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Abu Safieh, Jaser K.S. (1982) Umayyad epistolography, with special reference to the compositions ascribed to 'Abd al-Hamid al-Katib. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The object of this study, an analysis of Umayyad epistolography and chancery practice, is characterised by the more general problem of source material for the first century of Islamic history. The sources may be grouped as follows: (a) papyri; (b) insha, balaqha, and adab; (c) history, biography, and geography; (d) hadith, fiqh, and haeresiography. My approach to the problem delineated here will be set out in three chapters: (1) An examination of the Umayyad chancery: its structure, its adaptation to Arabic, and its technical development (2) A critical analysis of specimen letters reported to have been composed during the Umayyad period. (3) A study of the compositions ascribed to the dominant figure of 'Abd al-Hamid al-Katib, traditionally acknowledged as the major factor in the development of the Umayyad chancery. The conclusion of this study may be set out as follows: (1) It has been found that the Umayyad chancery format consists of (a) introductory formulae: the basmala, the inside address (al-unwan), the salam, the tahmid, and amma'd; (b) concluding formulae: dm sha Allah (if God wills), repeating the formula of salam with the definite article "al" the name of the scribe, and the date. (2) It has been noticed that the records of Kharaj in the conquered countries used to be written in Arabic, while the demand letters issued from the bureau of Kharaj were written in Persian, Greek, and Coptic until the reign of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan who ordered his secretaries to write them in Arabic. (3) With regard to the letters ascribed to 'Abd al-Hamid al-Katib, it has been found that they are not authentic and they could not be regarded as representative of the Umayyad chancery practice, for they involve considerable Abbasid characteristics.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

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