emir 'Ala ad-Din Aydughdi, the son of 'Abd Allah al-Kebeky”.

Kubbeh”, “Qubbat” – “dome, structure with a dome" is another synonym for the word "tomb”.

Turbat al-Kubakiya might have been charted on the map of Jerusalem, published in a book by Jean Zuallart “Il devotissimo viaggio di Gerusalemme” (1587), under the name of “Sepolchri de Turchi” (“Turkish tomb”). There are English and Spanish versions of this map. One can see that the structure is located on the territory of a Muslim cemetery not far from the road leading to the Jaffa Gate. On the French map of Jerusalem in a book published in 1629, Turbat al-Kubakiya has a crescent on the top of the dome and is located near the pool, now known as Birket Mamilla. Perhaps, once a crescent really used to crown the turba. There is no crescent in the drawings made in the 19th century.

Map of Jerusalem from the book by Jean Zuallart (1587)

A fragment of a French map of Jerusalem of 1629

The drawing of Turbat al-Kubakiya of 1860 (from the book by Vincent–Abel)

2. Tombs of the Prophets

Tomb of nabi Bulus (Paul the Apostle)
مقام النبي بولس
קבר נבי בולוס

“Nabi Bulus” in Arabic means none other than St. Paul, the hero of Acts and the author of fourteen epistles from the New Testament. It is believed that Muslims hate Paul for misrepresenting the true teachings of Prophet ‘Isa, i.e. Jesus Christ, and instead of the true religion of Allah, preached by ‘Isa ibn Maryam, created Christianity. Modern Muslims may think so, but their ancestors thought differently. In the Middle Ages Muslims revered Paul as one of the prophets. A prominent Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301–1373), for example, in his interpretation of the Quran mentioned messengers Shamoun (Simon-Peter), Yuhanna (St. John) and Bulus (Paul) as faithful followers of Prophet ‘Isa. Speaking about Bulus, Ibn Kathir pointed out that he preached in Antakya (Antioch of Syria). It is clear that information about Bulus-Paul Islamic scholar learned from church tradition.

The tomb is located to the south from Beit Jimal Monastery and is directly adjacent to residential areas in Ramat Beit Shemesh. It can be clearly seen from the Highway leading to the interchange Beit Shemesh Darom. Structure consists of the tomb itself, 4.5 x 12.6 m (rooms A and B), and the Prayer hall (mosque), 6.4 x 12.6 m (room C). Under the Prayer hall there is quite a spacious storage with a pointed vault. A Burial chamber is crowned with a small dome. Not so long ago a stone cenotaph of nabi Bulus could be found in the tomb (A. Petersen still had a chance to look at it in 1994); but now it is not there, though one can easily identify the spot on the floor where it was standing.

In the religious complex were from the north, through the central arch. So the room B can be considered as a hallway or living room, from which one can get into the Burial chamber (A) and the Prayer hall (C).

Plan of the tomb (from the book of A. Petersen)
Photo by H. Berger of 1930s

Photo of 1994. View from the north (from the book of A. Petersen)

According to the Western Christian tradition, Paul was beheaded in Rome and buried in the same city. Recently under the altar of the Roman Temple of San-Paolo-Fuori-le-Mura a sarcophagus with fragments of human bones, in which they saw the remains of the great “Apostle to the Gentiles”, was opened. However, the Muslim tradition holds that Paul died in Palestine and was buried in the Holy Land. Khirbet an-Nabi Bulus – a small hill, where the concerned tomb is situated – has long been known.

воскресенье, 27 января 2013 г.

3. Maqams. Judaean Mountains

In Arabic, maqam means “place, stop, stand”. This name is used for the tombs of eminent sheikhs and other Muslim leaders. For Muslims it is a holy place. Therefore maqam is also called “wely” — “shrine”. Usually the travelers stopped and prayed at such tombs, and could even spend the night here (which happened quite often) if there was a special room for that. Maqams were not only the places of worship, but also guard points from which the roads were monitored and landmarks for travelers. Therefore, as a rule, maqams were built on the top of a mountain or a hill, on the most prominent place. However, there were exceptions and some maqams were built not on the top, but in valleys, at important sections of roads and at crossroads.

According to W. Thomson, "The domes cover the shrines of reputed prophets, or holy men; a sort of patron saints very common in this region. Each village has one or more, and, besides these, every conspicuous hill-top has a wely or mazar, beneath spreading oak, to which people pay religious visits, and thither they go up to worship and to discharge vows" (1859, I 203–204).

Not all maqams represent an actual burial place of a sheikh. Maqams were often erected in memory of a particular activist long after his death. The maqams of such kind are, for example, maqam Abu Huraira in Yavne, maqam Abu ‘Ubayda and Mu‘az ibn Jabal in Emmaus, and some others.

Until 1948, all maqams were working, kept by the locals: Palestinian Arabs. After the establishment of the state of Israel many Arab-Palestinian villages ceased to exist: their inhabitants were either banished or had to leave their homes. Muslim shrines have been left to the mercy of fate.

Maqam imam ‘Ali
مقام الإمام علي
מקאם אימאם עלי

This maqam is seen by everyone driving along the Highway 1 from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The only part of the main Israeli Highway (between road Interchanges Shoresh and Sha'ar ha-Gai) where it splits, leaving some space between the traffic lanes. This is where Maqam imam ‘Ali is. Actually, it is an open air mosque (musalla). A small prayer area surrounded by the wall of 2.2m high, except for the northern part of it, where the height of the wall is only 0.5m. The mihrab in the south wall rises slightly above the walls. A small Sabil (1.6 x 1.65 m) with a dome and an arched opening on the north side is adjacent to the mosque from the northeastern side.

The musalla. View from the north

The sabil

Judging by the photo of the 1930s, there used to be another court to the north of the prayer area, also surrounded by a wall and with a high arched entrance. Now the yard is completely destroyed.

суббота, 26 января 2013 г.

4. Maqams. Shfela

Maqam sheikh ‘Abdallah
مقام الشيخ عبد الله
קבר שייח' עבדאללה

This tomb is not mentioned by researchers of 19–20th centuries, although it is quite a remarkable one. For the first time it appeared on the British maps of Palestine. Maqam is situated on a small hill which is historically known as Khirbet al-Habur (SWP III, 281; Palmer 1881, 371 (Sheet XX)). The tomb with the sizes of 6.90 х 6.75 х 2.10 m with a 1.4 m high cupola has a beautiful arch entrance from the northern side. From the right side from the entrance there is a small window. A steeple-roofed mihrab in a southern wall of the tomb is surrounded by Arabic and Jewish inscriptions made by present-day visitors. The sheikh's cenotaph has not survived.

View from the north-east

View from the north

View from the west

пятница, 25 января 2013 г.

5. Maqams. Coastal Plain

Maqam ‘Abd an-Nabi
مقام عبد النبي
מקאם עבד אל-נבי

On the Tel Aviv coast, not far from the luxury Hotel “Hilton” in the Independence Park, there is an abandoned Muslim cemetery located on a small hill. It is the Maqam of ‘Abd an-Nabi, which now looks more like a slum area. Once they tried to restore it, but not very successfully. Finally they simply stopped taking care of it. People strolling along the promenade use it as a dumping-ground for empty bottles.

‘Abd an-Nabi means “the servant of the Prophet [Muhammad]”. Maqam appears on maps of Palestine of the 19th century, long before the foundation of Tel Aviv. It is in many ways similar to the Maqam sheikh 'Awad in Ashkelon (see below), also located on the coast. And it has the same three-part structure: the tomb in the center and two adjacent arched rooms on the sides of it.

View from the north

четверг, 24 января 2013 г.

6. Maqams. Sharon Plain and Carmel

Maqam sheikh ‘Abdallah as-Sahili
مقام الشيخ عبد الله السهلي
קבר שייח' עבדאללה

The main sanctuary of the former Palestinian village Balad ash-Sheikh has surprisingly survived until our days. It is the maqam of sheikh ‘Adballah as-Sahili, a famous Sufi scientist at times of a Turkish sultan Selim I (1512–1520). The maqam was built in 19th century, but there is evidence to believe that it was established during the Ottoman period.

View from the north

A. Petersen studied the shrine in 1994, “The tomb stands within a walled cemetery (the wall is modern) surrounded by tall blocks of flats. The south side of the shrine is cut into the rock of the hillside whilst the north side is built on a raised platform. On the south-west corner is a large buttress with sloping sides which appears to be of some considerable age. The main entrance is in the middle of the north side and consists of an arched recess (2m wide) with a rectangular doorway in the centre. Above the doorway, in the tympanum of the arch, is an opening in the form of an eight-pointed star. There is a smaller entrance on the east side reached by a small flight of steps, although this may originally have been a window. The interior is divided into three cross-vaulted bays. Each bay is roofed with a folded cross-vault with a small dome in the centre. In the middle of the south wall is a mihrab flanked with two square windows. In the west bay there are three cenotaphs or graves, one of which belongs to the shaykh. Ronen and Olami (1983, xvii, 40) refer to a rock-cut mihrab and steps leading to the roof of the shrine although neither of these was visible in 1994” (2001, 108–109).

View from the north-west

View from the south-west

10. Rebuilt Maqams and Modern replicas of Maqams

The first sign that an old Muslim shrine went through a thorough renovation or was rebuilt is the green color of its dome. The Palestinian Arabs started the tradition of painting the domes and the doors of a shrine green quite recently — ten years ago. In the old days all maqams had white domes. The travelers of the 19th and early 20th centuries note this (Geikie 1888, I 67; McCown 1922, 48); this can be seen in colour drawings of that time.

It can be assumed that green as the colour of the domes of Palestinian shrines arose under the influence of The Green Dome built above the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina, which was painted green in 1837. Masses of domes of the Palestinian mosques were repainted green at the beginning of this century. The dome of the Great Mosque of Jenin became green in 2005. The domes of the Sidna ‘Ali Mosque in Herzliya were painted green in 2007. The domes of the el-Zaytuna Mosque and the Jezzar Pasha Mosque in Acre turned green in 2009. The dome the Ras al-Amud Mosque in East Jerusalem is green since 2011. The central domes of the complex Neby Musa (Prophet Moses), located in the Judean Desert, were painted green in 2009.

Many domes of mosques and Islamic shrines were repainted green by “Al-Aqsa Foundation”, based in Umm al-Fahm.

Maqam sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Mujarmi
مقام الشيخ عبد الرحمن الدجاني
קבר שייח' עבד רחמן א -מוג'רימי

Tantura was well known for European travelers a long time ago (even in the early 19th century), it was described many times, there left a lot of engraving plates and pictures of the seaside settlement. But we do not see the tomb of sheikh `Abd ar-Rahman al-Mujarmi on any of those pictures. E. Mulinen was the first who mentioned this shrine in 1907 (DPV XXX 189; 1908, 310). But there isn`t the tomb on the photos of Tantura published in his book. Though it would be interesting to compare how E. Mulinen saw this shrine and how we see it today.

After the Palestinians were exiled from Tantura, two Israeli settlements were established there: kibbutz Nahsholim and moshav Dor. According to M. Benvenisti, the Arabs of Fureidis (a neighbouring Palestinian village) told him that each time when an excavator started to demolish the maqam of sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman, its blade broke (2000, 198). Besides the maqam the seas-front house of the al-Yahya also survived. Some authors called this house “customs”.

A. Petersen explored the tomb of sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Mujarmi in 1994 and describes it as follows, “This is located approximately 20 m east of the sea-front building. The mausoleum is entered through a doorway in the middle of the south side. Inside are three graves aligned east-west. One grave is said to be that of the builder of the sea-front building. The dome rests on an octagonal drum supported on spherical pendentives. The transition from drum to dome is marked by a torus molding” (2001, 293).

A. Petersen visited this place when a seashore hotel complex had been already founded in moshav Dor. The tomb of sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman is inside of it. According to the photo in Petersen's book, he studies the same structure as we see today. The same concrete blockwork as we see today. A nd now there are three tombstones inside the tomb covered with green cloths. It shows that the Muslims visit the tomb. There are also respective photoreports.

It's interesting that there is no mihrab in the maqam. Instead there is a little window in the S wall. A. Petersen did not tell anything about the mihrab either.

We can suppose that the original maqan of sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Mudjarmi which E. Mulinen saw in 1907, was later completely rebuilt. It probably can be proceeded in time of the Israeli state, in 80s or early 90s in the 19th century; not a long tome before A. Petersen visited Tantura.

The Muslims (probably the people of Fureidis) rebuilt this shrine when the Palestinian commune was not subject to new influences , before the war of colors started, before domes of Muslim shrines started to be painted green. The dome of the tomb of sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman keeps a traditional white color.

Coordinates: 32°36'33.1"N 34°55'01.7"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Mülinen, 1907; DPV XXX 189; Mülinen, 1908, 310; Khalidi 1992, 195; Benvenisti 2000, 198; Petersen 2001, 293; The Archaeological Survey of Israel

Maqam sheikh ‘Abd as-Salam
مقام الشيخ عبد السلام
קבר שייח' עבד אל-סלאם

The maqam of sheikh ‘Abd as-Salam was built in the district of Palestinian village ‘Anata in the early 20th century. It is still an active Muslim shrine and even is under renovation. The walls are whitewashed inside, the floor is tiled. A small site in front of the entrance is partly covered with the same tiles. In general the structure keeps the same size: 6.90 x 4.70 x 2.40 m. A renewed cenotaph is covered with a green cloth. It`s interesting that thereэs no mihrab in the maqam. It probably wasn't there originally.

View from the south-west

Photo of 1910s (from the book by McCown, 1922)
View from the north-east

среда, 16 января 2013 г.

11a. Lost shrines. South

Small buildings of a cubic shape with white domes located on the top of the hills are part and parcel of the Palestinian landscape. At least, so it was until 1948. According to J. Geikie, “There is, however, in nearly every village, a small whitewashed building with a low dome — the "mukam," or "place," sacred to the eyes of the peasants. In almost every landscape such a landmark gleams from the top of some hill, just as, doubtless, something of the same kind did in the old Canaanite ages; or you meet it under some spreading tree covered with offerings of rags tied to the branches, or near a fountain; the trees overshadowing them being held so sacred that every twig falling from them is reverently stored inside the "mukam." Anything a peasant wishes to guard from theft is perfectly safe if put within such a holy building. No one will touch it, for it is believed that every structure of this kind is the tomb of some holy man, whose spirit hovers near, and would be offended by any want of reverence to his resting-place.” (1888 I 578)

Travelers of the 19th and 20th centuries often depicted maqams, sometimes without even knowing their names and the name of a person buried there.