Reports on Research Trips Abroad

Lecture by Miklós Maróth at the Miraculum Conference
Csorba Zsuzsanna and Lánczky István’s research trip in Istanbul

Reports on Research Trips Abroad

Levente Teklovics


Levente Teklovics visited Cairo between February and March 2016. He spent the first week of February at the Cairo International Book Fair, where he selected publications corresponding to the Institute’s profile from the fresh selection of publishers at the fair.

Then, at IDEO (Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies), he researched the legal history of the existing Egyptian personal status law and the reforms to Egyptian family law introduced after the First Constitution had come into force. With the help of IDEO, he contacted an expert on religious rights who is familiar with the subject. He helped him to learn more about the legal commentaries from the era of Ottoman rule in Egypt. Vital to his research, he obtained early issues of the Egyptian Gazette (al-Waqāʾiʿ al-miṣrijja and al-Ğarīda al-raʾsmijja), from the microfilm archives of Dār al-kutub al-Misrijja.


In April 2016, she spent a month at the guesthouse for IDEO researchers in Cairo. She aimed to collect short narrative stories necessary to define the genre of and describe medieval Arabic prose.

Besides collecting materials, she began to examine phrases related to genre and known in medieval Arabic literature, primarily lexicographically, which, by its detailed development, could add valuable knowledge to the ongoing research.

In addition to her research work, she gave a presentation The Concept of Genre in Medieval Arabic Literature at the Séminaires de l’IDEO on April 26, 2011. In her presentation, she examined the prefaces of the authors of various Arabic collections, demonstrating how medieval Arabic authors had comprehended the concept of the genre and how much they had consciously created within its framework.


She conducted research at IDEO in April 2016. The main purpose of her research trip was to collect material for her doctoral thesis, which examines the work of Ibn A̱am al-Kūfī Kitāb al-futūṣ, and for a study about early Arabic historical literature. As a result of several weeks spent in the library, the manuscript of her study was compiled.


In 2016, András Mércz spent two months in the Egyptian capital in cooperation with IDEO. In May that year, he collected material for his doctoral research in the library of IDEO and studied the life and work of a modern Egyptian thinker, Farag Fouda, in preparation for a conference that the Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies was planning to organise to introduce Muslim reformers.

On May 23, 2016, he gave a lecture at the Office of the Hungarian Cultural Counsellor in Cairo, commonly known as the Balassi Institute, entitled Profession of Faith in the Chronicle of Zuqnīn. An Early Form of Shahāda?.

In June that year, he joined the research programme of IDEO, The 200 Project, which examines 200 major authors of classical Islamic cultural heritage focusing primarily on their use of sources and impact on posterity.


The purpose of her stay in Egypt in November 2016 was to carry out the basic work necessary for her doctoral dissertation, e.g. the acquisition and processing of literature related to medical literature in medieval Arabic, as well as the examination of any relevant and accessible manuscripts in Cairo. The research conducted in Cairo has contributed to the expansion of the library stock of the Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies. As a result of numerous visits to the microfilm stock at the Egyptian National Library (Dār al-Kutub) in Cairo, she made copies of several promising manuscripts for further research, which would not have been possible without the help of researchers at IDEO.


István Lánczky spent a month and a half at IDEO between November 1 and December 16, 2016. He had three main goals. Firstly, to write his dissertation. Secondly, to examine the catalogue of Sultan Bayezid II.’s library, thus process manuscripts. This research, namely the processing of texts, had been agreed on by researchers at the Institute. The third goal was to prepare for the international conference entitled New Prospects of Arabic Sociolinguistics, which he organised in mid-December with the assistance of the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Embassy of Poland.

This research trip also provided an opportunity to obtain manuscripts that are not accessible from Hungary as many large collections, e.g. the collections of the libraries of Dār al-Kutub, Al-Azhar University and Al-Sayeda Zainab Mosque, are located in Cairo.


In January 2017, he spent a month at the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (IDEO) in Cairo. Primarily, he studied the geographical sources associated with the Anti-Atlas area. These sources provide knowledge of the šīita group referred to as bağalijja that reside in the Sūs Valley, before the appearance of the Almohads. During the research trip, he also visited the Cairo International Book Fair and presented his research results as part of a series of lectures concerning Political Ideology in the Early Almohad Empire organised by the Balassi Institute.


During May 2017, he conducted research at IDEO. He collected data on several research topics. Most importantly, he gathered information to write an entry (evil eye) in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. His entry, which is half a sheet in length, was completed by the end of May. Since then it has been reviewed and approved for publication by the Encyclopaedia’s editorial board. At the same time, he also proofread two previously written entries of the Encyclopaedia of Islam (’ifrīt’ and “ritual curse”). The editing, completion and proofreading of an additional publication were also completed during this research period. This study (The Concept of Intellectual Property in Mediaeval Muslim Literary Culture) is two sheets in length and will be published in the Israeli journal entitled Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. During his stay in Cairo, he also collected additional material for research he had been conducting about the role of mediation and informal networks in medieval Arab social life. Finally, as in previous years, he did fieldwork on Egyptian folk religion, more specifically on the cult of saints, the results of which he has been using in his university courses at ELTE. This time, he visited the shrine of a female saint called Umm al-Ghulam and paid several visits to and interviewed several people at the tomb of the most famous medieval Muslim mystic poet, Umar Ibn al-Fāria (the so-called al-Qarāfa cemetery complex), who is known today as Sīdnā Umar (“Lord Omar”).

Miklós Maróth’s Summary

The researchers of our Institute regularly attend the events of the Hungarian Cultural Institute. Their presentations attract an international audience and contribute to the widespread awareness of scientific work in Hungary, thus promoting the cultural mission of the Balassi Institute.

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