Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī "Hiyya al-Daudi", Qaḍī of Cordoba & Toledo

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Yehudah Moshe ben Zakai, Nasi, Qaḍī al-Ṭulayṭula u' Qurtubi

Also Known As: "Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī", "Qaḍī al-Qurtubi", "Abū l-Qāsim Ṣāʿid ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Taghlibī al-Andalusī", "Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā ibn Yehuda "Zakai" Nasi"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Almería, Almería, Andalucia, España (Spain)
Death: 1070 (40-41)
Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, España (Spain)
Immediate Family:

Son of Abu Suleiman David ibn Yaʿīs̲h̲ ben Yehuda Ibn Ya Ish ben Zakai II ben Zakai II, Nasi, Qāḍī, haDayyan of Toledo and Shoshana
Husband of unknown daughter of Mujahid al-Amiri al-Muwaffaq, Emir of Denia
Father of Abū Harūn Moses Ibn Abī ʾl-ʿAysh, Qadi al-calat al-Yahud al-Zaragoza; Hiyya HaNasi and Abū ʾl-Ḥasan Labrat Da'ud Ibn Sughmār, haDayyan al-Mahdiyya, Tunisia
Brother of Sisnando ben David Davidiz Davidiz, Vizier of Castile, Emir of Toledo, Comtes de Quimbra; Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yaʿīs̲h̲ al-Asadī, Nasi,Qadi,Vizier-Sevilla and Private

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About Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī "Hiyya al-Daudi", Qaḍī of Cordoba & Toledo

Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī

Abū l-Qāsim Ṣāʿid ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Taghlibī al-Andalusī

Date of Birth: 1029 Place of Birth: Almeria Date of Death: 1070 Place of Death: Toledo

Ṣāʿid ibn Aḥmad al-Andalusī was born in Almeria and received his first education there. Almería (Ar. al-Mariyya) is a port city in southeastern Spain on a bay of the Mediterranean. The town was founded in 922 by the Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III over a small settlement of fishermen and merchants known as Mariyyat Bajjāna because it was built near the preexisting village of Pechina (Ar. Bajjāna) about 10 kilometers (6 miles) to the north, on the left bank of the Andarax River. Almería became a center of the trade between al-Andalus and North Africa and from 922 was the arsenal of the caliph’s navy. During the period of the taifa kingdoms (Ar. mulūk al-ṭawā'if - "the party kings"), it became independent under Khayrān, a eunuch slave, in 1014; he was succeeded by another slave, Zuhayr, who was defeated and killed in 1038 by the troops of Bādīs, the Zirid king of Granada, whose chief counselor and army commander was Samuel ha-Nagid Ibn Naghrella.

During the eleventh century, the history of the Jews of Almería is tightly linked to that of the Jews of Granada. Among the accusations that Sultan ʿAbd Allāh, the last Zirid ruler of Granada, makes in his memoirs against the vizier Jehoseph ha-Nagid is an allegation that he had contacts with the ruler of Almería aimed at giving him control of Granada. Because of its isolation at the far end of the Iberian Peninsula, Almería became a temporary refuge and transit point for Jews fleeing the fanatical Almohads in the twelfth century. Legends says that the Maimonides family left for Fez from Almería. According to the famous elegy (Heb. qina) of Abraham Ibn Ezra, Aha Yarad bi-Sfarad (Oh, there descended upon Spain), not a single Jew in Almería survived the Almohad persecution. A Jewish community was reestablished in the post-Almohad era, but it came to an end with the Expulsion.

The earliest evidence for a Jewish presence in the area is the second-century gravestone of a Jewish child from the nearby village of Abdera (Adra). In the ninth century there were Jews in Pechina (Bajjāna), which was coming into commercial prominence. After the founding of Mariyyat Bajjāna, some of Pechina’s Jews left for the new settlement, and in the course of the tenth century a prosperous Jewish community developed there. Documents from the Cairo Geniza illustrate the mercantile occupations of the city’s Jews. One letter was written by a young Jewish merchant in Almería to his father in Fez. Most of the city’s Jewish commerce was apparently with North Africa, the Middle East, and Christian countries. Its Jews also pursued other occupations, including silversmiths, milliners, and shoemakers. However, Almería was not a center of Jewish culture. Its Jewish community is mentioned in the correspondence between the communities of al-Andalus and the Babylonian yeshivot. Samuel ha-Kohen ben Isaiah, a native of Fez, corresponded with Sherira Gaon concerning the dispute over the leadership of the academy in Cordoba between Hanoch ben Moses and Joseph Ibn Abītūr. In 1147, it was conquered by Alfonso VII, who held it until the arrival of the Almohads in 1157. In 1223 it was taken by a descendant of the Banū Hūd of Saragossa for a brief period, and then became part of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada until the Christian conquest in 1489.

His family later settled in Cordova, where he continued his studies. Ibn Bashkuwāl says that he was a pupil of Ibn Ḥazm, and the two men certainly knew each other. Ṣāʿid is also known by an ethnic cognom al-Ṭulaiṭilī,, commonly called “the Ḳāḍī Sāʿid”. He made a name for himself by his knowledge of law, history, mathematics, astronomy. In 1068, he was appointed Qāḍī in Toledo by the ruler Yaḥyā al-Maʾmūn Dhī Dhū l-Nūn, he held this office till his death in S̲h̲awwāl 462 (July 1070).

In 1046, he went to Toledo for further study under such reputed teachers as Ibn Khamīs, al-Waqqāshī and al-Tujībī. He studied hadith, theology, logic, philosophy, medicine, astronomy and mathematics, and became known as a scholar of jurisprudence, astronomy and history.

Three works are attributed to Ṣāʿid:

  • a K. fī Iṣlāḥ ḥaraḳāt al-nud̲j̲ūm, on the correction of earlier astronomical tables;
  • a D̲j̲awāmiʿ ak̲h̲bār al-umam min al-ʿArab wa ’l-ʿAd̲j̲am, a universal history; and finally, his
  • Ṭabaḳāt al-umam , a classification of the sciences and of the nations.

Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī’s best known and only surviving work is his Ṭabaqāt al-umam, ‘Generations of the nations’, which he wrote in about 1068. This short though influential history is an account of the knowledge found among the various nations from antiquity to the present. It is structured according to the isnād principle that true philosophical knowledge was reliably transmitted from nation to nation, and thus has the authority of continuity. Their main point revolves round distinguishing at the outset, amongst the peoples of the world, those who do not know “philosophy”—Turks, Chinese, Berbers, etc.—from those who have achieved merit in them—Indians, Persians, Chaldaeans, Egyptians, Greeks and Rūm, Arabs and Jews. In all, there are thus eight nations for whom Ṣāʿid briefly cites, when he knows of them, their scholars and chosen disciplines.

This book is divided into two parts. In the first, the author treats of the peoples who do not cultivate the sciences, and confines himself to generalities. In the second, Ṣāʿid studies the eight nations who have been interested in the sciences namely the Hindus, the Persians, the Chaldæans, the Greeks, the Occidentals, the Egyptians, the Arabs and the Jews. At the present day only the chapters on the Greeks, Arabs and the Jews deserve our attention. The brevity and the anecdotal form of the notices, the absence of any technical development, moreover, show clearly that Ṣāʿīd had never intended to compose a profound treatise after the manner of the specialists but only a simple popular work.

The Kitāb Ṭabaḳāt al-Umam unfortunately soon lost in the eyes of the public the character, which its author had given to it. Very soon from being a summary of the history of the sciences, it came to be regarded as a leading work dealing thoroughly with all human knowledge. Soon, and this is more serious, the work of Ṣāʿid was even regarded, no longer as a compilation but as a first hand source of information. In the xiiith century ¶ this error was definitely sanctioned by the Arab authors who wrote on the history of the sciences. Ibn al-Ḳifṭī borrowed largely from the Kitāb Ṭabaḳāt al-Umam and it can be estimated that the parts taken from this work form a good quarter of his Taʾrīk̲h̲ al-Ḥukamāʾ. Even Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa, in his great work called ʿUyūn al-Anbāʾ fī Ṭabaḳāt al-Aṭibbāʾ, has reproduced several biographies of physicians, the text of which has been taken from Ṣāʿid’s work. Finally the Christian Bar Hebraeus has taken from the same treatise the division of peoples into the friends and the enemies of science as well as the general sketch of each of the races studied in his Arabic chronicle, Muk̲h̲taṣar al-Duwal.

The catalogue is rudimentary, but has a guiding thread. Science goes from East to West, from India to Spain, which holds its last living embodiment. Above all, these eight peoples have handed down the sciences according to the strict historical ¶ continuity—or geographical contiguousness—required by the isnād in the religious sciences, i.e. the chain of guarantors for a fact which one wishes to carry back, generation by generation, to the Prophet or his Companions.

The success of Ṣāʿid’s little work may well have stemmed from this trait, as set out in its title, Ṭabaḳāt al-umam “The generations of the nations”. The ḳāḍī of Toledo thereby inserts within the classification of the philosophical sciences a principle directly inherited from the religious science disciplines, much more familiar to the immense majority of his readers. He established the truths of mathematics or astronomy as one would do for ḥadīt̲h̲, by an irreproachable isnād which attests their exact transmission and preserved integralness, right from their origins.

ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Miḍrās b. D̲h̲i ’l-Nūn and his son Ismāʿīl, who is said to have received from Sulaymān the double vizirate and the title Nāṣir al-Dawla (Ibn Ḥayyān, quoted Ibn Bassām, iv/1, 110), struck out a line of their own. According to Ibn Ḥayyān, Ismāʿīl was the first of-the ‘Party Kings’ to break with the central authority and was imitated in this by the others, but when and how he actually did so are not known. It is usually said that he began to rule in Toledo after the ḳāḍī Ibn Yaʿīs̲h̲ in 427/1035.

We also have an inscription in Toledo dated 423/1032 with the titles D̲h̲u ’l-Riʾāsatayn and al-Ẓāfir, ‘the Triumphant’, which must be placed after his accession (E. Lévi-Provençal, Inscriptions arabes d’Espagne, 66). As king in Toledo Ismāʿīl was beset by difficulties on all sides, including war with the Christians (Ibn Saʿīd, Mug̲h̲rib, ii, 15-16), but he made good his position and survived till 435/1043, when he was succeeded by his son Yaḥyā, called al-Maʾmūn [Maimun/Maimon??].

The sources indicate that there were Jews of many different origins in Toledo in the eleventh century, including Khazars and Karaites. Their number included artisans, peasants, farmers, and merchants, some of whom engaged in high-level commerce and finance. The Ibn Shoshans, Ibn Nahmias, and Ibn Falcons were among the city’s most notable families under Islamic and Christian rule. A responsum attributed to Joseph ibn Migash in the early twelfth century alludes to a Jewish organization headed by seven notables and elders, and a bet din (law court). Only a few of the epigraphic inscriptions collected by Cantera and Millás are from this time.

The Toledo of al-Ma’mūn was the city in which the qāḍī Ṣāid ibn Aḥmad al-Andalusī, born in Almeria in 1029 of a distinguished Arabic lineage, spent most of his life. His Ṭabaqāt al-Umam (The Categories of Nations) is an historical survey of science and culture that considered the contributions of adherents of non-Islamic religions as well as Muslims. While other Andalusian writers saw the Jews from a less favorable perspective, or simply ignored them, Ṣāid dedicated a whole chapter to the “eighth and last nation,” the Banū Isrā’īl and their descendants, the Jews, paying special attention to Andalusian Jews. As Ross Brann observes, there is no sign of Muslim anxiety or hostility toward the Jews in the work of this qāḍī of Toledo. He refers to his Jewish colleagues with praise and expressions of admiration that are not usual in the Arabic literature of the time. Some of the Andalusian Jewish authors Ṣāid mentions, like the physician, philosopher and grammarian Isaac ibn Qasṭār ibn Yashūsh, had a connection to Toledo. During the second half of the eleventh century the grammarian and exegete Judah ibn Balaam lived in Toledo.

While in Toledo, his secretary was Abū l-Aṣbagh ʿIsā ibn Sahl ibn ʿAbdallāh al-Asadī al-Jayyānī -- In the years before 1051-52 Abū l-Aṣbagh ʿIsā ibn Sahl ibn ʿAbdallāh al-Asadī al-Jayyānī was judge of Baeza, Shumuntān and Tíscar around Jaen, between 1058-59 and 1064-65 he was secretary to the qāḍī of Toledo (Sa'id al-Andalusi), and in the years before 1075 to the qāḍī of Cordova. He also worked in Tangiers, Meknes and finally Granada, where he witnessed the change of power from the Zīrids to the Almoravids in 1090.

Should one see in Ṣāʿid, in accordance with M.-G. Balty-Guesdon, one of those philosophers of which al-Andalus offers examples in the 6th/12th century, one of those who aimed at tracing the crucial frontier between rational knowledge and revealed religious dogma? Or should one, on the contrary, see in him the conciliator of two classes of the sciences which he knew well, as a judge by day and an astronomer by night?

The plan and the guiding thread of the Ṭabaḳāt, as also the discrete reference to prophetic sources for all knowledge—the Semitic origin ascribed to Greek philosophy, the privileged place of the Jews at the end of the chain of nations—incline one rather to the second view.

Ṣāʿid wrote a treatise on astronomy, a universal chronicle and a work in the style of the Kitāb al-Niḥal of Ibn Ḥazm, which now appears to be lost. At the present day, we only possess by this author a history of the sciences, called Kitab Ṭabaḳāt al-Umam (ed. by Cheikho, Bairūt 1912). This book is divided into two parts. In the first, the author treats of the peoples who do not cultivate the sciences, and confines himself to generalities. In the second, Ṣāʿid studies the eight nations who have been interested in the sciences namely the Hindus, the Persians, the Chaldæans, the Greeks, the Occidentals, the Egyptians, the Arabs and the Jews. At the present day only the chapters on the Greeks, Arabs and the Jews deserve our attention. The brevity and the anecdotal form of the notices, the absence of any technical development, moreover, show clearly that Ṣāʿīd had never intended to compose a profound treatise after the manner of the specialists but only a simple popular work. The Kitāb Ṭabaḳāt al-Umam unfortunately soon lost in the eyes of the public the character, which its author had given to it. Very soon from being a summary of the history of the sciences, it came to be regarded as a leading work dealing thoroughly with all human knowledge. Soon, and this is more serious, the work of Ṣāʿid was even regarded, no longer as a compilation but as a first hand source of information. In the xiiith century ¶ this error was definitely sanctioned by the Arab authors who wrote on the history of the sciences. Ibn al-Ḳifṭī borrowed largely from the Kitāb Ṭabaḳāt al-Umam and it can be estimated that the parts taken from this work form a good quarter of his Taʾrīk̲h̲ al-Ḥukamāʾ. Even Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa, in his great work called ʿUyūn al-Anbāʾ fī Ṭabaḳāt al-Aṭibbāʾ, has reproduced several biographies of physicians, the text of which has been taken from Ṣāʿid’s work. Finally the Christian Bar Hebraeus has taken from the same treatise the division of peoples into the friends and the enemies of science as well as the general sketch of each of the races studied in his Arabic chronicle, Muk̲h̲taṣar al-Duwal.

His son was "Yehuda ben Hiyya HaNasi" -- who fled Toledo for Zaragoza after Sisnando Davidiz seized Toledo. This writer theorizes that Hiyya ben David met his brother, Sisnando Davidiz, in Cordoba while studying under Averroes, and maintained their friendship – Sisnando allowed Hiyya to exit Cordoba for Toledo prior to Sisnando seizing Cordoba, in 1066, and slaughtering Muslims and Jews alike.

Primary Sources of Information

ʻAbd Allāh ibn Buluggīn. El siglo XI en primera persona. Las memorias de Abd Allah último rey zirí de Granada, destronado por los almorávides, trans. E. Lévi- Provençal and E. García Gómez (Madrid: Alianza, 1991).

———. The Tibyān: Memoirs of ‘Abd Allāh b. Buluggīn, Last Zīrid Amīr of Granada, trans. from the emended Arabic text and with introduction, notes, and comments by Amin T. Tibi (Leiden: Brill, 1986).

Ashtor, Eliyahu. The Jews of Moslem Spain, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973–84), pp. 295–299.

Cano, María José, and Lola Ferre. Los judíos de Almería (Almería: IEA, 1990).

Ibn Daʾud, Abraham. El libro de la tradición (Sefer ha-qabbalah), trans. L. Ferre (Barcelona: Riopiedras Ediciones, 1990).

———. Sefer ha-Qabbalah: The Book of Tradition, ed. and trans. Gerson D. Cohen (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005).

Lacave, José Luis. Juderías y Sinagogas españolas (Madrid: Ed. Mapfre, 1992), pp. 382–384.

Ibn Bashkuwāl, Kitāb al-ṣila fī taʾrīkh aʾimmat al-Andalus, ed. Ṣ. al-Hawwarī, Beirut, 2003, pp. 200-1 (quoting from the lost Taʾrīkh fuqahāʾ Ṭulayṭula of Abū Jaʿfar ibn Muṭāhir)

Ibn al-Faraḍī, Taʾrīkh ʿulamāʾ al-Andalus, ed. I.A. al-Ḥusaynī, 2 vols, Cairo, 1954, i, p. 43

Al-Ḍabbī, Bughyat al-multamis, ed. F. Codera and J. Ribera, Madrid, 1884-5, p. 343, n. 980

Secondary Sources of Information

M.A. El Bazi, 'Refexiones sobre las Ṭabaqāt al-umam de Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī’, Anaquel de Estudios Arabes 14 (2003) 89-103, pp. 89-91

Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī, Historia de la filosofía y de las ciencias o Libro de las categorías de las naciones, ed. E. Ruiz and A. Martinez Lorca, Madrid, 2000, p. 11-17

Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī, Libro de las categorías de las naciones, trans. F.Maíllo Salgado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 10-18

M.G. Balty-Guesdon, ‘Al-Andalus et l’héritage grec d’après les Tabaqāt al-umam de Sāʿid al-Andalusī (460 H.)’, in A. Hasnawi et al. (eds), Perspectives arabes et médiévales sur la tradition scientifique et philosophique grecque, Leuven, 1997, 331-42

M.S. Khan, ‘Ṭabaqāt al-umam of Qāḍī Sāʿid al-Andalusī (1029-1079)’, Indian Journal of History of Science 30 (1995) 133-49

M. Plessner, ‘Der Astronom und Historiker Ibn Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī und seine Geschichte der Wissenschaften’, Rivista degli Studi Orientali 31 (1956) 325-57

Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī, Kitāb ṭabaḳāt al-umam, trans. R. Blachère, Paris, 1935, pp. 6-12

Ibn Bassām, al-D̲h̲ak̲h̲īra fī maḥāsin ahl al-d̲j̲azīra, ed. Cairo, 1364/1945, iv/1, 99-132, also i/2, 124-9

Ibn Saʿīd, al-Mug̲h̲rib fī ḥulā ’l-mag̲h̲rib, ed. S̲h̲awḳī Ḍayf ( D̲h̲ak̲h̲āʾir al-ʿArab, x), ii, 11-4

Ibn ʿId̲h̲ārī, al-Bayān al-mug̲h̲rib, iii, ed. E. Lévi-Provençal, Paris 1930, 276-83, also 266-7

Ibn al-K̲h̲aṭīb, Aʿmāl al-aʿlām, ed. E. Lévi-Provençal, Rabat 1353/1934, 204-10

Maḳḳarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, ed. Leiden, i, 126 ff., 288

ii, 672 ff., 748

E. Lévi-Provençal, Alphonse VI et la prise de Tolède, in Islam d’Occident (Islam d’Hier et d’Aujourd’hui, t. vii), 109-35 (reprinted from Hespéris, t. xii, 1931, 33-49)

D. M. Dunlop, The Dhunnunids of Toledo, in JRAS, 1942, 77-96

idem, Notes on the Dhunnunids of Toledo, in JRAS, 1943, 17-9

A. Prieto y Vives, Los Reyes de Taifas, Madrid 1926, 52-5, 133-5, 213-9 (chiefly numismatics)

G. C. Miles, Coins of the Spanish Mulūk al-Ṭawāʾif, Hispanic Numismatic Series, no. 3, American Numismatic Society, New York 1954, 122-34

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Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī "Hiyya al-Daudi", Qaḍī of Cordoba & Toledo's Timeline

1029
1029
Almería, Almería, Andalucia, España (Spain)
1049
1049
Toledo, Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain
1050
1050
Toledo, Castilla La Mancha, España (Spain)
1052
1052
Almería, Almería, Andalusia, Spain
1070
1070
Age 41
Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, España (Spain)