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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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…
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