Abū al-Ya'ish Mujāhid al-Muwaffaq, Emir al-Denia

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Abū al-Ya'ish Mujāhid al-Muwaffaq, Emir al-Denia

Death: circa 1046 (42-60)
Dénia, Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain
Immediate Family:

Husband of ???? bat Abū Ibrāhīm Isaac ibn Yashūsh
Father of unknown daughter of Mujahid al-Amiri al-Muwaffaq, Emir of Denia and Ali Iqbal al-Dawla bin Mujahidl Siqlabi, Emir of Denia

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About Abū al-Ya'ish Mujāhid al-Muwaffaq, Emir al-Denia


The independent taifa kingdom of Denia (Ar. Dāniya) in the first half of the eleventh century incorporated the Balearic Islands (Ar. al-Jazāʾir) and was founded by the Slavic taifa king Abū al-Jaysh Mujāhid (1010–1013). He actively supported the creation of a center for the study of the Qurʿān in the city of Denia. Like the other taifa kingdoms in the eastern part of the Iberian peninsula, Denia was the final destination of refugee intellectuals fleeing the destruction of Cordova, among them the famous Muslim theologian Ibn Ḥazm.

There was probably a Jewish community in Denia before the disintegration of the Umayyad caliphate, but its Jewish community truly flourished during the period of the Party Kings and probably grew in size with the influx of refugees from other parts of the vanishing caliphate. There is plenty of written testimony in the Cairo Geniza documents about Jewish traders from Denia and powerful Jewish families living there. As attested in the Geniza letters studied by Goitein, Denia had strong commercial ties with several Mediterranean cities, such as Qayrawan and al-Mahdiyya in Tunisia, and Alexandria and Fustat in Egypt.

Among the noteworthy Jewish figures from Denia, mention may be made of the physician, grammarian, and Bible commentator Abū Ibrāhīm (Isaac) ibn Yashūsh ibn Kastar, and the talmudist and poet Isaac ben Reuben al-Bargeloni, who was dayyan of the community and married a member of one of the city’s powerful families, the Ibn Lakhtush. The Babylonian scholar Samuel ben Joseph, who held the rank of resh kalla at the Pumbedita yeshiva, settled in Denia and corresponded with Samuel ha-Nagid (Ibn Naghrella). Another scholar, Isaac ben Moses ibn Sukkarī, went in the opposite direction and left Denia for Baghdad. In the twelfth century the poet Ibn Khāzin, who lived in Denia, exchanged poems with Judah ha-Levi.

In the late thirteenth century, after the Christian conquest of the kingdom of Valencia, few Jews were found in Denia. According to Lacave, the Jewish quarter was probably located near the alcazaba, in the ancient village, but nowadays only some ruins remain.

Arturo Prats


Ashtor, Eliyahu. The Jews of Moslem Spain, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973–84), pp. 290-–295.

Goitein, Shelomo D. A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, 6 vols. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967–93).

Lacave, José Luis. Juderías y Sinagogas Españolas (Madrid: Editorial Mapfre, 1992).

Schirmann, Ḥayyim. “Ha-Meshorerim Benei Doram shel Moses ibn Ezraʿ,” Yedi'ot ha-Makhon le-Ḥeqer ha-Shira ha-ʿIvrit 6 (1946): 261.

Citation Arturo Prats. " Denia." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Brill Online , 2013. Reference. Jim Harlow. 31 January 2013 <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-jews-...>

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