Islamic Studies ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya
by
Th. Emil Homerin
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0254

Introduction

ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya (d. 923/1517) was a Sunni Muslim mystic and a prolific poet and writer, who lived most of her life in Damascus. By her own count, she composed over twenty works in prose and poetry. Most of her writings are devoted to praising the life and miracles of the Prophet Muhammad and to discussion of mystical topics. She left autobiographical remarks in a number of her works, offering insights into her life and times. ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya was praised by her biographers in the 16th and 17th centuries, but subsequently she was largely forgotten until the late 20th century, when scholars rediscovered manuscripts of her works.

General Overviews

There are brief entries on ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya in several reference works, including Huart 1903, Brockelmann 1937–1942, Kahhala 1935, Khalidi 1960, Farukh 1984, Frenkel 2014, and Homerin, 2007. More detailed accounts of her life and writings may be found in al-ʿAlawi 1994, al-Qadhat 2007, and Suwayriki 2006. The most thorough studies of her life and work are Rababʿia 1997 and Homerin 2003.

  • al-ʿAlawi, Faris Ahmad. ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya al-Dimashqiyya. Damascus: Dar Maʿadd li-l-Tibaʿa wa-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 1994.

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    An account of ʿA’isha’s al-Baʿuniyya’s life and family composed largely of quotations and paraphrases of accounts by earlier Arab chroniclers and biographers. The review of her writings and existing manuscripts is incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading. In Arabic.

  • Brockelmann, Carl. Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur. Supplementband. Vol. 2. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1937–1942.

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    A very short entry with basic biographical data. See p. 381. In German.

  • Farukh, ʿUmar. “ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya.” In Ta’rikh al-Adab al-ʿArabi. Vol. 3. By ʿUmar Farukh, 926–930. Beirut: Dar al-ʿIlm, 1984.

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    Provides basic details of ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya’s life, along with a small selection of her verse. In Arabic.

  • Frenkel, Yehoshua. “al-Bāʿūnī.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3d ed. Edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, and Everett Rowson. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014.

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    A very useful entry on the al-Baʿuni family, updating Khalidi 1960. In English. Available online by subscription.

  • Homerin, Th. Emil. “Living Love: The Mystical Writings of ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya.” Mamluk Studies Review 7.1 (2003): 211–236.

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    A detailed survey of ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya’s life and work based on primary sources. In English.

  • Homerin, Th. Emil. “ʿĀʾisha al-Bāʿūniyya.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3d ed. Edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, and Everett Rowson. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007.

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    A useful entry regarding her life and work. In English. Available online by subscription.

  • Huart, Clément. A History of Arabic Literature. New York: D. Appleton, 1903.

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    A brief reference to ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya and her work Fath al-Mubin. In English. See p. 331.

  • Kahhala, ʿUmar. “ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya.” In Muʿjam al-Mu’allafin. Vol. 5. By ʿUmar Kahhala, 57. Damascus: al-Maktaba al-ʿArabiya, 1935.

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    Provides basic biographical and bibliographical data, based on several 16th- and 17th-century accounts. In Arabic.

  • Khalidi, W. A. S. “Al-Bāʿūnī.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2d ed. Vol. 1. Edited by H. A. R. Gibb, et al., 1109–1110. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1960.

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    A useful, though dated, entry on the al-Baʿuni family. In English.

  • al-Qadhat, Muhammad ʿAbd Allah. ʿA’ilat al-Baʿuni. Amman, Jordan: Wizarat al-Thaqafa, 2007.

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    An overview of the al-Baʿuni family and its contributions to Mamluk society and culture over four generations, and ending with ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya; the author relies heavily on Rababʿia 1997 for information. In Arabic.

  • Rababʿia, Hasan. ʿA’ishah al-Baʿuniyya: Shaʿira. Irbid, Jordan: Dar al-Hilal li-l-Tarjamah, 1997.

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    A useful survey using primary sources, with a focus on ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya’s poetic skills. The biographical section is disorganized and incomplete. In Arabic.

  • Suwayriki, Muhammad ʿAli. ʿA’isha al-Baʿuniyya: Fadilat al-Zaman (865–922 H = 1460–1516). Amman, Jordan: Wizarat al-Thaqafa, 2006.

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    A concise biography of ʿAʿisha al-Baʿuniyya, followed by a selection of her poetry and prose. All material was drawn from Arabic secondary sources, especially Rababʿia 1997 and al-ʿAlawi 1994. In Arabic.

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