Jadid al-Islam: The Jewish ''New Muslims'' of Meshhed

Overview

Jadid al-Islam eplores the Meshhed Jewish community, which was attacked by Muslims in 1839. After murdering thirty-six Jews, the Muslims forced the survivors to convert. This event, known as Allahdad, traumatically altered the lives of the Jewish community which had, until then, lived peacefully in the Muslim holy city of Iran for about one hundred years.

Using original, unpublished Persian sources, Patai documents the history, traditions, tales, customs, and institutions of the...

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Overview

Jadid al-Islam eplores the Meshhed Jewish community, which was attacked by Muslims in 1839. After murdering thirty-six Jews, the Muslims forced the survivors to convert. This event, known as Allahdad, traumatically altered the lives of the Jewish community which had, until then, lived peacefully in the Muslim holy city of Iran for about one hundred years.

Using original, unpublished Persian sources, Patai documents the history, traditions, tales, customs, and institutions of the Jadid-al Islam (the "New Muslims"). Interviews with members of the existing Meshhed community in Jerusalem and New York add insight to the text.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Jewish life in Islamic lands has always fascinated Patai (The Jewish Alchemists, LJ 6/1/94). In this massive, specialized study, he focuses on the Jews of the Iranian city of Meshhed, who were forcibly converted in 1839. They lived an underground life: outwardly, they conformed to Islamic ways, but inwardly they kept a Jewish identity. They were known as "Jadid al-Islam," or "New of Islam." Patai's work is the product of the oral accounts he obtained. He supplements the book with tales of travelers who witnessed the servile and often degraded conditions of these Jews only from the outside, knowing nothing of their incredible but secretive lives. No detail is too small for Patai; he even describes Jewish children's games. This work is best suited for academic and public libraries with very strong Jewish studies collections. Public libraries should consider a few basic introductions to the topic, such as Bernard Lewis's Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (LJ 2/1/91).Paul M. Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., Ill.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Raphael Patai (1911-1996) was a prominent cultural anthropologist, historian, and biblical scholar of international reputation. He was the author of more than three dozen books on Jewish and Arab culture, history, politics, psychology, and folklore.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations 9
Introduction 11
I History and Traditions
1 Early Times 25
2 Before the Allahdad 29
3 The Sufi Lure 41
4 Allahdad! 51
5 After the Allahdad 65
6 Conversions to the Bahai faith 76
7 A Decade of Blood Libels and Other Incidents, 1892-1902 79
8 Zionism and Early 'Aliya 86
9 Disturbances in the 1940s 92
10 A Picture of Jewish Life 101
11 Emigration, 'Aliya, Dispersion 108
12 A Meshhed Jewish Family: Aqa Farajullah's Memoirs 112
II Tales and Legends
Introductory Note 151
13 A Popular "Life of Nadir" 154
14 Three Tales about Mullah Siman-Tov 168
15 Two Stories about the Jews of Kalat 173
16 How the Herat Jews Were Saved 178
17 The Story of the Woman Gohar 182
18 The Death of Hajj Hasan Eshaq 189
III Customs and Institutions
Introductory Note 195
19 Birth Customs 198
20 Jewish Names and Origins 202
21 The Secret School (Hebrew Education) 205
22 Girls' Games 222
23 Ritual Observances 228
24 Marriage 231
25 Burial Customs 265
Conclusion 273
Notes 279
Judeo-Persian Vocabulary 299
Bibliography 311
Index 317
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    Great Book!

    This is a must read for any student of anthropolgy or lover of Jewish history. Patai does a great job in exploring the history of a small Jewish community in Iran forced to convert to Islam. This community lived as Muslims in public, but practiced Judasim underground, risking their lives, in order to preserve their cherished faith.

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