Cairo Genizah : Letter

Maḵlūf b. Mūsā al-Nafūsī

Cairo Genizah

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from the merchant Maḵlūf b. Mūsā al-Nafūsī, the ‘overseer of the Sultan’s ships’, to an influential friend. Maḵlūf had left Alexandria for Tunisia, fleeing ‘the plundering monk’, the notorious finance minister Abū Najāḥ. Maḵlūf arrived in Alexandria in the spring following Abū Najāḥ’s death, travelled to Tunisia in the summer of 1130 CE, and wrote the letter the following summer (1131 CE). Much of the letter details the behaviour of his profligate and disreputable son. All Maḵlūf’s attempts to correct him (presenting him to the qāḍī of Alexandria, taking him on a trip to Tunisia, sending him to the countryside on administrative work, suggesting to him travels to Yemen and to Syria) were to no avail. Maḵlūf quotes his son as writing ‘as long as you are alive, I have bad luck. As soon as you are dead, I shall be successful’. The letter’s purpose is to seek business for Maḵlūf and a position with the addressee for his wastrel son. </p>

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