English Translation of Basatin Land Deed
God is My Sufficiency. The matter is as stated below. Aḥmad Ḥusām (may the Almighty excuse his sins), Deputy, Bāb al-Kharq and Environs. May his sins be excused.
At the well-accepted, purified, and amply-endowed court in the neighborhood of Bab Saʿādah and Bāb al-Kharq in God-Protected Cairo, in the presence of its administrator our lord and master the magistrate who will sign above with his noble hand, may God prolong his high status and increase his exaltedness, (2) the Gallant, Most Generous Refuge, the Mightiest Imam, Our Lord the Master, Flower of the Most Precious of the Leading Lights of the Honored and Noble Descendants [of the Prophet Muhammad], Dean of the Exalted Line of ʿAbd Manāf, Possessor of (3) True Lineage and Patent Nobility, Master of the Descendants, Adornment of the People of Bliss, who places his trust in the Creating and Recreating King, may He preserve his honor [?], Our Lord, the Noble Master, Burhān al-Dīn Effendi, Syndic of the Noble (4) Descendants in God-Protected Cairo and Legal Administrator of their endowments according to the Noble Law, may his high rank last and may his ease of circumstance continue Amen, called upon his witnesses to certify in due legal form his testimony (he being, praise the Almighty, in full possession of the legally required faculties) to the effect that he confirms (5) the soundness of the right of ownership of the Rabbinite Jews resident in God-Protected Cairo over the entire plot of land purposed for the burial of their dead that is located at Birkat al-Ḥabash on the southern outskirts of Cairo close to Basātīn al-Wazīr and adjacent (6) to the side of the Muqaṭṭam Mountain (of known location), the said person, and those to be named in this document, being recognized as having the legal qualifications sufficient, as per legal norms, to eliminate any ignorance regarding the law, and [that he testified] that the said right has continued to be in their possession, holding, control, disposal, and legal prerogative to the date of this document, as evidenced by the legal instruments (7) of permanent effect that are in their possession, including the Letter of Claim recorded by the High Bureau in God-Protected Cairo following the issuance of the Noble Command from Our Lord the Sultan of Sultans of Islam and the Muslims (8), Pole of the Circle of Existence, Seeker of the Help of the Living God, Abū l-Naṣr Qāytbāy, may God envelop him in His mercy and accommodate him within the vastness of His paradise, in the presence of Their Worships the Sheikhs of Islam, Chief Justices and Chief Magistrates, (9) representing each of the four schools, namely, the Sheikh and Imam, Proof of Islam, Shihāb al-Dīn Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad al-ʿAsqalānī of the Shafi’ite school, Our Late Master, Chief Justice of the Muslims, Abū l-Jūd Muḥammad al-Ghazzī (to be mentioned again below) of the Hanafite school, (10) Our Late Master, Chief Justice of the Muslims, Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Damīrī of the Malikite school, and Our Late Master, Sheikh of the Sheikhs of Islam and the Muslims, Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad Abū l-Naṣr al-Baghdādī of the Hanbalite school, these being the persons charged with the administration of legally-binding decrees at that time, said Letter being deemed (11) sound and found to be in accordance with the noble law by Our Master Sheikh of Islam and the Muslims Abū l-Jūd Muḥammad al-Ghazzī of the Hanafite school (mentioned above), may God envelop him in His mercy, on the 8th of the month of Ennobled Shaʿbān (12) of the year 887 [22 September 1482] as evidenced by his ruling recorded on the back of the aforesaid letter and dated in his noble hand, between the lines, on the blessed 10th day of Ennobled Shaʿbān and notarized during the months of the year 887, said ruling having been continued and implemented under the noble (13) law by Our Late Master, Blessing of the Muslims, Abū l-Barakāt Muḥammad Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī al-Suʿūdī of the Hanafite school, may God envelop him in His mercy, as evidenced by his ruling recorded on the back of the aforesaid Letter and dated by his noble hand, in the body of the text, on the 4th (14) month of Rabīʿ al-Awwal (third month [of the year]) 928 [1 February 1522] and notarized during the same year, and said ruling having been likewise continued and implemented under the noble law by Our Master, Pride of the Judges of Islam, Muṣṭafā Effendi ibn ʿAlī of the Hanafite school, as evidenced by the decision for continuation (15) recorded on the back of the aforesaid Letter whose date is given above as issued by the High Bureau and dated 28th of the month of Sacred Rajab of the year 958 [1 August 1551], itself likewise continued and implemented under the noble law by the late (16) Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā al-Qarāfī of the Malikite school, successor to the mighty jurisdiction of the territories of Egypt, as evidenced by the judgment of legal continuation likewise recorded on the back of the Letter whose date is given above and which was issued by the High Bureau in God-Protected Egypt (17) and dated 5th of Jumādā al-Awwal of the year 1002 [27 January 1594]. The cause for the present [proceeding] is the legal claim issued by Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad, son of Sheikh Ibrahim, son of the late Yaḥyā, known as Ibn al-Wakīl, against the Rayyis Dāʾūd, (18) Head of the Rabbinite Jewish communities, to the effect that they had seized and were using the aforementioned piece of land in an illegal fashion. The son of Dāʾūd, the late Rayyis [?], was asked about this and answered as specified (19) in the letter and [stated that] the aforementioned Jewish communities had been granted legal access to the aforementioned piece of land in the presence of Our Master Qāyitbāy, referred to above, and in the presence of Their Worshipful Lords the Chief Justices, (20) and that their adversary on that occasion had been prohibited by law [from denial of said access], as specified in the letter whose date is given above, in the form of a legal ruling which neither [the claimant] nor the above named office of endowments could challenge, either in part or in whole, in thought or in word, (21) in litigation or by other form of contestation, in disputation or argumentation or conversation in any form whatsoever, by any means whatsoever, or in any circumstance whatsoever, all this being according to his [Burhān al-Dīn’s] statement, in the legal form proper for such statements, to this effect before his witnesses and to his certification, in due legal form, to this effect, which statement and certification were accepted (22) from him on behalf of the aforementioned Jewish communities by Rabbi Ibrāhīm, son of Salmūn the Jew, an oil merchant known as al-Kundurī, speaking on behalf of the Jewish communities, in the form of a legally-binding certification and acceptance. Our Master referred to above then granted permission to the aforementioned Jewish communities (23) to take into their service any of the people of the locality of the aforementioned Basātīn al-Wazīr they should choose, in order to guard them, their riding animals, and their belongings and to fetch water and tiles, from the time of their arrival for the burial (24) of their dead until their departure and return to their own places as in years past, and made a legally-binding statement to this effect, which statement was accepted from him on behalf of the aforementioned Jewish communities by the aforementioned Rabbi Ibrāhīm (25) in the form of a legally-binding acceptance and mutual legal confirmation [?]. This certification was established in due legal form before Our Master the aforementioned magistrate, who gave judgment on the basis of it [of the existence] of a properly investigated, fully accepted and acknowledged, complete legal right with regard to the matter (26) and he certified his noble testimony to this. This [proceeding] took place, was put into writing, and was witnessed on the 18th of the month of Sacred Separate Rajab, seventh month of the year 1059 AH [28 July 1649 CE]. God is our sufficiency and our best proxy.
[Witnessed by the writer and eight witnesses before the magistrate]
Translated by Humphrey Davies.