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Scholars and Society at Early Islamic Ayla

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

While historical and archaeological sources confirm that the early Islamic city of Ayla (modern al-ʿAqaba, Jordan) was a flourishing port in the ʿAbbāsid period and afterward, our knowledge of the city's population is limited. However, by examining medieval Arabic biographical works, this study reveals a significant scholarly community from the city, dominated by a small number of large families. Most notably, many members of this community were descendants of clients (mawālī) of the Umayyad family, with ties to neighboring regions of the Near East, especially Egypt and the Hijāz.

Affiliations: 1: University oh Chicago


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