Market - The Encylopaedia of Islam ($ reg. req.)
S— (a.), pl. asw§Î, marketmarket.Later:
1. In the traditional Arab world. SåÎ , market, is a loanword from Aramaic ê9åÎ§ with the same meaning. Like the French term marché and the English market, the Arabic word såÎ has acquired a double meaning: it denotes both the commercial exchange of goods or services and the place in which this exchange is normally conducted. Analysis of the såÎ is thus of interest to the economic and social historian as well as to the archaeologist and the urban topographer. The substantial textual documentation which is available has as yet been analysed only very partially and the phenomenon of the market, fundamental to the understanding of mediaeval Arab culture, has not, to the present writers' knowledge, been subjected to a thorough and comprehensive conceptual study.
It is also important to recall the importance of commercial activity for pre-Islamic and Islamic civilisation. The socio-economic structures of pre- Islamic Arabia are still inadequately known and have given rise to divergent interpretations, but the importance accorded there to the transport and exchange of merchandise seems clear. According to Rodinson, several maritime emporia were in existence (Aden, #Um§n, Ubulla), as well as temporary markets or fairs distributed throughout the year, asw§Î al- #Arab , although it is not known whether there was anything resembling a unified or regional organisation of such phenomena. M.A. Shaban followed Rodinson in writing: “It is impossible to think of Makka in terms other than trade; its only raison d'être was commerce” (Islamic history, Cambridge 1971, i, 3). However, Patricia Crone has recently disputed the excessive importance attributed to Mecca as regulator of trade between Yemen and Syria. Excavations in the Arabian Peninsula have revealed conurbations including a group of three linked buildings: sanctuary, seat of power and market ( #Abd alRaÈm§n al- •ayyib al- Anß§rÊ, aryat al-F§w, 1981). Muslim tradition holds that Mecca was inhabited and controlled by merchants when the Prophet MuÈammad received there the revelation of the ur"§n; the latter contains allusions to the coming and going of caravans and to the fairs which were held twice a year, close to the city.Your college or university library should not be without this tremendous resource.