- "Miftāḥ al-Sa‘ādah wa Miṣbāḥ al-Siyādah”, by Ṭāsh Kubrī Zādah
- “Kashf al-Zunūn”, by Kâtip Çelebi
- "Ottoman Scientific Heritage"
- “Al-Istidhkār” by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr
- “Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah fī furū‘ fiqh al-Shāfi‘iyyah”
"Miftāḥ al-Sa‘ādah wa Miṣbāḥ al-Siyādah”, by Ṭāsh Kubrī Zādah
Critically edited by Professor Ahmed Chouqui Binebine, Dr Muhammad Said Hinchi, and Dr Abdul Aali L’Mdabbar
The book, “Miftāḥ al-sa‘ādah wa miṣbāḥ al-siyādah”, by Aḥmad b. Muṣṭafā b. Khalīl, renowned as Ṭāsh Kubrī Zādah (d. 968AH), is considered among the most important bibliographic works in Arab manuscript heritage. Its author presented different subjects across disciplines and types of authorship, detailing each discipline, dwelling on topic, purpose, aim, principles, and methodology, and citing some of the books authored on it. He also introduced the most prominent scholars, excelling in authorship in each domain. The author organised the book’s content very well, starting with four introductions, and then dividing it into two major parts (sing. ṭaraf), each further subdivided into sections, or dawḥāt.
He dedicated the first introduction to demonstrating the merit of knowledge, learning, and teaching, and clarified the conditions and functions of the learner in the second. In the third introduction, he mentioned the functions of the teacher, and in the fourth, he explained the connection between the path of rational consideration (naẓar), and that of purification (taṣfiyah).
The first part of the book focused on guidance on how to attain the path of rational consideration, where he mentioned the origin and branches of each science, and elucidated the titles of authored books, and names of authors. He devoted the second part to sciences related to purification, which is the outcome of applying knowledge, by which eternal bliss, and everlasting honour are secured.
Therefore, the book is a comprehensive bibliography of Arab sciences in their diverse authorship, comprising original texts, explication (sharḥ), abridgement (mukhtaṣar), abridgment of the abridgement (mukhtaṣar al-mukhtaṣar), and encyclopaedias of authors’ biographies and works, while mentioning each book’s importance and rank within its discipline.
Despite this stature and importance, the book did not receive the warranted care and attention from researchers and critical editors. The majority of printed copies in circulation are commercial, and are not critically edited in a way that involved examination of the book’s manuscript copies, in terms of proximity to archetype, authenticity, accuracy, age, and completeness.
This prompted Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation to undertake another critical edition of this book, applying a robust scientific approach, to restore the status of this valuable source among Arab heritage sources, and raise it to its deserved position.
The Foundation asked Professor Ahmed Chouqui Binebine, Director of the Bibliothèque Royale (al-Khizānah al-Ḥasaniyyah) in Rabat, and Dr Muhammad Said Hinchi and Dr Abdul Aali L’Mdabbar, cataloguers and editors at the Bibliothèque Royale, to perform the critical edition of this book.
This critical edition will be based on twenty-four manuscript copies of the book gathered from different manuscript holdings globally. These will be subjected to close examination, with surviving witnesses classified, and grouped into a stemma or family tree of manuscripts. Moreover, collating the manuscripts, recording variant readings, and highlighting the huge amount of changes, insertions, and interpolation in the printed versions of the book. In addition, organising, documenting and commenting on the text, as well as introducing the books presented within, and the proper names of persons, geography, nations, tribes, sects, and others. At the same time, tracing and commenting on the author’s errors relating to names, dates of demise, and book titles.
After releasing the “Fihrist” by al-Nadīm, Al-Furqān Foundation’s principal aim in publishing “Miftāḥ al-sa‘ādah” is to make available another major bibliographic reference from the heritage library on the history of Arab sciences. This would greatly benefit scholars and researchers in the domain of Islamic heritage generally, and Arab heritage, in particular.
“Kashf al-Zunūn” by Kâtip Çelebi
Critically edited by: Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and Prof. Bashar Awwad Marouf (and his team)
The book, “Kashf al-ẓunūn ‘an asāmī al-kutub wa al-funūn”, by its author, Muṣṭafā b. ‘Abd Allāh al-Qasṭanṭīnī al-‘Uthmānī, renowned as Kâtip Çelebi and as Ḥājī Khalīfah (1017-1067AH), is considered the largest bibliographical and encyclopaedic lexicon in the author’s era. The author spent over twenty years gathering the material for this work, and writing the draft (al-musawwadah), before beginning work on the fair copy (al-mubayaḍah). However, he died while working on the entries of the letter ‘dāl’, leaving behind the unfinished fair copy, and all the drafts.
The author methodically presented the names of books and disciplines, where he would mention and define the discipline, based mostly on Ṭāsh Kubrī Zādah’s “Miftāḥ al-Sa‘ādah”, with corrections. This is followed by book titles arranged in alphabetical order, along with author names, if known to him, and then explanations, abridgements, and glosses related to each book. He would perhaps point out the book’s topic, or reproduce it’s beginning; especially those works that he had perused.
This book acquired great importance among researchers, students, and critical editors, who referred to it frequently, and depended upon it in their research, studies, and critical editions.
As a result of this work’s great significance, the Europeans concerned themselves with it’s critical edition, publication, and translation into Latin—until recently the language of knowledge in Europe. The German orientalist, Flügel, critically edited the first two volumes during 1835-1838CE in Leipzig, then the third to seventh volumes with indices were published in London.
Subsequently, two Turkish scholars republished the book, based on the European edition, collating this against the author’s holograph, both fair copy and drafts.
However, it is quite sad that both publications failed to meet the requirements of the scientific approach to manuscript critical edition. The previous editors freely amended the original text, with insertions and deletions, and changes to many of the sentences, under the impression that this would facilitate understanding of the text, and ensure its soundness. In addition, there was a large amount of interpolation, affecting every single page of these two editions.
Therefore, the Centre for the Study of Islamic Manuscripts, part of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation concluded that it was imperative to publish a critical edition of this highly important text, especially, in view of the numerous errors in both previous editions, as well as mistakes by the author himself in titles of books, names of authors, dates of demise, and crediting many books to the wrong authors; bearing in mind that the author did not have the opportunity to revise the copy that he wrote, which later became the only source for this important text.
The edition that Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation hopes will appear soon, has seen significant and praiseworthy effort exerted in adopting the author’s fair copy, and those drafts, adding commentary, and correcting thousands of mistakes, as well as disambiguating those parts requiring it. This edition, with the aid of Allāh, will be the first scientific critical edition of this key text.
Ottoman Scientific Heritage
Prepared and supervised in Turkish by Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu
Translated into Arabic by Dr Majda Makhlouf
This book is a key historical reference, indispensable source, and significant novel contribution. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a gem among Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation’s prized publications, as it covers an important period in the history of Islamic heritage, hitherto neglected by most historians of the sciences.
The book presents the finest of Ottoman scientific heritage, revealing achievements in science and civilisation, and contributions to the cumulative human heritage, secured under the patronage of the Ottoman State throughout it’s six centuries of history. This huge study covered around five thousand scholars, twenty thousand works, and twenty-five thousand manuscript copies.
The book comprises two volumes. The first volume presents an extensive analysis and study of Ottoman scientific heritage, comprising history, concept, origin, and coverage, as well as the translation movement, and teaching of rational sciences. It also addresses the modernity and modernisation phase, and the early appearance of new scientific institutions, as a result of connecting with Europe, especially, and with the West, in general. The second volume comprising two parts, meticulously presents the full scientific works of 370 of the most eminent scholars, selected from across the Ottoman geography, as well as 92 important texts from among 7,145 anonymous works.
Given the great importance of this large reference work, Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation resolved to undertake its translation from Turkish to Arabic. The aim is to provide access and facilitate benefit to a broader audience, as well as satisfy a growing and pressing need.
While the book fills a huge gap in the bibliographic field, it is also a compendium of numerous sciences, knowledge domains, and disciplines; for example, works on mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, battle techniques and weapons, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary science, geography, cartography, geology, agricultural science, forestry engineering, architecture, and music, authored in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and some European languages, during the 18th and 19th centuries .
The release of this book represents a new breakthrough and substantial achievement, as well as a valuable and key turning point, paving the way for novel and important studies relating to the history of Muslim science. It is also a landmark shining light on the continued progress in Muslim science during the Ottoman period.
“Al-Istidhkār” by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr
Critically edited by Prof. Bashar Awwad Marouf and his team
“Al-Istidhkār al-jāmi‘ li madhāhib fuqahā’ al-amṣār wa ‘ulamā’ al-a‘ṣār” is considered one of the most prominent books dedicated to elucidating “al-Muwaṭṭa’ ” by the Grand Imām of Madinah, Mālik b. Anas. Indeed, “al-Istidhkār” is the second of two distinguished works in this domain—the other is its companion, “al-Tamhīd”—both authored by Imām Abū ‘Umar Yūsuf b. ‘Abd Allāh b. Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Barr al-Namrī (368-463AH), sage of al-Andalus, tradition memoriser (ḥāfiz), and erudite critic. Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation was delighted to have published “al-Tamhīd” in seventeen volumes, with the first print selling out within a few months.
In the first instance, “al-Tamhīd” is concerned with the craft of Prophetic tradition (ḥadīth) , where the author arranged it by Imām Mālik’s teachers, and each one’s reported traditions. In contrast, “al-Istidhkār” is concerned with the craft of Islamic jurisprudential , and is a milestone work on comparative Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Topic by topic, the author explained “al-Muwaṭṭa’ ”, commenting on those traditions with an unbroken chain of authority (sanad), and identifying the missing Companion (ṣaḥābī) between a Successor (tabi‘ī) and the Prophet, peace be upon him, for mursal traditions. Furthermore, he explained the sayings of the Companions and Successors, and Mālik’s own fatwas and opinions on which his school of jurisprudence (madhhab) is established, as well as his choice of fatwas issued by his predecessors in Madinah. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr also rigorously presented the disputation over meanings between jurists in the frontier Muslim territories (al-amṣār). Hence, “al-Istidhkār” is regarded as a seminal work in the area of comparative jurisprudence.
Yet, a singularly poor edition by the veterinary doctor, Abd al-Mu’ti Qal’aji, was printed in Damascus and Beirut. This was rife with metathesis, interpolation, and lacunae, but was reprinted several times in this sorry state. None of these prints met the conditions of the scientific approach to critical edition, in gathering and collating extant manuscript copies, documenting variant readings, and exercising sound judgement in deducing the author’s intent. In addition, the editor must record these variant readings on the critical edition’s margins for the benefit of interested readers, even those judged to be less credible. It is also essential to reference Prophetic traditions to sources, and comment on their authenticity or weakness, illustrating reports’ obvious and hidden flaws, and highlighting jurists’ approaches to evidenced argumentation (istidlāl) in citing these traditions. Also, referring the statements of Companions, Followers, and later scholars to original sources, and generally documenting jurists’ opinions by referring to their books and authored works, or those of their companions. Furthermore, paying due attention to the opinions cited by the author, especially those of the four main schools of jurisprudence, indicating their sources, and demonstrating the authenticity of quotations by comparing these to source works to prove veracity or otherwise. In addition, performing verification that satisfies readers as to the texts’ and their readings’ correctness and soundness, as well as that of the author’s transmission.
All these issues prompted Al-Furqān Foundation to conclude that it was necessary to service this important book that had not received the attention it deserved among other works. It assigned the erudite Professor Bashar Awwad Marouf and his team of competent critical editors, to undertake this work of editing the book following accepted methodologies of critical edition. Al-Furqān Foundation gathered extant manuscript copies of the book from libraries and holdings across the globe, and made available all the resources required for a fine critical edition based on in-depth and extensive experience.
The book is expected to be released in the forthcoming months, by Allāh’s permission.
“Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah fī furū‘ fiqh al-Shāfi‘iyyah”
by Abū Bakr al-Qaffāl al-Shāshī, renowned as al-Qaffāl al-Kabīr (d. 365AH/976CE)
Critically edited by Professor Abdul Hamid Madkour
In the forthcoming months—Allāh willing, the Centre for the Study of the Objectives of Islamic Law at Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation will publish the book, Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah fī furū‘ fiqh al-Shāfi‘iyyah, authored by Abū Bakr al-Qaffāl al-Shāshī, renowned as al-Qaffāl al-Kabīr, critically edited by Professor Abdul Hamid Madkour.
The book, Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah, is divided into codices, books, and chapters, with over 120 chapters on Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). The first codex addressed rituals of worship (al-‘ibādāt), the second discussed marriage and divorce, and related rulings, as well as rulings on freemen, male slaves, and free and women slaves, the third was on expenditures and maintenance (al-nafaqāt), inheritance (al-farā’id), sales transactions (al-buyū‘), wills (al-waṣāyā), manumission (al-‘itq), and the fourth on offences (al-jināyāt), punishments (al-ḥudūd), legal cases (al-qaḍāyā), and testimony (al-shahādāt).
Al-Qaffāl al-Shāshī describes his aim in authoring this book as an attempt to endear Islamic law to sound minds: “indeed, Islamic law embodies commended meanings accepted by sound minds and pure innate natures, encapsulated in the noble, benevolent policies; thus, it elucidates secrets and meanings”, i.e. why Allāh mandated rulings (aḥkām) for us, and what is the wisdom in this.
The book, Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah, dives into the depths, and attempts to highlight the hidden gems, aims, objectives, and wisdoms of Islamic law rulings, distinguished by perfection, completeness, procuring benefits, repelling harms, and protecting religion, life, intellect, honour, and wealth, which brought the virtues of honourable morals.
Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah is considered one of the first books that addressed Islamic law objectives (maqāṣid), and is a pioneering work in this domain. It is notable for including deep, objectives-based insights and perspectives, and magnificent hidden gems. Indeed, it explains the truths of Islam, and elucidates the exceptional qualities of Islamic law in the juristic questions and rulings. It examines the rational causes (‘ilal) and fine detail of juristic questions, and matters related to Islamic law’s excellent qualities, public interests (maṣāliḥ), and care for mankind. It then highlights the objectives of the Divine Legislator, and the wisdom for which Allāh established these, and their rulings in this form, and the extent to which they are close and attuned to sound minds.
Al-Qaffāl al-Shāshī emphasises in the book that Islamic law gathered the very best of everything, containing etiquettes and commended qualities never before gathered in any other legislation; in the words of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah: “The essence and foundation of Islamic law is wisdoms and securing the interests of mankind in this life and the hereafter; hence, it is all justice, all mercy, and all benefits”.
The work, Maḥāsin al-Sharī‘ah, is considered an added keystone in the maqāṣid library, especially since its author, al-Qaffāl al-Shāshī, is among the pioneers and leading theorists of objectives-based thought, Imām of his era—in Transoxiana, jurist (faqīh), traditionalist (muḥaddith), exegesis scholar (mufasir), legal theorist (uṣūlī), and Arabic language scholar (lughawī). Moreover, the book’s critical editor is Professor Abdul Hamid Madkour, the erudite scholar in Islamic law objectives and Islamic scholastic theology (‘ilm al-kalām), and expert in the critical edition of Islamic heritage.