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Unformatted text preview: UNIVERSITY OF CALI FORN I A Los Angeles Islamic Symbols and Sufi Rituals for Protection and Healing : Religion and Magic in the Writings of Ahmad ibn Ali al-Buni (d. 622/1225). A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in I slamic Studies by Edgar Walter Francis IV 2 005 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. UMI Number: 3188348 Copyright 2005 by Francis, Edgar Walter, IV All rights reserved. INFORMATION TO USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UMI ® UMI Microform 3188348 Copyright 2006 by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest Information and Learning Company 300 North Zeeb Road P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. © Copyright by Edgar Walter Francis IV 2005 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. The d issertation of Edgar Walter Francis IV is approved . / �Q. I rene B ierman I smail Poonawala M i chael Morony, Committee Chair University of California, Los Angeles 2005 ii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. D E D I CATION This dissertation is dedicated to the memory of those who saw the process beg in, but did not see it end: "Grumpy" (Edgar Walter Francis, J r.) "Nana" (Celeste Victoria Francis) "Poppy" (Kurt Jakob Landsberg) and "Mom" (Karen Landsberg Francis) iii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Table of Contents I ntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 1 : Theories of Magic, Rel igion, and Science Chapter 2 : Islamic Perspectives o n Magic Chapter 3: Mag ic i n the Islamic World before al-BOnT Chapter 4: The Biogra phy and Bibliography of At) mad ibn 'AIT al-BOnT. . Chapter 5: Mag ical Means and Methods i n al-BOnT's Corpus Chapter 6: Numbers and Arabic Letters in al-BOnT's Corpus Chapter 7: The Names of God in al-BO nT's Corpus: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Beautiful and the Greatest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter B:The Power of the Qur'an and Its Verses in al-BOnT's Corpus Concl usions Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 2 15 56 72 97 1 20 1 34 1 82 220 236 246 List of Figures Figure 1 : Bud DIJ Square, in n umbers and transliterated abjad letters Figure 2 : Elements, Qualities, and H umors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Figure 3 : Levels and AbjadValues of Arabic Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fig ure 4 : Assignment of Elements and Qualities to Letter G roups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Figure 5 : The Seven Signs Representi ng the G reatest Name of God v Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 46 1 52 1 54 1 55 1 98 Transliteration Tables All Arabic transl iterations utilize the American Library Association/Library of Congress romanization (transliteration) tables, summarized below. The only exceptions are the title and abstract (which utilize a simplified version of those tables) and d irect quotations of sources using different transliteration systems (which preserve the original text). ALA/Library of Congress Arabic Transliteration Tables (summary) Letter Roma nization Letter Name Abjadvalue I a a/if 1 y b ba' 2 ..:;, t ta' 400 u th Iha' 500 � j ;Tm 3 <:. � t;a ' 8 t. kh kha' 600 .) d dat 4 ) dh dhat 700 J r ra' 200 j z zay 7 <.JU s sin 60 ...fo sh shin 300 "-'° � $ad 90 ._}L> <;I r;fad 800 .lo 1 .ta ' 9 Ji:> � ?a ' 900 c. ' ayn 70 c. gh ghayn 1 ,000 vi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. ALNLibrary of Congress Arabic Transliteration Tables {summary) {continued) Letter Romanization Letter N ame A bjadvalue .Ji f fa' 80 j q qaf 1 00 � k kaf 20 J I lam 30 p m mim 40 u n nun 50 0 h ha' 5 waw 6 ya' 10 w (consonant) .9 O (vowel) y (consonant) 9. T (vowel) hamzah ' 6 ..s h (normal) ta' t (construct) marbtJ/ah -- -- ---- a altf maq$0rah ---- For more information, see: Randall K. Barry. ALA-LC Romanization Tables: Transliteration Schemes for Non-Roman Scripts, pp. 1 0- 1 9. Washington, DC: Library of Cong ress Catalog ing D istribution Service, 1 997. Available online at <http:l/www. loc.gov/catd ir/cpso/romanization/arabic.pdf>. Last accessed May 28, 2005. vii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This work would not have been possible without the support of numerous individuals and institutions, and I would like to take this opportun ity to thank them for their contri butions. Professor Michael Morony, as my advisor, has been the person most deeply involved with this work since its inception, and his advice and support have been invaluable. Throughout my doctoral program, he has expressed a q uiet confidence in me and my work, allowing me to follow my own path but offering correction where req uested or needed . This dissertation began as a paper in my first seminar with h i m , at which time he was the first to mention the name al-BOnT to me. It was also at his suggestion that I began exploring the issues which are discussed in such detail in chapter one. On a practical level, he has placed at my disposal his own carrel in the UCLA Research Library, where the majority of this dissertation was written . Naturally, the encouragement and g uidance of the rest of my doctoral committee-Professors S . Scott Bartchy, I rene Bierman , Ismail Poonawala, and Hossein Ziai-have been essential throughout the development and composition of th is dissertation. Especially as it has neared completion , I h ave been gratefu l for the alacrity and keen eye of all my committee members in responding to viii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. drafts of my writi ng . U ltimately, of course, this work is my own and I bear full responsibility fo r all errors contained therein . The staff of the Gustav E . von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies at U C LA and the UCLA I nternational I nstitute (formerly I nternational Studies and Overseas Programs) have also assisted me in i n numerable ways over the years. I n particular, I would like to acknowledge the Student Affairs Officers for I slamic Studies-Carolyn Ramirez-La Faso and Ors. Diane James, Louise Hitchcock, Ann Stei nsapir, and Samy Swayd . Research for this dissertation was conducted in Tunisia with the assistance of a Fulbright G rant from the Institute of I nternational Education ( l l E) and a Small G rant from the American I nstitute for Maghrib Studies (AI MS) . I am gratefu l to both organ izations and their officers for their su pport, particularly Phillip Breeden and Faouzia Ben Kheder of the American Embassy i n Tunis and Becky Shulthies of AIMS. I also wish to than k the staff of the i nstitutions i n Tunis where I conducted my research . The support of Khalifa Chater, director of the Manuscripts Collection at the Tunisian Bibliotheque Nationale, was essential in obtaining funding and conducting my research . I n the library, I was g iven friendly, efficient assistance by 'AIT Khalid Mahir and the rest of the Man uscri pts Col lection staff- ix Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Khalid Ghaza'il, 'AIT TayzawT, and 'AIT al-Zu'ayabT-which made my work both pleasant and highly productive. I am also gratefu l to Lamia Bach Hamba and her staff for microfilming several manuscripts for me, enabling me to conti nue my work with them i n Los Angeles. Long before I arrived in Tunis, the Centre d'etudes maghrebi nes a Tunis (CEMAT) provided essential i nformation on research institutions in the city and life in Tunisia. Once in the country, I found CEMAT to be an excellent "home base" for my researches, and a fine resource for necessary secondary scholarship. wish to than k CEMAT as an organization and the staff as i ndividuals for their hospitality and support and especially Ryadh Saadaoui for his assistance i n getting me settled upon my arrival in Tunis . The library of the l nstitut des belles lettres arabes ( I B LA) placed at my disposal valuable secondary sources u nava ilable elsewhere, and I for this assistance I thank the Wh ite Fathers-particularly Fr. David Bond-as well as the lay librarians. The White Sisters were also very hel pful in making my Ful bright year a productive one. Even though I conducted no research under their auspices, their instruction in Tunisian Arabic was vital to being able to live and work in Tu nis. x Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Out of the many friends and col leagues at UCLA who have lent me their encouragement a nd support in so many ways over the years, I especially wou ld like to than k the participants in the Islamic Studies dissertation writing group: Sandra Campbell , Maya Yazigi, Fariba Taghavi , and H ussam Timani. Their example was extremely helpfu l as I began the writing process and showed me that it could be done. I n the last two years, I have had the fortune to make the acquai ntance of many people at U CLA and beyond who have given me the support I have needed to meet the challenges of writi ng and of life . While it would be impossible to name them all, I would like to single out Ben, Fred , Fred C . , Dr. Alan Nagamoto, and the participants in the UCLA Dissertation Support Group from 2003 through 2005. The support and encouragement of my family have been indispensable throughout g raduate school and the writing process. I would like to thank them all-especially my sister Raquel Ellis, my father Edgar Francis I l l , my grandmother Eleanor Landsberg , and most of all my wife Dr. Linda Schubert. It takes a special kind of love and patience to su pport a partner deeply immersed in a project such as this, and it takes something even more special to marry a person in the middle of the process. I thank her with all my heart. xi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. VITA Jan uary 4, 1 969 Born, Hyannis, Massachusetts 1 99 1 A. B . , Near Eastern Studies Cornell U niversity Ithaca, New York 1 994 M .A. , Near Eastern Stud ies U n iversity of Michigan, An n Arbor Ann Arbor, Michigan 2000 Teaching Assistant Life Sciences Core Curricu lum Los Angeles, Cal ifornia 2001 Teachi ng Assistant Department of Art History Los Angeles, California 2001 -2002 Manuscript Research, Tu n isia, under l l E Fulbright Grant and American Institute for Maghrib Stud ies (AI MS) Sma ll Grant 2003 Teach ing Assistant Department of H istory Los Angeles, Cal ifornia 2003 Teach ing Fellow Collegium of U n iversity Teaching Fel lows Los Angeles, Cal ifornia xii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. P U B LICATIONS AN D PRESENTATIONS Francis, Edgar Walter, IV. "The Historiography of the Ridda and the ' False Prophets."' Presented at the M iddle East Studies Association annual meetin g , Washington, D . C . , December 7, 1 995. --- . "Islamic Magic,'' in International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages­ Online. A Supplement to LexMA-On l i ne. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2005, in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopaedias < . net/bme>. Last u pdated March 1 , 2005. --- . "Magic and Medical Eclecticism among Medieval M uslims." I nvited lecture presented in the series "Health , Healing, and Islam across the M uslim World," U niversity of Californ ia, Los Angeles, October 1 6, 2003. --- . "Mag ic and Med ical Eclecticism in Medieval Isla m . " Presented at the Middle East Studies Association annual meeting, San Francisco, California, November 1 9, 200 1 . -- . "Magic and Mysticism in the Works of Ahmad i bn Ali al-Buni ." Presented at the Modern Language Association annual convention, New York, New York, December 29, 2002 . -- . "Magic i n the Early Persian Encyclopedias." Presented at the Middle East Studies Association annual meeti ng, Chicago, I l l i nois, December 4, 1 998. --. "Magical Protection and Healing i n the Mag hri b and Al-Andalus in the 1 3th Century." Presented at the American Institute for Maghri b Studies annual dissertation workshop, Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 1 , 2000 . --- . "Mapping the Boundaries between Magic and Mysticism: The Names of God in the Writings of Ahmad ibn Ali al-Buni." Presented at the M iddle East Studies Association annual meeting, Anchorage, Alaska , November 8, 2003 . xiii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. --. "The Place of the 'Occult' i n Medieval I ranian Arts and Sciences." Presented at the Jusur student conference on the M iddle East, Los Angeles, Californ ia, May 1 5, 1 998. --. "Sufism and Alchemy in the Writings of Jabir ibn H ayyan." Presented at the M iddle East Stud ies Association annual meeting, San Francisco, Californ ia, November 24 , 1 997. --. Review of l rmeli Perho, The Prophet's Medicine: A Creation of the Muslim Traditionalist Scholars. Studia Orientalia 7 4. Helsinki: The Finnish Oriental Society, 1 995. Religious Studies Review27, no. 2 (April 2001 ) . xiv Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. ABSTRACT OF T H E D I SSERTATION Islamic Symbols and Sufi Rituals fo r Protection and H ealing: Religion and M agic in the Writings of Ahmad ibn Ali al-Buni (d. 622/1 225). Edgar Walter Francis IV Doctor of Philosophy i n Islamic Studies U niversity of California, Los Angeles, 2005 Professor Michael M orony, Chair The writings attributed to Ahmad ibn Ali al-Bu ni represent the earliest surviving collectio n of " Islamic magic"--efforts to influence the world through the manipulatio n of Islamic symbols. A representative selectio n of these texts, including Shams al-maarif (al-Buni's most famous and influential work) are examined in terms of Islamic intellectual history (particularly occult literature) and Western scholars hip on the relationship among "magic," "religion," and "science." In chapter one, debates among Western scholars a bout how to discuss and distinguish among these categories-and whether it is wise to do so-are evaluated . Similarly, Islamic perspectives on magic u p throug h al-Buni's lifetime are addressed in the fo l lowin g chapter. The history of Arabic magical literature xv Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. befo re al-Buni is summarized i n chapter three. In chapter fou r, al-Buni's biography and works are p resented, as well as the unresolved questions surrou n ding them. sources consulted. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the primary In the last fo u r chapters instructions for using Islamic symbols for protection and fo r healing (broadly defined) in these sources are examined . I n chapter five, the various forms and methods used througho ut al­ B uni's corpus for manipulating these symbols are introduced. These include Sufi devotions (e. g . , recitation or solitary retreat), written fo rms (e.g., magic squares i n amulets a n d talismans), a n d t h e picture o f the spirit world in the corpus. [Studs] I nn ovations and continuity with previous magical literature in these elements are pointed out. The application of differe nt I slamic symbols for protection and healing is discussed in detail i n the last three chapters. The uses prescribed for Arabic letters, the N ames of God , and verses and phrases taken from the Qur'an are each addressed in turn. It is demonstrated that the intellectualist approach p rovides a useful model for the study of magic in Islamic societies and that the explicitly Islamic nature of the magic in al-Buni's corpus changed the way that magic was u nderstood and practiced. It is concluded that protective and d efensive magic was i ncreasingly (though not exclusively) emphasized, as xvi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. o pposed to offensive magic, and even the idea of what n eeded to be healed or protected against was conditioned by the Q ur'an and Islamic tradition. xvi i Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. List of Abbreviations BN Tunis Salle des manuscrits, Bibl iotheque Nationale de Tun isie (Dar al­ Kutub al-WatanTyah al-TOnisTyah ) . Tunis, Tu nisia. (Fol lowed by manuscript number.) El2 Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition. Ed ited by H.A.R. Gibb, et. al. 1 1 vols+ supplement. Leiden : Brill, 1 960-2004. 1 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Introduction And do you not see that the masters of these secrets, when they comprehend the secrets of intervention of the [Qu r'anic] verses and other things, they are healthy amid a h u ndred chronic illnesses? And their journey in it does not cease to be usefu l to travelers, save by their lack of knowledge of humors and intervention.1 This is the essence of the teach ings attributed to A�mad ibn 'AIT al-BOnT (d. 622/1 220): knowledge is power, particularly knowledge that is connected to God , and that power can preserve the body as well as the sou l. At the same time, to know God and H is secrets is the best way to worship Him. 2 Al-BO nTs writings represent the earliest surviving collection of "Islamic magic"-that is to say, efforts to influence the world through the manipulation of Islamic symbols. These texts are also of conti nuing relevance, since they 1 A�mad ibn 'AIT al-BOnT (d. 622/1 220), Shams al-ma'Brif al-kubra (Beirut, 1 420/2000), 1 1 :252. 2 Cf. al-BOnT, Shams a/-ma 'arif al-kubra ( C airo n.d. [1 905?]), IV: 1 9; al-BO nT, al-U�u/ wa­ , al-9awab(t (BN Tunis 661 ) , fols. 35v, 36v. 2 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further repr...
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