Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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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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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…
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