Strict Standards: Non-static method MAIN::siteLangue() should not be called statically in /home1/web2pro/public_html/suyuti.net/config/config.php on line 52
Cairo's Historic Cemetery of al-Suyuti Conflicting Claims.

Glossary


Aza

the offering of condolence after death. People gather to present their condolence to the bereaved in gatherings that may involve Quran recital or the charitable dispensation of food or alms.

Baraka

blessing, or effusion of grace. ; "Baraka is the secret essence (sirr) of Allah, his prophets and his walis in things (ashya)” (Amin 1999)

Barzakh

isthmus:A barzakh, in the Quran, is the isthmus, or the state between life and death. It seems to have both a temporal and spatial dimension, as al-barzakh, or dar al-barzakh, is both the time between death and resurrection and the link between heaven and earth. It is also one of the laudatory terms used to describe both living and dead walis, as they are considered an isthmus or a link between God and his subjects. It is also, especially from the Ottoman period onwards, used to indicate ‘shrine.’

Bid’a

innovation, a heretical deviation from Islamic law, and the practices of the forebears.

Dafn

burial
madfan: literally, site of burial, used more in the modern period to denote a built-up structure over a grave.

Darih

shrine (mostly Ottoman to Modern).

Dthikr

‘mentioning’ or ‘remembering’, a Sufi ritual involving the repetition of the names of God or of a certain religious formula as a means of contemplating God. (Taylor 1999)

Du‘a’

religious invocation or supplicatory prayer.

Fasqiyyat al-mawta

underground burial crypt.

Al-Fatiha

The 1st chapter of the Quran, normally recited to invoke blessing on the souls of the dead.

Hawsh

Medieval – Ottoman: Funerary enclosure.
Modern: Walled graveyard, generally belonging to one family, with sheltered area, possibly with a building that provides for overnight accommodation.

Jami‘

congregational mosque.

Jiwar

vicinity; the idea that it is preferable to be buried in the vicinity of good Muslims.

Janaza

funeral, (pl. jana’iz): section in religious treatises related to funerary practices (rites or burial and remembrance)

Kafan

shroud of the dead; takfin : the ritual shrouding of the dead.

Karama

miracle performed by a Muslim wali  as a sign of the grace God has bestowed upon him or her (Taylor 1999)

Khanqah

Sufi hospice.

Khatima

complete reading of the Quran.

Khus

palm frond, traditionally put on graves.

Madthhab

(pl. madthahib) four legal schools of Sunni Islam, viz., Shafi‘i, Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki.

Madrasa

Ayyubid – Ottoman: religious college.
Modern: school.

Maktab aytam/kuttab

a small space for teaching Quran to orphans, normally linked to a sabil.

Manqaba

(pl. manaqib) achievement or good deed.

Maqam

shrine (Ottoman – Modern)

Maqra’a

session for Quran recital.

Masjid

mosque, literally space of prostration.

Mastaba

elevated theatre.
flat mound marking a grave.

Mawlid           

Celebration of a saint’s day.
al-mawlid al-Nabawi / mawlid al-nabi: the birthday of the Prophet.

Maydan

open urban space, i.e., a kind of piazza or square. In some cases, such as that of Qaramaydan in the late medieval period, it could be walled.

Mi’dthana

Minaret

Mihrab

niche indicating the qibla, or the direction of Mecca

Musalla

space for prayer or salah, normally for special prayer, such as funerary or ‘Id Prayer

Na‘sh

bier

Nazir

overseer; inspector; in waqfs, the administrator of the waqf.

Qabr

grave
maqbara: literally, the site of a grave/graves, i.e., graveyard or small cemetery.

Al-Qahira

the walled capital established by the Fatimids north of the previous
Fustat / ‘Askar / Qata’i‘ conglomerate.
Modern: The capital of Egypt, inclusive of all accumulations of settlements from al-Fustat down to the modern suburbs from Heliopolis to al-Ma‘adi.
Al-Qahira al-Kubra: Modern administrative term that denotes the megalopolis of Cairo which also includes sections of the governorates of al-Jiza and al-Qalyubiyya, in addition to the governorate of al-Qahira.

Qal‘at al-Jabal

the citadel established by Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi and the centre of rule starting from the later Ayyubids to the Muhammad ‘Ali period.

Al-Qarafa

Sadr al-Islam – Ayyubid: the cemetery between al-Muqattam Hill and al-Fustat and south of al-Qahira.
Ayyubid - Mamluk: was divided into al-Qarafa al-Sughra (the eastern section with al-Imam al-Shafi‘i at its centre) and al-Qarafa al-Kubra (the western section with Jami‘ al-Qarafa at its centre).
Ottoman: confusion in the terms as all the Southern Cemetery as a whole (previously al-Qarafa) is often called al-Qarafa al-Sughra and the cemetery east of al-Qahira (previously called al-Sahara’) is often called al-Qarafa al-Kubra.
Modern: term used generically to denote cemetery in Cairo.

Qibla

direction of Mecca towards which Muslims pray, and burial is oriented.

Qubba

dome / domed structure.

Rayhan           

sweet basil, traditionally put on graves.

Rawh

soul or spirit.

Sabil

structure for the charitable dispensation of drinking water.

Sahrij 

cistern

Salah

ritual prayer of Islam, performed five times a day.

Shari‘

street or road.

Saqiya

waterwheel – aqueduct.

Shari‘a

the law of God, based on the Quran and hadith.

Shaykh

religious teacher or scholar. (for shaykh al-ziyara, see ziyara).

Suq

market.

Tahun

mill.

Taghsil

ritual washing of the dead
maghsal: space for the ritual washing of the dead.

Takiyya

Ottoman – Modern: Sufi hospice.

Tariqa

Sufi order.

Tarkiba

canopy or cenotaph over grave (commonly used from the Ottoman period onwards)

Turabi

undertaker and caretaker of the graveyards.

Turba

Medieval - Ottoman: used to denote funerary complex with a mausoleum attached to a religious / charitable establishment in some sources, and more loosely to denote a funerary enclosure of sorts in other sources. It could also mean a small cemetery.
Modern: in the 20th c., used more to denote the underground burial crypt, i.e. the actual grave. Plural (turab) used generically to denote cemetery. 

Wali

literally ‘the friend of God’, i.e., a saint or religious figure of exalted standing and supernatural abilities. (pl. awliya’)

Waqf

endowment. Revenue from property or land could be alienated for religious / charitable (waqf khayri) purposes or for the benefit of individuals (waqf ahli). The founder of the endowment (waqif), recorded his terms in an endowment document (waqfiyya).

Wudu’

ritual ablutions performed before salah
mayda’a: space for wudu’ annexed to mosque or religious establishment.

Zawiya

Medieval: a religious establishment housing a small community whose nucleus is normally a popular religious figure and his teachings. It is a smaller more populist version of the khanqah.
Modern: a small neighbourhood mosque, possibly linked to a religious group, may be Sufis.

Ziyara

visitation of the dead. Personal ziyara involves visiting the graves of relatives and friends. Pious ziyara involves visiting the graves of important religious figures and is the focus of ziyara books (kutub al-ziyara), which are guidebooks to the graves of the famous dead and accounts of their life and achievements. These books were mostly written by shuyukh (sing. shaykh) ziyarawho led performers of visitation (za’ir / pl. zuwwar) around the cemetery.
mazar: site of visitation, popularly used to indicate shrine, especially from the Ottoman period onwards.