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A Chapter in the History of Coffee: A Critical Edition and Translation of Murtada az-Zabidi's Epistle on Coffee
Sweetser, Heather M.

2012, Master of Arts, Ohio State University, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

What follows is an edition and translation of an Arabic manuscript written by Murtada az-Zabidi in 1171/1758 in defense of coffee as per Islamic legality. He cites the main objections to coffee drinking and refutes them systematically using examples from Islamic jurisprudence to back up his points. The author also includes lines of poetry in his epistle in order to defend coffee's legality.


This particular manuscript is important due to its illustrious author as well as to its content, as few documents describing the legal issues surrounding coffee at such a late date have been properly explored by coffee historians.


The dictionary Taj al-Arus, authored by Murtada az-Zabidi himself, as well as Edward Lane's dictionary, were used to translate the manuscript, which was first edited. Unfortunately, I was only able to acquire one complete and one incomplete manuscript; other known manuscripts were unavailable. Arabic mistakes in the original have been corrected and the translation is annotated to provide appropriate background to the epistle's commentary.


A brief introduction to the history of coffee, a sample of the debate surrounding the legality of coffee in Islam, and a biography of the author is provided.

Georges Tamer, PhD (Advisor)
Joseph Zeidan, PhD (Committee Member)
75 p.

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Sweetser, H. (2012). A Chapter in the History of Coffee: A Critical Edition and Translation of Murtada az-Zabidi's Epistle on Coffee. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Sweetser, Heather. "A Chapter in the History of Coffee: A Critical Edition and Translation of Murtada az-Zabidi's Epistle on Coffee." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2012. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 24 Nov 2017.

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Sweetser, Heather "A Chapter in the History of Coffee: A Critical Edition and Translation of Murtada az-Zabidi's Epistle on Coffee." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2012. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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