Jewish convert


Senior Member
Farsi, Iran

Context: The Jewish convert and Fatimid wazīr Yaʿqūb bin Killis held private gatherings of scholars and poets in his private library every week.
The above is from <History of Libraries in the Islamic World: A Visual Guide> by Celeste Gianni and at the end of the sentence there is the reference <Pourhadi (1994), 451.>

In the above, does Jewish convert mean the person is now or was formerly a Jew?

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Interesting question. I think it's impossible to tell, just from those two words. The expression could be used in either meaning. As he ('now') has an Arabic name, it's (somewhat) likely that he once had a Hebrew name, and changed his name on conversion to Islam. But in that society, perhaps Jews sometimes had or used Arabic names anyway, so that doesn't tell us for certain.

    I'm not sure what calling him a Fatimid means. I suppose it means he supports the claim of the Fatimid Dynasty to be the rightful successors of Muhammad. If so, that also would make him a Muslim 'now'.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Oh, he's a Fatimid wazir! I assumed there was a typo and took Wazir as his first name. Stupid of me. Yes, that adds evidence. Also, conversion to Islam is and was socially more common; Jews don't seek converts. But about modern people, it sounds quite natural to talk of Muslim convert Cat Stevens and Jewish convert Jacqueline du Pré.
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