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A Handbook and Reader of Ottoman Arabic

Esther-Miriam Wagner

II. Reader

29. Syria 2: Chronicle of Muḥammad Saʿīd al-ʾusṭuwānī (1840–1861)

Jérôme Lentin

Texte intégral

1The šayḫ Muḥammad Saʿīd al-ʾUsṭuwānī (1822–1888) was a Damascene ʿālim. He was ḫaṭīb of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, and eventually held important functions in the administration of justice. In 1867, he was appointed qāḍī of Tripoli, and was first qāḍī šarʿī in Damascus between 1869 and 1873. His chronicle covers the years between 1840 and 1861. Edition that of ʾUsṭuwānī (1993).


2p. 194


3At noon of that day [Saturday, 22 Ṣafar 1277 = 7 September 1860], I saw in the mosque the ḥājj ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-ḥamawī. He showed me a letter from his son Muḥammad, who had been sent to Beirut with those who had preceded a second wave of people driven away on 13 Ṣafar. In this letter, he was informing his father that they had first been put into wooden handcuffs at 4 o’clock. At 6 o’clock they had been forced to start walking. In the morning they were in Dīmās, from where they left for Ḫān al-Ḥusayn, walking with their hands cuffed and thirsty. On Sunday they had entered Beirut until the barracks. When they entered, the Christians who had travelled to Beirut started addressing them with impudent words like: “Where are your axes, where are your swords? They’re taking you to the stake [to impale you], to the rope [of the gibbet]! Tomorrow we are going [back] to Damascus. We have dislodged you from your houses and we have taken them!” and words of the same kind. [He was adding in his letter that] the French army had settled in Beirut at 1 o’clock, and that they had an army corps, of 9 to 10,000 [soldiers] in the barracks. And that they had unfastened their cuffs and taken them to the sea, where they had embarked them on an Ottoman boat, and that, on the date he wrote his letter, sent from the sea to Damascus on 20 Ṣafar, they were still liying at a standstill.


As a rule, ‘cases’ disappear in MA. Classical or classicising forms with case endings () appear only in specific contexts.. Colloquial use of qām.. For the regular -ū (and not -ūn) form in MA for the 2pl and 3pl imperfect, see text II.9, n. 7.Colloquial interrogative adverb (wayn / wēn).. Notice the temporal value of the active participle (present / immediate future).. Notice the temporal value of the active participle (near future, cf. ġadan).. Colloquial‘to remove, expel’ (see text II.9, n. 9).. The proposed translation follows the editor’s gloss (daḫala ʾilā).Mawžūd is frequently used in MA and can be analysed as a transposition of colloquial ‘there is’.. The sound masculine plural form -īn is predominant (whatever the syntactic function of the noun) in MA texts, see text II.9, n. 13.


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