Hattox, Ralph S. Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. Coffee and Coffeehouses has 70 ratings and 11 reviews. J.M. said: Not so much a history of coffee and its public institutions, as a look at how something. Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East. Front Cover. Ralph S Hattox. University of Washington Press,

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It would have been impossible for such a damning characteristic to go unnoticed, and once noticed no one would have allowed the practice to continue even in the basest of spots in the Islamic world, let alone in such august and sublime lo- calities.

At first it can be detected in a fairly innocent verse in which specific beverages are not even mentioned. Aaron Vlek rated it it was amazing Aug 30, Weirdly, Hattox doesn’t take this to its logical conclusion, nor does he link coffee and coffeehouse to the very stirring and ubiquitous Sufi political critiques that spread during this time. A description of it is that a certain amount of bunn, or its husks, is taken and boiled in water.

Coffee was for the most part introduced to Europe by Christians from the Near East, usually Armenians or Greeks, who began by using the apparatus they brought with them.

Hattox explains the history of coffee in consideration of not only historic background but also specific Islamic sources. If the drink and not the bean became the target of criticism contrary to prevailing contempo- rary medical theory, then the reason for such opposition to coffee must indeed be sought elsewhere.

Society and the Social Life of the Coffeehouse pp. Coffee houses became the social nexus where such consumption could take place. One went to the coffeehouse not merely because one wished 90 The Rise of the Coffeehouse to drink coffee.

Nonetheless, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that concern for the strict adherence of the believers to holy law was not always the sole anxiety of the governing pow- ers. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. If we dismiss the opposition to coffee as did not only later Western writers, but even their own contemporaries and coreligionists as Muslim bluenoses, fired by their own pervertedly rigid concept of Islamic law and proper behavior, haughtily arid righteously preaching against even the most innocent of earthly pleasures, we not only do them a disservice, but ourselves as well, for in adopting such a stance we become mere participants in a debate that has been dead and cold for three hundred years.


Melling, Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople. If Sufism had been a movement that stressed isolation, a movement of high walls and cloisters such as so often characterized Christian monasticism, the use of coffee might have remained an arcane practice lim- The Coming of Coffee to the Near East 27 ited to the few who belonged.

What it would seein that we have here is a small but influential core of opponents of coffee, men of le- gal and medical background or at least legal pretentionswho had been active for a time prior to this incident. The report concludes by saying that coffee was then completely forgotten until the beginning of the tenth [A.

There Coffee and Medieval Medicine 71 were attempts to do this, but they were usually overturned with some speed. Owing to their acceptance of another hadith that also prohibits potent beverages made from dates and raisins, the Hanafis admit these two classes of beverages to the category of khamr.

It was from the Azhar again that the opposition to coffee in Cairo first came, opposition that Coffee, Coffeehouses, and the Opposition 39 was not merely an inconvenience to the many who had ac- quired the habit, but that actually led to considerable civil disturbance and fighting in the streets.

While not all edicts against coffee or coffeehouses were overturned by official proclamation, as happened in Mecca innonetheless there is a consistent pattern of failure for such efforts. The literary activity of the coffeehouse is shown in the central third of the miniature.

As long as we ap- proach these works with more than even the usual caution, they can be particularly valuable. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic.

Coffee and Coffeehouses by Ralph S. Hattox

The governments involved were unable to force on the populace edicts that proscribed the already Coffee, Coffeehouses, and the Opposition 41 deeply rooted habit of coffee drinking, and assemblies for that ostensible purpose.

Here it is clear that coffeehouses, and the activities therein, were the targets of opposition, not coffee itself: This, from all the available evidence, can be traced to the mid-fifteenth century. It had become familiar to and popular among a variety of classes, at least in the Hijaz and Egypt.

Sir Henry Blountwho traveled extensively in the Levant, wrote in the pref- ace of a book on certain digestive problems by one Dr. Note on Sources pp. But in no way can we assume that the existence of taverns had a profound effect on the patterns of association within urban society as a whole. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Division of Rare Books Plate 5 Aside from the fact that early coffee cups were generally made of earthenware or porcelain, accounts differ as to their size and design.


On the whole, however, it is rather vague, and seems to contain more than a bit of legend. Near Eastern studies, University of Washington: As we shall see in the next chapter, it was another decade or so before it reached Syria, probably via the pilgrimage caravan, and from there it was carried to Istanbul around the middle of the s.

It is cooked, the sediment allowed to settle, and then the clear liquid is decanted into another pot, into which fresh coffee is added, and is cooked again. The next morning he decided to convene a meeting of the leading ulema religious scholars of Mecca to take up the question of coffee.

If we grant that the tavern provided the most con- venient model for those wishing to introduce coffee to the public at large, why then would people continue to frequent such shops once they became familiar with the methods of preparation?

Hashish and similar intoxicants come under the rubric of forbidden materials for a number of reasonsespecially [because of] what they bear in the way of harm to the body God His name be exalted said: Keall Royal Ontario Museum. Preview — Coffee and Coffeehouses by Ralph S. You could not be signed in. One can be found supporting almost every conceivable position one might take short of claiming khamr to be lawful.

Was it permissible under Islamic law?

The Great Coffee Controversy 3 2. Hartox prohibition was observed for all of about a day, JazIrT tells us, and then things returned to normal.

Coffee and Coffeehouses

Many of the men of religious learning followed his initial lead on this question. The introduction of coffee and the debate over it were not events of monumental or immediately perceptible signifi- cance, except to those involved.

The first is analogy, the attempt to determine if there is some underlying principle embod- ied in the idea of khamr that would allow or necessitate the prohibition ane all intoxicants. A third etymological ex- planation, that because of its effects in invigorating the body it was given a form derived from quwwa strength or powerseems far less likely.

It also became one of the great legal, intellectual, and literary obsessions of the age, around which an intense, if sporadic, debate raged in the capitals and metropolises of Islam from Adrianople to Aden.