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Financial Troubles: A Mamluk Petition

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Chapter Summary

As Mark Cohen pointed out in his monumental study on letters written by or on behalf of the Jewish poor in Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt, the formulae in those documents requesting help and relief from financial pressures follow closely those attested in Arabic petitions of a more general nature "to a ruler or other dignitary requesting redress of a grievance or some kind of assistance". The document that is the subject of this chapter is exactly such an Arabic petition. It is addressed by a ḥajj Aḥmad al-Adamī to the chief Shāfiʿī judge of Cairo requesting that an ongoing financial conflict between the petitioner and some creditors, which has caused Aḥmad's repeated imprisonment, be looked into by the Shāfiʿī court. The chapter presents the edition of the petition followed by a commentary and discussion of some of the issues raised by this text.

Keywords: Arabic petitions; Ayyubid Egypt; Mamluk period; Mark Cohen; Shāfiʿī court; University of Utah



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