provided courtesy Hani al-Khatib
Taj al-Din al-Subki, the author
of the Mu`id al-Ni`am wa Mubid al-Niqam, belongs to a large family of al-Subkis,
whose members during the seventh and eighth century A.H. made themselves
renowned, not only for their learning, high positions as qadis,
jurisconsultants, professors, preachers, and writers, but also for their high
personal qualities. As the family name al-Subki shows and historical
records prove, the family of these times came from one of the two villages Subk
in lower Egypt, namely the Subk in the province of Sharkiyya, near Memphis.
Here, as we know, the father of the author, Taqi al-Din al-Subki,
was born. Mubarak says that Allah had bestowed special favours on this village
in allowing it to give to the world two such men as Taqi al-Din and his
son Taj al-Din .
The family, however, carried its
pedigree back to the time of the Prophet, and claimed to be descendants of the
tribe of Khazraj, or one of the two dominating tribes of the old city of Yathrib,
the later Medina, who became the followers, supporters, and champions of [the
Prophet] Mohammad. Hence the members of the Subki family call themselves al-Khazraji.
The pedigree of Taj al-Din, as
constructed from native biographers, is thus carried back through some sixteen
generations to the time of the Prophet. It runs as follows:
Taj al-Din Abu Nasr `Abd al-Wahhab
ibn Taqi al-Din `Ali ibn Zain al-Din `Abd al-Kafi ibn Diya
al-Din `Ali ibn Tammam ibn Hamid ibn Yahya ibn `Omar ibn `Othman ibn
`Ali ibn Sawar ibn Sasawar ibn Salim al-Ansari al-Khazraji al-Subki.
This learned and distinguished family
of scholars and high officials of the 7th and 8th century A.H. we find divided
into three lines, descending from the great grandfather of the author. The
family genealogical table can be constructed as follows:
The Subki family of the 7th and 8th
Dia al-Din `Ali ibn Tammam al-Subki,
the great grandfather of the author, was a qadi according to Ibn Habib.
Zain al-Din Abu Muhammad `Abd
al-Kafi al-Subki, the grandfather of the author, was also a qadi
and traditionist. He moved away from the village Subk, the family home, and
settled in Cairo, where he worked as a teacher of traditions. He died at
al-Mahalla 735 A.H.
Taqi al-Din `Ali ibn `Abd al-Kafi
al-Subki, the father of the author was one of the most famous men of his
time. He and his son, our author, were no doubt the greatest among all the
Subkis. Taqi al-Din was born in Subk 673 A.H., but as his father moved over to
Cairo, he received his education there. His teachers besides his own father were
Taqi al-Din Abu bint al-`Izz, `Alam al-Din al-`Iraqi,
Taqi al-Din al-Saigh, al-Dimyati, `Ala al-Din al-Baji,
Sayf al-Din al-Baghdadi, the great grammarian Abu Hayyan, Taj
al-Din Ibn `Ala. He became famous as one of the greatest scholars and
teachers of his time. He was equally renowned as traditionist, jurisconsult,
interpreter of al-Quran, theologian, philosopher, logician and
grammarian. He also enjoyed a high reputation for his personal qualities and
virtue. For many years he was professor at the great schools of learning in
Cairo, as al-Mansuriyya, al-Hakkariyya and al-Saifiyya. In 739 A.H.
he was called to Damascus to take the office of head qadi, an office
which he held for 16 years. At the same time he was professor at the higher
schools of learning, in Damascus as al-Ghazzaliyya, al-`Adiliyya the
great, al-Atabakiyya, al-Mansuriyya, al-Shamiyya al-Barraniyya, and
the tradition school al-Ashrafiyya. Taqi al-Din also wrote a number
of books. He died at Cairo 756 A.H.
Baha al-Din Ahmad al-Subki, head qadi,
teacher and writer, the oldest brother of the author, was born in Cairo 719 A.H.
He studied Arabic grammar with Abu Hayyan, the principles of law with al-Isfahani,
and theology with his father, Taqi al-Din. When his father was called to
Damascus, although only 30 years of age, he was already teaching at al-Mansoriyya,
al-Saifiyya, and al-Hakkariyya. Later be also taught at the chapel of al-Shafi`i,
al-Khashabiyya, and al-Shaykhuniyya. For some time he was president of the
judicial court of Cairo. In the year 763 he was called to Damascus against his
own will to take the place as head qadi, after his brother Taj
al-Din, who had been removed. In Damascus he also taught at al-Ghazzaliyya,
al-`Adiliyya, and al-Nasiriyya. The following year, however, he
returned to Egypt and became president of the military court. He also continued
his work as a teacher and turned out many famous scholars. Baha
al-Din was as famous as a teacher and author of commentaries as he was for
his piety, kindness and friendship. He was known as a faithful attendant of the
services at the mosque and he made many pilgrimages. On one of those pilgrimages
he died at Makka in Rajab 773 A.H.
Jamal al-Din al-Husayn
al-Subki, qadi and teacher, the elder brother of the author, was
born in Cairo 722 A.H. As his brother Baha al-Din he studied with Abu
Hayyan and al-Isfahani. He came with his father to Damascus in 739, where
he studied traditions with al-Mizzi and al-Dahabi and law with
al-Naqib. Then he went back to Cairo, and here he taught at al-Hakkariyya,
but he returned to Damascus, where he devoted himself to teaching. In the
beginning of 745 he supplied for his father as head qadi and taught at
the same time at al-`Udrawiyya and al-Shamiyya al-Barraniyya.
He died 755 A.H., a month before the death of his father.
Sadr al-Din Yahya al-Subki,
qadi and teacher, the grand-uncle of the author, had studied with the
famous Sadid al-Din al-Tarmanti, professor at al-Fadiliyya in Cairo,
and also with Zahir al-Din al-Tarmanti, teacher at al-Qutbiyya
and the chapel of al-Shafi`i. He was qadi at al-Mahalla and
afterwards teacher at al-Saifiyya until he died, 725 A.H.
Sadid al-Din `Abd al-Barr
and `Abd al-Latif al-Subki, the cousins of the father of the author,
we only know by name, except that the former had held the position of qadi.
Baha al-Din Abu al-Baqa
Muhammad al-Subki, head qadi, professor and preacher, the second
cousin of the author was born at Cairo 707 A.H. He studied with Qutb
al-Din al-Sanbati, Majd al-Din al-Zankaluni, Zain
al-Din ibn al-Kinani, `Ala' al-Din al-Qunawi, his
grandfather Sadr al-Din, his uncle Taqi al-Din, Abu Hyyan and Gamal
al-Din al-Qazwini. He began to teach in Cairo, but when his uncle
Taqi al-Din went to Damascus, he followed him. In Damascus he became
famous as a teacher at al-Atabakiyya, al-Zahiriyya al-Barraniyya,
al-Rawhiyya, and al-Qimariyya. Later he held the office of head qadi
in Damascus and was at the same time professor at al-Ghazzaliyya and
al-`Adiliyya. But already in 765 he returned to Cairo as judge of the
military court, and for seven years he was qadi over the whole of Egypt.
After that he taught at the chapel of al-Shafi`i and al-Mansuriyya. In 775
he again came to Damascus and was once more head qadi and professor at
al-Ghazzaliyya al-`Adiliyya. He also taught at the tradition school al-Ashrafiyya.
A month before his death he was made preacher at the Great Mosque. He died 777
Taqi al-Din Abu al-Fath Muhammad
al-Subki, traditionist and professor; the third cousin of the author.
Was born in 704 A.H. He studied in Cairo with his grandfather Sadr al-Din and
his uncle Taqi al-Din, also with Qutb al-Din al-Sanbati and Abu Hayyan.
He taught first in Cairo, then he came to Damascus and became professor at al-Shamiyya
al-Juwwaniyya, where he lectured on traditions. He died 744 A.H.
Wali al-Din `Abdullah al-Subki,
head qadi, professor, and preacher, the second nephew of the author, was
born in Cairo 735 A.H. He studied with his father Baha al-Din and with
al-Mizzi in Damascus. Then he taught at al-Shamiyya al-Juwwaniyya,
al-Rawahiyya, al-Atabakiyya, and al-Qimariyya. He supplied as
head qadi and was head of the customhouse. In 777 he was appointed head qadi
of Damascus, preacher of the great mosque and professor at the tradition school.
He died 785 A.H.
Badr al-Din Muhammad al-Subki,
head qadi professor and preacher, younger brother of the preceding,
another second nephew of the author, was born 741 A.H. He studied, with his
father Baha al-Din and others. He distinguished himself in several branches
of learning. First he taught in Damascus at al-Rawahiyya and al-Atabakiyya.
Afterwards he supplied for his father as head qadi of Cairo and taught
traditions at al-Mansuriyya. When his father became head qadi of Damascus
he took his place as teacher at the chapel of al-Shafi`i and at al-Mansuriyya.
In the year 779 he was called to Damascus to take the office of head qadi
after Ibn Jama`a. After a year, however, he must give up this office in favour
of his predecessor and during three years he was kept out of any public office.
From 784 to 789 he again held the office of head qadi, but again he was
removed. After the death of Ibn Jama`a he became preacher at the Great Mosque
and professor at al-Ghazzaliyya. The following year he was called to Cairo
as head qadi, but was twice displaced from this office. During, the
course of 18 years he was, thus head qadi four times for a period of
eight years and a half together. At last be taught at the chapel of al-Shafi`i.
He died 803 A.H.
The Subkis, as these notes on the lives
of the different members show, were a most remarkable family. At least a dozen
of them were famous for their learning and excellence of character. They held
the highest civil positions of the Moslem world as head qadis of Cairo
and Damascus, preachers at the great mosque in Damascus and professors of the
great schools of learning in both cities. Of most lasting fame however among all
the Subkis are Taqi al-Din and his son Taj al-Din, our author. Taj
al-Din is perhaps second to his father as a practical scholar and teacher,
but as an author he excels even his father in lasting fame, especially on
account of his two famous works Jam` al-Jawami` and al-Tabakat.
LIFE OF AUTHOR
The author, Taj al-Din Abu Nasr `Abd
al-Wahhab al-Subki, according to Ibn Ayyub, al-Ghazzi, and Ibn
Shuhba was born in Cairo. Mubarak and al-Suyuti use the indefinite term,
al-Misri, the Egyptian, and Ibn Hajar omits the place of birth altogether.
The native biographers also disagree in regard to the year of his birth. Ibn
Ayyub, Ibn Hajar, and al-Ghazzi give the year 727 A.H., Ibn Shuhba gives
the same year but remarks that "others say 728." Mubarak and al-Suyuti
give 729 A.H. as the year of the birth of Taj al-Din. Most authorities
agree, however, that he was 44 years of age when he died, and as his death
occurred 771, the year 727 is most likely to be regarded as the year of his
Taj al-Din received his first
education in Cairo. The native biographers always put his own father in the
first place as the teacher of his son. A long list of teachers with whom Taj
al-Din studied at Cairo is given: Yunus al-Dabusi, `Ali Yahya ibn
Yusuf al-Misri, `Abd al-Muhsin al-Sabuni, Abu Bakr Muhammad
ibn `Abd al-`Aziz al-Sa`bi, Fath al-Din ibn Sayyid al-Nas, Salih ibn
Muhaqar, `Abd al-Qadi ibn al-Mutuk, and the qadi `Abd al-Ghaffar al-Sa`di.
Taj al-Din, however, received his higher education in Damascus, where he followed his father in the year 739 A.H., being then a boy of some 12 years of age. In Damascus he continued to study with his father, but he also studied with other famous teachers in that city. Thus he studied traditions and Arabic grammar with Jamal al-Din al-Mizzi (654-742 A.H.), the greatest traditionist of his time, also famous as jurisconsultant and philologian, for 23 years and a half professor and head of the tradition school al-Ashrafiyya in Damascus. He also studied with the great historian, theologian, and writer Shams al-Din Abu `Abdullah al-Dhahabi (673-748 A.H.), professor in traditions at the chapel Umm al-Salih in Damascus. Ibn Hajar adds Zainab bint al-Kamal and Ibn al-Yarr, and al-Ghazzi adds Taqi al-Din Ibn Rafi`, al-Najm al-Qahafazi and al-Hajjar to the list of teachers in Damascus. But next to his father the teacher that seems to have had the greatest influence over Taj al-Din and who apparently put a great deal of confidence both in his character and ability was the famous jurisconsultant Shams al-Din ibn al-Naqib, 662-745 A.H., professor at al-Shamiyya al-Barraniyya in Damascus. Under him he did not only study but also began to teach himself, as al-Naqib entrusted him with part of his own work as teacher and legal counsellor. Yet Taj al-Din was only 18 years of age when al-Naqib died.
Besides hearing lectures and receiving
instruction from those eminent teachers he also carried on investigations of his
own, and as the biographers put it "he studied by himself" and
perfected himself in the knowledge and mastery of the different branches of
learning "until he was skilled in the knowledge of jurisprudence,
traditions, grammar and poetry."
Then began, his public career as a
jurisconsultant, teacher and writer. "He began to teach, gave decisions on
legal questions, traditioned, carried on researches and occupied himself with
Taj al-Din, before he held any
public office, taught for some years in the higher schools of learning in
Damascus, as al-Taqwiyya, al-Dimaghiyya, al-Nafa`siyya,
al-Qimariyya, the tradition school al-Ashrafiyya, al-`Aziziyya,
al-Shamiyya al-Barraniyya, al-`Adiliyya, and al-Masruriyya.
In the year 754 A. H., Taj al-Din
held the office of Muwaqqi al-Dast, which seems to be his first
public office. The same year he supplied the office of head qadi for his
father, taking the place of his brother Jamal al-Din, who died that year.
In the year 756, after having supplied
the office for two years, he was, by the request of his father, officially
invested with the office he supplied, and was thus appointed head qadi of
Damascus for the first time in the month Rabi` I. Thus at the age of only 28
years he reached one of the most honoured and important civil offices of the
country. This office he held with short intervals until he died. He got into
difficulties, as the biographers put it, again and again on account of his
decisions as head qadi, was removed and then reinstated.
In the year 759, after having held the
office for three years, he got into some trouble and was removed as head qadi
for the first time. According to Ibn Habib the second cousin of Taj
al-Din, Baha al-Din, took his place as head qadi. After
two months, however, he was reinstated into the office. The same year he was
also made professor at al-Aminiyya.
In the year 763 Taj al-Din was
removed from the office of head qadi for the second time. His brother
Baha al-Din, who held office at that time in Cairo, was called to
Damascus, and against his own will he was made head qadi in the place of
his removed brother. Taj al-Din himself went to Cairo, where he took the
place of his brother as professor of Shafi`ite law, and he also became preacher
at the mosque al-Tuluni.
Taj al-Din did not stay long in
Cairo. The same year he returned to Damascus and began to teach at al-Shamiyya
al-Barraniyya, al-Aminiyya, the tradition school al-Ashrafiyya
and al-`Udrawiyya, which schools, as the biographers put it,
"flourished under his hands."
The following year or 764 he was again reinstated as head qadi, which office he now held for the third time. At the same time he was also appointed preacher at the Great Mosque and made professor at al-Nasiriyya al-Juwaniyya.
In the year 769, or five years later,
he had to pass through the greatest trial of his life. He was then accused of
dishonesty, removed from his offices in disgrace and kept imprisoned in the
castle for about 80 days. The biographers always refer to this as the great
trial of his life, so great a trial indeed, that no qadi before him ever
experienced anything like it. They also intimate that it had something to do
with his qadi-ship, as he had trouble again and again on account of
his discharge of that office.
The only biographer, as far as the
editor has been able to ascertain, that gives the reasons for this removal the
third time and the imprisonment is Ibn Hajar.
The statement runs as following:
Wa kana min aqwa al-asbab fi `azlih al-marra al-akhira anna al-sultan
lamma rasama bi-akhdhi zakawat al-tujjar fi Jumada al-Uola sanat 69 wajada `inda
al-awsiya jumlatan mutakaththiratan lakinnaha surifat bi qalam al-qadi bi
wusulat laysa fiha ta`yyin ism al-qabid fa-urida min nazir al-aytam an ya`tarifa
annaha wasalat lil-qadi [Perhaps it is an error for lil-qabid, ed.] fa
imtana`a. Qala: al-amr ila `azl al-qadi.
The translation of this passage would
And was the strongest cause for his removal the last time that the sultan, when he had ordered the levying of taxes from the merchants in Jumada II, the year 69 [of course 769 is meant, ed.], found with the executors a large sum, which in the receipts was ordered to be paid out in the handwriting of the qadi, but there was no indication there, as to the name of the receiver. Then he asked from the Inspector of the orphans if he knew that it had come to the qadi. Then he denied. He said: The affair is a cause for the dismissal of the qadi.
Wustenfeld construes the causes of Taj
al-Dins removal from office as being a legal decision, which he had
given and which he refused to take back. Brockelmann makes the cause the
accusation of "Veruntreuuing von Mundelgeldern."
The passage is not altogether clear,
but evidently Taj al-Din was accused of embezzlement of public money, over
which he as qadi had control.
The biographers, however, agree that he
was innocent of the charge brought against him, as also further development of
the case would show. At the time, however, he was disgracefully dismissed as
head qadi, as preacher and as professor. He was also kept in prison for
about 80 days.
His offices were given to his enemy
Siraj al-Din al-Balqini. But if Taj al-Din had enemies who tried to
find excuses for ruining him, he also had friends, who believed in his honesty
and innocence and hence exerted themselves in behalf of his exoneration and re-establishment.
His friends in Cairo were especially active in the defence of Taj al-Din. They
prevailed upon the Naib of Egypt, Ali al-Masidini, to send for
Taj al-Din and also for his brother Baha al-Din. Delegates were also sent to
Damascus for the purpose of bringing them to Cairo. At first only his brother
responded and Taj al-Din remained in Damascus, but when his offices were given
to al-Balqini, he also went to Cairo. Here he was received with the
greatest respect and enthusiasm. "The people rejoiced over his
deliverance," says Ibn Shuhba, "because he was dear to them for his
modesty and graciousness of disposition."
Taj al-Din stayed only a short time in
Cairo and then he returned to the scene of battle and disgrace, Damascus. Now
"the people of Syria," as the biographers say, took up the cause of
Taj al-Din and exposed the wrong done to him. As a matter of fact, he was
exonerated of the charge brought against him, and those that had wronged him
must humiliate themselves before him. But he took no revenge. He was kind and
forgave all those that had wronged him.
After his exoneration he was first re-instated
as preacher at the Great Mosque. The inhabitation and re-instatement of Taj
al-Din annoyed al-Balqini to the extent that he gave up his office
as head qadi, left Damascus together with his family, and settled in
Cairo. Now Taj al-Din was re-instated into the office of head qadi,
which office he now held for the fourth and last time. He was also made
professor at al-Shamiyya. This was in the year 770 A.H.
Taj al-Din only held these offices
until the following year. That year a dire plague, following on a severe famine,
swept over Syria and carried off multitudes of the inhabitants. Among the
victims of this plaque was Taj al-Din. He had preached as usual on Friday the
3rd day of Dhul Hijja, then he fell ill on Saturday, the following day, and died
on Tuesday evening, the 9th day of Dhul Hijja, in the year 771 A.H. (July 2,
1370 A.D.) at his country home at Nairab, near Damascus. He was buried in the
family tomb at the foot of the Qasiun. At his death he was thus only a man of
about 44 years of age. [May Allah pour oceans or mercy upon his grave!]
Taj al-Din, as all we know about the
events of his life, personality, public offices, and literary works would
indicate, no doubt was one of the most prominent men of his time. He certainly
was not only a man of superior intellectual abilities and great learning, but
also an active and efficient practical man, a great worker. At the same time he
was a man of absolute integrity, enthusiastic, zealous, highanimous and
His intellectual qualities, as we have
seen, were unusually early developed, and what is more unusual also early
recognized. Thus he had, before he was eighteen years of age, proved himself in
possession of such a knowledge of law, such a power of judgment and such an
amount of teaching ability, that the great al-Naqib submitted legal
cases to him for decision and also handed over to him the performance of some of
his own duties. He was only 25 when he first supplied the office of head qadi
for his father, and at 28 he was appointed to the same office, being one of the
highest offices of the country.
As the biographers state and his works
prove Taj al-Din was a keen and ready thinker, a man of a clear and discerning
mind. He would take in the position in a moment. He was noted for his command of
the Arabic language, his great power of expression. He was a brilliant speaker,
eloquent, forceful, fiery, bold, persuasive and convincing. He was an excellent
improvisor, an art much admired by the Arabs, and a great debator. No one of his
age could compete with him as a debator, no one could excel him in arraying
Taj al-Din was a thorough scholar. His
learning included most of the different branches of the sciences of his time,
such as Arabic grammar, interpretation of al-Quran, traditions and
Arabic literature, but his special field seems to have been al-fiqh,
or Islamic jurisprudence. Thus he enjoyed great fame as a jurisconsultant,
equally skilled and experienced. So great an authority in questions of law he
was in fact that he himself once wrote to the Naib of Syria, a modest
man as he was: "I am today on the whole the mujtahid a supreme
authority on matters of law of the world" . This statement,
according to the biographers, was never challenged. His work on the principles
of law Jam` al-Jawami` is also held to he the best ever written
on the subject and remains up to this time the standard text book for the study
of Shafi`ite law at the great Islamic University of Cairo.
Taj al-Din also seems to have enjoyed
great fame as an authority on Arabic books and writers. Thus Hajji Khalifa again
and again quotes him as an authority in regard to the authorship of some book,
as authority on works of law and as making comments and criticisms on books. He
also gives longer or shorter quotations from his own works.
Taj al-Din obviously was a man of great
activity, a hard worker. His researches, learning, eloquence and literary skill
he put into practical use in the discharge of his duties as head qadi, as
teacher in a number of schools, as preacher, and as a writer of books. Thus he
was not only a great scholar but also an able judge, a successful teacher and a
copious but conscientious author.
Taj al-Din was without doubt a man with
a strong sense of duty and an equal strong sense of right and wrong. His
character was one of unquestionable honesty and integrity. He was carried by
unselfish motives and lofty aspirations.
We will also have to regard Taj al-Din
as a pious man. His great ideal was Omar II, known for his piety, not to say
bigotry. He was obviously inclined towards religious mysticism. Thus he speaks
with great deference of the Sufis, and those he put forward as the benefactors
of the world.
Taj al-Din was a man of no compromise. He is set in his own ideas and clings to his own school. He was a pillar of the Shafi`ite orthodoxy. He has no regard, no patience and no promise mercy for "the heretics." He opposes bitterly every kind of innovation in religious as well as in social life. But he is also just as uncompromising in his ideas and sense of moral right or wrong most outspoken in matters of neglect, shortcomings or wrongdoings, wherever found, whoever is concerned, high or low, friend or enemy. He is most exacting in regard to the discharge of duty, a stern advocate of simplicity, and he denounces fiercely and mockingly extravagance and luxury. He seems to have been absolutely set, stern and unyielding in what he considered right or wrong, unflinching in his outspokenness, seemingly unmoved by any considerations, any influence. In the great trials of his life, trials that naturally would come to a man of such qualities, he also manifests resolute courage and unshaken perseverance.
On the other hand, stern, unyielding
and courageous, a fighting spirit as he truly was, he had the reputation of
being a friendly, sympathetic and kindhearted man. This combination of a strong
sense of justice and a kind heart would be apt to make him, what he in fact
appears to have been, a champion of the humble, the needy, the wronged the
A man like Taj al-Din would naturally
make many enemies and many friends. The bold and unflinching manner in which he,
now fiercely denounces, now ridicules the vanities, inefficiency, extravagances,
and wrongdoings of those in authority, as rulers, judges, scholars, would make
enemies among the higher classes. His care for the neglected, oppressed and
wronged would ensure him gratitude and affection. He would be as feared and
hated on the one hand, as he would be honoured and loved on the other. The just
and good would admire and support him; the bad and crooked would hate and fight
No wonder that his life was a stormy
one. No wonder, that uncompromising as he was, he got into trouble again and
again on account of his decision in legal cases. No wonder that he was displaced
from office so many times. But on the other hand, a man of Taj al-Dins
ability and high moral qualities would not be easily gotten rid off, and he
would be apt to be recognized and promoted. Hence most of the native biographers
sum up, as it were, the story of his life by quoting Ibn Kathir: "There
came to him trials and difficulties, as had not come to a qadi before
him, and there came to him high positions, as had not come to any one before
Taj al-Din al-Subki has the fame
of having been a copious writer in comparison to the shortness of his life. As
noted before, he was only 44 years of age when he fell a victim to the plague.
Yet he has composed a large number of books. These books made him noted as a
writer during his lifetime, and some of them have ensured to his name a lasting
fame, or as the native biographers have it "his works were studied during
his lifetime and after his death." His works, of course, represent the
different branches of learning and also the offices, to which he devoted
himself. They comprehend the subjects of jurisprudence, biography, traditions,
Arabic grammar, etc. Some are written in prose, others in verse. The writings of
Taj al-Din, which the editor has been able to trace, larger and smaller, in all
31 in number, are given below. The grouping is, however, inadequate and may be
arbitrary. Some of the smaller treaties might just as well have been put under
another heading than that under which they are found. But, as it was impossible
to arrange literary compositions of the author in chronological order, and as
some grouping was desirable, the following was adopted as a matter of
Jam` al-Jawami` fi Usul al-Fiqh, in seven books and introductions,
completed 760 A.H. at Nairab near Damascus, a compendium of the principles of
law. This is perhaps the most famous of the authors many works. It remains up to
this day the standard work on Shafi`ite law and is used as a textbook at the
study of law at the great Islamic University of Cairo. It is the only work of
Taj al-Din that so far has been printed [as of the time this book was first
published: 1908 C.E./1308 A.H.].
The following commentaries have been
written on the Jam` al-Jawami`:
1) Tashnif al-Musami`
bi-Jam` al-Jawami`, by Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi (d. 794).
of this: al-Ghaith al-Hani, by Abu Zar`a al-`Iraqi (d.
Sharh Jam` al-Jawami`, by Jalal al-Din al-Mahhalli (d.
864), written 827, one of the most famous commentaries on the authors work,
printed in Cairo 1308 A.H., and used with the Jam` al-Jawami` itself as a
text book at the University of Cairo.
Notes on the commentary by al-Mahalli:
Kitab al-Durar al-Lawami`, by Kamal al-Din ibn Abi
Sarif (d. 907), written 906 A.H.
Hashiya fi Jam` al-Jawami`, by Abu Yahiya Zakariyya al-Ansari (d.
al-Ayat al-Bayyinat, by Shihab al-Din al-Sabbaj
al-`Ibadi (d. 992), a work on the errors made by al-Mahalli in his
commentary on the Jam` al-Jawami`. Printed in 4 volumes, Bulaq, 1289 A.H.
(4) Hashiya fi Sharh Jam` al-Jawami`, by `Abd al-Rahman al-Bannani (d. 1198). Printed in 2 volumes, Bulaq 1285, Cairo 1309 A.H.
(5) Badr al-Din ibn Hatib
al-Takhariyya, pupil of al-Mahalli, (d. 893).
(6) Muhammad ibn Dawud al-Bazilli
(7) Qutb al-Din `Isa al-Safawi al-Ighi, from Mekka, (d. 955).
(8) `Isa ibn Muhammad al-Barawi;
MS Paris 806 (740 pp.).
(9) Nasir al-Din Muhammad
(10) `Ali ibn Ahmad al-Najjar al-Sha`rani.
(11) Muhammad ibn Barri al-`Adawi
Other commentaries and commentators on
the Jam` al-Jawami` itself:
al-Buruq al-Lawami` fi ma Urida `Ala Jam` al-Jawami`, by
Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Ghazzi (d. 808), a severe criticism on the Jam`
al-Jawami`, put together into 32 questions. Taj al-Din wrote a new
book in his own defence Man` al-Mawani` against this
4) `Izz al-Din Abu Bakr
al-Kanani (d. 819).
5) Shihab al-Din al-Raula
al-Muqaddasi (d. 844).
6) Burhan al-Din
al-Kabakibi al-Kudsi (d. 850).
7) Ibn al-`Abbas al-`Adawi.
8) Shihab al-Din al-Ghazzi
9) Shihab al-Din al-Kurani
10) `Abd al-Barri
al-Halabi, the Hanafite, (d. 921).
The Jam` al-Jawami` has been put
into verse by following authors:
1) Shihab al-Din `Abd al-Rahman al-Tukhi (d. 893).
2) Rida al-Din al-Ghazzi (d.
on this versification by the authors son Badr al-Din al-Ghazzi
3) al-Kawkab al-Sati`,
versification by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911).
by the author on his versification called Sharh al-Kawkab
Taj al-Din himself wrote two
books on the Jam` al-Jawami`:
Man` al-Mawani` `An Sualat Jam` al-Jawami`, about 400 pages,
written as a reply to the criticism on the Jam` al-Jawami` by Shams
al-Din Muhammad al-Ghazzi (d. 808) in a work called al-Buruq
al-Lawami` fi ma Urida `Ala Jam` al-Jawami`. Taj al-Din takes up
and answers 33 (Paris MS gives only 32) questions, stated at the beginning of
3. Sharh Jam` al-Jawami`, a
commentary on his own legal work, completed in 770 A.H., or the year before Taj
Other books on al-fiqh are
4. Tawshih al-Tashih fi Usul
al-Fiqh, completed in 761 A.H.
5. Tarshih al-Tawshih wa
Tarjih al-Tashih, an enlarged edition of the former work.
Raf` al-Hajib `an Mukhtasar ibn al-Hajib, a commentary on the
work by Jamal al-Din ibn al-Hajib (d. 646), containing the
principles of Malikite law, and being an abridged edition of that authors larger
work al-Muntaha. Brockelmann does not mention this commentary,
neither among the works of Taj al-Din, nor among the other commentaries on
this work. Taj al-Din refers to this work of him in the Mu`id al-Ni`am
wa Mubid al-Niqam. On this work by Taj al-Din notes have been written
by `Izz al-Din Ibn Jama`a (d. 819) and by the brother of the author Baha
al-Din al-Subki (d. 773).
Tarjih Tashih al-Khilaf, 1600 verses of the measure rajaz,
in which Taj al-Din, following the outlines made by his father and also
adding a new chapter, corrects the mistakes made by al-Nawawi in his works
Sharh Minhaj al-Usul Ila `Ilm al-Usul, a commentary on the
work of al-Baidawi (d.685). Taj al-Din refers to this work in the Mu`id
al-Ni`am as a work of his own. Brockelmann does not mention this book among,
the works of Taj al-Din. According to Ibn Ayyub the work had been begun by
the father of Taj al-Din and then completed by himself.
Sharh al-Saif al-Mashur fi `Aqidat al-Usul Abi Mansur
al-Maturidi, a commentary on the work of that Hanafite
10. Sharh Tanbih fi al-Fiqh
lil-Shirazi, Taj al-Din being one of the numerous commentators on this
Qasida on al-Ash`ari, 56 verses of the measure kamil,
explaining the differences between the principles of Abu Hanifa and those of
al-Ash`ari. [The other Qasida on al-Ash`ari comes under the heading
Biography, next, ed.]
12. Kitab al-Fatawi, an
edition of a work of his father, containing answers to questions of law.
Kitab al-Ashbah wal-Nazeir , a work on legal questions,
according to Ibn Najim (d. 970), the best work written on the subject.
al-Qawa`id al-Mushtamila `Ala al-Ashbah Wal-Nazair,
a work by Taj al-Din, mentioned by Ibn Shuhba and Ibn Ayyub, but whether
this is a different work from al-Ashbah itself the editor has not been
able to determine.
Jalab Halab (?) written J-l-b H-l-b also given by Ibn Shuhba and
Ibn Ayyub, consists of answers to questions on law, raised by Shihab
al-Din al-Adra`i from Halab (d. 783).
The most extensive and beside the Jam`
al-Jawami` the most famous works of Taj al-Din are his Tabaqt
al-Shafi`iyya: Classes of Shafi`ites or biographies of illustrious
Shafi`ite jurisconsultants from the time of the great al-Shafi`i down to the
authors own time. Taj al-Din wrote three different works on this same
subject, a large work called al-Tabaqt al-Kubra, a more
condensed edition, called al-Tabaqt al-Wusta, and a still
more condensed edition called al-Tabaqat al-Sughra. These Tabaqat
by Taj al-Din have the fame of being the best biographies on Shafi`ite
scholars ever written, but strange enough, none of them have yet been published.
16. al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, or the great Tabaqat, is a very copious work. The MSS, however, are scattered and more or less fragmentary. The illustrious Shafi`ite jurisconsultants, whose lives and works are treated, are divided into seven Tabaqat or classes:
Those who were pupils of al-Shafi`i
who died between 200 and 300 A.H.
who died between 300 and 400 A.H.
who died between 400 and 500 A.H.
who died after 500 A.H.
who died after 600 A.H.
The Paris MSS show the scope of this
great work. Paris 2100, a MS of 442 pages, contains only the first of the seven
classes. Paris 2101, which must be a part of the last volume of the work,
devotes 150 pages to one man, or to Taqi al-Din, the father of the author.
al-Tabaqat al-Wusta, or the middle (sized) Tabaqat,
the same biographies as in al-Tabaqat al-Kurbra in abridged
form, completed 754 A.H. The work, beside an index, consists of three parts:
I. 1. al-Shafi`i and immediate pupils.
2. Those having the name Ahmad.
3. Those having the name Muhammad.
4. The rest in alphabetical order.
Women, who had distinguished themselves in the knowledge of Shafi`ite
III. Traditions gathered from al-Tabaqat
al-Tabaqat al-Sughra, or the small Tabaqat, completed
760, appears to be simply an abridgement of al-Tabaqat al-Wusta.
The plan is practically the same; only al-Tabaqat is very condensed,
consisting in fact mostly of names and dates. Yet the Brit. Mus. MS contains 300
The following compositions by Taj
al-Din may also be put under this head, although they would be more
accurately classed as eulogies than as biographies:
Kitab Manaqib al-Shaikh al-Imam Abu Bakr ibn Qauwam, an eulogy over the
virtues and good deeds of the pious Abu Bakr ibn Qauwam (584-656 A.H.). It
is in fact an extract from a work by the nephew of Abu Bakr, Muhammad ibn Qauwam
(d. 718), to which Taj al-Din had prefaced an introduction. It may have
had a place in al-Tabaqat al-Kubra.
Qasida of the measure kamil, an eulogy on al-Ash`ari, the
theologian, philosopher, and jurisconsultant (d. 324) and the validity of his
21. Qasida, 22 verses of the
measure basit, dedicated to Salah al-Din al-Safadi (d. 764).
On the subject of traditions Taj
al-Din has edited one of his fathers works:
22. Tashhidh al-Adhan ,
a revised edition of his fathers work on traditions Qadr al-Imkan fi
On Arabic grammar and related subjects
Taj al-Din wrote the following:
23. Tarshih al-Nahw, a
treatise on Arabic grammar.
al-Alghaz, a book on the science of enigmatical language. Hajji
Khalifa does not give the exact title of Taj al-Dins book but takes it
up among works on `Ilm al-Alghaz. Ibn Shuhba names Taj
al-Dins book Alghaz. It may be the Qasida of which there
is a MS in Leiden, "carmen hoc aenigmata continet."
25. Qasida, 37 verses of the
measure wafir, on the significations of the word `ain.
Other writings by Taj al-Din not
classified above are the following:
26. al-Durar al-Lawami`,
according to Ibn Shuhba, a work by Taj al-Din, but the editor has not been
able to trace it.
al-Ta`un, a treatise on the plague, where Taj al-Din
discusses the question whether it is consistent with true piety to attempt to
evade the plague or not.
Ad`iya Mathura [not Mantura, as Brockelmann has it, ed.], the
invocations with which Taj al-Din closed his large biographical work
29. A Prayer, composed by Taj
al-Din in Cairo 764 A.H. and published by Taj al-Din
A Certificate, given by Taj al-Din 767 A.H. in Damascus to
Muhammad ibn `Ali al-`Ashair in regard to the mastery of his work Jam`
31. Mu`id al-Ni`am wa Mubid
al-Niqam, the work here edited.
Source: This biography is a reproduction of the section titled II. THE AUTHOR of the following book:
Taj al-Din `Abd al-Wahhab ibn `Ali, Kitab Mu`id An-Ni`am Wa-Mubid An-Niqam =
The Restorer of Favours and the Restrainer of Chastisements: the Arabic text
with an introduction and notes edited by David W. Myhram, 1st AMS ed. (New York:
AMS Press, 1978). Reprint of the 1908 ed. published by Luzac, London, which was
issued as v. 18 of Luzacs Semitic text and translation series. [ISBN:
regarding the reproduction of the material here:
1. Almost all the footnotes were
totally irrelevant: Some referred to the page number in the accompanying Arabic
original. Others referred to the names and numbers of the various manuscripts of
the book Mu`id al-Ni`am. Others gave bibliographical references to the works of
Muslim scholars (Hajji Khalifa, Ibn Hajar, etc.), but the names of the books in
the bibliography are written in the editors native language: Swedish! This
made it both difficult and useless to reproduce here. Whoever is interested in
the references can check them out in the book itself. I kept only the couple of
important notes left. Some other short footnotes were incorporated
into the text in [square brackets with , ed. in them].
2. The last page of the book had an
errata indicating 4 typos in the print. But I found more than 100 mistakes
in the above section only! I tried to correct them, but I failed to do so
whenever it was not clear what the intended word was. This proved a sensitive
issue when it came to the (mis)spelling of a couple of names. I hope someone
familiar with the names of scholars mentioned here, can proof-read the above and
correct any mistakes in it.
3. I slightly altered the transliteration convention into a more understandable one. The hardcopy has letters with dots under them and slashes over them to indicate various Arabic letters that have no equivalent in English. This was very difficult to reproduce on HTML.
4. I changed the word Muhammedan into the more appropriate word Islamic.
5. Some words the editor used in
English have a more familiar Arabic equivalents. Examples are:
Traditionist = Muhaddith
(similarily, Tradition = Hadith, and Traditioned = Haddatha or
taught the science of Hadith)
Jurisconsultant = faqih or Mufti
Interpreter = Mufassir
Theologian = Mutakallim
 From this statement it would seem
as if also our author was born at Subk. Some native biographers indeed only use
the general term Egypt in denoting the birthplace, while others distinctly state
that he was born in Cairo.
 Not a mujtahid on
Eheschliessungen, as Wustenfeld has it. See Wustenfeld, Der Imam
el-Schafi`i. Abhandl. Der Konigl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaft. zu Gottingen,
 Whether Leiden 1843, the only MS known of a work on this subject, really is the work of Taj al-Din, as Brockelmann states, is difficult to determine, at least from the description given in the catalogue, as the first part of the MS is wanting.