Jamal Sulaymān

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JAMAL SULAYMĀN (d. 1666), a distinguished kabbalist scholar of the Jewish community of San'a in the 1660s, but not part of its formal leadership. Nothing is known about him except his central role in the *Shabbetean movement. Against the standpoint of the rabbinical court in San'a, he believed in *Shabbetai Ẓevi as the Messiah, and that he himself was assigned by Heaven to materialize the messianic vision. On the first day of Passover 1666, just after the night during which Shabbetai Ẓevi was supposed to be revealed as the Messiah, he went with his entourage of zealots to the Muslim governor of San'a and determinedly demanded from the latter to transfer to him the control of the city. The Muslim response was very harsh and, after the command of Imam Ismā'īl (1644–1776) arrived, he was beheaded in the city market. The imam regarded the agitation among the Jews as a violation of the protection agreement (*dhimma) of the Jews by the Muslim government and canceled all regulations protecting the Jews, which eventually entailed the expulsion to Mawza'. The Jews called that year "the year of the Headgear Edict" (shenat ha-atarot), prohibiting the Jews from continuing to wear their fancy head coverings. According to folklore, Jamal was offered life by conversion to Islam, but he rejected the idea. His martyrdom was kept alive in the memory of Yemenite Jews and is the subject of Leket, an idyll by David *Shimoni.


Y. Tobi, Iyyunim bi-Megillat Teiman (1986), idem, The Jews of Yemen (1999).

[Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]