Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies
Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online (EJIW) is the first cohesive and discreet reference work which covers the Jews of Muslim lands particularly in the late medieval, early modern and modern periods. The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online is updated with newly commissioned articles, illustrations, multimedia, and primary source material. 

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Daniel, Menahem Ṣāliḥ

(331 words)

Author(s): Peter Wien
Menaḥem Ṣāliḥ Danielwas born in Baghdad in 1846 and died there in 1940. He was a merchant, a landlord, and a farmer, as well as a politician and an important representative of the  Iraqi Jewish community in the period of transition from the Ottoman Empire to the modern state of Iraq. The Daniel family, originally from Karjistan in Afghanistan, took up residence in the Tūrāt quarter of Baghdad. Trade and farming transformed them into wealthy notables, based on their possessions in the Hindīya district of the *Ḥilla province along the Euphrates. When the Ottoman governor Midḥat Pasha establ…

Daniel al-Qūmisī

(910 words)

Author(s): Barry Dov Walfish
Daniel al-Qūmisī, an early Karaite communal leader, scholar, and biblical exegete, was born in Damghan, in the province of Qumis, in northern Persia in the second half of the ninth century and lived for a time in Khurasan. Little is known about his life. Around 880, Daniel settled in Jerusalem, becoming part of the community of Mourners of Zion ( avele Ṣiyyon), who followed a strict regimen of prayer and asceticism to commemorate the destruction of the Temple and hasten its restoration. Scholars are now of the opinion that the Karaite sect did not coalesce until the mid- to late nint…

Daniel, Tomb of

(336 words)

Author(s): Dalia Yasharpour
The biblical Book of Daniel relates how the prophet, taken into Babylonian exile, predicted Iran’s rise to power and came to occupy a prominent position at the Persian court in Susa (biblical Shushan). It does not mention, however, where Daniel was laid to rest. Early rabbinic sources state that Daniel returned to his homeland when Cyrus issued his edict (ca. 538 B.C.E) and died there. Another Jewish tradition locates his tomb in modern-day Uzbekistan. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus is the earliest known source to locate Daniel’s tomb in Iran. He places the t…


(131 words)

Author(s): Dan D.Y. Shapira
Dāniyal-nāma (Pers. The Book of Daniel) is a Judeo-Persian narrative based on the biblical Book of Daniel. It was written or edited in 1606 by Khwāja Bukhārāʾī, a Jewish author apparently from Bukhara. A century later in 1704, Dāniyal-nāma was reedited/rewritten as a masnavī (Pers. narrative poem in rhymed couplets) by Benjamin ben Mishael (Aminā; 1672/3–after 1732/33). Dāniyal-nāma has affinities with both the Additions to Daniel of the Septuagint and Qiṣṣa-yi Dāni’el . Dan D.Y. Shapira Bibliography Levy, R. “Dānial-Nāma: A Judeo-Persian Apocalypse,” in Jewish Studies …

Danon, Abraham

(598 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Abraham Danon, who was born in Edirne (Adrianople) on August 15, 1857, and died in Paris on May 23, 1925, was a Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment) rabbi, educator, writer, and linguist. A student of the noted Orientalist Joseph Halévy, but largely autodidactic, he sought throughout his life to synthesize traditional learning with modern ideas. In 1879, he founded the Ḥevrat Shoḥare Tushiyya (Society of the Proponents of Wisdom), also called Dorshe ha-Haskala (Seekers of Enlightenment), in Edirne. He encouraged the study of Jewish history and literature, particularly that o…

Daoud, Reinette Sultana (Reinette l'Oranaise)

(387 words)

Author(s): Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah
Reinette Sultana Daoud, better known by her stage name Reinette l’Oranaise, was an internationally renowned singer and musician. Born in 1918 in Tiaret, Algeria, into a family of modest means, and blinded by smallpox at the age of two, she attended a school for the blind in Algiers until her mother, taking note of her powerful voice, encouraged her to take up music. She was then sent to study with Saoud El Médioni (Saoud l’Oranais), a prominent performer of Arabo-Andalusian music. Daoud studied oud, mandolin, and the small derbouka hand drum under El Médioni and became an …

Dardashtī, Yonah

(233 words)

Author(s): Houman Sarshar
Yonah Dardashtī (1910–1993) was the only Jew to attain broad national acclaim in Iran as a master vocalist of  Persian classical music. Dardashtī’s father, Ḥājī Yeshuā (a.k.a. Farajullāh), and grandfather were both famous ḥazzans. Yonah obtained his general education at Tehran’s Alliance Israélite school, and learned the basics of Persian classical vocals from his father before studying with the master vocalist Mīrzā Ḥusayn Sā'atsāz (1874–1944). Dardashtī was known for his powerful voice, broad range, and smooth modulations ( taḥrīr). One of his earlier concerts was held …

Darʿī, Moses ben Abraham

(792 words)

Author(s): Joachim J.M.S. Yeshaya
Moses ben Abraham Darʿī was born in late Fatimid (12th century) Alexandria into a Jewish family that originally came from Dar‛a (Draaʿ) in Morocco. Dar‛ī regularly professed his Karaite identity in the name acrostics of his liturgical poetry, but the maqāma-style work attributed to him suggests that he was probably not born a Karaite and joined the movement in his youth. He spent a large part of his professional life as a poet and physician in Fustat-Cairo. He also visited Damascus and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Scholars have pla…
Date: 2015-09-03

Dar lil-ʿilm

(645 words)

Author(s): Geoffrey Khan
The term dār al-ʿilm or dār lil-ʿilm (Ar. college; lit. house of knowledge) was applied to several Muslim libraries and scientific institutions in the eastern Islamic world in the ninth and tenth centuries. One of the most important was founded by the vizier Abū Naṣr Sābūr ibn Ardashīr in Baghdad during the reign of Bahāʾ al-Dawla (991–993). According to the fifteenth-century chronicler Ibn al-Hītī, the Karaite place of learning in Jerusalem in the first half of the eleventh century was also known as a dār lil-ʿilm. Ibn al-Hītī states that the school belonged to Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf ibn Nūḥ,…

Darmon, Amram

(399 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Amram Darmon (1815–1878), a military interpreter first class in the French army, was born in Oran, Algeria, to Elijah Darmon and Dinah Bacri, a family long in good standing with the beys of Oran. In 1834, at the age of nineteen, he joined the French army, serving with the Algerian artillery.On June 19, 1836, he participated in the Tlemcen expedition under Captain Cavaignac. In 1837 he was posted to Misserghin; and in September of that year he accompanied Captain Daumas, the French consul, to meet with ʿAbd al-Qādir in Mascara. Darmon w…

Darmon, Masʿūd

(342 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Masʿūd Darmon (d. 1866), a grandson of Mordechai Darmon (ca. 1740–ca. 1810), was the chief rabbi of Oran, Algeria, and a judge ( dayyan) in the Jewish court. He was also the  author of several religious works, including a collection of his responsa entitled Gur Ari (Young Lion) published in Livorno (Leghorn) in 1845. He exchanged letters on halakhic matters with a leading  rabbinical scholarof Algiers, Ḥayyim David Solomon ben Samuel ben Saʿadya Zorafa (d. 1860). His correspondence with Rabbi Isaac Bengualid (Ben Walīd) of Tetouan was published in   Va-Yomer Yiṣḥaq(vol. 1, no. 53, Li…

Darmon, Mordecai

(294 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Mordecai Darmon was the  head of the small Jewish community of Mascara, Algeria (about 450 people). He was a member of the Darmon family, which over the years had become allied to Jewish families that fled to Algeria from Spain or Portugal. In 1783, he was sent to Istanbul and Izmir on a diplomatic mission. He also became treasurer and adviser of Muḥammad al- Kabīr, the bey of Mascara (d. ca. 1798), and accompanied him on his military expeditions across Algeria. Darmon became quite wealthy from his service to the bey but nevertheless always found time to s…

Darmon, Paule

(511 words)

Author(s): Nina Lichtenstein
Paule Darmon is a French artist, writer, and painter born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1945, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her father, Fernand Darmon, was a lawyer from Oran, Algeria, and her mother, Solange née Assouline, was a secretary and a hairdresser from Casablanca. Darmon, the oldest of their four children, left for France at seventeen. She studied painting in Grenoble at Marc Pessin’s studio and has exhibited her work in Paris and New York, among other places. Her early figurative …

Darwīsh, Shalom

(421 words)

Author(s): Nancy E. Berg
Born in Amarra, Iraq, in 1913, Shalom Darwīsh attended the Rahil Shahmoun School after his family moved to Baghdad. He continued his studies at night while serving as secretary of the Jewish community, and graduated from the Baghdad College of Law in 1938, at which point he left his position as secretary to practice law. An Iraqi nationalist, Darwīsh was elected to parliament as a member of the National Democratic Party, but he resigned along with others in protest of electoral corruption and improprieties. Accused of being a Zionist, he fled overland in 1950 to Iran and from there to Israel. B…

Darwīsh, Yūsuf

(368 words)

Author(s): Adam Guerin
Yūsuf Darwīsh (b. 1910), a prominent Egyptian labor lawyer and Communist leader from the 1930s to the 1960s, was a Karaite Jew of middle-class origins. As a student at the University of Toulouse, Darwīsh founded the Association of Arab Students and was active in anti-Fascist and pro-Arab Palestinian organizations. Returning to Egypt, Darwīsh was a member of the Cairo branch of Paul Jacquot Descombes’s group, Peace Partisans, and became involved in Egyptian Communist organizations.  In 1946, Darwīsh founded the New Dawn (Ar. al-Fajr al-Jadīd) Communist group with Aḥmad Ṣādiq Saʿd a…

David (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan) ben al-Dayyan

(362 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Almost nothing is known about David (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan) ben al-Dayyan, who lived during one of the most fecund periods of Hebrew culture in al-Andalus (11th-12th century). We have no information about his profession, and nothing to suggest that he himself wrote poetry, as did so many distinguished Jews of the era. He probably belonged to the same family as Abū ʿAmr ibn al-Dayyan, mentioned by Moses ibn Ezra in his Kitāb al-Muhāḍara wa ’l-Mudhākara as an inhabitant of eastern al-Andalus (Halkin ed., p. 76). David was a member of the wide circle of friends of Judah ha-Levi and the addressee of t…

David Ben Abraham al-Fāsī

(1,429 words)

Author(s): Meira Polliack
David ben Abraham al-Fāsī was a Karaite lexicographer and exegete in the mid-tenth century. His most famous work, Kitāb Jāmiʿ al-Alfāẓ, was the first Hebrew-Arabic dictionary of the Hebrew Bible. Although al-Fāsī or his family probably came from the city of Fez in Morocco, as suggested by his cognomen, he appears to have spent part of his life in Jerusalem, where he is believed to have composed his monumental dictionary sometime in the first half of the tenth century. He is not mentioned in Ibn al-Hītī’s chronicle of Karaite scholars, but there is other evidence connecting him to the Karaite …

David ben Boaz

(655 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
David ben Boaz, known in Arabic as Abū Saʿīd, was a fifth-generation descendant of Anan ben David, and is thus rarely mentioned without the title ha-Nasi (and sometimes by that alone) or its Arabic equivalent, al-ra’īs. Hs lived in Jerusalem and, together with his brother Josiah ha-Nasi, is supposed to have supported Saʿadya Gaon in his conflict (ca. 930–937) with the Babylonian exilarch David ben Zakkay I, perhaps due to the strong enmity between the Karaite nesiʾim and the Palestinian geonim of the Ben Me’ir fami…
Date: 2015-09-03

David ben Daniel

(265 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
David ben Daniel was Babylonian exilarch after the Mongol conquest. Little is known about him other than that he was a fifth-generation descendant of Zakkai ben Azariah, brother of Daniel ben Azariah, the gaon of Palestine in the sixth decade of the eleventh century. In April 1288, David ben Daniel wrote a letter from Mosul threatening to excommunicate Solomon (Petit) ben Samuel of Acre, who had raised objections to Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed. Ben Daniel began by explaining the purpose and functions of Maimonides’ writings; he then accused Solomon Petit, by n…

David ben Daniel ben Azariah

(506 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
David, the only son of the gaon of the Palestinian yeshiva Daniel ben Azariah was born around 1058. Only four when his father died, he was evidently raised by family members in Damascus. When the Seljuks conquered Syria and Palestine in the 1170s, he went to Egypt, where he was adopted by relatives in Damira in the Nile Delta, who treated him well and pledged him in marriage to a female relative. David had other plans, however, as well as supporters who saw in him  a hope for redemption because of his Davidic descent. Leaving Damira and his fiancée, he moved to Fustat, where he was received with…
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