‘The Muslims were seized with righteous zeal because of this and spied on her, suspecting her of having an affair with a Christian.’

Love does not recognize the barriers of faith, but this could be dangerous in the Middle Ages. The Fatimid authorities were scrupulous about preserving moral standards in Egypt, and not just in the Muslim community. This court record describes a case in which a Jewish woman was accused by two Muslims of being intimate with a Christian doctor. They reported seeing her loitering by his apothecary practice, and spied on her for 40 days before taking their suspicions to a judge. Although the document is written in Hebrew characters, the three Jewish witnesses sign their names in Arabic script, perhaps for the benefit of a Muslim judge.

Egypt, 11th century

Judaeo-Arabic, paper

Or.1080 J93