- The cult of Qalāwūn
- Waqf, commemoration, and dynasty in early Mamluk Cairo, ca. 1280-1340
J. Van Steenbergen
- Award date
- 7 July 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
This dissertation investigates the role of pious foundations, or waqf, in the establishment of dynastic rule in the early Mamluk Sultanate. By case studying the waqf of Sultan al-Manṣūr Qalāwūn (r. 1279-1290) in Cairo, it is argued that, comparable to practices in Christian Europe, making a waqf-endowment was a traditionally and religiously pertinent way for Qalāwūn to couple the salvation of his soul with worldly memoria, protecting his patrimony and socio-cultural capital beyond death for the greater glory of his house. Although attempts by Qalāwūn’s sons to appropriate and make use of this heritage were initially challenged and superseded by Qalāwūn’s former mamluks, Qalāwūn’s third son, al-Nāṣir Muḥammad (r. 1293-1341, with intermissions), ultimately managed to rally support for his dynastic claim to power around the commemoration of his father, while the waqf also provided him the financial and legal means to maintain and favourably adjust the commemorative image of Qalāwūn at the centre of it. Al-Nāṣir Muḥammad thus achieved to make use of his father’s waqf to the advantage of his sweeping project of Mamluk State formation, causing the Qalāwūnid house to overlap with ‘the state’ itself.
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