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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Sulṭān Ḥusayn, Shah

(429 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Shāh Sulṭān Ḥusayn (r. 1694–1722), the ninth monarch of the Ṣafavid dynasty of Iran, succeeded his father, Shāh Sulaymān (r. 1666-1694), and like him was unprepared to rule, having been raised in the harem. Under the influence of Shīʿī clerics like Muḥammad Bāqir al-Majlisī (d. 1698), the new shah, in an effort to become devout, prohibited the production and drinking of wine along with gambling and pigeon flying. These prohibitions soon fell out of use, not least because of the debauched practices of the …

Sultan, Léon René

(330 words)

Author(s): Alma Heckman
Léon René Sultan, a French citizen by virtue of the Crémieux Decree of 1870, was born in 1905 in Constantine, Algeria. He became a lawyer there and in 1929 moved his practice to  Casablanca, Morocco. Fluent in Arabic as well as French, Sultan circulated among the city’s Muslims as well as its Jews. Under the French protectorate, communist and socialist gatherings were prohibited, but he wrote articles for Clarté, a communist paper, and helped to distribute it and similar publications. During World War II he was disbarred by the antisemitic Vichy regime, but he b…


(264 words)

Author(s): David J. Wasserstein
Several traditions preserved in Arabic sources mention a Jew named Sumayr as one of the minters who produced the earliest Islamic silver coins (dirhams) during the reign of the Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān (r. 685–705). The coins were known as “Sumayris” because of Sumayr’s involvement in their production. One late source gives his home as Taymā’, an oasis in Arabia that had a considerable Jewish population before the advent of Islam. The sources relate the story of Sumayr along with others, involving Muslims, in ways which are atomized and…


(251 words)

Author(s): Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman
Sunbat (Ar. Sunbāṭ; Sambūṭ or Sambūṭiya in Cairo Geniza documents) was a town in Lower Egypt which had a Jewish population from at least the tenth to the seventeenth century. Although small, the community maintained a rabbinical court and a synagogue, the foundational elements of a middle-sized Jewish settlement. The town also sustained a scholarly elite: scholars from Palestine and Syria lived in Sunbat, and an eleventh-century head of the Babylonian community in Fustat, Sahlān ben Abraham, traced his lineage back seven generations to the town. According to Joseph Sambari, a Torah…

Sürgün (Forced Resettlement)

(347 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
The Turkish word sürgün (expulsion, deportation) was mainly used in two contexts. First, it designated forced migration, or exile, imposed on dissidents either temporarily or permanently to maintain political stability in the place from which they were removed. Second, and more important with regard to Jews, sürgün designates the Ottoman population-transfer policy whereby large numbers of people were forced to relocate for strategic purposes. Within the Jewish context, the most noted instance of sürgün concerns the repopulating of Constantinople, the new capital of the …
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