Letter: CUL Or.1081 2.4

Letter CUL Or.1081 2.4



Letter in Judaeo-Arabic to a certain Abū Ṭāhir containing interesting technical details of the capitation tax administration. The writer heard from Manṣūr al-Dimashqī "may God protect him" (possibly identical with the recipient Abū Ṭāhir—otherwise how is Abū Ṭāhir connected to the story?) that he has been drawn into the matter of Mūsā b. al-Maghribī's capitation tax. Mūsā had been selling off his qumāsh (household furnishings? his wife's dowry?) when he went to the governor (al-wālī), possibly of al-Banha, and said "this man [presumably the letter writer] is my guarantor (ḍamīnī), and I make my payment in Malīj." The governor said, "Impossible! Show me your acquittances (barāwātak)." Mūsā brought the acquittances. The sequence of events becomes blurry around here due to the missing ends of lines. A speculative reconstruction is as follows: The governor said that he had been ordered to collect the capitation tax from a group of people who still owed it for "years 8 and 9" but it then transpired that the record (al-jarīda) in the tax bureau (al-dīwān) showed that someone else had already collected their capitation taxes—perhaps because they, like Mūsā, were registered elsewhere? The governor then says he will take the list to the authorities (al-sulṭān) and report that these people actually live in his district. The text in the margin is fragmentary but mentions the capitation tax collector in Malīj (ḍāmin al-jawālī bi-Malīj) and, later, "let him pay it in al-Banha." The upper margin is lost. When the story resumes on verso, someone—perhaps the governor of al-Banha—is saying, "I will not let you off without a capitation tax payment for year 8, as the authorities (al-sulṭān) have ordered." The writer continues, "We are in a difficult situation with him [perhaps the tax farmer of Malīj]." The writer concludes by beseeching Abū Ṭāhir at least twice not to "oppose (tuʿāriḍ). . . [something or someone] that is in al-Banhā." The meaning of this is not immediately clear. Perhaps the writer, in Malīj, is now facing trouble with the local tax farmer, because the governor of al-Banhā is trying to transfer the tax revenue to his own district, and the writer wishes Abū Ṭāhir and Mūsā would not stir up any further trouble with the authorities. See Moss. IV,7 (L 12) for another use of עארץ in relation to the capitation tax. The references in this letter are quite opaque, and there are probably many other interpretations consistent with what remains of it. ASE.

CUL Or.1081 2.4 recto



Alan Elbaum, [digital geniza document edition].


  1. [בש ר]חמ

  2. אלדי אעלם חצרה מולאי אל[שיך אלא]גל אטאל

  3. אללה בקאהא ואדאם ת[אי]ידהא ועלאהא וכבת אעדאהא

  4. [  אבו א]ל מנצור אלדמשק[י] נטריה רחמנא ודכר

  5. אן [אל]דל[א]לה רסמת עלי בסבב מוסי בן אלמגרבי

  6. פי מעני אלגאליה ואנה אכד קמאשה יביעה

  7. פמצי מוסי אלמדכור אלי ענד אלואלי וקאל ל[ה]

  8. הדא אלרגל צמיני ואנא רסמי אזן פי מליג

  9. פקאל לה אלואלי הדא מחאל [א]חצר ברואתך

  10. פלמא אחצר אלבראואת קאל האדא . [. .]

  11. [. . .]ם אנא קד ג[א]ני אמר מולאי באן [. . .]

  12. גזיה סנה תמאן וסנה תסע תם אן קום [. . . . .]

  13. אתבת אסאמיהם וקד צארת אלגרידה [. . . . .]

  14. אלדיואן אכד גירי גזיתהם ואטלב [. . . . .]

  15. בהא אנא אטאלע אלסלטאן אעז א[ללה נצרה]

  16. אן הולא אלקום סכאן ענדי מן ארב . . .


Recto, right margin

  1. ואן גו[. . . . . . .]ת מא אלסנה וקד תע[.]א צאמן אלגואלי במליג

  2. [. . . . . . . . . . .] . . . ת . . . א וידפעהא אלבנהא כמא כר . אלא . .



CUL Or.1081 2.4 verso



  1. לאנה קאל מא אכליכם אלי בגזיה

  2. סנה תמאן כמא גא אמר אלסלטאן

  3. ונחן מעה פי אמר צעב ואלאן א[נא]

  4. אסלך אן לא תרגע תעארץ הו .[   ]

  5. אלדי פי בנהא והקבה יעוץ. . גירה [   ]

  6. אצעאף דלך וקד סאלת ודרעת לל[   ]

  7. חפצה אללה אן לא יכתב . . אל . [   ]

  8. [אס]ל אנך לא תרגע תעא[ר]ץ א . . . . .

  9. . . . . . אקבל ידך אלכרימה ו . . . א . .

  10. . . . א ודלהא טאהר מכדום אפצל . . . .

  11. . . . . . שלום

Verso, top margin

  1.  [الى الشيـ]ـخ الاجل ابو طاهر لدار (؟) . . .
  2. . . شاكر  تفضله مسلم لا عدمته

  3. . . . . . . . .