Letter: CUL Or.1080 3.46

Letter CUL Or.1080 3.46



One of a pair of letters written by Umm Sitt al-Nās to family members when she had been thrown out of her husband's and mother-in-law's house. The match was identified by Oded Zinger. The other letter is T-S 10J9.13, addressed to Abū l-Faḍl Ibn Sabra, whom Goitein identified as her maternal uncle and as Mevorakh b. Avraham b. Yiṣḥaq Ibn Sabra. That letter gives the background of the situation and how Umm Sitt al-Nās had had to leave her own family's location and move in with the husband and mother-in-law. "First, we all moved into one house. Soon my mother-in-law began to work against me, isolating me from everyone and putting enmity against me into the heart of her son. The least she did was that she said to me: 'Go away and become like your notorious mother.'" Umm Sitt al-Nās then probably alludes to her mother (the sister of both the addressee and the mother-in-law) when she writes, "You remember well how everyone reacted to your sister Baqā'." A man—perhaps the writer's husband or perhaps her father-in-law (per Goitein)—then accused Umm Sitt al-Nās of adultery with her cousin (ibn ʿamm). Ultimately she was turned out of the house, "naked and lost." She has been staying with a widow who took her in, and she wishes to travel to her uncle and stay with him, as she has no one else to turn to. The present letter is addressed to her brother Abu ʿUmar Ibn Sabra and does not add a great deal of new information. She requests 20 dirhams (like she requested from her uncle). She begs him for a letter and for news of their younger brother, who also has not written to her. For more, see T-S 10J9.13 and Goitein's translation and discussion of the other letter in Med Soc III:175f.