11- Ayyubids and Mamluks

The Ayyubids: A family of Kurdish amirs who ruled Syria and Egypt (1176-1250).  Their founder was Salah al-Din (Saladin), the exemplary knight and hero of the Counter-Crusade. 

The Mamluks: A curious phenomenon that is not encountered outside the Islamic world, Mamluks were imported slaves, mostly of Turkish or Caucasian stock, who were destined for a military career. The Mamluks ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517.

Waqf: Endowment deed.  In the medieval period, amirs and dignitaries endowed charitable structures both for pious and social reasons and as a means to preserve some of the wealth generated by their iqta‘, or revenues form land holdings granted by the state only while they are actively in the service.

Khanqah: Institution for sufis which usually contains a mosque, quarters for a number of sufis, and a meeting hall where the hudur is performed.  Its introduction into the urban environmrnt in major cities marked the recognition of popular religious practices by both the ruling and the clerical classes

Hudur: Sufi acts of devotion which took the form of dancing, singing, and whirling among other ways.  Each Sufi order had its distinctive hudur.

The Monuments:

The Mosque of Sultan al-Zahir Baybars in Cairo: (1267-9) First royal Mamluk mosque in Cairo. Hypostyle in plan, and fortress-like in elevation, the mosque with its three portals displays local and Seljuk influences.  Its minbar and mihrab are said to have been built with wood and marble taken from a Crusader's church in Jaffa

The Complex of Sultan Qalawun in Cairo: (1284-85) Contains a bimaristan (hospital), a madrasa, and a mausoleum for the founder.  The street façade is well articulated and shows the confluence of Syrian (Crusader and Islamic) arrangements. The madrasa is a four-iwan type with a basilical organization in the qibla iwan.  The Dome of the mausoleum echoes the octagonal plan of the Dome of the Rock.

The Khanqah of Sultan Baybars al-Jashankir: (1307-10) a structure with a biaxial plan, this khanqah  had a mausoleum added on its qibla side. It contained rooms for the sufis aligned on its two longitudinal sides.