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. 

Subscriptions: see brill.com

Ibb

(1,003 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
Located approximately 140 kilometers (87 miles) southwest of Ṣan‘ā, in Lower Yemen (Ar. al-Yaman al-Asfal), Ibb is the name of a town which lies on the southwestern spur of the Baʿadan massif, and also the name of the province composed of areas to its northwest and southeast. Ibb town is the administrative center of the province. The Indian Ocean monsoon system provides regular rainfall in the late spring and summer, and as a result Ibb’s climate is the wettest in southern Arabia and produces the highest per u…

Ibn ‘Abbās, Judah ben Samuel

(435 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Judah ben Samuel ibn ‘Abbās was born in Fez, probably in the early twelfth century. Although he was not of Iberian origin and spent most of his life in Aleppo, he was counted as one of the great Andalusian poets by Judah al-Ḥarīzī, who wrote in the Taḥkemoni:  “And R. Judah ben ‘Abbās, too, turned his steps toward the East, and brought to Song’s feast lines succulent and fat, if others less than that; and still others dry and flat.” Further on, in describing the people of Aleppo, al-Ḥarīzī says: “And some of them feel proud of Ibn ‘Abbās’s poems, and they say that there was no oth…

Ibn Abī ʾl-ʿAysh, Moses (Abū Harūn)

(342 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Almost nothing is known about the poet Moses ibn Abī ʾl-ʿAysh. The only reference to him is made by Moses ibn Ezra in the Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara (ed. Halkin, p. 74). His name is mentioned after an excursus on memory as a notable quality of Judah ibn Balaam of Toledo, linguist and author of commentaries on almost all of the books of the Bible, who was active in the second half of the eleventh century. Ibn Abī ʾl-ʿAysh is introduced as a native of Toledo, along with Abraham (Abū Isḥāq) ibn al-Ḥarīzī, a poet dated to the beginning of the twelfth century. With this scant inf…

Ibn Abītūr, Joseph ben Isaac

(1,313 words)

Author(s): Judit Targarona
Joseph ibn Abītūr (ca. 939–after 1012) was born in Merida in al-Andalus in the mid-tenth century. He had an Arabic last name (Abītūr) and a Romance appellative (Satanas, Santas, or Santos). His family had been in Sepharad for more than six generations. In a letter to Samuel ha-Kohen, Ibn Abītūr says that “although his great-grandfather was not an erudite man, he was a powerful one who imposed five death penalties,” quite exceptional for a Jewish judge and only possible in the exile. He explains that his Romance family name, Ibn Shaṭnash, came from Heb. shoṭ enosh (scourge of humanity), an…

Ibn Abi Zimra, David (Radbaz)

(1,073 words)

Author(s): Samuel Morell
Rabbi David ben Solomon Ibn Abi Zimra (Radbaz) was born in Spain in 1479/80. He left Spain during the expulsion in 1492, settled in Safed, Palestine, and later, perhaps soon after his arrival, relocated to Jerusalem. In 1513 or a bit earlier he moved to Mamluk Egypt, first briefly to Alexandria, but by 1514 he was in Cairo as a member of the rabbinic court of the official head of Egyptian Jewry, the nagid Isaac Shulal. In 1517, Egypt was conquered by the Ottomans, and the centuries-old office of nagid came to an abrupt end. Radbaz was accepted by the Egyptian Je…

Ibn ʿAqnīn, Joseph ben Judah ben Jacob

(804 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Joseph ben Judah ben Jacob Ibn ʿAqnīn was born in Barcelona around the middle of the twelfth century but emigrated to Fez during the Almohad period. Little is known about his personal life. In his commentary on the Song of Songs (fol. 129a), he says that he converted outwardly to Islam, but in the same passage he expresses his desire to leave Fez and openly return to Judaism. It is unknown whether he did so or remained in Fez. While in Fez, Ibn ʿAqnīn became acquainted with Maimonides and wrote a poem on the great sage's departure for Egypt. Maimonides profoundly influenced Ibn ʿAqnīn's work,…

Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm (Abraham ben Nathan)

(471 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm Ibn ʿAṭāʾ (Abraham ben Nathan) was leader of Qayrawanese Jewry in the first third of the eleventh century. He was a member of a wealthy elite that included the Ben Berekhiah, Tahertī, and Ibn al-Majjānī families. His father, Nathan, may have been a communal official, although this is not clear. He was a major supporter of the academy ( bet midrash) in Qayrawan and was also a generous contributor to the Babylonian yeshivot, particularly to the Sura yeshiva, the renewal of which he helped to finance. Ibn ʿAṭāʾ served as court physician to the Zirid amirs Bādis (r. 996–10…

Ibn ʿAṭṭār, Ḥayyim

(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Ben ʿAṭṭār, Ḥayyim Norman A. Stillman

Ibn ʿAṭṭār Judah b. Jacob

(16 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Ben ʿAṭṭār (or Ibn ʿAṭṭār) Family Norman A. Stillman

Ibn ʿAwkal Family

(1,242 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
The Ibn ʿAwkals were an important merchant family in Fustat. Apparently of Persian origin, they arrived in the Maghreb following the Fatimid conquest at the beginning of the tenth century. The mashāriqa (easterners), as they were called by Maghrebis, were not liked by the local residents, and many of them moved to Egypt with the Fatimids after 969. Jacob, the head of the family, most likely also went to Egypt at that time, but left some family members in the Maghreb to develop his commercial interests. The correspondence of the Ibn ʿAwkal family extends over four generations. The…

Ibn Azhar, Eleazar (Abū ʾl-Fatḥ) ben Naḥman

(389 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
According to his somewhat older contemporary Moses ibn Ezra in the Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara (Halkin ed., p. 74), Eleazar (Abū ʾl-Fatḥ) ben Naḥman ibn Azhar lived during the eleventh century in Seville. Some scholars think that Seville was his birthplace, but others propose Granada. Ibn Azhar is mentioned with Abū Sulayman ibn Muhājir, a member of one of the noblest Jewish families in Seville. Both are described as poets and as authorities in certain branches of learning who belonged to the circle of intellectuals that made Seville a center of Jewish culture after the decl…

Ibn Bābshād, Saʿīd

(406 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
Saʿīd ibn Bābshād ha-Kohen was a Hebrew poet, probably a Karaite, who lived in Iraq or Persia at the end of the tenth century and in the first two decades of the eleventh. His major composition, known only from fragments found in the Cairo Geniza, is a compendium of Wisdom proverbs that appears to have been written in the second decade of the eleventh century (Fleischer, 1990; Sklare, 1996). Portions of this work were published by Solomon Schechter in 1903 and have been quoted by scholars as an example of anonymous Jewish Wisdom literature written in Hebrew (Allony, 1969). In the 1960…

Ibn Balaam, Judah (Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā) ben Samuel

(533 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Judah (Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā) ben Samuel ibn Balaam was a prolific author of philological and exegetical works in Judeo-Arabic. He also composed Hebrew liturgical poetry and was a student of halakha. Born in Toledo, he always felt like an Andalusi, and for that reason established himself in Seville after Toledo fell to Alfonso VI in 1085. Judah’s surname has been the subject of lengthy debate; the most appropriate reading seems to be Bilʿam (from ben-al-ʿam, son of his paternal uncle). Meticulously educated in Arabic and Hebrew, Judah began writing in earnest during the secon…

Ibn al-Barqūlī Family

(472 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Members of two generations of the Ibn al-Barqūlī family are mentioned in several letters from the Cairo Geniza (all composed during the first decade of the thirteenth century), as well as in the poetry of Eleazar ben Jacob ha-Bavli and Judah al-Ḥarīzī. From what is said in these sources, it is apparent that the Ibn al-Barqūlī family played a central role in the communal and spiritual life of the Jewish communities in Baghdad and Wāsiṭ (in central Iraq) and also contr…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ibn Barūn, Isaac (Abū Ibrāhīm) ben Joseph

(775 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Isaac (Abū Ibrāhīm) ben Joseph ibn Barūn was a philologist and linguist from Saragossa. The dates of his birth and death are not known, nor are any details of his life, except that he was a disciple of the poet and grammarian Levi ibn al-Tabbān. Ibn Barūn’s magnum opus was his   Kitāb al-Muwāzana bayn al-Lugha al -ʿIbrāniyya wa ʾl-ʿArabiyya (Book of Comparison between the Hebrew and Arabic Languages). Written after 1128 and not preserved in its entirety, it is an outstanding work of comparative Semitics, building upon the contributions of Ibn Quraysh, Ibn Janāḥ, and other earli…

Ibn Barzel, Joseph

(405 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Joseph ibn Barzel was a physician and  poet in al-Andalus in the twelfth century. Very little is known about his life, and only three of his poems are extant. In the chapter of the Taḥkemoni dedicated to the poets of Spain, Judah al-Ḥarīzī praised Ibn Barzel’s poetry in these words: “Like the poems of Ben Barzel, which are necklaces to every neck . . . they are strong as iron (Heb. barzel) and soft as honey.” Ibn Barzel is also mentioned in a Geniza letter written by Judah ha-Levi to a friend in Egypt, Ḥalfon ben Nethanel ha-Levi. In the letter Judah ha-Levi states that “the illus…

Ibn Baṭash, Aaron (Hārūn)

(351 words)

Author(s): Maya Shatzmiller
Aaron (Hārūn) ibn Baṭash was a courtier and confidant of the last Marīnid sultan of Morocco, ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Marīnī (r. 1420–1465). After a prolonged association with the court as a banker or tax collector, he was appointed vizier in 1464, effectively in control of the state administration once his patron, the Marīnid sultan, managed to shake off the prolonged tutelage of the Waṭṭāsids. Ibn Baṭash was perceived as grossly violating the code for dhimmis (see Dhimma) by riding on horseback and wearing a sword engraved with verses from the Qu’rān. He also brought seve…

Ibn Borgil, Abraham ben ʿAzīz

(202 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Abraham ben ʿAzīz Ibn Borgil (d. ca. 1595) was a rabbi and religious teacher in the Ottoman Empire. He may have been born in Salonica, where he studied with the renowned Samuel ben Moses de Medina (known as the Maharashdam, 1506–1589). However, for most of his life he headed a yeshiva in Nikopol (Bulgaria). Borgil was a prominent scholar of Talmud. His chef d’oeuvre was the Leḥem Abbirim (Bread of the Mighty; Venice, 1605), published after his death by Joseph ben Judah de Novis. The book reflects his deep knowledge of all matters relating to the Talmud and cont…

Ibn Bulat, Judah

(308 words)

Author(s): Shaul Regev
Judah ibn Bulaṭ  (ca. 1475–ca. 1540), also known as Judah ben Joseph Bulaṭ, was a Talmud scholar who settled in Istanbul after the expulsion from Spain. In 1510, he published the second, corrected edition of the Halikhot ʿOlam (Ways of the World) by Joshua ben Joseph ha-Levi, one of Joseph Caro's mentors, together with the appended text of the Mevoʾ ha-Talmud (Introduction to the Talmud) attributed to Samuel ha-Nagid Ibn Naghrella. Ibn Bulaṭ served as a dayyan in the Rabbinical court in Constantinople. He opposed the practice of basing judgments solely on the halakhic …

Ibn Bundār, Ḥasan , Abū ‘Alī (Japheth)

(662 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Abū ‘Alī Ḥasan (Japheth) ibn Bundār, in the second half of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth, was the “representative/trustee of the merchants” (Heb. peqid ha-soḥerim; Ar. wakīl al-tujjār) in Aden and “head of the [Jewish] communities” (Heb. roshar ha-qehillot; Ar. rayyis) in southern Yemen. The name Bundār (Pers. established, intelligent, rich) indicates that either he or his predecessors came to Yemen from Iran—the former scenario being more likely, because Ḥasan is the first member of the Bundār family in Yemen attested in the extant records (Goitein, Yemenit…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ibn Chiquitilla, Isaac

(609 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Isaac ibn Chiquitilla was an important tenth-century Hebrew poet in al-Andalus. Together with Isaac ibn Qapron and Judah ben David, he was one of the three disciples of Menahem ibn Sarūq who wrote the Teshuvot (Rejoinders) in defense of their teacher against Dunash ben Labraṭ (ca. 960). According to Yehudi ibn Sheshet, who took part in the controversy on the side of Dunash, Ibn Chiquitilla was the greatest of Menahem’s three defenders, although the highly charged ironic nature of the passage makes it unclear whether he is referring to his age or his standing. In his ars poetica, Kitāb al-Muḥ…

Ibn Chiquitilla, Moses ben Samuel ha-Kohen

(1,311 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Moses ibn Chiquitilla was a pioneer in many disciplines that developed during the Golden Age of Andalusian Jewry, but there are very few and only fragmentary details about his life. He was born of good lineage in Cordova in the first half of the eleventh century and lived and worked most of his life in Saragossa. Moses ibn Ezra says that he “was of the first rank among scholars and linguists as well as among experts in the turns and refinements of the language and one of the most famous authors, outstanding among orators and poets in the two language…

Ibn Danan Family

(621 words)

Author(s): Jane Gerber
The records of the  Ibn Danan (Aben Danan) family date to at least the fourteenth century, but some of the family’s traditions are even older. An Ibn Danan tradition records the sojourn of Moses Maimonides in the Moroccan city of Fez and their kinship with him. In either 1438 or 1465, Maimon ibn Danan fled from Fez during a pogrom and settled in Granada. During its stay there the Ibn Danan family continued to be Arabic-speaking, as it had been in Fez. Saʿadya ben Maimon ibn Danan was the last rabbi of Granada. Well versed in many fields in addition to jurisprudence, he was es…

Ibn Danan, Isaac

(336 words)

Author(s): Sharon Vance
Isaac Ibn Danan was born on July 29, 1836, into a prestigious rabbinic family whose origins can be traced to Granada. The family left Spain in 1492 and originally settled in Algiers. From there they moved to Fez and became part of the Andalusian (Megorashim) Jewish community there. Over the years, the Ibn Danan family compiled the   Divre ha-Yamim shel Fas (Chronicles of Fez) recounting the history of the community from the time of the expulsion. In 1875, Isaac Ibn Danan went with his nephew Solomon on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and stayed for thirty-three days. In 1879, Ibn Danan was appoin…

Ibn al-Dastūr, Samuel ben ʿAlī

(722 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
Samuel ben ʿAlī ibn al-Dastūr was gaon in Baghdad from before October–November 1164 until sometime between 1194 and 1197. He is the only Iraqi gaon of the postclassical gaonic period (ca. 640–1040) whose works have survived in any significant number. According to Petahiah of Regensburg, who visited Baghdad during his gaonate, Ibn al-Dastūr appointed judges in Iraq, Iran, and even Syria, including Damascus, though presumably not in those parts of Syria under Crusader, Fatimid, or Ayyubid rule; under the latter two regimes, it was the head of the Jews (Ar. raʾīs al-yahūd) who appointed …

Ibn Da’ud, Abraham ben David ha-Levi

(1,083 words)

Author(s): Lola Ferre
Abraham ibn Da’ud, known by the acronym Rabad I, lived between 1110 and 1180. He was raised in Cordova, in the home of his uncle Barukh ben Isaac Albalia, where he learned Greek philosophy, astronomy, rhetoric, and history. When the Almohads conquered al-Andalus, he fled to Christian Toledo. The scant biographical data on him are found in Solomon ibn Verga’s Sheveṭ Yehuda and in the addition to the  Sefer ha-Qabbala by Abraham ben Solomon of Torrutiel. Both state that he died as a martyr for the Jewish faith. Ibn Da’ud’s main works were a treatise on philosophy, The Exalted Faith, and a histo…

Ibn al-Dayyan, Abū ʿAmr

(372 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
According to Moses ibn Ezra in the Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ’l-Mudhākara (Halkin ed., p. 76), Abū ʿAmr ibn al-Dayyan lived between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Ibn Ezra mentions him after a reference to Ibn al-Marah, a poet from Granada who lived at the end of the eleventh century, and before a passage pertaining to his brother Isaac ibn Ezra which specifies that he lived in Lucena and died in 1121. This date gives a chronological position for Ibn al Dayyan, who is stated to have been a resident of eastern al-Andalus without …

Ibn Eleazar, Ezra (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan)

(389 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Ezra (Abū ’l-Ḥasan) ibn Eleazar was an Andalusian poet of the late eleventh to twelfth century mentioned as an older contemporary by Moses ibn Ezra in his ars poetica, Kitāb al-Muhāḍara wa ’l-Mudhākara (Halkin ed., p. 76). The text offers no details about Ibn Eleazar’s life or activity beyond the fact that he was a poet. It was once suggested that he was the recipient of a poem by Moses ibn Ezra dedicated to one “Ibn Eleazar” ( Shire ha-Ḥol, no. 63), but this notion has been discarded. New manuscripts as well as the content of the poem, a brief composition praising a book …

Ibn Ezra, Abraham (Abū Iṣḥāq)

(2,240 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Abraham ibn Ezra was born between 1089 and 1092  in Tudela, which was still under Muslim rule but was conquered by Alfonso I in 1115. During the first period of his life, Ibn Ezra lived in al-Andalus and perhaps visited North Africa. He left Sefarad in 1140 and lived in several cities in France, Italy, and England. It is likely that he died in England between 1164 and 1167. He was a close friend of Judah ha-Levi , whose acquaintance he first made in Cordova. His son,Isaac (Abū Saʿī…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ibn Ezra, Isaac (Abū Ibrāhῑm)

(463 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Born around 1045, Isaac (Abū Ibrāhῑm) ibn Ezra was the older brother of Moses ibn Ezra. He lived in Granada quite probably until the arrival of the Almoravids in 1090, when he had to leave for Lucena. He may have been married to a daughter of Samuel ibn Naghrella, according to the heading of a poem ( Shire ha-Ḥol, vol. 1, pp. 184 ff.). Another heading indicates that Moses ibn Ezra dedicated an elegy to Isaac’s daughter on her death in Cordova in 1114 (ibid., vol. 1, p. 204). Moses ibn Ezra’s ars poetica, Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara (Halkin ed., p. 76), describes Isaac as an able poet …

Ibn Ezra, Isaac (Abū Saʿῑd ) ben Abraham ben Meʾir

(706 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Isaac (Abū Saʿῑd ) ibn Ezra, the son of the poet and exegete Abraham Ibn Ezra, was born in Cordova at the beginning of the twelfth century, but not before 1109. He lived for a time in Seville, where he apparently began his friendship with the merchant and friend of scholars and literati, Ḥalfon ben Nathanel, and later in Almeria. It was once thought that he might have married a daughter of Judah ha-Levi while in al-Andalus, but this now seems very unlikely (Scheindlin 2008, p. 268). Thanks to documents from the Cairo Geniza, it is known that in 11…

Ibn Ezra, Judah (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan) ben Joseph

(709 words)

Author(s): Yolanda Moreno Koch
Judah (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan) ben Joseph ibn Ezra, also called ha-Nasi in some sources, was born into a distinguished family in Granada in the latter part of the eleventh century. At the time of the Almoravid invasion, his family, including his uncles Moses and Isaac ibn Ezra, fled to Toledo in Christian territory. Many other illustrious families, the Ibn Shoshans, Alfakhars, Abulafias, and ha-Levis among others, also settled there. Judah was appointed almoxarife (collector of revenues) by King Alfonso VII of Castile. In 1147, the king put him in charge of the frontier stronghold of Calatrava, wh…

Ibn Ezra, Moses

(1,633 words)

Author(s): Ross Brann
Chronologically, Moses (Abū Har­ūn) ibn Ezra (d. after 1138) was the third of the four most artistically distinguished Hebrew poets of the Andalusian Golden Age of Jewish culture. Born early in the second half of the eleventh century, Ibn Ezra belonged to Zirid Granada’s Jewish aristocracy. As was typical for a young man from so privileged a background, he studied with Isaac ibn Ghiyyāth, the renowned head of the rabbinical academy of Lucena, and so too, throughout his formative years and early adulthood, was deeply engaged in the Andalusian Arabo-Islamic cultural environment. During t…

Ibn Farhād, Bābāī

(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Bābāī ben Farhād Norman A. Stillman

Ibn Ferruziel, Joseph ha-Nasi (Cidellus, Cidiello)

(477 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Joseph ibn Ferruziel or Ferrizuel (d. ca. 1145), born into a family that had originated in al-Andalus, was physician to King Alfonso VI (d. 1109) of Castile, the conqueror of Toledo, and one of his most notable Jewish courtiers (see Court Jews). Ferruziel enjoyed the confidence of the Christian monarch, and received several properties from him after the conquest of Toledo in 1085. As nasi of the Jewish communities in the Castilian kingdom, he exercised considerable responsibility and political power. His surname, Cidellus or Cidiello (Sp. little cid; cf. Ar. sayyid, chief) was probab…

Ibn Furāt Abraham ben Isaac Ha-Kohen

(329 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
A Jewish notable who had special connections with the Fatimid authorities, Abraham ben Isaac ha-Kohen ibn Furāt was the scion of a family of physicians in eleventh-century Fustat. Like his father, he bore the title ha-rofe’(Heb. the physician). He lived for an extended period in Ramle, Palestine, where he served as physician to the governor. His initial connections with the Jewish community were with the gaon Solomon ben Judah in the third and fourth decades of the eleventh century; after Solomon’s death, he established extremely close ties with his successor, Daniel ben Azariah. On his…

Ibn Gabirol, Solomon

(2,269 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
1. Life Solomon ben Judah (Abū Ayyūb Sulaymān ibn Yaḥyā) ibn Gabirol was an outstanding philosopher and one of the greatest Hebrew poets of all times. According to Moses ibn Ezra he was born in Malaga, probably around 1020 or 1021, and he died at the age of only thirty years old, which would put his death around 1052. The Arab historian Ṣāʿid al‑Andalusī places the date of his death later, in 1057/58. Judah al‑Ḥarīzī notes that he lived twenty-nine years. Abraham Zacuto and Gedaliah ibn Yaḥyā date his death in the year 1070. Ibn Gabirol’s family had fled from Cordova to Mala…

Ibn Ghiyyāth (Ibn Ghayyāth), Isaac ben Judah

(1,680 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
Despite some discrepancies regarding his date of birth, it appears that Isaac ben Judah ibn Ghiyyāth was born in 1038 to a Jewish family that had long been settled in Lucena. During his lifetime, this city, with its almost entirely Jewish population, was part of the kingdom of Granada, under the rule of the Zirid monarch Bādīs b. Ḥabbūs (1038–74) and his grandson and successor ʿAbd Allāh (1073–90). Described in Jewish sources as “the city of poetry,” Lucena was home to the most renowned talmudic academy in al-Andalus. Ibn Ghiyyāth had personal relationships with most of the Jewish …

Ibn Ghiyyāth (Ibn Ghayyāth), Judah (Abū Zakariyyā)

(478 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Judah Ibn Ghiyyāth, the son of Isaac Ibn Ghiyyāth, the famed maestro of Lucena, lived at the beginning of the twelfth century (ca. 1110). Connected to Granada, where he lived for a long time, he was a notable member of the Jewish elite of al-Andalus, as seen in the works addressed to him. There is no evidence confirming the suggestion that he was the father of the poet Solomon Ibn Ghiyyāth. Judah Ibn Ghiyyāth wrote at least a dozen poems edited mainly by Schirmann (1936, pp. 186-194; 1946, p. 228). These include liturgical pieces, such as seliḥot (penitential poems) and a beautiful and original ah…

Ibn Ghiyyāth (Ibn Ghayyāth), Solomon ben Judah

(422 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Solomon Ibn Ghiyyāth (fl. 12th century) was one of the authors and friends with whom Judah ha-Levi exchanged poetry. The fruit of this poetic exchange was an extensive monorhythmic composition ( Dîwân I, p. 137) in response to a poem, not preserved, by Ibn Ghiyyāth. As was common between poets at that time, ha-Levi sent his verses accompanied by a letter in rhymed prose ( Dîwân II, p. 329). The poem, a formally quite elaborate qaṣῑda (ode), consists of a long prelude (Ar. nasīb) using traditional motifs from Arabic poetry (pangs of love and sleeplessness, the remnants or trace…

Ibn Gikatilla/Ibn Jikatilla

(24 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
See Ibn Chiquitilla, Isaac (fl. 10th Century) , and Ibn Chiquitilla, Moses ben Samuel ha-Kohen (11th century) Norman A. Stillman

Ibn Ḥabib, Jacob

(627 words)

Author(s): Samuel Morell
Jacob Ibn Ḥabib was a rabbinical scholar and communal leader in Salonica. Born ca. 1445 in Zamora, Spain, Ibn Ḥabib studied under Samuel Valency, a student of the famed Isaac Confonton, and subsequently headed a highly respected yeshiva in Salamanca. He left Spain for Portugal in 1492, set out for the Ottoman East in 1497, and by 1501 was settled in Salonica, where he remained for the rest of his life. He died in 1515/16. As a founder and leader of the Sephardic community in Salonica, Ibn Ḥabib used his rabbinic authority to help his compatriots adapt to the conditions of the…

Ibn Hajar, David (ben ha-Ger)

(342 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
Very little is known about the life of David ibn Hagar (ben Hagar, ben ha-Ger) except that he lived in Granada in the eleventh century and quite possibly was born and died there. He held the office of   dayyan in the era of Granadan Jewry’s apogee and was under the protection and patronage of Samuel ha-Nagid ibn Naghrella. Ibn Hajar belonged to a circle of intellectuals and scholars that developed different facets of Jewish legal and synagogal culture. In his capacity as a halakhist, he wrote an Arabic summary of the divorce laws, Mukhtaṣar al- Ṭalāq (Abridged Compendium of Divorce), which…

Ibn Ḥasan, Jekuthiel ben Isaac

(319 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Jekuthiel ibn Ḥasan was a Jewish communal leader, statesman, philanthropist, and patron of the arts who served in the Muslim court of the Banū Tujīb in Saragossa during the period of the party kings (Ar. mulūk al-ṭawā’if). He may have been a member of the Ibn Qapron family from Cordova, and it seems very likely that he studied philosophy in addition to traditional Jewish learning; he even apparently wrote some poetry. One of the young Jewish poets and scholars he supported was Solomon ibn Gabirol. The esteem between the two men was mutual and very deep. Ibn Gabirol praised hi…

Ibn Ḥasday, Abraham ben Samuel ha-Levi

(566 words)

Author(s): Lola Ferre
Abraham ben Samuel ha-Levi ibn Ḥasday lived in Barcelona during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries and was a translator from Arabic to Hebrew, a poet, and an active partisan of Maimonides. Ibn Ḥasday corresponded with Judah ibn Alfakhar and Me’ir ha-Levi Abulafia, the principal anti-Maimonideans in Toledo, in a unsuccessful effort to persuade them to reverse their negative attitude toward the Rambam. He also came out in defense of David Qimḥi, who had been harshly criticized when he went to Castile seeking allies in favor of the Guide of the Perplexed. Ibn Ḥasday’s pro-Mai…

Ibn Ḥasday, Jonah (Abū ʾl-Walīd) ha-Levi

(433 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Jonah (Abū ʾl-Walīd) ibn Ḥasday ha-Levi was a grammarian and poet in Lucena from the end of the tenth century through the early part of the eleventh. We know of him from later quotations. According to Moses ibn Ezra ( Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara, p. 31v), Ibn Ḥasday, to whom he gives the title rāʾīs ( nasi), lived and worked as a teacher in Lucena between the second and third generations, alongside Abū Zakariyya ben Ḥanīga and Abū ʿAmr (Abraham) ibn Yaqwā—that is, immediately after, or at the same time as, the disciples of Menahem ibn Sarūq and Dunash ben La…

Ibn Ḥasday, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr)

(440 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
Abū ʿAmr Joseph ibn Ḥasday was a member of a prominent family of scholars and doctors. His father served the Umayyad Caliph al-Ḥakam II al-Mustanṣir (d. 976) as a physician. Following the violent upheavals in Cordova in 1031, Joseph and his family fled to Saragossa. His son, Abū ʿl-Faḍl (Ḥasday) ibn Ḥasday, was an Arabic poet of renown. In his ars poetica,   Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa- l-Mudhākara (36), Moses ibn Ezra praises Ibn Ḥasday, asserting that his poetic output, though not prolific, was nevertheless significant. Judah al-Ḥarīzī also praises Ibn Ḥasday in his Taḥkemoni (43) . As a Hebrew…

Ibn Ḥayyim, Aaron ben Abraham

(376 words)

Author(s): Joseph Tedghi
Descended from a family of scholars that had come to Morocco from Spai n, Aaron ibn Ḥayyim was born in Fez between 1555 and 1560. He first studied at his father Abraham’s school and went on to become a disciple of several famous rabbis, especially the dayyan Joseph Almosnino, whom he mentioned in his writings as his “master par excellence.”  Rabbi Aaron became a member of the bet dinthen headed by the eminent scholar Vidal Ṣarfati (1592–1617). Along with other rabbis, he signed taqqanot (rabbinic ordinances) dealing with ostentatious displays of finery and precious jewelry by women ( taqqana…

Ibn Ḥayyim, Aaron (II)

(326 words)

Author(s): Joseph Tedghi
Aaron ben David ibn Ḥayyim was born in Hebron in 1630 and was the grandson of Aaron ben Abraham ibn Ḥayyim, who had emigrated from Morocco to the Holy Land via Egypt and Italy. He was also descended from a distinguished rabbinical family on his mother’s side, for his maternal grandfather was Eliezer ben Arḥa. He apparently received his principal education in the yeshivot of Jerusalem. After serving as a dayyan (rabbinic judge) in his hometown, he was sent abroad by the city of  Hebron as a rabbinical emissary (Heb. meshullaḥ or shadar) to collect money for charitable purposes. From 167…

Ibn Ḥazm, ‘Alī

(1,784 words)

Author(s): Camilla Adang
Abū Muḥammad ‘Alī Ibn Ḥazm of Cordova (d. 1064) was a highly controversial theologian and legal scholar whose āhirī (literalist) approach to the sacred texts of Islam put him on a collision course with the religious and political establishment in al-Andalus. Nowadays best known for his treatise on love and lovers, Ṭawq al-Ḥamāma (The Ring of the Dove), Ibn Ḥazm left an enormous oeuvre that included works on law, theology, heresiography, history, genealogy, political theory, and religious polemics. Among the many groups, Muslim and non-Muslim, wh…

Ibn al-Hītī, David ben Seʿadel

(366 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
David ben Seʿadel ibn al-Hītī was Karaite scholar and chronicler around the end of the fourteenth century and into the second quarter of the fifteenth. He was born in the town of Hīt on the Euphrates River in Iraq, but very little is known about his life except that he settled in Egypt, where he devoted himself to scholarship. Ibn al-Hītī’s only known work is a succinct chronicle of Karaite scholars written in the Arabic language. It was first published by Margoliouth in 1897 and later was translated into English by Nemoy. It contains short notes on distinguished Karaites from ʿAnan b…

Ibn Jāmiʿ, Samuel ben Jacob

(795 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Samuel ben Jacob, a scion of the Ibn Jāmiʿ family of Gabes, in Ifrīqiyā (Tunisia), was a jurist (Heb. dayyan) like his father and grandfather, both of whom received responsa from Hay Gaon, as well as a grammarian, lexicographer, and poet. His lifetime seems to have spanned almost the entirety of the twelfth century. Almost always referred to by his family name Ibn Jāmiʿ—but sometimes simply as Jāmiʿ or its Hebrew equivalent, Agur—Samuel was a close friend of Abraham ibn Ezra, whom he apparently met during the latt…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ibn Janāḥ, Jonah  (Abū ʾl-Walīd Marwān)

(1,745 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Despite his great influence, we have little information about the life of Jonah (Abū ʾl-Walīd Marwān) ibn Janāḥ beyond what can be extracted from his writings. He was apparently born in Cordova between 985 and 990. The names that appear in later works have given rise to considerable discussion. His Hebrew name is thought to have been Jonah (Heb. dove), based on his Arabic surname, Ibn Janāḥ (winged). His designation in Latin sources, Rabbi Marinus, is apparently derived from his Arabic personal name, Marwān. Ibn Janāḥ was educated in Lucena, under the tutelage of such masters …

Ibn Jaw, Barukh

(431 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Nothing is known of the life and work of Barukh ibn Jaw, whose name is preserved in the heading of a poem of friendship dedicated to him by Abraham ibn Ezra ( Diwân 1886, pp. 85 f.). This circumstance makes it possible to position him chronologically in the latter part of the eleventh century and the first decades of the twelfth. It has been suggested ( Schirmann 1997, p. 17), but cannot be corroborated, that he was a descendant of an Ibn Jaw family known to have lived in Cordova since the tenth century. A member of this family, Jacob ibn Jaw, succeeded Ḥasday ibn Shapruṭ as nasi of the Jews of al-Andalus…

Ibn Jaw, Jacob

(385 words)

Author(s): David J. Wasserstein
Jacob ibn Jaw lived in Cordova in the second half of the tenth century. He and his brother Joseph became rich in the silk trade and had government contracts that brought them into contact with the country’s rulers. According to our principal source, the Sefer ha-Qabbala (Book of Tradition) of Abraham Ibn Da’ud, the ḥājib (vizier) al-Manṣūr Ibn Abī ʿᾹmir (r. 976–1002) appointed Jacob civil head (Heb. nasi) of the Jews in the Cordovan state, “from Sijilmasa to the river Duero,” with administrative, judicial, and taxation powers, entitlement to public honors, and …

Ibn Kammūna, Saʿd                                                 

(2,387 words)

Author(s): Sabine Schmidtke
1. Life Saʿd ibn Manṣūr ibn Saʿd ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Hibat Allāh Ibn Kammūna al-Baghdādī was a Jewish philosopher who presumably held an administrative office in the Il-Khanid state.  He was presumably born in Baghdad and spent most, if not all, of his life there. Nothing is known about his early life and education, and much of his biography can only hypothetically be reconstructed. Born into a Jewish family, he must have received a thorough education in both Jewish and Islamic letters, as is evident from the …

Ibn Kaspi, Joseph

(1,217 words)

Author(s): Ram Ben-Shalom
The philosopher, Bible exegete, and Hebrew grammarian Joseph ben Abba Mari ibn Kaspi was born in Argentière, Provence, in 1280. He made his home in Arles and in Tarascon and also spent time in Catalonia, Majorca, and the Kingdom of Aragon. He wrote more than twenty works in Hebrew devoted to a broad range of subjects that included language, logic, ethics, politics, biblical interpretation, and theology. Ibn Kaspi was a philosophical follower of Maimonides and the author of two commentaries ( ʿAmmude Kesef and Maskiyyot Kesef) on the Guide for the Perplexed in which he filled the role …

Ibn Khalfūn (Ibn Ḥalfon), Isaac (Abū Ibrāhīm)

(976 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
Isaac (Abū Ibrāhīm) ibn Khalfūn (Ibn Ḥalfon) was one of the first Hebrew poets in al-Andalus and also the first of them to make his living exclusively from poetry. He apparently was born in Iberia, perhaps in Cordova, around 970, but his father had only recently arrived from North Africa. Toward the end of his life he apparently moved to the city of Toledo, where he may have died sometime after 1020. Although he did not rank among the greatest Andalusian Hebrew poets like Ibn Naghrella, Ibn Gabirol, Ha-Levi, or Moses ibn Ezra, Ibn Khalfūn was talented, enjoyed great…

ibn Killis, Abū ʾl-Faraj Yaʿqūb

(737 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
One of the most outstanding statesmen, administrators, and intellectuals of the beginning of the eleventh century, Yaʿqūb ibn Killis was born in Baghdad in 930 into a Jewish family that was apparently of priestly origin. Around ten years later, along with many other Iraqi Jews, the family moved to Palestine. They settled in Ramle, where Ibn Killis eventually became involved in commerce and was appointed to the important postof wakīl al-tujjār (Ar. agent of the merchants). He was soon entangled in unsavory affairs, the substance of which is unclear. According to the Muslim chronicler Ibn …

Ibn Laṭīf, Isaac

(720 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Isaac ibn Laṭīf (ca. 1210-1280) from Toledo was a Jewish thinker in Christian Spain, well educated in Arabic and philosophy, who combined kabbalistic mysticism with philosophical rationalism. For  kabbalists, he was a gifted philosopher; whereas for philosophers, he was a kabbalist. Seven of Ibn Laṭīf's works are extant, and it is known through quotations that he wrote others. Extant Works Shaʿar ha-Shamayim (The Gate of Heaven) is Ibn Laṭīf's most famous and longest work. It was finished in 1238 and was wrongly ascribed to Abraham ibn Ezra. It is still i…

Ibn Lev, Joseph

(404 words)

Author(s): Samuel Morell
Joseph ben David ibn Lev was born sometime after 1500 in Monastir (Bitola), Macedonia, and died around 1580 in Istanbul. By 1535, he had settled in Salonica, and in the course of his stay there his fame as a leading halakhic authority was firmly established. He moved to Istanbul, however, after becoming embroiled in a dispute with a powerful and tyrannical member of the Jewish community that may have been connected to the murder of his son David around 1548, and the drowning death of a younger son shortly thereafter. Ibn Lev paid tribute to David, his murdered son, by including some of his respons…

Ibn Luṭf, Bābāī

(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Bābāī ben Luṭf Norman A. Stillman

Ibn al-Majjānī Family

(392 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
The Ibn al-Majjānī family, known from documentary sources in the Cairo Geniza, were active in Mediterranean trade during the first half of the eleventh century. The earliest member of the family for whom any correspondence survives was Mūsā (Abū ʿImrān) ibn Yaḥyā al-Majjānī. The nisba indicates that the family once resided in the Tunisian town of Majjāna. Goitein suggested that this pertained to Mūsā’s grandfather ( Med. Soc., vol 1, p. 371, no. 9), from whose hand there are three letters (Gil, nos. 116–18) dated respectively 1000 (from Fustat), 1011 (from Qayr…

Ibn Malka, Judah ben Nissim

(328 words)

Author(s): Paul Fenton
Judah ben Nissim ibn Malkawas a thirteenth-century philosopher, kabbalist, and astrologer who lived in either Spain or Morocco. Little is known of his biography except that his father, Nissim, was supposed to have been a great kabbalist in Fez. One of the few authors to have written on the Kabbala in Arabic, Judah composed commentaries on two important texts of the esoteric tradition: a Judeo-Arabic commentary on the Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer, of which there exists a Hebrew abridgement and a Hebrew supercommentary by Isaac of Acre, and a Judeo-Arabic commentary on the Sefer Yeṣira (Book of…

Ibn Mar Saul, Isaac bar Levi

(815 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
In his Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa-ʾl-Mudhākara (31), Moses ibn Ezra mentions Isaac ibn Mar Saul (late 10th-11th century) as a prominent member of the second generation of Andalusian Jewish poets along with Isaac ibn Chiquitilla. Ibn Mar Saul and Ibn Chiquitilla both lived in Lucena and were rivals. In Ibn Ezra's view, Ibn Chiquitilla was the more capable and expressed himself better because of his stronger background in Arabic. Jonah ibn Janāḥ was Ibn Mar Saul's student in Lucena and often quotes him in his Kitāb al-Uṣūl (Heb. Sefer ha-Shorashim; Book of Roots). From Ibn Janāḥ we know th…

Ibn Mar Saul, Levi ben Isaac

(403 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
According to Moses ibn Ezra ( Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara; Halkin ed., p. 66), Levi ben Isaac ibn Mar Saul was a native of Cordova, where he seems to have lived until 1013. The civil war known as the Fitna that occurred in al-Andalus at that time led him to leave his home and settle in Tortosa, an important nucleus of Jewish culture. He was probably the son of the Lucena poet and philologist Isaac ibn Mar Saul, although no sources confirm this hypothesis. Levi ben Isaac is cited as an author of panegyrics in the Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara alongside Joseph ibn Qaprel from Cordova, w…

Ibn al-Māshiṭa, Daniel

(367 words)

Author(s): Roni Shweka
Daniel Ibn al-Māshiṭa was a theologian and critic of Moses Maimonides' philosophy at the beginning of the thirteenth century. His name first came to be known from a marginal note to a passage in the commentary of Abraham Maimonides on Genesis. In discussing his father's interpretion of Jacob's struggle with the angel ( Guide II, 42), Abraham attributes a point of criticism to Ibn al-Māshiṭa's Taqwīm al-Adyān (Ar. The Rectification of Religion). Part of this work, which was written in 1223, is in the Firkovich collection in St. Petersburg. As is clear from the title and introduction,…

Ibn Matqa, Joseph (Abū ʿUmar)

(368 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Joseph (Abū ʿUmar) ibn Matqa was a poet in twelfth-century al-Andalus. Nothing is known about his life, and we are aware of him only thanks to his poetic correspondence with Judah ha-Levi. The latter’s dīwān preserves a short poem addressed to him by Joseph ibn Matqa and included by Brody in the notes to his edition of Ha-Levi’s secular poetry ( Dîwân, I, p. 182). According to the heading, the poem was written by Abū ʿUmar ibn Matqa; it consists of two pessimistic verses. The poem with which Judah ha-Levi responded to his friend has not been identified with any certainty. The h…

Ibn Matqa, Judah ben Solomon ha-Kohen

(774 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Judah ben Solomon ha-Kohen ibn Matqa was born in Toledo around 1215 and was a disciple of Meʼir ben Ṭodros ha-Levi Abulafia. Ibn Matqa seems to have been a later addition to his name (Sirat). Judah was well educated in Arabic and mastered the Arabic sciences and the rabbinic tradition. At the age of eighteen (1233), while still in Spain, he engaged in correspondence in Arabic with a philosopher at the court of Emperor Frederick II about geometrical and astronomical problems. The identity of the philosopher with whom he corresponded is still unknown, but scholarly sugg…

Ibn Migash, Joseph ha-Levi ben Me’ir

(1,038 words)

Author(s): Samuel Morell
Joseph ha-Levi ben Me’ir ibn Migash (1077– 1141), the successor to Isaac al-Fāsī (the Rif) as head of the yeshiva in Lucena, the center of talmudic learning in al-Andalus, was born in Seville. At the age of twelve or so he went to Lucena to study with al-Fāsī. He continued under his tutelage for fourteen years, becoming his prime student and succeeding him upon his death in 1103. He continued as head of the yeshiva for thirty-eight years. There is evidence that during this time he traveled to other cities in Spain. He also refers to a visit to Fez. Directly and through his numerous students, I…

Ibn Migash, Me´ir (Abū Yūsuf)

(431 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
According to Moses Ibn Ezra's Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa 'l-Mudhākara (Halkin ed., p. 76), Me'ir Ibn Migash was born in Granada in the eleventh century and later settled in Seville. He is mentioned alongside Judah Ibn Mar Abbun, also from Seville, a poet and friend of Judah ha-Levi, with whom he exchanged some compositions. Thanks to Abraham ibn Da'ud ( Sefer ha-Qabbalah, p. 63), the circumstances of his leaving Granada are known. When Ḥabbūs, the ruler of the Zirid Berber kingdom, died without designating a crown prince, Ibn Migash, along with other Jewish notables like …

Ibn Migash, Me'ir ben Joseph

(316 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Meʾir ibn Migash (12th century) was the son of the well-known talmudist Joseph ibn Migash. Following the Sephardi tradition, he was named for his grandfather, who had lived in Seville in the eleventh century. Meʾir was a disciple of his father, studying with him alongside his cousin, also named Meʾir. Although he never attained the same level of knowledge as his father, he was the last rav of the talmudic academy of Lucena. The arrival of the Almohads meant the end of the city’s prosperous Jewish community (as lamented in the famous elegy by Abraham ibn Ezra), and m…

Ibn Mishʿal, Aaron

(332 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
According to a legend still current in Morocco, Aaron ibn Mishʿal was a rich Jew who became the ruler over the Muslims living in the Taza region of east-central Morocco early in the second half of the seventeenth century. As tribute Ibn Mishʿal took Muslim maidens into his harem each year until the sharif Mawlāy Rashīd, the founder of the Alawid dynasty (r. 1666–1672), went to his residence disguised as a maiden, killed him to avenge the honor of Muslim maidenhood, and took his wealth. This foundation legend of the Alawid dynasty has been analyzed in detail by the French scholar Pierre de Ceniv…

Ibn Mori’el, Samuel

(336 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
There is very little information about Samuel Ibn Mori’el, a Jewish dignitary who lived in al-Andalus, probably in Cordova, between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He was acquainted with Judah ha-Levi, who dedicated at least three poems to him. These compositions, to which we owe the scant information we have about Ibn Mori’el, reveal that there was a notable age difference between the two, Ha-Levi being the elder. A significant allusion is made to this in the long prelude to one of the poems Ha-Levi wrote in his honor ( Dîwân, I, pp. 129–131). In this introduction, the poet make…

Ibn al-Muʿallim, Solomon (Abū Ayyūb)

(539 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
In his Treatise on Asthma (102–105), Moses Maimonides mentions that Abū Ayyūb ibn al-Muʿallim from Seville, known as the Israelite (al-Yahūdī), was one of the four physicians at the court of the Almoravid emir ʿAlī ibn Yūsuf b. Tāshufīn in Marrakesh, along with another Sevillian Jewish physician named Abū ʾl-Ḥasan Meʾir Ibn Qamni’el, the Saragossan Abū ʿAlī ʿAlāʾ ibn Zuhr, and one Sufyān. He relates a story in which these four physicians administer the wrong dosage of theriac to the emir. In his Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara, Moses ibn Ezra describes Ibn al-Muʿallim as a schol…

Ibn Muhājir, Abraham (Abū Iṣḥāq) Ben Meʾir

(350 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Abraham ben Meʾir ibn Muhājir was a member of the highly esteemed Ibn Muhājir family of Seville. He lived there in the latter part of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth. Ohev ibn Muhājir, mentioned by Abraham Ibn Da'ud as a poet, and Joseph ben Meʾir ibn Muhājir were probably his brothers. Like Meʾir, their father, Ohev and Joseph both had the title of nasi. Another relative of the same family was Abū Sulaymān David, a well-known poet. The whole family was apparently known by the until now unexplained name of Ibn Shortmeqash. An expert physician and astronomer, Abraham i…

Ibn Muhājir, Abū Sulaymān David (?)

(463 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Abū Sulaymān (David?) ibn Muhājir was a member of the illustrious Ibn Muhājir family of Seville, linked to this city at least from the middle of the eleventh century. In the Romance language, his family is called Ibn Shortmeqash or Shartamiqash. Nothing is known about his degree of relationship with the better-known members of the family, like the brothers Abraham Ibn Muhājir, Joseph, and Isaac, outstanding leaders of Andalusian communities and linked to the court of the Abbadid taifa ruler al-Muʿtamid. It has been suggested that he could have been their grandfather and the father of Me’ir…

Ibn al-Muhājir, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr) ben Meʾir ha-Nasi

(232 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Joseph ibn al-Muhājir (11th to 12th century) was a member of a distinguished Andalusian family (sometimes mentioned with the additional Romance family name of Ibn Shortmeqash), and he himself is referred to by the princely title of nasi. Little is known about Joseph ibn al-Muhājir. Many authors identify him as the brother of the raʾīs Abū Isḥāq (Abraham) ibn Muhājir ben Me’ir, head of the Jewish community of Seville, to whom Moses ibn Ezra dedicated the Sefer ha-ʿAnaq , also known as the Tarshish. Joseph is mentioned in Abraham ibn Da’ud’s Sefer ha-Qabbala (Book of Tradition) together …

Ibn Muhājir, Ohev ben Me'ir ha-Nasi

(416 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
The little-known author Ohev ben Me’ir ha-Nasi ibn Muhājir is mentioned in only one source known today, the Sefer ha-Qabbala of Abraham Ibn Da'ud, who mentions him as one of the most outstanding personalities of the era of splendor for the Jews of al-Andalus that began in the time of Samuel ibn Naghrella. Ohev is named alongside the great poets Solomon ibn Gabirol, Judah ibn Ghiyyāth, and Moses ibn Ezra, to whose generation he probably belonged. The important place given him in Ibn Da’ud’s work contrasts sharply w…

Ibn Naghrella, Jehoseph ha-Nagid

(834 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
Jehoseph ha-Nagid ibn Naghrella, the son of Samuel ben Joseph ha-Nagid ibn Naghrella, was probably born in Granada. Samuel’s poetry reveals that he took a special interest in Jehoseph’s education, and instructed him personally in both Hebrew and Arabic. Jehoseph married the daughter of the great scholar R. Nissim of Qayrawan, and, upon his father’s death, succeeded him as vizier at the court of the Zirid king Bādīs in Granada and nagid of the Jewish communities in al-Andalus. He was killed during the Muslim attack on the Jewish populace of Granada on December 30, 1066, along w…

Ibn Naghrella, Samuel (Abū Ibrāhim Ismāʿīl) ben Joseph ha-Nagid

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Judit Targarona
Samuel ibn Naghrella (Abū Ibrāhim Ismāʿīl ibn Yūsuf ibn Naghrīla), best known in Jewish history as Samuel ha-Nagid, was born in Cordova in 993, the second son of a wealthy family from Merida. The quintessential representative of the Andalusi Sephardi courtier class, he was an outstanding Hebrew poet, an accomplished talmudic scholar, a patron of the arts, and a powerful vizier. He took great pride in his Levite ancestry, and addressed his son, Jehoseph Ibn Naghrella, as “descendant of Moses” ( Poemas, vol. 1 , ed. Sáenz-Badillos and Targarona, 32, 1). He considered Merari, Assi…

Ibn Nūḥ, Joseph (Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf)

(603 words)

Author(s): Geoffrey Khan
Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf ibn Nūḥ (known in Hebrew as Joseph ben Noah) was a Karaite scholar who was active in the second half of the tenth century and the early eleventh century (see Karaism). For most of his adult life Ibn Nūḥ resided in Palestine. According to the chronicle of Karaite scholars by David ibn al-Hītī (15th century), he founded a college (Ar. dār lil‑ʿilm) in Jerusalem around the end of the tenth century. He is likely to be identical with the Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf ibn Bakhtawayh (or Bakhtawī) mentioned in some sources (see Pinsker, p. 62; Mann, vol. 2, p. 30). The surviving works that are expl…

Ibn Paqūda, Baḥya (Abū Isḥāq) ben Joseph

(1,857 words)

Author(s): Joaquín Lomba
Baḥya (Abū Isḥāq) ben Joseph ibn Paqūda was born around 1040, probably in Saragossa, and was a dayyan of its Jewish community, but nothing is known about his life. He was called “the pietist” (Heb. he-ḥasid) and “the master” (Heb. ha-zaqen) and was obviously a man of broad culture. He was a liturgical poet ( payṭan), and a number of his piyyuṭim have been preserved in the Sephardi and Italian rites and in the Cairo Geniza. A Neoplatonic work in Judeo-Arabic entitled On the Essence of the Soul (Ar. Kitāb Maʿānī al-Nafs), attributed to an author named Baḥya, was once thought to be by Ib…

Ibn Qamniʾel, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr)

(365 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Almost nothing is known about Joseph ibn Qamniʾel  (Abū ʿAmr), who lived in the latter part of the eleventh century and the earlier part of the twelfth. He was a member of a distinguished family from Seville and very likely related to one of its most distinguished members, Me’ir ibn Qamniʾel. He seems to have practiced medicine. Three poems dedicated to Ibn  Qamniʾel by Moses ibn Ezra are the only source of information about him. One of these is a qaṣῑda ( Shire ha-Ḥol, vol. 1, no. 72) in which, after a prelude on wine and a fragment of complaint about the separation of friend…

Ibn Qamni’el, Me’ir (Abū ’l Ḥasan)

(365 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Me’ir (Abū ’l Ḥasan) ibn Qamni’el, born in Saragossa, belonged to one of the foremost Jewish families of Seville. What little information there is about his life comes largely from poems dedicated to him by Judah ha-Levi. These make it evident that the two were lifelong close friends. They seem to have first met when Ibn Qamni’el was quite young, as can be deduced from an allusion in Ha-Levi’s panegyric Lo’ He’emin Amun ( Dîwân, vol. 1, pp. 127 ff.). The poem begins with a harsh satire of the leading families of Seville Jewry that juxtaposes their ignorance with Ibn …

Ibn Qapron, Isaac

(684 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
There is little biographical information about Isaac ibn Qapron, a grammarian and poet of the second half of the tenth century in al-Andalus during the Umayyad caliphate. According to the Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa 'l-Mudhākara (p. 58) of Moses Ibn Ezra, he was a member of an important family and a native of Cordova, the center of Jewish life and Hebrew cultural activity during the reign of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III. The meaning of his surname in Latin and Romance (goat) was used in wordplays by his adversaries, especially Yehudi Ibn Sheshet, to ridicule and insult him. Ibn Qapron was actively involve…

Ibn al-Qazzāz, Manasseh ben Abraham

(623 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
Ibn al-Qazzāz rose to prominence under the Iraqi vizier Yaʿqūb ibn Killis (977–991), a Jew who converted before 967 to Ismāʿīlī Shiism and became the architect of the Fatimid military campaign in Egypt. Ibn Killis appointed Ibn al-Qazzāz to oversee his properties in Syria; after Ibn Killis’s death, al-ʿAzīz (975-96) appointed the Christian ʿĪsā ibn Nasṭūrus as vizier and Ibn al-Qazzāz as military administrator (Ar. kātib al-jaysh) in Palestine. Ibn al-Qazzāz’s tenure in Damascus was marked by conflict with local tribes that resisted rule from Cairo and played…

Ibn Quraysh, Judah

(1,103 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Judah ibn Quraysh, a younger contemporary of Saʿadya Gaon, lived and worked in the first half of the tenth century, first in Tahert (northwestern Algeria), until its destruction in 908, then in Fez, Morocco. He is mostly known for his Risāla (Ar. Epistle), the first systematic comparative Semitic dictionary ever written. The Risāla has three sections comparing, respectively, Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew, Hebrew and Aramaic, and Hebrew and Arabic, followed by a Hebrew-Latin/Berber short list which hardly constitutes a full section. Ibn Quraysh cannot be called the first comparative …

Ibn al-Rabῑb, Abraham (Abū Isḥāq)

(359 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
The poet  Abraham (Abū Isḥāq) Ibn al-Rabῑb, a contemporary and friend of Judah ha-Levi, lived in the eleventh and twelfth centuries in al-Andalus, although, according to some scholars, it may not have been his birthplace. Only one incomplete poem remains of his opus (Schirmann 1966, p. 218): the first ten verses of an elegy written in honor of members of the Ibn Muhājir clan, an important family in Seville to which he was related by his marriage to the daughter of Isaac ibn Muhājir, leader of the Jewish community there. Thi…

Ibn Ṣaddīq, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr) ben Jacob

(748 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
The poet, philosopher, and distinguished talmudist  Joseph (Abū ʿAmr)  Ibn Ṣaddīq was born around 1075, probably in Cordova. According to the Sefer ha-Qabbala by Abraham Ibn Daʾud, he was a dayyan in the rabbinical court there from 1138 until 1149, the year of his death. According to the same source, his father, Jacob, was also a learned scholar. Moses Ibn Ezra includes Ibn Ṣaddīq in his ars poetica, Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara (p. 79), as one of the most outstanding members of his generation and expressly praises his affable natu…

Ibn Sadrāy, Abū Bakr

(183 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Abū Bakr ibn Sadrāy, a politician and writer during the period of the taifas (party kingdoms) in the eleventh century, was secretary and vizier of Abū Marwān ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Razīn, king of the small taifa

Ibn Ṣaghīr/Ibn Kūjik Family

(702 words)

Author(s): Amir Mazor
Ibn Ṣaghīr/Kūjik was an eminent Karaite family in the period from the eleventh through the fifteenth century, known both from Cairo Geniza documents and from Muslim Arabic sources. Its members included several important merchants, high government officials, and prominent physicians. According to information provided by fourteenth-century Muslim historians, the ancestor of the family was Abū ʼl-Munajjā Solomon ibn Shaʿya, a high official in twelfth-century Fatimid Egypt. The family had originated in Iran; after settling in Egypt, some …

Ibn Sahl, Abraham (Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Sahl al-Isrā’īlī al-Ishbīlī)

(750 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
Abraham ibn Sahl (Abū Isḥaq Ibrāhīm ibn Sahl al-Isrā'īlī al-Ishbīlī) was born in Seville in 1211 or 1212 to a noble Jewish family, some of whose members, such as the poet Joseph (Abū ʿAmr) ibn Sahl, are well known. All our information about his life comes from Arabic sources, in particular the Nafḥ al-Ṭīb by al-Maqqarī, because he converted to Islam, and in consequence, as was customary, Jewish sources do not mention him. Ibn Sahl's medieval Muslim biographers and modern scholars of Arabic poetry have given considerable attention to his conversion…

Ibn Sahl, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr) ben Jacob

(564 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
In his Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa-l-Mudhākara, Moses ibn Ezra mentions Abū ʿAmr ibn Sahl as one of Solomon ibn Ghiyyāth's most prominent students in Lucena and indicates that he came from a noble family, was intelligent, eloquent in poetry, knowledgeable in jurisprudence, and true to his word. He particularly praises Ibn Sahl's panegyrics and satires (41). In Sefer ha-Qabbala, Abraham ibn Da'ud says that Ibn Sahl was "a great scholar, a great poet, and a pious man, who was appointed as judge in the city of Cordova in Shevat, 4873 [1113], and …

Ibn Sāqawayh

(579 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
Ibn Sāqawayh (Ibn Sāqeweihi or Saqūieh, Ibn Sakaweih or …

Ibn Ṣaqbel, Solomon (Abū Ayyūb) ben Sahl

(491 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Solomon ben Sahl Ibn Ṣaqbel was the twelfth-century Andalusian author of a collection of Hebrew maqāmāt (Heb. maḥberot), picaresque tales in rhymed prose. Only one maqāma from this work is extant: Neʾum Asher ben Yehuda (The Words of Asher ben Judah). The work and its author are mentioned in the Taḥkemoni by al-Ḥarīzī, who describes Ibn Ṣaqbel as a learned and well-known scholar in the art of poetry and the author of the pleasant maqāma that begins Neʾum Asher ben Yehuda. As Raymond Scheindlin states, it is the first known Hebrew fiction from medieval Spain, probably written …

Ibn Sarjado, Aaron (Khalaf) ben Joseph ha-Kohen

(399 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
Aaron (Ar. Khalaf) ben Joseph ha-Kohen ibn Sarjado was gaon of Pumbedita from around 942 to 960. Ibn Sarjado was not from a family of scholars, but married into a wealthy Jewish banking clan in Baghdad that had come to play an increasingly important role in the selection of geonim and exilarchs. His father-in-law, Bishr ben Aaron, is credited with brokering the settlement that ended the protracted dispute between Saʿadya Gaon and the exilarch David ben Zakkay. Ibn Sarjado’s first official post within the hierarchy of the yeshiva came when Mubashshir, gaon of Pumbedita, appointed him resh kalla . In the conflict between Saʿadya and David ben Zakkay that polarized Baghdad Jewry, Ibn Sarjado sided with the latter and apparently wrote a letter viciously attacking Saʿadya. In his eagerness to bring about Saʿadya’s downfall, he reportedly tried, unsuccessfully, to get the caliph to intervene against him with a bribe of 60,000 dirhams. Sometime later, around 942, Ibn Sarjado assumed the headship of Pumbedita; his own time in office, however, was also marred by controversy. According to Sherira Gaon, several years after Ibn Sarjado w…

Ibn Sarūq, Menahem ben Jacob

(1,986 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
Menahem ibn Sarūq was born in Tortosa (in the Upper March, the northeast of al-Andalus) at the beginning of the tenth century (ca. 910–920). His father seems to have been a teacher and gave him an adequate education. Nonetheless, Ibn Sarūq was essentially self-taught and became the prototype of the Jewish intellectual in al-Andalus, perhaps the first one known to history. In fact, he played a decisive role in the birth and development of Andalusian Hebrew philology and poetry. Ibn Sarūq became family poet and secreta…

Ibn Shāhīn, Nissim ben Jacob

(1,124 words)

Author(s): Naḥem Ilan
  Nissim ben Jacob ben Nissim ibn Shāhīn was one of the foremost Jewish scholars of the eleventh century and the leader of the North African Jewish community. He was born in 990 in Qayrawan, where he spent most of his life. His family name (Shāhīn) indicates Persian origins. His father, …
▲   Back to top   ▲